The sunlight filtered in through the gaps between the curtains. I straddled my husband and took a deep breath. His hands rested on my waist, that sleepy smile on his lips. Poor bastard, he thought we were going to have sex.
I put my hands around his throat, gently stroking the skin. His Adam’s apple bobbed with anticipation. I leaned forward and kissed him. As he kissed back, I bit his lip hard and squeezed his throat with all my might.
Nobody ever tells you how hard it is to kill someone, to extinguish their life. Nobody tells you how much your muscles ache in trying to strangle a struggling man, almost twice your size, as he attempts to throw you off. I pressed even closer, biting his mouth with more force while mustering up the last of my strength to choke him.
I held on even as my body felt close to giving out, even as my vision began to blur and my ears started ringing, blocking all thoughts in my mind. Below me, my husband kept thrashing. My strength gave out just as my husband threw me off of him.
I collapsed on the bed and blacked out.
A sigh escapes my lips as I regain consciousness. I keep my eyes closed, wanting to delude my body into thinking I am still asleep and dreaming. After all, what good comes out of being reminded of what my reality is?
I sigh again. I must wake up. Live my life. I open my eyes and sit up. A glance at the clock tells me I am late. I overslept. I frown. Why didn’t my husband wake me up with his morning demands? He never oversleeps.
I turn towards my husband. He is asleep. I feel a sudden rush of fondness for the man that I married, whom I loved and cherished even as he stopped loving and cherishing me. An errant thought pops up in my head: maybe there is hope for us, yet.
I smile as I call out to him softly, “Babe?” I haven’t called him that since I found out about his mistress and realized he and I had different notions of the state of our marriage.
He doesn’t reply.
“Babe?” I call out again, a little louder, dipping closer to him. I watch his face, and then my gaze turns to his torso and his limbs. He is not moving, not breathing. There are indents around his neck. Marks that fit the shape of my fingers.
I slump back into the bed beside my husband’s lifeless body. After a moment of listening to the static in my mind, I grab my phone and dial the number I long to see on the caller ID every day. Her number. My husband’s mistress. The woman I hope to make my lover.
She picks up on the seventh ring.
“I killed him,” I breathe into the phone. “I don’t know how or when. But I strangled him somehow.”
She is silent for a long moment. I fear she is going to hang up.
“Do you have coffee?” she asks.
I snort against my will and then give in to the laughter bubbling up inside me. “You know I do,” I tell her. “Now,” I tack on. “Only for you.”
“I’ll be over soon,” she says, and I can hear the smile in her voice. “Wait for me.” She cuts the call. I stare dreamily at the phone for a long moment and then look at my husband. Dead husband.
“Thank you,” I whisper.
Mugdhaa Ranade lives in Mumbai, India, and works at a production house as a writer. Her writing has been published in Overheard Literary Magazine. She wakes up everyday hoping to find dry leaves to crunch underfoot, and stray cats to pet.