Story 72

"The Story begins"

He loved her immensely, but he loved the other woman, too. Many people would be quick enough to judge him, to label him but he had his own reasons and he wanted someone to understand why he did what he did and why he continued doing it.

It was raining heavily that night and he had left his house without an umbrella. He finally took shelter under a huge tree. It was there that he met her, clothes soaked in rain, wet hair plastered on her face. He fell in love instantly. He could not stop himself from staring at her. She was aware that he was staring at her but avoided eye contact with him. His wife, on the other hand, he knew would have made eye contact with the person staring at her, humiliating the person and forcing him to look the other way. However, knowing his wife, he also knew that she would have liked the kind of attention she was getting from the person.

This woman on the other hand was avoiding eye contact but clearly seemed to be uncomfortable. It was understandable, considering the kind of weather it was and the kind of clothes she was wearing. Her wet white shirt stuck to her body and failed to conceal the white skin beneath and the white bra that she was wearing, and her skirt hugged her thighs, her legs glistening wet with rain. However, “that” was not what held his attention. Being a man, he could not avoid noticing these details but what really attracted him towards her were her blue eyes which he had gotten the chance to get a glimpse of when their eyes had met briefly for the first and the only time she was there, standing a few feet away from him under the adjacent tree.

The rain stopped, and the woman dashed across the street, away from him and his piercing gaze. He stood there, regretting staring at her the way he did. The woman clearly must have gotten the wrong idea. He hoped he would see her again so that he could get a chance to apologise. And indeed, he met her again; he did not get the chance to apologise though. His wife and he were at a funeral of a common friend. And there she was. Clad in black, wearing a black hat, the veil covering her eyes, which were glistening with tears. He could see her trembling slightly and knew it was not because of the cold. She had lost someone dear. The man in the casket belonged to her. Who was the man to her? He wondered. 

It was inappropriate for him to be having such thoughts standing at the cemetery but he could not resist the magnetic pull he felt towards her. The woman raised her head and stared straight at him taking him by surprise and he stared back at her, deep into her glistening blue eyes. The gaze connected them in a strange way. Suddenly, they were enveloped into a bubble separating them from the people standing around them. They continued staring as the casket was lowered into the ground and then the bubble burst. She looked away. She walked towards the casket, picked up a handful of soil and threw it over the casket – clearly indicating to him that she was family. She was the person to initiate the burial. That man, the common friend of his wife and him was someone special to her. His wife tugged at his coat and then signalled to walk forward. His wife and he paid their respect together. When he turned around to walk back, he saw the woman looking at him and then at his hand holding the hand of his wife. Then she disappeared into one of the black cars parked outside the church.

He knew in his heart that they would meet again. They had a story together and it was yet to be written. The paper was laid on the desk; the nib dipped in ink, what remained was the writing of the story.

“Before he met her”

He had been married to his wife for a little more than three years. He loved her, yet she complained that he did not love her enough. He bought gifts for her; she complained that he bribed her because he came home late. He took her out on trips; she concluded that he took the trip because he wanted a break from his job. Despite all this, when he kissed her, he had her attention, he had her devotion. She knew and believed that he truly loved her, so what if he loved her less than she loved him. Both knew the fact and there was nothing they could do to ‘fix’ that. Not now, not ever.

He knew in his heart that the insecurity his wife felt was justified. When he walked on the streets, girls turned around to look at him. His wife noticed it too. She knew her husband was handsome, and he had married her because she had proposed marriage to him. She was the Managing Director of the company he worked for. It was an office affair. She saw him, he looked at her. She fell in love with him, he flirted. They attended meetings together, they went to places together. They spent evenings together drinking wine and one fine night, they had sex.

After their love making, she looked at him as she was propped up on her elbow, her beautiful brown hair covering half her face. She looked beautiful and had he not been tired he would have made love to her again. Moving her hand through her hair, she shifted close to him and placing her head on his bare chest she proposed marriage. Before he could answer her proposal, she raised her head, smiled and looked in his eyes. She assumed she had got her answer while she rested her head on his chest, the moment his heart beat increased she had known that he loved her too. True, he loved her. He loved every inch of her. But, he did not know whether he was ready for the commitment. The indecisiveness, the fear of refusing the proposal of his Managing Director had increased his heart beat and she had taken it as a yes. She had then kissed him, leaving no chance for him to speak what was in his mind. The fear, the indecisiveness had vanished the moment her hand had started exploring his body and her tongue exploring his mouth.

They married in court a few months later. She was very happy, he was happy that she was happy. They were happy. She quit her job and he was promoted first to Assistant Managing Director and then to Managing Director. She spent time at home cooking for him, taking care of him, loving him and keeping him happy because that was what made her happy. The appreciation from him meant the world to her. He liked what she did for him, appreciated all her efforts. Her dedication won him over and one fine day he truly fell in love with the person with a wonderful heart beating in a beautiful body. 

He worked hard trying to prove himself worthy to the woman who had given up her career for his sake. She thought he loved her less each day. The fights begun. The tears stung his heart. The frustration started to take a toll on her health. Suddenly things changed one morning when she realised she had missed her periods. She took the pregnancy test and it came positive. She took several tests, and all came positive. Moods changed. Everything was forgotten and forgiven. He made her feel loved and cared for. He cooked food for her on Sundays. They went for walks every evening, holding each other’s hand. He took leave from office to be with her when she visited her doctor. The obstetrician told them that everything was fine. The obstetrician was wrong.

A few weeks into the pregnancy, she had a miscarriage. She cried her lungs out and for the first time in his life; he cried, too. They cried together, lying in bed in each other’s arms.
He took a few days off from work and took his wife for a short vacation. Blame it on the hormones and the depression; she fought with him saying he took a leave because he needed the break. He walked alone at night on the unfamiliar roads, taking turns not knowing where it would lead him. They were supposed to understand each other and be supportive. She had lost a child; he had lost a child too. They needed each other. Exhausted by two-hour walk, he returned to the cottage they had booked for themselves to find his wife standing on the porch, a shawl wrapped around her shoulders. 

She was trembling, and he knew it was not because of the cold. He did not hurry to walk towards her. She waited. The moment he was on the porch, she threw herself at him and he embraced her. She apologised, and he forgave her. They needed each other, and they wanted to be there for each other. He cooked for her during their stay in the cottage. She spent time looking out of the window, sometimes helping him with the chores. One cold night, he moved closer to her to warm her as she shivered. She pushed him away. 

He left her alone. If nothing else, he knew this much – it was best to leave her alone when she wanted to be alone. He climbed out of the bed and kindled the fire. The warmth of the fire spread into the room. The glow of the fire reflected on her face and he saw what he knew he would see. The tears. The depression was getting on his nerves. It had started to suffocate him. But he did not say anything because he loved his wife and his wife was mourning the loss of the unborn child. He returned to bed and slept with his back to her. She moved closer and put her arm around him.

... continued as Story 73.

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