She woke up feeling lost and her head hurt from previous night. It was just as much she could take. The pangs of pain on her bottom felt relatively easier to handle than the sharp stings she felt on the nape of her neck. He had been rough with her before but last night was perhaps something else. He inflicted pain and he laughed about it. She had learnt to be submissive and even partly enjoyed it but there was perhaps something else on his mind. He had brought her flowers and finest of the wines. He kept pouring into her glass till she couldn’t stand straight. He lifted her in his arms and danced about in the room before throwing her rather heavily on the bed. He then unleashed his wilder self as he had never done before. He bit, he pinched, he spanked her, slapped her and then he gagged her. He turned her over and then as she lay exhausted mulling over what happened, he poured more wine in her mouth. She faintly remembered lying flat on her stomach on the floor before passing out.
When she woke up, she was already on the bed. Maybe he carried her over and dropped her there. She looked around. He was no where to be seen. She rubbed her eyes. Her head was killing her. She made her way through the clothes lying on the carpet to the medicine cabinet in her bathroom. She gulped down two aspirins and splashed water over her face. The mirror betrayed her. Her eyes were puffy. Her cheekbones were red with the lipstick that had smudged all over her face. She looked closely. It seemed someone had painted round circles on her cheeks with her lipstick. She shook her head and proceeded to wash her face with little more purpose. Her mind rattled from the events of the night.
She stepped out of the washroom and poured herself some coffee and was still thinking about everything when her gaze went to the wall behind her bed. It read “YOU ARE MARKED” in huge red capital letters. An arrow beneath the letters pointed to a large white envelope lying on the drawer beside her bed. She picked it up and began opening it. A strange fear blanketed her being. She opened it with care as if her life depended on it. Inside the envelope were pictures of her. Her heart sank looking at those photographs.
He had known it all along. They were pictures of her in the act. She was in various stages of undress. She looked around. These pictures were taken in the same room she was now sitting. Someone had taken them while hiding in her bedroom closet and took great care in focusing on her face than her body. Of course, the photographer didn’t have to click her naked body. Her expressions in the pictures gave her away. One look at those snaps and anyone would be able to tell what she was doing. Worse, anyone could tell that she was enjoying it too.
She felt a hard lump swelling up in her chest. She flopped on the bed and threw the pictures on the floor. They didn’t matter. She knew a chapter of her life was completely over. In a vain hope, she picked up the phone and dialed his number. It went unanswered. She let out a cold sigh. She looked at the wall again. A tear rolled down her cheek, she knew there was some cleaning up to do. She gathered her clothes and things from the floor and went over to the kitchen cabinet to get a mop and a cleaning agent.
To her surprise, the red letters on the wall washed away quite easily. She let out a half smile. So, he was considerate not to get her into further trouble and purposely used a color that could be cleaned up easily. In about an hour’s time her room and the walls were back as they were a night ago. She picked up the pictures from where she had dropped them and tore them to tiny pieces and flushed them down the toilet.
She proceeded on to clean herself next and got into the shower. The stinging pain on her neck drew her attention again. She had nearly forgotten about it. She took her hand at the nape of her neck and felt something there. She got herself another mirror and tried getting a peek at what was hurting her.
Her face lost color at what she saw. Right below her neck on her nape was a tiny tattoo that read "KK” in somewhat gothic lettering. Her head swirled all over again. So, that’s what the letters on the wall meant. She was now permanently marked and that he had left her for good. She tried rubbing on the tattoo hoping that it would go away. It didn’t.
So, that was the reason, he wanted her drunk. It explained everything. He had his doubts all along and chose to sneak in to the bedroom using the key she had given him and sat in the closet all evening. He saw her with her husband and felt jilted and when he caught her in the act, he clicked pictures to throw them on her face. He went out and returned later at night with a vengeance. He got her drunk only to make her pass out so he could put that tattoo across her back and branded her with an initial she couldn’t escape from. Her little liaison was over.
She looked at the watch. In an hour’s time her husband would return home. She needed a quick story for why she got the tattoo done. She didn’t know who she cheated on more – her lover or her husband. Maybe both, maybe just herself.
She looked into the mirror again and a little smile played on her lips.
“You stupid, stupid, stupid man” she exclaimed. “You were getting all you wanted, yet you wanted to put a name tag. You knew there was no future waiting for us yet, you held on and now you were jealous of an evening I had with my husband. You bloody fool. Ah, well! your foolery just did me some good I guess” she ranted on, looking at her flawless skin in the mirror that gleamed after the shower.
It was such a simple fix, she thought. K.K will be home shortly after his day trip and will be delightfully surprised to see his wife carrying his initials on her back. It will perhaps boost his male ego all the more and perhaps he would gift her a new solitaire in lieu of the statement of her love for him when she, Mrs. K.K will let him see her new ‘accessory’ and proclaim herself to be his ‘marked territory’.