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It was her simplicity that attracted him. He had told her so. But that had been a year back. Things started changing by the time they were some months into their marriage. Her simple outfits and no-make up look became irritants. Her choices were picked upon and criticized.

She was left feeling inadequate.

So she changed herself to fit into his expectations of her. Her wardrobe was revamped, hairstyle changed; even her way of talking and walking altered itself to suit his wishes. He was thrilled and showed her off at parties and events he attended. That he had a role in the transformation made him swell with pride.

For a while her inner self fought a losing battle with the outside transformation, till one day it gave up and with a final exhalation of dying breath was laid to permanent rest. She had now truly transformed into someone else, someone who so far as went to set trends for others to follow.

Then one day something rumbled inside him making him feel uncomfortable and also unhappy. Slumbering jealousy had woken up. Who was this confident woman, this fashionista he was seeing who drew admiring glances wherever she went? When they met she had been such a simple, shy girl with long hair plaited, wearing traditional clothes, talking and behaving like the average person next door, not standing out at all.

He started sighing wistfully in her presence and reminiscing of early days when she had been more traditional and also simple in the way she dressed. He dropped hints of the artificiality of make-up, the finiteness of glamour. She laughed incredulously. He couldn’t be serious.

He was.

Jealousy had him totally in its grip, filling him up with insecurity and anxiety to the brim. He lashed out at her, calling her names, abusing her. He demanded she change to her old ‘beautiful’ self that he had fallen in love with. Yes, he had been wrong in forcing her to change, he now realized. So she had to go back to who she had been. The present one turned him off. He couldn’t stand the sight of her and would surely leave her if she persisted being this version of herself.

No, she replied, I won’t be going back to being my old self or any other self. I changed once for you, in my ignorance. I am not going to do it again. Please do whatever you have to. I am going to remain who I want to be.

Fiction for Daily Prompt: Simplicity