“Anytime you want to come back, I’ll be waiting here.” This was a lie. Come back I had, but he wasn’t there waiting for me. He had said this line to me several times and it took me years to hear the depth of this line, but when I actually heard its essence loud and clear, he wasn’t there anymore. The sweltering July sun added to the heat from the pyre as I stood watching my husband turn into glow of ashes. His words kept ringing in my mind, “anytime you want to come back, I’ll be waiting here.”
Born to a prosperous shopkeeper in a small booming town, my interest diverted more towards money and the luxury it provided. My uneducated parents didn’t even flinch when I told them my decision to drop from school after I flunked the class six Board exams. Thereafter I rendered my full attention to the villagers from the nearby villages who came to buy groceries and the men working in government organization who came to drink after their office hours.
My Education was making money and calculating profits at the end of the day. In the jumbled up life of helping my parents to make money and calculating their profits, an army officer proudly walking in with his two stars adorning his shoulders, stole my heart right under my nose. He was in no way similar to the other men who came in our shop just to leer at me with their lust-filled eyes; his eyes had a different story: a story of pride, of commitment, of respect, of all things that I knew I would have earned if only I had decided to continue with my Education (but that realization would come very late in life for me, not at the hour when needed the most).
I, who slept like a log after a tiring business of making money throughout the day in the shop, had her first dreams I could actually live till the morning even after being fully awake. It seemed so real, being in his sturdy arms and walking the treacherous road of life. The bends and the swerving seemed so easy just walking beside him. I guess that’s what people call love at first sight and its deadly effect.
I don’t know how people can maintain a sweet face when in love, I never had an experience before that but I found it difficult to maintain a sweet and smiley face when my heart lurched in anticipation of the stranger’s face to emerge. Dusk pulled down its drapes and opened not just the curtains but the whole window of my heart. I knew he would come. That’s how it happens in the movies, the hero sees the beautiful girl and he knows that destiny wants them to meet; he somehow senses the tossing and turning of the girl and magically appears. But my life was no fictitious movie; he didn’t realize I was hopelessly in love with him so he did not appear.
Dusk buried itself in the dark blanket of the night and with the glint of hope of his face emerging in my shop snuffed out, I prepared to close the shop for yet another dream-filled night. I had finished counting the sales for the day and had closed all the windows, just when I was about to shut the door, “Excuse me, Do you have foster?” the voice, more of an order than a request boomed hindering me from closing the door.
I opened my mouth to cast a big NO to the customer who had no sense of time, yet spoke with such authority, but my mouth remained agape and I found myself nodding like a trained puppy. It was him! He wasn’t wearing his uniform like the previous day but it was him. Destiny! I knew we were meant to be together. I wanted that moment of exchanging of the cartoon of beer and the cash to last for eternity but all I remember is his hands lightly touching my fingers as he handed me the cash and the next instant I saw him disappear into the ebony night.
(to be continued……….)