Guilt pricked her. It was as if he knew.
Her kingdom of joy which she built brick by brick was threatening to fall. She couldn’t let that happen, could she? She could not be the reason for her life to unravel.
The marriage was a match made in heaven. That was what everyone around her said. He noticed her at a cousins wedding and was smitten. He showed interest in further knowing her. He visited the house, mingled with the parents and siblings. So, by the time a wedding was proposed, the whole family were in love with him. Except for her that is.
There was this guy who worked in a restaurant near her work spot. Average build, dark skinned, mischievous eyes, with neatly parted and combed hair and a pleasing demeanour, the last may have been just a job protocol. It was her routine to eat at the restaurant with her colleagues every Friday. The routine happened for a year for the mutual attraction to escalate and cupid to play havoc and they were in “love” with each other. She was the educated, level-headed girl in a highly paid job and the guy, not so educated high dreamer working tables at a restaurant. Love is blind, so they say. She believed in his dreams and motivated him to reach higher up in life. But these things take time and time was not definitely on their side.
To be in love, blinded by passion is all fine, but you need more than love for the love to sustain in the long run. The 2 were from totally disparate back grounds and strata of society. He would stick out like a sore thumb and not fit in her world and she would have to compromise on a lot of things to fit in his world. She might be worshipped as goddess luck by his folks, giving her ego a dangerous boost. The love birds refused to see the blatant truth staring at them.
She tried unconvincingly to convince her parents. The parents with the age and experience in the worldly matters tried and failed miserably to hammer in her head the unsuitability of the match. She was headstrong and went against everyone and married that guy. Love has the ability to make life dreamlike.
The initial days of the marriage were spent in a friend’s house. After a brief honeymoon she had a reality check when she saw her spouses’ modest dwellings. The narrow street with a gutter flowing right in the middle, way too many houses huddled together like a stack of matchboxes. Her in laws all uneducated, crass looking, her husband looked totally different in his surroundings, the restaurant guy she fell in love with had disappeared. The family was large, too many members and she wasn’t interested in knowing how they were all related to her. Half a dozen or so managed to sleep in the tiny room, giving the newlyweds, the room with a creaky cot. Her office cab couldn’t reach her location to pick her up and she struggled to be civil with her in laws and the multitude of people who stared at her, like she was an alien. In a way she did feel like an alien thrown in a different planet. She realised that her spouse’s promise of a better life was never going to be fulfilled. 3 months in the hell hole was enough to break her resolve and douse the embers of love. She rummaged through her wallet and found a coin, heads she leaves him for good, tails she lives with him, giving him and love another chance, but uproots him from his family and surroundings. She flipped the coin.
The parents being parents, were ready to put it all behind them and welcomed her back home. She filed for divorce by mutual consent. The guy at least was still in love with her and decent enough to let her go and give her what she wanted.
Her life went back to being normal. The level of normalcy a divorcee could expect. The stigma and whispers behind her back never wore off. She learnt to ignore the wagging tongues and got on with her life.
That is when, the guy who showed interest in marrying her, before all this unpleasantness crossed her life, made an entrance back into it. He still had a placard with her name and the parents convincingly convinced the daughter on the suitability of the match and wedding bells rang again, she was a newlywed for the second time.
She took efforts to fall in love with the new husband. The guy, an epitome of goodness, successful in his career, educated and the owner of a spacious apartment in the city. His relatives were made of the same mould as her people were made of. There was no reason for this marriage to fail, a match made in heaven. Yes, love and passion were missing from her side, but she was a quick learner and the apartment, and the perks were an impetus indeed.
She fell into a comfortable routine in her new life. Lavish parties and travels to exotic locales kept her in love with the new husband. She was a dutiful wife, never giving him a chance to find fault with her. She enticed him and he believed that she worshipped him for saving her. She absolutely loved the carefree lifestyle and didn’t want to get bogged down by responsibilities.
Life was smooth sailing, it was paradisiacal.
She was consumed by guilt. She was careful in not committing a mistake this time around, life had given her a second chance and now has she botched it up? Was it wrong to love oneself? It is, if it exceeds an extent where in, it starts hurting others. Well, the deed was done, there’s no rewriting it. She had not done an impulsive thing; she took a calculated risk thinking over all the necessary sealing points. She never expected to be found out. She was sure her secret was safe. But now, it seemed like her husband knew what she was up to. He would be crushed if he gets to confirm his doubts. She carefully hid all the details of her secret visits. She was discreet. Still she had a gut feeling that maybe he knew…
Was it a mistake? She was so sure of herself, but then this was not the first time she was sure and then to be proven wrong. Was it a hasty and brash decision, on her part to get rid of the child? She didn’t want to become a mother yet, maybe never. But her husband was yearning for a child, he wanted their family to be complete, a picture-perfect family. But wasn’t it her decision to make if she wanted to carry a child? Being a mother was a huge responsibility!
Even on this she had flipped a coin, a habit that was hard to break. Heads she chooses the baby, a life that her husband has always wanted, tails she would choose a life on her terms.
As always, she caught the coin in mid-air, never looked at it and went ahead with what she had already decided in her mind!
Guilt pricked her….
Photo By: Ayyappa Giri