Engardè! She had had enough this time around. This was the last time she would let that man have the final word! Just because she was drawn to his macho, care-a-damn attitude when they first met, it didn’t mean that she would tolerate his high-handedness as his wife. She certainly was not going to put up with this forever! And 8 years certainly felt like forever.

She whacked open her cupboard, punched in the password into the locker and with one sweep of her hand, she emptied out its entire contents into her purse. She braced. Her exit had to be one he would always remember with deep regret. Engardè!

She slammed the cupboard shut, and began her stormy exit…down the stairs…through the dining hall… across the foyer…and then finally out of the house banging the door behind her with an exaggerated move. “Damn! Too long!”, she thought.

But she had caught a glimpse of him from the corner of her eyes. He just sat there at the dining table, phone in hand. She thought she saw a bit of surprise, maybe even remorse in the way he cocked his head as he saw her leave. Touché! She smirked.

But then he did not budge!  Touché!

She unlocked the van, threw her purse into the back seat and turned on the ignition. It was at this point that one very important question crossed her mind – where was she to go? Touché!

Humph! That was two points to him!

But she could not linger or show any hesitation. No, not yet, cause he was surely watching her from the window. She put the car into gear, hit the pedal hard, and screeched out of the gate. It struck her that she had left her cell phone at home. That was a good move, even if unintentional. Touché!

 She drove aimlessly up the zigzagging hilly road while several thoughts crossed her mind, seemingly all at once. 

They had moved to Coonoor just last year, one of those idyllic ‘honeymoon’ places.  What an irony that she would be ending her marriage here. 

Adamant fellow he was! Had to have everything his way – right from where they would buy veggies to what the mali would plant in the garden. According to him, his opinion was always right.

It was only after long-drawn arguments that he would give in to what she wanted. Though, he did give in 50% of the time.

Well, she was tired of arguing. 

The night’s mist had thickened and the headlights weren’t really helping out. She chose to stop at the turning where the tall deodars did not completely block her view to the house. The lights glowed a warm yellow from the windows, and looked quite inviting. Engardè!

What’s that? The lights seem to be going out one by one! He was preparing for bedtime!!! Touché!

She felt a jab right through her heart.

A figure emerged from the door out into the biting cold and started up the scooter. 

She sighed.

Who won this bout?

The mist had settled down on the deodar leaves and was dripping down softly like her tears.

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