Reflection

She looked at the mirror, and at the woman with her husband in the photo in his laptop. Laughing and free, without a care in the world. His hand casually wrapped around her waist and her palm resting on his chest. She was looking up at him, like she was saying something. The tinkling laughter in the photo was as evident as the love in her eyes for him. And his eyes had pride in them. “Mine”, they seemed to say.
That was her a few years ago. Newly wed, deeply in love. With heady dreams of the happy home she’d make for him. She looked back at the mirror, and almost inadvertently, a sigh escaped her. How she wished to see the same naivety in her eyes again…! To be able to innocently accept everything that came her way again without questioning… How she wished she could still just believe.
Like iron being pulled to magnet her gaze kept going back to the photo. Ah, but she knew what it was to be like the woman in that photo. She knew the feeling so well. When she’d got married, she’d felt like a bird let out of her cage for the first time. Though people had told her marriage was all about being bound, she’d never felt that free. Everything was new to her, and everything seemed oh-so-beautiful. He’d extended her world right into the horizon, and once she’d reach there, he’d open new horizons for her.
Four years after marriage, people would still ask if they were on their honeymoon. She’d laugh at the look on their faces. They would be jealous all right, and she’d welcome their jealousy without despising it. Hell, she was proud of it.
She turned to the mirror, and reluctantly shifted her attention to the lover’s handles she’d never had until after the baby. Pinching the flab in her waist, she made a face at herself. Damn, those wrinkles. And those crow’s feet. She smiled. There, those ugly lines refused to go even after she stopped smiling. She tried standing straight; an elegant posture was never one of her assets. Specially after carrying her baby in her arms for three months straight because her baby daughter refused to be put in the crib. The newly-wed had overnight become a cranky mother, what with baby colic and her post-natal depression. Her daughter grew up to be ten last month. She remained right where she was. A cranky mother. Only heaven knew why.
Turning back to the photo she almost grimaced as though in physical pain. How she wished she could be that woman laughing in her husband’s arms. How she wished she was young, and beautiful and happy. How she wished time would turn back and she would again become that woman in the photo.
How she wanted to be the other woman he came home smelling of, the one in that photo she chanced upon while her husband was away. The one who must be in his arms now even as she stood in front of her mirror wondering why it all went wrong.

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