Unsent, undated letter found amidst the papers of late Mrs Jagadhaatreyi Malik Mehta, along with a hand-written journal:
I am a small-town girl. Woman, if you will. I know semantics mean a lot to you.
Do you think you know what that means? I am not sure you do.
It means that I walk a fine line between traditional and rebellious. It means I do not possess the mendacity that comes with the successful survival of an urbane upbringing. It means that I am often naive where I should be suspicious and perspicacious where I should turn a blind eye. It means I speak candidly when I should be reticent, and I give my trust, loyalty and affection more freely than I ought to. It means that if I care for you, I will put you before myself, cost-benefit analysis be damned. It means I believe in the basic decency of humans, unfortunately. It means that money does not rank too highly on my priority list, and it certainly does not outrank happiness.
It does not mean I am a domestic goddess at home and a deer-caught-in-the-headlights in the “real” world. It does not mean that I am stupid, and it does not mean that I am a cold fish. It most certainly does not mean that I am meek and submissive, or that I would let you walk all over me without retaliation. If anything, it means just the opposite. Draco dormiens nunquam titilandus. You know what that means, right? No? Remember Hogwarts? Just because I am cultured enough not to bare my fangs all the time, it does not preclude my possession of lethal weapons – or my skill in wielding them.
It simply means that I am less of a bitch than I would like and/or need to be.
It does not mean you can keep me barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and I would simply agree to it, as if my career and my dreams hold no value before my man’s. I am as qualified in my line of work as you are in yours, and I see no reason for us to be on an unequal footing.
And while it means that I love you with all I have, do not think that it means that you dole out whatever you want to me and I will take it quietly, without protest.
It simply means I have a heart.
I gave you my beautiful, fragile, crystal heart because you asked me to. Did you think there would be no repercussions when you threw it down and crushed it under your boots? Did you think my pity at your inadequacies would be eternal and blind me to the humiliation and abuse you were sending my way? Did you think my trust, loyalty and love would last forever when you betrayed me every step of the way? Or were you perhaps hoping that I would be one of those victims who get so used to their abuse that it becomes their lifestyle?
You were wrong, my darling. So very wrong.
Small-town girls have hidden depths urban boys like you often fail to fathom. The core matters more than the superficial charm.
I am surprised someone as smart as you could not figure it out. Then again, you have lived with nothing but duplicity all your life, so how would you know real from fake? But you should have, my love, you should have.
Because then you would not have destroyed the best thing that ever happened to you.
Because then you would not have broken my heart and left me heartless.
You do not understand what a small-town girl without a heart is, do you?
My poor, shallow darling, I am what you made me into.
Congratulations, you broke me.
All my love,
Your unfortunate wife
© Jay Holmes, 2018. All rights reserved.