A Cold Dawn – Short Story by Shaily Bhargava

It was sometime around five in the morning, when the loud SMS tone disturbed Riya’s placid sleep. She detached herself from the warmth of Vikas’s arms to silent his mobile and then, playfully ran her index finger over his face. He mischievously smirked pulling her closer. It was the first morning of their Goa holiday. She could still feel the sound of his breaths against her own, the last night’s intensely wild yet tender moments of pleasure, the passionate kisses and the love making.

Soon, Riya took his mobile and walked barefoot towards the window casing her bare body in his loose shirt. The twilight time evoked serenity in her- the quiet sea, fading stars and the sky glistening in the bliss of subtle thin orange. It’s a crack of the most awaited dawn in their life.

Marriage changed a lot for them. Riya thought it will be over, like forever, but Vikas came back to her. Finally, he would be divorcing his wife to marry her.

“I love you Vikas” Riya coyly giggled and two dimples erupted on her cheeks exploding softly.

Seven years ago in college, it was love at first sight for Vikas and Riya but destiny stamped and posted their life’s blank envelopes to two different locations. Time breezed swiftly and Riya married a boy of her parent’s choice who took her into the ruthless world of domestic violence. One day, she rebelled and ran away from him and that’s when, she met Vikas again. The old love blossomed in no time. However, he did not tell Riya that he was engaged to Neha. Eventually, Riya got divorced but Vikas could not stop his marriage. She cried feeling betrayed and kicked him out in anger. Riya believed that piles of secrets and lies are not love. However, Vikas promised never to have any emotional or physical relationship with Neha. Then, one fine day, he said to have confessed about their relationship to Neha and working on divorce proceedings. Riya knew Vikas would never lie to her. She believed him again. However, days turned into weeks and then months but he remained juggling three lives until last week when Riya broke down and drank poison. Vikas went weak and strong in that one particular moment, finally announcing ‘It’s over with Neha.’

Coming back to the present from the sordid snapshots of the past, Riya stared at the waves dropping a few tears near the big glass window of her fifth floor hotel room. Glancing at his serene face, she lifted his mobile to read the SMS that woke her up. Suddenly, the mobile slipped from her hand making a whooshing sound and she hysterically jumped out of the window.

During police investigation, Vikas broke down unable to understand the reason behind Riya’s suicide until his mobile was discovered near the hotel’s room window. The last SMS that took Riya’s life read:

“Hey world’s best hubby J we did it, I am pregnant. Love you”