Two women were sitting on a balcony, having their coffee. They heard a laugh, and one of them looked back inside the living room. There was a small party in the house. A few people were sitting on a big sectional couch. A man in a light blue t-shirt sat next to a beautiful young woman laughing and talking. Two other men sat in, chatting. A couple was having snacks, appreciating the food. Kids played in another room.

One of the two women asked, “Noor, we should join them. A host sitting aloof from everyone is stiff.” 

“Relax, Jess. This is not a ritual. I am sure they will understand that I needed some air. Enjoy your coffee,” she smiled.

They saw a couple coming down the street, arguing over something. They turned their attention to the couple.

Jess put down her coffee on a table, looked inside at the man in blue t-shirt and woman inside, asking Noor, “How are things between you and Raghav?”

Noor looked at Jess and pointed to the couple arguing outside, “Worse than this couple.” After a small pause she said, “They are at least talking.” 

“Did you talk to a counsellor?”

“Yes, I did. He refused to go,” replied Noor.


“Jess, if you knew him well, then you should have learned by now that he didn’t trust counseling. Besides, he assumes that he has no shortcomings, and that he is always right. As per his understanding, he makes no mistakes, and it’s hard to convince people like him who believe they are always right.” 

“What about his infidelity? He cheated on you, Noor. How does he justify this?” Asked Jess.

“I don’t have any testimony against him, and he confessed that it was just a casual outing with her.”

“Noor, he didn’t tell you about the meeting with Riya till you caught him red-handed. We call this lying.”

Noor was looking at the couple on the road who were fighting over something.

“Look at them, Jess. They are now hugging each other. There are many couples like them who want to be free, but either they are afraid to lose everything or too lazy to start all over again.”

“What do you want to be? Free or captive?” Jess asked with curiosity.

Noor was calmly sipping her coffee and looking outside. Jess interrupted her again.

“Noor, you have a daughter to set an example. Would you like your daughter to marry a person like Raghav?” 

“Definitely not. Not only my daughter, I don’t want any woman to put up with such non-sense. No one should live with a narcissistic person, regardless of their gender. I want every married woman or man who is suffering or going through marital conflicts to be free. My only problem is, I have no idea how freedom smells.

“There is only one way to find out,” replied Jess sardonically. 

Noor looked at her and beamed. She acknowledged her response and said, “I am sure freedom smells marvelous, but every spouse has two choices. Either they can set an example for others or they can stay in the marriage firmly and don’t let anyone come into their affairs.” 

“Which one do you want?” asked Jess.

“I definitely want a divorce, but till it is not official, my husband is still mine.” 

Noor finished her coffee and stood up.

“Come on, let’s accompany them.”

Jess nodded and followed her.

Noor came inside and stood next to the man in blue t-shirt, and asked the lady sitting next to him, “Riya, you have taken my place. Please find your seat somewhere else.”

Everyone at the party was astounded to hear that. They all smiled and appreciated Noor’s bold statement. 

It shocked Riya and Raghav to hear such comments. Riya stood up and went to sit next to another woman.

Jess smiled and said, “You both look so amazing. Let me take a picture.”

Raghav was furious with Noor’s comment. He was about to get up, but Noor gripped his hand.

“Smile Raghav, It is a thrilling moment after all.”

Noor beamed and looked at the camera.


Photonic Soul Short Story

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