She threw up her hands in frustration.
"What is it with this city and traffic jams huh?!”
“More people, more vehicles, same road space. What else do you expect? Blame it on the burgeoning middle class wallet.” One thing he had learnt from two years of wedlock was that the only way to quell a bout of eloquence was to put off prompt replies. It worked like magic. Both fell silent, lost in their respective thoughts. She looked around, but immediately got bored. Lots of vehicles with equally bored occupants. Her husband was humming some tune and tapping on the steering wheel, and in the process drumming up a royal cacophony.
“Stop that, will you?”
“Why, you don’t like it?”
“Not one bit.” She punctuated each word with adequate spacing to convey the message.
“OK Madame, this is your chariot, I am but a chauffeur”. She smiled at that innocent, disarming grin on his face.
She had had an incredibly happy week. He was in a really good mood. He went out of his way to please her, even took a day off to be with her. And to top it all up, they were going shopping today. It was as if he had magically transformed from that irritable, moody fellow from two weeks back. They would talk very less. She would see very less of him. And she would suffer silently. She had begun to doubt his loyalty, but then all those were put to rest. He had finally turned the corner, and she genuinely felt that the worst was over. Her thoughts were broken by the sound of a child crying in the adjacent car.
“Don’t you think its time we had children?”
“What? Oh yeah, sure! Right now?”
His cheekiness irked her. “ Its been 2 years now, how long will you keep avoiding this issue?”
“Listen, let’s just give it some more time ok? A child is an added responsibility, and I am not sure whether I am ready to shoulder that responsibility. Let’s spend some more time together, alright? I know I have been slightly off lately, but I am over that now.”
“Great, couples our age are well and truly on the family way, and here we are, still in the Know Each Other phase. Brilliant.”
“Let’s not fight and spoil our moods now. I will make it up to you, I promise.”
He was a cocktail of emotions. Anger, ecstasy, expectation, guilt and above all, revenge: allowed to ferment over time, but never watered down. He had played this scene over a million times, and it all ended in one overwhelming image: his mother and sister, whole, hale and hearty, smiling.
As opposed to two headless corpses, laid out unceremoniously in the snow, every inch of their bodies violated by Men of Authority. They were raped by the men multiple times; she was pregnant;before granting then the mercy of their cold knives. He had held onto that wound for 13 years, and it had culminated in an opportunity to exact his long overdue revenge. He never harboured any misconceptions of this being the Will of God.
He knew very well that he was employing the cruel alternative of using unsuspecting civilians to get back at the Men. But ethical debates were strictly for teatime. For him, this was deeply personal, and he volunteered without batting an eyelid. He would have to get married to avoid suspicion and grant legitimacy to the whole op. He was however not to have children. He followed their instructions to the letter, while harbouring the utmost hate towards Them. But they were needed; he could not do it without Them. All of that was behind him now. He was almost there.
“Don’t you think it’s time we had children?”
He had chosen the most crowded part of the shopping complex. It was time. He looked at her, and the only things he now felt were guilt, lament and immeasurable pain, as he clutched the Trigger one final time.