She sat in an armchair, her eyes moist and lost, a paper napkin scrunched in her left palm; every now and then she raised the napkin and dabbed her eyes.
His photo sat on the side table. It was the same photo as his Facebook profile. His smile was wide and eyes bright; it was taken on New Year’s Eve in Singapore, at a Bollywood party. She couldn’t remember who took the photo, but it wasn’t her. Now a heavy garland of marigolds swung from side to side, framing his face and an incense stick – sandalwood – was lit next to the frame. She stared at the burning tip of the stick as it turned to ash and the stick itself grew shorter. It kept her from looking at his face, but the longer she stared, the clearer she saw him.
They had been married for eight years, and yet she barely knew him. It was complicated – there was really nothing wrong between them, but things weren’t right either. After a couple of years together they simply drifted apart, inch by inch, till the gulf was too wide to bridge. She had often thought of leaving, she had even packed her bags once or twice, but she never did walk out. Now he was gone, leaving behind the simplest solution. It was a clean break, and yet her eyes welled up.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” a soft voice crept up to her, forcing another set of tears out.