The Wheels on the Train

The Wheels on the Train

After forty-two years, Mrs. Sampat found herself sitting across from her ex-husband on the overnight train to Bombay. He stared at her, his dark eyes magnified behind the bifocals, his mouth opening and closing like a frog trying to conjure words. He was a good looking man and wrinkles had been kind to him in old age. His one hand rested casually on the thigh of the man sitting next to him, a balding gentleman reading a newspaper.

Mrs. Sampat looked out the window as villages, trees, people flashed by in a blur. She could feel his eyes on him. It was getting a bit ridiculous. She took out her knitting, a yellow and neon green sweater for her granddaughter. Her needles clicked purl, knit, knit, purl.

“Excuse me, sister, but do I know you?” he said.

Do I know you, sister? Oh, how appropriate. You were the chutiya who married me and then refused to do your husbandly duty and you ask if you know me? I lay in your bed, our bed, night after night, waiting for you to touch me, kiss me, hold me, but you, with your back turned to me, pretended to be asleep. Why did you even marry me? Oh, right. Your parents forced the marriage on you because they thought it would “cure you” of your inclination. I guess I should be thankful you didn’t put up a fight during the divorce. But, for you to wonder after forty-two years if you know me! Sure, I have put on a few kilos, okay thirty, but still, the least you could do is remember the eighteen-year-old you married a few decades ago. I hope I was the only girl you married.

Mrs. Sampat felt a stitch drop in her knitting. She looked her ex-husband in the eyes. “I don’t think you know me at all.”

Jaya Wagle is currently pursuing her masters in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. Her fiction and non-fiction work has been published in Hobart Pulp, Little Fiction/ Big Truths, THAT Literary Magazine, North Texas Review and Lamar University Press. An avid Bikram yogini, she lives in the suburbs of DFW with her husband and eleven-year-old son.

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