As Avni lay bored on her bed, swiping away another lazy Saturday afteroon, she came upon a profile that piqued her interest. She couldn’t really tell what it was about this guy, but he was definitely getting a right-swipe.
On the other end of the very ephemeral act, Vikram’s phone buzzed and lit up with the now-familiar Tinder notification: “You have a new match!”
“Oh, cool, another date for the night?” he wondered as he began typing out his usual opener.
Avni’s lazy Saturday afternoon changed into a dinner date, and she found herself face to face with Vikram; glad with how the evening was panning out. It was inexplicable, but she was nervous about meeting him. “Eh, you’ve just been out of the game for a while,” she told herself. “Now, put on your game face and get out of the washroom!”
On her way back, she saw Vikram was quite handsome. Not a movie star, perhaps, but not bad looking either. He didn’t carry himself like a teenager with, like, 37 vertebrae and was articulate with his speech; all in all, she liked him so far.
Vikram’s thoughts weren’t too dissimilar; he watched Avni walking back and idly wondered what it’d be like to see her in just her underwear. “Stop that,” his inner monologue chimed in, “getting ahead of yourself.”
But, as the night flew by, both their inner monologues got quieter as the alcohol made the music seem louder; and they both knew the question that came next.
“So, a nightcap back at my place?” Vikram asked.
“Sure, that sounds lovely.” she replied.
Avni didn’t want to admit that she was more than pleasantly surprised at Vikram’s house, but it’s a bit difficult to keep the slightly silly expression of wonder off your face when you’re looking at a penthouse bigger than reality.
“Damn, nice place,” she said, “did you kill someone for it?”
“Ah, not someone, just my social life. Wait till you see the bedroom; the bathroom’s got a Jacuzzi.” his eyes twinkled as he poured her a drink.
“Here you go, just gimme a minute and I’ll be right back, yeah? Make yourself at home.” Vikram said as he made his way down the corridor, passing by a locked door. He couldn’t resist that one thought the sight of his now locked bedroom door always brought on; “what would Mira say if she could see me now?”
Pushing away the rather unpleasant thought he put his mind to the task at hand, “alright Vicky, you’ve got this. Done it million times before, yeah? Just set the table, go back out there, put on your best smile and ask her if she wants to take it to the bedroom. Easy.”
But unpleasant memories aren’t suffocated as easily, and while his hands were moving he found his mind drifting back to the locked bedroom door. Smiling, he remembered his wife Mira and himself having bought this house; her face when she saw it for the first time made all his earlier protests against buying such an expensive house melt away. For him, it was always about her smile and nothing else.
It really felt like someone had put their hand in chest and ripped out his heart when he saw Mira in that hospital bed the first time. The doctors told him it was what was commonly known as a “Widowmaker” heart attack and there was nothing they could’ve done.
His wife of 7 years was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, and all he could think about was how ironic the name of the attack was.
“Hmm, fuck,” he shook his head as he came to, chiding himself for running away with his thoughts. “Focus, Vicky, none of that right now.”
As he stepped back he picked up Avni’s empty glass, but made no motion to offer her a refill. “Sorry about that,” he said, “just had to get the mess in order. You wanna come in?”
“Uh, sure” she said.
Avni was surprised, and not as pleasantly this time, when Vikram led her into what did not look like a bedroom at all. She found herself looking at an empty room with a white marble counter top smack-dab in the middle, and a large plastic sheet laid on top it flowing past the edges and covering the floor.
It felt to her as if it took her a herculean amount of effort to turn around and face Vikram. Her vision blurred and she lost her footing; “what’s happening?” she slurred out as Vikram grabbed her and stopped her fall.
“Nothing to worry about, take it easy.” came the reply. She knew it was Vikram talking, but his voice felt further away by the word, and she could barely see his face as he placed her under a spotlight on the marble countertop.
“Just go to sleep.”
Vikram lost track of the time, but after the deed was done, Vikram realized he’d hardly broken a sweat. He no longer noticed the feelings of guilt and anxiety that plagued him earlier; after all, it was hardly the first time he was doing this. “Done it a million times before, eh?” he mumbled under his breath.
“A fucking ‘Widowmaker’,” he bitterly continued to himself as he took Avni’s heart, removed from her unconscious body with a surgeon’s precision, and placed in a tempered glass cube. “Guess ‘Widowermaker’ just didn’t have the same ring to it.”
He stepped back out into the corridor, and carrying with himself the glass container he unlocked the bedroom door. The bedroom he shared with his wife, the one room in the house he couldn’t bear to see without having Mira in it.
“I love you, Mira,” he said out loud, entering into the empty room lined wall to wall with life-size mannequins made in the likeness of his wife. There was no way he could have ever looked at this room, this house, if he didn’t keep his precious Mira with him here, locked away safely.
“All of this…” he whispered as placed the glass container into an empty cavity in one of the mannequins’ chest, “…is for you, Mira.”