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Short-Story The Wallet   by: Asha Dosanj   
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I remember when I first had to go into his wallet. And it was not the day he died. He had come back from one of his many trips he had been taking during the retirement. I had been suspicious. Reasons were many. When I went thru the wallet, I was not looking for money. Never did. I was looking for any tell-tale signs of infidelity, liaisons, unexplained receipts, notes… I found something. There was an address. Address of a female. You can always tell these from the way addresses are written back home. D/o or W/o someone. This was a D/o, daughter of some one. I had pulled it out, hoping that some day he may miss it and ask about it. He never did. Did that mean that he thought he was caught? Did he not care? Did she mean anything? Was there anything to mean? No one will ever know. I digress. Right now, the policeman was asking for the driver’s license. I guess to get the name straight. So I did not have to spell it during the stressful time. So he could match the name on the license with the name on prescription bottles. Maybe to run a police report, call the prescribing physician. Whatever….. My hands were shaking. The morning was still fresh in my mind. I had gotten out of the bed, wanting to go for a hike. The day had already begun, sun was high up. I changed my mind and went back to sleep. He was sleeping with his back to me. I wanted to put my arm underneath his t-shirt and give him a big squeeze. Feel his strong back on my chest, put my legs around him and make him beg for mercy. This is what I always did any chance I got. He always loved the strength I used whenever I sneaked behind him and caught him unawares. Took his breath away but he always had a big smile on his face. Then I thought that he had not touched me in days, not in weeks. I was slowly but surely drying up inside, my skin was parched for the human touch. My lips were aching for his. All that turned me cold and I stayed where I was. When I left, he was still in the same position, turned away from me. Some days I would walk away singing, ‘achha to hum chalte hain’ or ‘chal ud ja re panchhi’ or something sappy like that. Today I did not. I took out the driver’s license. Eerily it was fading. Maybe it was the new design with hologram that would be hard to duplicate. Or maybe he was leaving my life slowly, evaporating into thin air. The policeman took the license. 2 hours later everyone had left and I was left with the wallet, waiting for the family to come. With apprehension and shaking hands I ventured into the wallet. There was a bank one credit card, auto insurance card, health insurance card, AAA card, ATM card, and $220.00 in twenty dollar bills. In one of the inside pockets, there was a cardholder’s copy of shuttle service, two powerball tickets. There were other fading yellow receipts from various transactions made in faraway destinations from the recent trip. All too painful for me to remember, trips were all taken alone. Or were they? It would be more accurate to say that they were not taken with me. I had been fading away from his life. Look, there is another piece of white note sticking out of another pocket. I pull it slowly, my heart ready to jump out of my chest, stomach full of bile. What is it? I open the slip that has been folded many times over. It has my signatures on it. It is dated 6-4-02, over 2 years ago. It is a slip from the note pad of Princess Alaska Lodges. It reads: Honey, I have found the woman that we talked about in Princess Denali Lodge. I will be now living with her from now on. There is a line across ‘honey’. I remember crossing it. The word ‘honey’ did not go with the rest of the words. I had crossed it and initialed it. I remember the futility and sense of utter loss I had felt at that time and had often felt earlier. There are no words that can aptly describe that feeling. It felt like a hot, dry desert with my life ebbing away slowly. All alone. No one I can describe this to. No one that would understand me. No one that would care to understand me. I remember the sweet young boy I married with the abandon only a young love can feel. I remember the love that brimmed from his eyes. I remember all the first times I had with him. Through all ups and down, I thought I was his anchor. I was his Devi. I am all alone in my house. The family members will come soon. I have the dry heaves. I am so shaken up to the core of my being that there are no tears anymore. I put my arms around me. It is a hot June night in the desert but I am shivering. My knees are bent and my head is resting on my knees. I feel a something cold slithering thru my bended knees and drop to the floor. Feels like a snake. My hands look for it. It is the wallet. Everything has fallen on the floor. I am trying to pick up the pieces and put them back together, stuff them in the wallet. The house is suddenly filled with the uncontrollable screams.

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