By Neel Anil Panicker

“It’s a passing fad. He will get over it. Look at this as a midlife crisis that he’s facing.”

Neeta couldn’t believe her ears.

Thrusting her shoulders forward, she leaned on the corner table and exclaimed, her usually soft voice now raised to a high timbre, ‘What you mean is I should overlook this affair? Is that what you really want to tell me, Alka?’

Alka opened her mouth to speak but noticing that a few diners from the nearby tables had turned around and were looking at their direction, she lowered her voice to a whisper.

“Well Neeta, let me make it very clear. I may be your best friend and all that, but here I will play the Devil’s Advocate and tell you that you are wrong. You are absolutely wrong in accusing Vishal of carrying on an affair. You are also…”

Thirteen phone messages. That’s the number of coochie coochie messages the two have exchanged in just the past two days. Besides, I also caught them…”

“Caught them? Now you’re using all the wrong words.”

Alka held Neeta’s hands in hers before continuing, “Listen my dear, I credit you with more intelligence than this. The ‘affair’ that you mention is merely a midlife crisis that Vikram’s going through. I for one definitely know he is talking, conversing, even occasionally meeting for coffee with Sapna. But that’s all there is to this. What we are seeing is an increasingly  insecure and deeply sensitive middle aged man struggling to come to terms with the passing away of what he perceives to be his halcyon days. Also his desperate bid to hold onto his youth and the golden memories associated with. And this he is doing by harmlessly indulging in casual talks, even flirtations with an office colleague who is at least twenty year his junior.”

‘Oh! Is that so? So now you will go ahead and say that I should turn a blind eye to all this while he comes to terms with his own mortality and loss of youth or whatever it is that you so beautifully have etched out in words?’

With a smile playing on her lips and a voice laced with sympathy Alka vollied, “Not one wee bit. Instead, what you should do is offer to be his best friend, empathize and take time out and listen to his inner thoughts. Slowly, you will find a marked change in him; you will find that he is coming back to his earlier self assured family loving ways. Remember, more than a wife, what he needs now is a good friend. Be that and you will get back what is rightfully yours”

It was getting late as the two headed out of the restaurant but not before Neeta thanked her childhood friend for clearing the cobwebs of doubt that were clouding her judgement and putting things in the right perspective.

#neelanilpanicker #ThreeThingsChallenge #TTC  #midlife #past #thirteen #flash #shortstory #483words


Three Things Challenge, 21 July 2018


Today’s things are: thirteen, midlife crisis, past


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