This is the story of my encounter with JEALOUSY. In one of the most treasured, loved relationships I ever had. An alliance that overcame every test it ever faced. Time, trust issues, long distance, conniving people. Four years on and there had never been an altercation. It was passionate head-over-heels love. Just my voice could make him go weak in his knees and he could rave about the million qualities he adored in me. For me, his genuineness, his never-ending passion was unique and unlikely to be found elsewhere.
Then one fateful day, his mother left their family to spend the rest of her life with their most trusted aide. All hell broke loose. The firm ground beneath his feet had become wobbly and shaky and he got anxious about losing the only other woman he loved. ME.
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Once, his brother needed him to accompany him somewhere when he’d originally planned an evening with me. He turned red with rage. He’d already come to pick me up. Suddenly I saw him run up the staircase that led to the terrace. When I reached him, he was fuming, his body trembling and his phone shattered on the floor. Holding him close, I still recall that tension in his body which took a good half hour to subside. Another time I mentioned how friends were as important as love in my life. His sister called and asked me if all was fine, apparently he had not eaten or slept for two full days.
A year later he moved abroad to pursue an MBA. He began to spend all his money on phone calls. I had to secretly transfer money to him for food. When I protested, he’d complain I didn’t understand that our conversation was oxygen to him.
I never saw the warning signs. I was absorbed in filling up the black hole created by his mother’s departure. After all, this was my perfect man.
A year passed and even a four-hour-long call wasn’t adequate anymore. He got suspicious why I couldn’t devote more time. After late-night calls, he would make endless missed calls to ensure my phone wasn’t busy. The jealousy was taking over my life. I started to get depressed. I felt like my saviour had suddenly become my stalker. Where love was a breath of fresh air, suddenly I felt suffocated, drowned and tied up. Like my wings had been cut and I had been put into a cage.
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My true self, my identity, the friendly and larger-than-life me, that forever smile on my face that everyone loved about me was disappearing.
I decided to acquaint him with every friend, even getting them to talk to him. Then came the impulsive demand that I stop seeing friends in the evenings. I tried fulfilling this wish too, to prove nothing could ever come between us, but to no avail. He wanted details of my daily schedule and my hourly whereabouts. He wanted to check my email accounts. Even scrutinised my phone everytime we met. He demanded that I stop wearing any sort of revealing clothes in the presence of male friends.
Then one daunting night, on my best friend’s birthday when all were waiting for me so we could leave for the celebration, he decided we needed to chat for at least another hour. When I pleaded to let me go, he got hysterical and claimed everything else had become more significant. I ended the call and sat there frozen and numb, staring into the darkness. Going down quietly, where my two best friends had been waiting, I had an outburst holding onto them, howling and wailing in the most distraught way.
The next morning, I woke up with a big void. I couldn’t feel the LOVE anymore. He soon sensed the lack of emotion in my voice, the missing passion.
Finally the day came when he asked the inevitable question. He knew what the answer would be, he just had to hear it and I had to blurt it out once and for all. We both stayed quiet for a while. Breaking the long silence he said, “Please don’t leave. I can’t imagine life without you.” He wanted another chance, while I was fighting the turmoil within me, only God knew how much. When I found my voice, I said, “I don’t know how to love anymore.” Love had become alien to me. Eventually he and I parted ways. JEALOUSY had taken away what no distance, no human, no conspiracy could ever take from us.
(As told to Antara Rakesh)