CHAPTER TWENTY THREE: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Day two had successfully gotten over, and dawn peeped once more into the bedroom window and stirring sleepily, she opened her eyes eagerly searching for his face. She felt drowsy and closed her eyes heavily as soon as she opened it.
“Charles” she murmured.
There was no reply and being unable to open her eyes, she put out her hand searching for him.
“Charles” she called out again and opening her eyes with a sudden painful effort, she saw there as no one else on the bed. She searched around the room and called his name another time. Since he was nowhere to be found, she got off bed and held her head to stop feeling faint, then, opening the door frantically, she went into all the rooms, one by one, calling or rather shouting his name. She became breathless and opened the front door to peep outside. The day was chilly and she hugged herself to stop shivering, she almost ran to the road and searched madly for him. Her panic was such that she wanted to cry her lungs out. She went back into the house in a sort of haze and sat down heavily on the chair and closed her eyes, swallowing hard. She could hardly think and her lips trembled and she buried her hands in her face and did the only thing she was used to doing in such times, crying. After about twenty minutes, she fell asleep on the very same chair but was roused by the sound of footsteps. The door opened and the absentee stepped in cheerily and seeing her without knowing what she’d been through, he said, “Awake already?”
She stared fiercely at him in reply.
“What?” he asked, rather sharply.
“Where have you been?” she asked in a low, dark voice.
“Outside for a walk” he answered phlegmatically, as if he was in no mood to put up with her tantrums.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked yet more threateningly, with flashing subdued anger in her hard set, rolling eyes.
“I didn’t tell you I was leaving for a walk because I thought you were fast asleep. I left you a note on the fridge” he answered calmly, seating himself casually into a chair, further infuriating her.
She got up suddenly onto her feet and left the room, he did not follow her or seem bothered by it but leisurely opening his morning paper, started to glance through it. She went into the kitchen and seeing a note fastened onto the fridge with some tape, tore it wildly off the fridge and stormed back into the drawing room where he was lounging with his paper spread out on his knee.
“Is this your note?” she asked him with a sneering look in her eyes.
“What else does it look like?” he answered coolly.
“How do I know where you leave your notes?” she shrieked at him, dangling the paper in the air.
“I suggest you look” he told her, nonchalantly.
“So you just leave me anytime without telling me and leave a piece of paper lying around if I want to know your whereabouts”.
“So it would seem”.
“You are such a cruel person” she told him bitterly and tearing up the paper in two, threw it fitfully on the ground.
“Pick that up and put it in the dustbin this instant” he commanded her sharply.
In a fit of senseless rage and sorrow, she gasped at his ruthlessness and picking it angrily off the ground, turned back on her heels, heading to the kitchen where two minutes later, a wild metallic ceaseless clatter was heard. He carefully folded his paper and leaving it on the coffee table, went to the kitchen, leaning against the door frame with cold, compressed lips and slit like steely eyes.
“What are you doing here?” she yelled angrily at him, seeing a reason to pounce on him.
“Looking at the kitchen” he answered promptly.
“Oh” she asked with a sarcastic expression and throwing open the cupboard, she started taking all sorts of things out and then, taking a can of tinned tomatoes searched noisily around the kitchen for the can opener and stared pouting at him as if waiting for him to tell her where it was, but seeing him look as unmoved as ever, started rummaging in the drawer under the kitchen counter. Finding no tin opener, she plucked forth a sharp, steel knife and started ravaging the tin with that, almost butchering her hands, but luckily the first attempt left her unscathed. But immediately, he came forth and wrenched it away firmly from her hands.
“Give it back” she told him with hurt, teary eyes.
“No” he answered, untouched.
“How do I open it, then?”
“How would I know?” he told her spitefully.
“All right. I am sorry, I am terribly sorry.”
“Isn’t this what you wanted to hear?” she told him accusingly.
“Now where’s the tin opener?” she asked through clenched teeth and he coolly advanced towards the drawer and motioning her to come near him with an insulting snap of his fingers, “Sit down” he told, indicating the place near the drawer, and she did so, kneeling and glaring up at him from below as if he were a brutish tyrant.
“Now, do you find a blue and white metallic object there? No, not that, that one” he told and when she found it, exited the kitchen brusquely without so much as a sidelong glance at her.