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One Last Crab

by Ajay Vishwanathan

Babu had read those passionate emails, the way the bastard described her, words peppered with bouquets, steeped in lust.

What had crushed him were Leena’s replies to the stranger, the unabashed craving for more verbal festoons, her generous smiley at the end of almost every sentence, the way she signed off: “LOVE” in caps, and another cloying smiley.

Babu recalled with anguish his own recent email exchanges with her: dry, matter-of-fact; Leena had even stopped writing her name at the end, while here she was, full of life and intention in her notes to the sneaky scoundrel.

Two weeks ago, at least she wrote her initials at the end: “L.R.” Now, her barren conclusions seemed more impersonal, heartbreaking. Maybe she was not getting the same wallop from their relationship any more. Babu should have paid more attention to his friends who had warned him against their alliance. Ridiculous, they had declared.

Yesterday, Babu could not log into her account. Leena had changed the password. He was livid; she had surprised him by giving it to him and now annoyed him by changing it. That was it; he had grown tired of snooping into her surreptitiousness.

Babu called Leena in the afternoon and suggested dinner at Jaggi’s, where for the last time he wanted to watch her eat crab. He found it incredibly sexy, the way she rolled her tongue around the meat, half-closing her eyes and saying “Mmmm,” her voice whispery; the way she neatly placed the paper towels to the left of her plate so that she could protect the table from the messy juices that dripped from her fingers; the way she broke off the legs and the claws with a delicate twisting motion.

It was all so artful, the shifting of her long fingers, the pouted mouth and the focus in her eyes, that it aroused him. After dinner, they would go to his house as always and make love for the last time, and then he would tell her that he wanted to move on; she could find herself another client who paid better.

Copyright © 2009 by Ajay Vishwanathan

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