Short story by Tarak Ghosh
Philip is one of the best storytellers in the world with more than fifty million books in print in fifty-five languages. He has also won the Pulitzer Award several times and his psychological novel; ‘A Man with Two Hearts’ broke all sales records. In fact, his readers wait for his new releases as the skylarks wait for raindrops.
One Sunday after lunch, Philip is engaged in reading his newspaper ‘The Morning Post’.
The headline reads: A Man with Two Hearts breaks the Century-old Record.
“Congratulations Philip, you are a genius. No one will break your record … not in this century.”
Philip is slightly startled as he did not hear his partner, June enter the room.
Regaining his composure and wishing to keep the upper hand he simply smiles and says, “Thank you June. How are you? You look beautiful today.”
“As you know, from your writing, Philip; beauty goes deeper than looks. It can also be found in the simplest of acts and yet although, you already know this you still insist on belittling everything I have tried to do for you -”
“What do you mean? Why are you being so hurtful when I have just complimented you?”
“I am surprised my words hurt you. I know you are a best-selling author and a creator of love. I know your love stories break a hundred years’ selling record, and you are the heartthrob author of the new-age readers. I know Phillip; I know…”
“Sit down June. Come on, what’s the matter?” Philip asks lowering his tone and leaning forward on his seat.
June seats herself in the chair facing him and flicks her long dark-brown wavy hair back over her shoulders staring at Philip with the determination that she was not going to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry.
However, as Philip looks into her “gorgeous” ocean-blue eyes, he can see a hint of sadness and realizes just how vulnerable she really is. He knows he is starting to fall in love with her once again.
June in turn, feels flattered by Philip’s renewed affection and starts to relax and enjoy his company. She has always admired his chiseled looks and smart attire, but she knows, deep down; his warm smile, charming personality and slick way with words were the key to clinching her heart.
With the tension starting to ease between them, Philip begins to feel confident … or rather over-confident. He lets his gaze fall to her voluptuous breasts and becomes entranced watching them rise and fall as she pauses between sentences.
June watches silently for a few seconds, saddened by the realization that Philip is capable of loving just one thing in life and then shrieks, “I wanted to believe you with all of my heart that you had changed, and I was the only girl whom you had truly loved in return. I honestly thought a writer who was famous for his love stories would know the true meaning of love and know how to reciprocate it. Love is not always about sex.
“You wrote in a novel: love was a gift of God. Do you not believe in what you write?”
June rose to her feet and starts to walk towards the door.
Feeling miffed Philip retorted, “Yes June; love is really a gift of God, but am I to blame if God has given me enough love to give to more than one woman? It’s not my fault … or yours if you alone cannot fulfill my need.”
At first, June is speechless, but then anger takes over. She half-turns and says between sobs, “You … you are deceiving your readers, but above all else you are deceiving yourself. As a writer, you are telling others to respect love as the gift of God, but in reality, you are disrespecting both. You have no heart at all.”
“You are absolutely wrong, June. I have hearts, not one, but two. One is for my characters of my love stories and the other for collecting female characters from the real world as raw materials for my love stories.”