The Door

What if you could turn back time? 

What if you could re-live a day, one more time? 

How would you do it? More interestingly, how differently would you do or say the things you did?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to find out.

I think it would be more amazing if you could.

Alas, as mere mortals walking this Earth, trudging along this starlit-spangled side of Heaven, you don’t get to live this incredible opportunity of a second slice at Life, now, do you?

It happens only in fiction, after all. Doesn’t it?

But what if I told you, it doesn’t. That something odd happened to Othello. Something straight out of the Hollywood movie, Back to the Future, too. You don’t believe me? Of course, you don’t. 

So, without much further ado, let me tell you the story of someone by the name of… yes, Othello. No, no. Not that Shakespeare guy. This is our Othello. Different guy, same name. He is different, yet the same. Quite like you and me, too, underneath the facade. Just how? Well, we’ll see. 

In just a short while from now.

****** 
It happened on a busy weekday, when most of us would be found making our way slouched, to work. Not our guy, Othello! He hopped onto the bus after blowing a quick, fly-away kiss to his wife of seven years. Theirs was a marriage hatched from a quick courtship and yet after almost a decade, his heart still managed to skip a beat, when she walked into a room.

How envious are we, now? Indeed, theirs was a romance, straight out of fairytales! In one word: Enviable.

So on this Wednesday, as the sparrows fluttered across the sky, he looked up towards the heavens and whispered a prayer. Of gratitude. His heart was feather-light, as were his footsteps. And why not. He was going to be a father! A news he had freshly learned, that very morning. The splendid news made him almost dance his way to work, as he grinned like a Cheshire cat at just about anyone.

“Hmm. Is someone going to break into a song, today?” asked Janine, from the cubicle next to his. 

Our Othello grinned back. “Wait until Coffee break, my sweet!” 

“Oh, no hurry. The boss just mailed me the entire sheet of accounts. Great! My kind of day, today,” replied Janine, with her dry wit to color his moods further. He guffawed. 

“Alright, alright! Time for a quick coffee, then!” He whisked her away to the coffee-machine. They laughed away like teenagers.

Paul buried his head back into the files. A sense of seething contempt seared through him. 

You see, he had watched it all. And today seemed like a good day to make up his bloody mind. To confess his affection to her. After all, she deserved to be with someone like him. Not this fool of a man named Othello.

He took advantage of the “Coffee-Break” and left a handwritten note on his desk. 

“Your wife is sleeping with me.”

****** 

Christine saw a dejected soul walk in through the door. Quite unlike the man that had bid her farewell, earlier that morning.

“What’s the matter, honey? Is something wrong?” 

All her prying brought back vague, mumbled responses from her dear husband. She could see something was gnawing at him; she wondered if it was her “Happy News” from the same morning. 

Two sad souls slept apart from each other that night.

And so it is, sometimes, is n’t it? All it takes is just one word, to have a marriage crumble down. No, absolutely not. A love so resilient can bear the onslaught of so much more. After all, he loved her! More than he loved his own soul.

Then the blank calls came. Every night at 11:00 PM. When it was past bedtime or nearing it. At first, they both answered with no obvious prescience. But as the calls escalated in frequency, a seed began to sprout in his mind. Yes, the detestable seed of doubt. And we all know, how it is with doubt, now, don’t we? At first it sprouts its ugly little head up, then as it begins to grow, it tentacles around the things or people we love, ever so silently. It then almost takes the form of an evil entity, wrecking the peace within. Creating turbulent dreams and fallacious visions.

Then on that doomed day, as he made his way back home from work, he saw her with him. It happened quite unexpectedly, too, as he was about to enter the elevator. They came in through the main entrance and he caught their glimpse just before the elevator doors clamped shut. 

“Hi, honey! You’re back home early, today! What’s the surprise?” She winked at him.

No greeting and no smile back at her. 

“Who was the man you were with, downstairs?” He asked, point-blank.

“What man, dear?” 

“Oh, the one you were prattling with? Remember?”

 Oh, great. Now she’s lying. Yes, they seemed to have been jabbering about something enthusiastically. 

“No, Honey. There’s no man. I don’t know what you’re talking about?”

And what’s more? Her thoughtless response fuelled his fury, his confusion and he raged. A tormented soul that he had become, they had their first fight in ages that night.

He charged her with infidelity. 

She broke down before him. 

He accused her of having her beau’s baby. 

She decided to walk out on him. 

He cried a river, curled in his bed that night.

And that’s how the sacred threads that tied their hearts together in a magnificent marriage, finally frayed at their edges and snapped.

So, you see it happens stealthily. You don’t even get to realize it; when you do, it’s already too late. 

His good old friend Paul had avenged himself. Succeeded in planting the loathesome seeds of suspicion in our hero’s mind.

****** 

What if there were a parallel Universe? 

What if there were a Door we could pass through and live another moment in time, underneath the same starry sky? Sounds like the stuff we all have been dreaming of? Absolutely.

Then what if told you, that there actually is. Yes, a Passage. To a place in time you could travel through? Yes, anywhere in the whole, wide world and whatever time-frame your heart would yearn to take you. 

Would you believe me? Maybe you would, maybe you would n’t. 

But that doesn’t change the fact that our hero here, did happen to walk through this exact, same Door. 

******

He reached his workplace and plopped into his chair. The events of the previous night played in a loop. He sat still.

Janine eyed his bloated face suspiciously and asked him the reason for his disheveled appearance.  

He did not answer. She made a joke and waited. Still, no answer. Then she popped her head into his cubicle and whispered, “Hey, Buddy! Is everything alright? I hope no fights with the Missus? She’s planning to throw you a surprise birthday-party. Woopsie!” 

He raised his head at that and blurted out, “What?” 

Janine chuckled mischievously and evaded the question.

Paul watched like a hawk behind his glasses. Oh, how he loved her. He had been meaning to ask her out, for months now. Sweet, sweet Janine! What a wonder of a woman! But now, just when today seemed like an excellent day to make up his damned mind and declare his love, Othello had gone and ruined it all.

****** 

He came home, his brows furiously knitted together. He couldn’t shake off this strange feeling. That very handwritten note had landed upon his desk. Again. 

“It’s so weird! Somebody must be playing a ludicrous prank on me,” he decided.

And then just as soon as the words spilled out of him, he jumped out of his skin. As if he had seen a ghost. 

His wife had breezed in through the bedroom door.

“Hi, Sweetheart! Going to take a shower. Catch you later!” She proceeded to plant a kiss upon his lips. He recoiled in sheer horror. “What in the world…?”

She shot him a quizzical look and breezed back into the bedroom.

“I’d be damned!” Othello exclaimed. His head was spinning and his throat felt parched. He reached for a glass of water. That’s when he saw it. Lying there on the plush Sofa was the Party-Invite. For his upcoming birthday, next week. It dawned upon him. 

“Janine had been right. She is planning to throw a surprise for me. But then the note! It does n’t make sense. But then she is still here. How does one explain that? Or maybe she’s forgiven me and rushed back?” 

The questions danced around him, in circles like wicked, little elves.

You know that feeling, as well, right? As if you were re-living a moment, suspended in time? A scene played before your eyes and you thought to yourself, “But, I have been there!” Yes? Deja vu, that’s right. And it’s so incessantly rude! You know you have been there, doing exactly the thing that you were just doing and yet! It feels so new, as it feels so old. And you just can’t seem to shake it off? Just like our poor Othello, here. 

Except that, this was not plain old Deja vu.

Later that night, as they watched Television together, Christine looked into his eyes and said, “You know, I love you so much, babe, it hurts sometimes.” Her eyes misted over. He swallowed a lump and smiled a feeble smile. 

Somehow, he could not bring himself to pull her close into his arms. 

Not just yet.

However, they did n’t sleep apart from each other that night. 

And the crumpled note lay at the bottom of the pile in the waste-bin.

The following days saw a change in him. Like a man waking up gently, from a deep slumber. Considering what had just hit him, the inexplicable events of the past few days. A quiet wisdom found him, shrugging his shoulders in nonchalance, as Christine asked him who he thought might be calling them at this insane hour. He certainly did not seem to mind the blank calls that had begun at night. Yes, again. Funnily, Christine did n’t think much of it, either.

Then he saw them. Walking through the main entrance of their building, one ordinary day, unawares.

Yes, they were engaged in conversation, just like he had seen them that one last time.

He decided he had wisened up now, thanks to the unforeseen powers above. He knew exactly what to do. He followed them. Now, this was good. Why?

Because his surreptitious steps would lead him to a stupefying revelation that would stop him right in his tracks. 

They turned a corner and no, they did not stop to kiss each other, passionately. Instead his wife reached for a notepad from her tote bag and opening it, began discussing something animatedly with her “paramour”.

Something about the entire episode unraveling before his eyes, left him wondering whether this was, indeed, his wife being caught red-handed with her secret lover.

As he stood there, scratching his head, a sing-a-song voice spoke up from behind him.

“Caught ya, Mister! What do you you are doing here, snooping around like that?” 

It was Claudia. A common friend of theirs, followed by her husband. They laughed at him, standing there, as if he had been just caught doing something unthinkable. Just then his wife looked up and saw him lurking in the shadows of the dark corner. She smiled one of her dazzling smiles at him. He felt the tidal waves of relief and rapture washing over him. The surprise birthday party. It all seemed to come together, like pieces of a Jigsaw puzzle.

And the love-threads that were ruthlessly snapped by the seeds of doubt and dread, now entwined together into a knot. Binding the two into a greater love, that had stood the trials of infidelity. Well, if only the infidelity that was imagined by our poor, dear hero.

******

Pray, so what happened, you ask. Yes, the blank calls were real. As was the note handwritten by… you guessed it. Paul. 

But, how?  

Remember we talked about a Door. Yes?  Well, then, picture this. Othello woke up the morning after the altercation with the wife. And walked right through it.

The Door that allowed him to step back in time, if only a day before, to redeem back what he had thought was lost to him, forever.

And how do I know this Door is even real?

Well, it’s time for an introduction, now, don’t you think? 

Let me not be too elaborate with this:

Hello, there. I am the Door. 

You see, Othello walked right through me.

On that fated day in history, when he woke up to the howls of his troubled heart. He found me, oblivious to the fact that I had led him to find me.

Why? Because his was a love story that simply begged a second chance.
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Author’s Note:
Loosely inspired from the Shakespearen Book by the same name, “Othello”  is synonymous with the delusion of jealousy, that its central protagonist, suffered. The author attempted to take this popular, much loved tale and spin it into a modern adaptation, a story not so different and uncommon, but the kind that is sadly, encountered frequently in our everyday lives.

There is an Othello amongst us all.

~ If thou dost love me, show me thy thought. ~ William Shakespeare.
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