The phone rang with Niti’s smiling face displayed. Shruti picked up the phone immediately.
‘Didi,’ she said and started sobbing.
‘Shruti, what is it? What happened?’ asked Niti full of concern thinking of all weird things that could have gone wrong.
‘It’s its N.. Neil.. He is leaving me .. for someone else …I was never good for him. And now he d..doesn’t even look a…at m..mee. I should have listened to Mamma and Papa. I am being punished for my own a..actions. F..First the b..baby. Now this. My life is finished,’ she sobbed through the phone.
‘Wait… don’t cry. I am coming over,’ Niti said and hung the phone before Shruti could say no.
Shruti wiped her tears. She looked around the house which looked like a mess. Plants withered, dusty shelves, cobwebs. In a half eaten plate at the table, she saw ants making a straight line across the table to their secret hiding place. She did not care but with Didi coming over, she knew she will get an earful for the unkempt house.
She wanted to get up, put things in order. But her body disobeyed. She will do it before she arrives anyway.
‘Why bother when life is itself a mess,’ she thought. She pulled the covers over her head and fell into a dreamless sleep.
The insistent doorbell woke up Shruti. She ignored it many times. But, this one rang non-stop.
She got up from the bed, staggered in the darkened living room and opened the door. It was Niti. She barged into the flat.
‘What is all this, Shruti?’ Niti pulled open the curtains and bright sunlight poured into the room.
Shruti stared back at Niti through sleepy eyes. She felt the tears brimming up trying to escape. She walked upto Niti and hugged her. The sobs were uncontrollable. She repeated their phone call conversation. Seeing her little sister cry was distressing for Niti as she cried with her.
Niti went into the kitchen to make tea. Tea always helped after a good sob. As they sat on the now cleared couch to sip their tea, Shruti started to tell about Neil.