Free At Last by Rudy Ravindra

Pawel Kadysz Pawel Kadysz

Returning from a business trip to the far east, the tired traveler looked forward to rest and relaxation. Usually a hot dinner awaited him, but this evening, the familiar aromas of curry leaves, coriander, and cardamom—signature spices of the Indian subcontinent, were conspicuously absent. He frowned at a terse note on the refrigerator. She suffered enough. She is gone. She will not answer his calls. She will file for a divorce.

He was surprised that, at long last, she summoned the courage to leave. During their turbulent marriage, she threatened to walk away many a time but they were nothing but the idle threats of an irate woman, perpetually perturbed at her uncouth, albeit harmless, husband.

Dizzy with delight, he poured himself a generous shot and ordered a pizza. Following a long, hot shower, and a soft spray of eau de cologne on strategic areas, he took stock of the situation. A few pieces of furniture, some pots and pans, and of course her wardrobe was gone. She was a clotheshorse, her dresses, pants suits, and jackets occupied most closets in the house. His clothes were squeezed into one side of the master bedroom closet.

He was free at last of her heckling, her snide asides, and her perennial petulance. He was free at last of her wrath and her critical airs. He was free at last of her snotty and supercilious ways. And he was free at last to implement an open door policy. Confined spaces were claustrophobic and closing the toilet door was unbearable. Why were the toilets built so small? A spacious toilet is conducive to better bowel movements as well as brilliant brain waves. After all, he got his best ideas while sitting on the pot.

Now he didn’t have to put up with her siblings. Most of them lived on the eastern seaboard, and popped in frequently to spend time with their darling sister. The strange Sara—her actual name was Saraswati—the self-taught winologist Guddi, and the self-styled Shakespearean scholar, Buddi, were the most notable and most nauseating. The living room reverberated with Sara’s screechy Bollywood ballads. Guddi harassed the populace with discourses on aroma, bouquet, and other equally irrelevant wine minutiae. Who cared about all that pointless stuff? One drank to get high and to have a good time. And then one had to endure the diminutive Buddi’s thunderous voice:

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheek! Rage! Blow!

Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!�

With the vixen out of his life, he didn’t have to meet those annoying characters anymore. He stretched his legs on the battered ottoman and sipped his single malt. Ah, there’s the doorbell. The aroma of Super-Supreme pizza permeated the living room and he quickly demolished a large piece and washed it down with a big gulp of amber ale. Indoctrinated by Guddi, the blue lady felt that wine is the drink of choice for the civilized, and only the riff raff drank beer. Just to please her he tried a few wines; all he got was a splitting headache the following morning, also, his plebeian palate never got used to the “sophisticated taste� of vintage wines.

He rubbed his tummy and belched noisily. He was free at last to snort and sneeze, and belch and fart. Ah, farting. She was such a stickler, one should only fart in the bathroom. Rushing to the bathroom to fart? With nobody but her in the living room, there was nothing wrong in letting out a loud, satisfying fart. Not that his farts smelled. Oh, no, no, no, he believed in regular, thorough colonic cleansing. Anyway, she was a constipated cow. Didn’t eat enough fiber and didn’t drink enough fluids. How could she know the pleasure of farting? No less a person than the Dalai Lama declared that farting is good for health.

Farting in the bathroom and coupling only in the bedroom. On a nice summer day when he was aroused at the sight of her delectable derriere in short shorts, was it wrong to grab her and have his way in the kitchen? It was obscene, it was deplorable, it was decadent and base! She sucked the joy out of life. Everything had to be scripted.


Days later, a young woman at the yoga class said, “Hello there! I heard you are single again, huh?�

“Well, I’m still married, so technically…�

“I know, I know. But, anyway, I thought you might want to meet my mom. She’s in a similar situation, like, like, my dad walked out on her.�

“Did he fall for…�

“Oh, no. Nothing of that sort. He said he reached the fourth stage of life. One starts off as a student, a householder, a retiree, and then finally give up all worldly stuff. All that Hindu mumbo jumbo.� A big sad sigh. “Well, he’s now meditating with a bunch of sadhus in the Himalayas.�

“Yeah, yeah, I see…um…ah…erm…I’m late for a meeting. Let’s talk later.�

He hightailed it. She must be frightfully frigid to drive a poor, unsuspecting husband to the wilderness. Hopefully, the Himalayas are warmer.

Better to be free and merry. He shuddered at the thought of getting tangled in another weird web.

Rudy Ravindra attended a summer writing workshop at Iowa and trained under ZZ Packer. His prose has appeared in Saturday Evening Post online, Waccamaw, The Prague Revue, Bewildering Stories, and others. He lives in Wilmington, NC. 

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