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Upper Lip


Copyright © 2018 by Jennifer Lawyer

All Rights Reserved.

This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are fiction. Any similarity to any real persons, characters, events or incidents is entirely coincidental.

Any trademarks, service marks, or product names are assumed to be property of their respective owners. No endorsement is implied.

From the outside it all looked nice dandy, Poonam was sitting on a rocking chair in her garden sipping on her tea. Her husband, Sunil was just getting back from work and parking his car in the driveway. Poonam heard the car pulling in and got up to greet her husband. She took his briefcase and but no words were uttered from either side. He tried to embrace her, she wanted to back away but she didn’t as she didn’t want him to feel awkward. She was thankful when the embrace finally broke and he started walking towards the house, she followed him into the house.

This exchange, to an outsider would have felt totally normal and nothing special but to Poonam it felt wrong, she couldn’t quite put her finger on why it felt wrong but it just did. She didn’t want to feel that way, but she did and she couldn’t help it. She shook her head as if the tell herself off and went to the kitchen after dropping his briefcase in the living room to make tea for Sunil.

They were both alone in the house because their ten year old son Rahul had gone away to a summer camp two days ago.

‘’Poonam are you making dinner?’’, Sunil asked Poonam, to which she replied


‘’I was thinking let’s eat out tonight’’ he said

‘’Sure’’ she replied

Those were the only words that both of them had spoken to each other since the day had begun.

Poonam started getting dressed while Sunil just stared at the TV with his bare feet on the table. She tried to doll herself up but her heart wasn’t in it so she decided not to try too hard and to Sunil’s surprise got ready rather early, too early he told her

‘’Our reservation isn’t for another hour still.’’ he told her

So she sat down on the couch next to him, looked at him and started to say something but stopped herself before words could escape her lips. He on the other hand took no notice of her and kept staring at the TV and giving all of his attention to the football match.

For Poonam time was passing so slowly that she could have sworn it had come to a standstill. They had been married for twelve years, yet it felt as if they had nothing to talk about. Because they sat next to each other for forty five minutes yet didn’t talk to each other. He was too immersed in the screen and she was staring at nail in the wall next to the TV, glancing at him a few times but she always went back to staring that nail. There was nothing exceptional about that nail but it held her gaze and she couldn’t look away for longer than a few seconds. When Sunil told her that it was time to leave, it startled and annoyed her but she smiled through it.

The drive to the restaurant was as quiet as their whole day had been and when they reached there he tried to hold her hand as they walked into the restaurant, she let him but again it felt wrong, just like that embrace earlier in the day and once again she couldn’t tell why it felt like that.

The waiter guided them to their table and took their order, she wasn’t particularly hungry so she just ordered a salad which prompted a remark from her husband which she didn’t catch properly but the awkward way in which the waiter laughed showed her that it wasn’t really funny.

It was at this moment she noticed that their waiter was a girl; she stared at her as the waiter walked back to the kitchen. Her husband started talking about his day at work but Poonam could only about how pretty that waiter looked. She tried to pay attention to what Sunil was saying but she just couldn’t do it, at no point during that monologue did it occur to Sunil that his wife had totally zoned him out and was staring at the shrubbery instead.

A few moments, or what felt like an eternity to Poonam, their waiter came back with their food. She set down Sunil’s biryani and Poonam’s salad and then asked them about drinks, he ordered some alcoholic drink but Poonam decided to start a conversation with the waiter.

‘’So Anita, what would you suggest?’’ Poonam asked her, having read her name from the name tag that Anita was wearing.

Anita replied with the names of a couple of companies and breweries, to which Poonam wanted to ask her which one would go better with her salad, Anita said the name of some beer

‘’That is what I will take’’ Poonam said smiling, Anita wrote something on her pad and walked away. Poonam again stared at Anita until the latter disappear the through the kitchen door.

Sunil had started talking again, this time Poonam tried to engage in conversation with her husband but in the back of her mind she was still thinking about Anita and was waiting for her to return.

Anita returned with their drinks and left before Poonam could start talking. Poonam really wanted to talk to Anita, she didn’t why she would talk about with someone she had just met a few minutes ago, and she just knew that she wanted to talk to Anita.

Time passed ever so slowly as both Sunil and Poonam finished their food in relative silence and downed their drinks. Sunil signaled for the cheese which was, to Poonam’s disappointment brought to them by a different waiter. She wanted to ask why didn’t Anita didn’t bring them the cheque but she didn’t say anything because she felt it would be weird to ask that question.

Sunil got up after paying and started to walk out, Poonam stood up and scanned the room but she wasn’t able to spot Anita, she then followed her husband out.

On the drive back, Sunil said something about the food and then something about something but Poonam had totally tuned him out and was staring at the night sky thinking about why Anita did not come back with the cheque. Was it something I said, she thought.

Stop it Poonam, she told herself, maybe her shift ended, maybe she had to answer an important call, it was not your fault, she told herself. While she was still busy with her internal monologue, they had reached the house and the sight of her house made her feel guilty at thinking about a random girl she had just met and she pushed that thought to the back of her mind.

As she was getting ready for bed, she could not figure out why she got hung up on a stranger. She got changed and got into bed, Sunil soon joined her, he brought his laptop with him and started talking about how he forgot that he had to mail something to his boss and how he was going to get an earful now in the morning, after he was done, he put the laptop down and gave Poonam a look, after twelve years of marriage Poonam knew what that look meant, he wanted to have sex with her.

She did not want to, she was not in the mood but mainly to avoid conversation she did not stop him.

There was no foreplay, nothing leading up to it, he just dropped his trousers, put on a rubber and mounted her. She felt nothing, she tried to feign arousal and tried to get into it but she couldn’t, and within a few minutes he was done, he collapsed on top of her as he finished.

She squirmed out from underneath him and went straight to the bathroom, turned on the shower and just stood there, naked, with the hot water washing down her body. She just had sex with her husband of twelve years, the father of her son, the man she had once loved with all her heart but somehow it felt wrong. She felt guilty at having sex with her husband, she felt dirty for letting that man use her body in that way. She did not know why she felt those emotions.

He is your husband for God’s sake Poonam, the father of your son, the man you fell in love with all those years ago. ‘Love’, yes she had felt that emotion so many years ago. The days when everything was so bright and beautiful, the days when she laughed at every silly thing he had to say, the days when every minute she spent without him hurt, the days when she just wanted to see his face and hear him talk all day. She was over the moon when her parents accepted his proposal for her, her wedding day was perfect, her wedding night was beautiful and her honeymoon was just like she had read in those romantic and seen the Hollywood movies. A year later she was pregnant and then she gave birth to Rahul, at that moment her life was perfect, she had gotten everything a girl could ask for.

Ten years later she was standing under the shower trying to wash away the guilt she felt at having sex with her husband.

She stood still, letting the hot warm water wash over every part of her body, after she felt that she had finally washed away all the assemblance of guilt, she dried herself and went back to the bedroom, her husband had already fallen asleep. She lied down next to him on the bed and went to sleep.


Poonam woke up due to the buzzing of her phone, she wanted to ignore it but when she realized that there was no way she was going to be able to go back to sleep, she decided to pick it up.

It was her cousin, Sonakshi who lived in London

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