I am the 6-foot dusky boy from the physiotherapy batch. I saw her first at the examination hall during our first exam. She, a thin, pale-skinned girl dressed in a white salwar kameez was seated right behind me. There was a terrified look on her face, for she was trying to conceal a paper I had brought to copy from, in the exam. I had thrown it under her feet when Dr. Dewan was close enough to trap me in the act.
There was something in those beautiful dark eyes which prevented me from sleeping for almost a week. I grew curious about her. This curiosity resulted in a beautiful friendship between both of us.
She was a post-graduation student. I proposed to her within a year. She was taken aback and whispered timidly, “Sorry dear. I know we both share a relationship that is deeper than friendship. I would love to accept your proposal but our society would never accept us. I am older than you. Besides, our faiths are different. I cannot let down my parents.”
She walked away as she said this and I stood there hoping she would turn back. As if something in her heard my hopes, she ran back to me, kissed me hard and said, “But I cannot live without you.”
And there was no turning back from there on. Ten years passed. We became inseparable. She waited for me to complete my Bachelor’s degree and supported me while I got settled. She became my life support.
But our relationship was riddled with insecurity. Most things can be mended but faith once betrayed is hard to mend. We were always suspicious that the other was having a secret affair. We became possessive to the point of ruthlessly invading each other’s space.
Tensions between us mounted. Discussions didn’t help. Instead there were more outbursts, quarrels and anxieties that led to depression. We tried hard but eventually came to an understanding that some relationships must end in friendship instead of a life partnership.
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The breakup left me shattered. I took to alcoholism and eventually quit my job. My friends suggested counselling. One morning, whilst still in bed with a heavy hangover, I was making plans to end my life. With my paramedical background, I realised I needed help. I immediately made an appointment with a counsellor. On reaching there I poured my heart out and breathed a sigh of relief. Fortunately for me, my life started getting back into normal gear after a few sessions.
Two years late, I saw her again at our University’s Silver Jubilee Meet. We crossed paths but dared not make eye contact. Standing apart from the crowd I watched her walking gracefully in a pink saree. Somewhere the deep pain was relapsing again. I wanted to hug her, kiss her tight but knew deep down inside that she was with someone else.
Amidst the pain, I felt a warm hand holding my sweaty palm and softly whispering to me, “Go talk to her, it will ease your tension.” I saw a beautiful lady dressed in blue besides me. She was my wife – my friend for life. I kissed her on her forehead and said, “No, that’s a hallucination from the past. I’m lucky to be with you; my present and the future of my life.”
Today my partner knows my past as I know hers. She has given me the space to express myself, values my privacy and understands me better than I do. She gives me the conviction that some life partnerships do end in great friendships. My prompt action in seeking counselling helped me step away from the brink of taking my own life, and her presence has strengthened my will to live.
( As told to Joyeeta Talukdar)