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DEJA VU

It could Happen to you

As I walked the steps that lead up to the porch, I cannot help but notice the sheer opulence of the farmhouse. Its countenance is one of the best marble and granite all at once resplendent and threatening. The ornate rosewood door beckons at me seductively, its huge brass Lion’s head knocker leering at me. I get closer and notice that its actually a doorbell. The wonders of modern technology!

It is here that I pause to take in the surroundings. The façade of the building is very Greco-Roman with an awning that is supported by two pillars. Money plants adorn these two sentinels like armor. The rest of the architecture is an attempt at fusion between functionality and art. Needless to say that the exterior walls are shiny and polished to a mirror finish. I can almost see the deep “worry lines”etched in my brow reflected by them. While all is shiny and bright, the attitude
of the house is one of a predator, tense and ready to spring rapaciously on unsuspecting prey. I don’t know why I have such thoughts. I guess it’s my over sensitive imagination. I snap out of the reverie and depress that knocker. I can hear the melodious chimes somewhere in the recesses of the house. It is also now that my senses pick up distant sounds of revelry in progress.

The door opens. It’s my hostess, Mrs. D’souza. I am surprised. I half expected a liveried butler to pompously announce my presence with just the right amount of respectful disdain. The kind one reads of in Wodehouse. Instead, she is saying with a lot of affected flourish “ Leo! How nice of you to come. You’re right on time. The party’s just started rolling. Come in, come in. Have I got a surprise for you?”

I make some polite noises and follow her in. Mrs. D’souza is the die-hard socialite. A restless atmosphere always surrounds her. Most of her jerky, almost spasmodic except her walk. I watch her from behind. She has a generous backside that tapers down to well proportioned legs. Despite her forty odd years she has a remarkably well preserved body that speaks volumes of the efficacy of contemporary cosmetics. Wearing a long, shoulder less black evening gown with a slit behind, she betrays a hunger for attention. She would have been extremely
desirable except for the way her head cranes forward, almost like a vulture. And for her hard features. A thin, straight nose cantilevers out of her face. Thin lips that snatch any mirth and prevent it from reaching her eyes. The eyes are always curious, dark and unfathomable. I watch her undulating hips. She is saying something to me. I realize that all the while I have been observing the contours of her body, she has been speaking.

“ …………. and Susy has had such a pretty baby girl. She looks exactly like her father………. “ she is saying. I start to concentrate. The conversation is totally one-sided. I’m not expected to reply. I know her well by now. She speaks more to herself than anyone else. I am being led through a well lit corridor, lined on both sides with mementoes, small Matisse copies. One particular wall hanging attracts
my attention. It looks like the “Arumbaya Fetish” in Tintin comics. It is ancient, looks ominous and seems to be telling me to get out before its too late. The passage also divides the house, with doors to bedrooms on either side. It opens into a concrete courtyard, beyond which lies the garden.

The party is in full swing. The courtyard serves as a dance floor. The floor is tiled and well polished and the boric powder sprinkled on it adds to the partying. I can see two traffic lights sets diagonally across the dance floor. One strobe placed at the center of the far edge and an ultraviolet light unit suspended from what might have been a clothesline running through the center of the floor complement the
ambience of a discotheque. It’s a cloudless, moonless night. The figures gyrating to the music, frozen by strobe paint an ethereal picture. The syncopated techno music is very jarring. My hostess continues to speak, unaware of the volume.

I hear nothing.

I notice some familiar faces and conclude that even outside a metropolis like London in Stevenage, it’s a small world after all. I espy the bar. It’s the only plainly illuminated area in sight and sits on one corner of the lawn. Mrs. D’souza has found somebody to introduce me to “Leo, I want you to meet Maria. She’s an interior designer.” I meet Maria’s eyes and offer my hand. She takes it quite
perfunctorily and before I have a chance to further the cause she mutters “Really nice to meet you, but please excuse me I have to …………..” She turns preoccupied and disappears like a mirage. Mrs. D’souza leans towards me conspiratorially and whispers “She’s very rich. And an only child of very rich American parents. But she’s madly in love with Steven who’s married and is just using her as a receptacle for his lust.” It could not have been more succinctly
than that! I marvel at this woman. She never ceases to amaze me. Finally, I decide that its time to hit the watering hole and wile away this party through a stupor. I turn to my hostess “Karen, why don’t you join the party? I’ll get myself a drink.” “Yes, yes……..do carry on. Enjoy yourself. And please don’t hesitate to ask for anything. And I mean anything.” She says with a lusty gleam in her eyes.

“And are you going to be surprised!” My brow furrows. This is the second time she’s said this. The significance eludes me. But she is gone before I can find out what she means. I shrug and head towards the bar at a very languorous pace trying to act appropriately bored. Though free drinks especially scotch always motivates me.

The bar tender is looking harassed as his clan usually does at such do’s. I try to catch his attention through a variety of antics, just short of making a public nuisance of myself. As he hands over the drink to me with great flourish, I notice that most people around me are already on their way to heaven, using different roads. I like happy drunks. And I decide that today, I must be sufficiently
inebriated as to collect a few phone numbers. I have a strange fetish for collecting phone numbers. I like to chat up a gorgeous woman at a party and then take her number. If I’m lucky, I write it down and then file it away for later use. Only there is no later use. I do nothing with them. I just feel good getting them.

I start walking to the right side of the bar, towards some lounge chairs. They look inviting, almost to smother you with all their affection. While my body sinks into the chair, I take a deep sip of my scotch. “Ah!” I say to nobody in particular, marveling at the way the liquid seems to caress my throat. I take in the ambience of the party. Hearing the familiar beat of Santana’s ‘Jingo’. I’m almost tempted to
wildly gyrate on the floor. One couple particularly, is dancing at quite a frenzied pace, with the man doing his damnedest to keep up. Most of the other people on the floor are dancing quite listlessly. And few married couples, I think have their arms around each other and are doing their version of the stand up position.

Their eyes are far away, each lost in his or her private world of fantasy, divorced from their partners. One guy actually seems to be scoring. His hands are locked behind her back and he is kneading her generous behind forcefully, while his mouth is going to town on her bare neck and shoulders. And she is not fighting him off! “An average party.” I say to myself.
It always happens. Whenever I sit down with a drink at a party where I don’t know too many people and I’m not in the mood to socialize, my thoughts wander.They flutter from this to that, from one event to the other in my life like a proverbial butterfly. But they always end at Vicky. Victoria. And then they stay there for quite awhile like the aftermath of a particularly heavy lunch.As usual I cannot think of Vicky without feeling both pleasure and pain. It is surprising that someone you love so much can hurt you even more. I guess that is an immutable law of relationships. It is a directly proportional equation.
Victoria is the epitome of the modern woman. While she is not a dyed-in-wool feminist she has a matriarchal authority about her. She does though very rarely, expose her vulnerability. In her moments of weakness she is the most wonderful woman in the world. The rest of the time she is superior ( rightly so ), selfish ( not rightly so ) and aims to conquer the world in the next two years. And she can.
Only, I get this feeling that though she will share the spoils with me in a very benign fashion. I will actually be relegated forever. Victoria is one of those women who have a very sharp mind and a tongue to match. I cannot beat her at Scrabble, nor Trivial Pursuit. I can’t even win small arguments. Yet I would not choose anybody else. I am stimulated intellectually, emotionally and physically every moment that I spend with her. She is the Chairperson of an organization
that harasses the government on esoteric issues like preservation of tribal cultures, the environment and the like. Vicky! She has a body like a siren – tall, fair, chiseled, slim. A wide, wet, generous mouth and piercing eyes are the weapons of her charismatic personality. Heads always turn when she’s around.
And she loves me.
I realize my drink is over and get up to pour another. Already, the sounds of the party are distant. The scotch is superb! While I absentmindedly dig my nose, my mind becomes introspective. I know what she sees in me. I am of average height and age ( 35 ) and a speckled beard obscures my nondescript features beautifully. My potbelly is average size too. But I am an infamous journalist ( and I’m proud of the fact! ) She sees this in me and some more. Mostly its my ability
to divorce myself from real life and pretend to look deeper. As you’ve guessed, I’m not fanatical about anything except my writing and Victoria. I wonder what she’s doing right now. I glimpse at my watch. Its 8 o’clock. Victoria lives in Wembley. She must be leaving for home soon, after a particularly rough day. She will take off all her clothes as soon as she’s through the door and switch on the heater. With a vodka in one hand and a smoke in the other, she will curl up
on the sofa in front of the TV and watch BBC. Then she will think of me, I hope.
Dinner is made by the part time cook, who magically disappears before Vicky gets home.

My thoughts drift to our relationship. Its magical, mysterious, satisfying but never reaching anywhere. I am getting quite bored now. The techo-music is soporific. I decide that its time to get into action, probably dance a bit and lose some of that belly I display.

I get off my chair and work my way towards the bar where I decide I need another scotch. The buzz in my head is quite soothing now. My eyes turn to a well endowed lady on my left. She has that glazed, vacant look about her. She seems to be the right person to ask for a dance. But my mind is fickle and I decide against it. I turn my back towards the house. It seems to be inviting me, luring me, daring me. Its quite an interesting house, full of soul and character.
The atmosphere around it is enigmatic.

The sounds of the party receding, just like a horizon, distant and indistinct. I walk down the curio lined corridor. The wall hanging is casting a baleful eye at me. Like it shares some unpleasant secret with me. Suddenly, I realize that the air around me is stifling and ominous. I am petrified because I know something will happen. I am also excited and expectant.
The corridor ends into the foyer and the first time I notice a stairway up to the first floor. This is a nice place to begin my exploration of the house. I think and begin the ascent. The banister is made of wood. They must have spent a lot of money on it. I reach the top and there is another corridor. This time relatively bare. I try the first door on the left. The door opens smoothly, the hinges well oiled.It is quite a plain room, one that seems to be used as a study. The only adornment is the bookshelf that lines the far wall. Even in the little light I can see the two mattresses lying on the floor, under the bookshelf. While I would love to spend time with the books, something is compelling me to move on, like a beacon that beckons the ship to the port. Only this time the port seems to be
made of rocks. I exit the room, quivering. The adrenaline is pumping, my knees feel like jelly. I wonder if I have had too much alcohol.

Then there is that door. The second last one on the right side of the corridor. I don’t know why I am drawn to it. Somehow it holds the key to my future. In the eerie glow of moonlight filtering through the window at the end, the corridor is almost like a dream sequence out of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’. I walk resolutely towards that door, determined to face my nemesis. Something warns me one last time to leave, urgently, as I put my hand on the doorknob. And twist.
The door swings noiselessly inwards. My heart has stopped beating. My eyes are closed. I force them open. Nothing. It is then that I notice that little bit of light, a crack under the door in the left wall of the room. Although the room appears silent, I seem to hear a soft wheezing-creaking, spasmodic and rhythmic. I tell myself that, I’m hearing things, attributed to my whiskey induced stupor. Yet the
sound is real, is persistent, engulfing and beseeching. At first I dismiss it as the natural sounds of a building settling down, cooling off after a hot day. But then I hear it! It is soft and indolent. The almost inaudible moan rises in volume, then breaks off as suddenly as it started. I am not scared anymore. The hackles have receded till future necessity calls. Is someone in pain? I wonder. Stealthily, I
move towards the light. I open the door. It’s a bathroom. The wheezing-creaking sound is beyond the other door leading to the next room, now interspersed with soft moans. I am overcome by an excited curiosity. Softly, very carefully, I open the connecting door, a crack.

In the glow of the night lamp are two figures silhouetted, their shadows stark against the light blue walls of the room. She is astride him, undulating her hips in a swaying canter while pleasurable moans emanate from her lips. They are diagonally placed almost spanning the width of the large, comfortable double bed. The shadows make their conjunction appear grotesque, though the sight would raise a dead voyeurs hope’s. As my eyes grow accustomed to the new illumination before me, I see that clothes are strewn across the room with
reckless abandon. I am now watching with the clinical detachment of a seasoned voyeur. Though I cannot see much of the man, he looks well built and muscular. The parts in communion are hidden in the umbra of her generous behind. I can almost feel him tremble at every stroke. He is reaching to cup her shapely breasts, the nipples erect and demanding. Her body glistens with the pleasurable exertion. The pace is increasing. Her left hand steals in between their bodies to aid her in the release while she is offering the fingers of her right hand to his lips, begging to be enfolded by his mouth. The moans are extremely familiar now. And for once I look up to her face. Her head is thrown back and there is a grimace of pleasure there. The same hair, the same curve of the shoulders, the arched back. How can I have forgotten what Victoria looks like, in the throes of passion?
A lump ascends my throat and stops there. I am transfixed by that scene and heartbroken at the same time. I am overcome by a rigor mortis and a deep urge to go and cry somewhere. Outwardly, I just look stoned. With great effort I manage to draw myself away from the room. Once in the corridor, I almost break into a run.

I burst into the party, my hands shivering, my knees trembling, as I suck in large gulps of air to ease the constriction in my chest. I rush to the bar and pour myself a large double scotch. It is downed in a gulp. I am trying to think more clearly, trying to decide on a course of action, trying to hide somewhere I won’t be disturbed in my pain. Suddenly, I feel Victoria’s touch on my shoulder. She is
saying “Wake up, Leo – lazy bones.”

The passenger next to me is still shaking me, though I am wide awake, my heart fluttering madly. “You’d better get down now, Stevenage is here. The train does’nt go any further.” I am still reeling under the incubus, but I manage to mutter my thanks. I ask the ticket collector for directions and head off resolutely shaking my head to drive away the paranoia. This is the first time I will be going there.

As I walked the steps that lead up to the porch, I cannot help but notice the sheer opulence of the farmhouse. Its countenance is one of the best marble and granite all at once resplendent and threatening. The ornate rosewood door beckons at me seductively, its huge brass Lion’s head knocker leering at me. I get closer and notice that its actually a doorbell. The wonders of modern technology!

It is here that I pause to take in the surroundings. The façade of the building is very Greco-Roman with an awning that is supported by two pillars. Money plants adorn these two sentinels like armor. The rest of the architecture is an attempt at fusion between functionality and art. Needless to say that the exterior walls are shiny and polished to a mirror finish. I can almost see the deep “worry lines”etched in my brow reflected by them. While all is shiny and bright, the attitude
of the house is one of a predator, tense and ready to spring rapaciously on unsuspecting prey. I don’t know why I have such thoughts. I guess it’s my over sensitive imagination. I snap out of the reverie and depress that knocker. I can hear the melodious chimes somewhere in the recesses of the house. It is also
now that my senses pick up distant sounds of revelry in progress.

The door opens. It’s my hostess, Mrs. D’souza. I am surprised. I half expected a liveried butler to pompously announce my presence with just the right amount of respectful disdain. The kind one reads of in Wodehouse. Instead, she is saying with a lot of affected flourish “ Leo! How nice of you to come. You’re right on time. The party’s just started rolling. Come in, come in. Have I got a surprise for you?”

I take a long look at her, undecided, searching for some signs of conspiracy. Her eyes are like ebony spots, unfathomable. I breathe deeply. “Fuck it” I say under

my breath and cross the threshold.

THE END
by A. D. Sukhia
Published: 2007-04-10
Author: AD Sukhia

About the author or the publisher
i am a student at the writers bureau course. i have been adviced by my tutors to submit my work as they think its good. i write short storys etc. i am 37, married with a son, i live in pune in a large bungalow with my 4 dogs, hubby and son. i dont keep good health therefore i write from home and need some work on email

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