(As told to Joie Bose)
I have seen sadness in its many shades. Perhaps the most tragic one is the scarletish shade of red that makes you chose between loves. I had married a man who had always asked me to choose. At times between him and my parents. At times between him and my passion. Sometimes between him and my friends. At times between him and my self. And I chose him first. Then I became used to choosing him. Then I forgot what choosing anything else could be. And soon I was left with him and a huge empty space which used to house everything else; and that huge empty space soon got filled by something else – regrets.
An all-encompassing love
This was a strange case. I had one love, but that one love had a terrible effect on the many other loves. Even the love I had for myself. I began hating my life. So much so that often I wanted to end it. There was no apparent reason for it for anyone else to notice, unfortunately.
Society is such that we tend to rarely show the world the hellhole of the mind space we live in.
And my husband was contaminating my mind space to make it poisonous. One saving grace was that I never had children. We had a dog but my husband is not exactly an animal lover. Another saving grace was that he never liked what I cooked. Never.
I sank myself deep into work and that kept me happy. I’m a fashion designer and spend days and nights on ideating designs. Save for the tailors and the manager of my store I didn’t connect with humans much. I stared at the cracks of the cemented pavements, I stared at the way the stars were sprinkled in the sky, I looked at the way words were placed on newspapers – all for a pattern to replicate on the clothes I made. These patterns had a madness to them but they never emotionally manipulated me. Unlike any human being.
Related reading: How I got away from my manipulative husband and started a new life
For survival’s sake
Despite this, I must confess, I did not stop loving my husband. When you have lived a certain number of years, you realise that marriage and love may not be correlated to each other. You can love a person and not be married. In fact, marriage often ruins many lives, for marriage comes with a series of expectations, while love tends to be without expectations. I needed to separate myself from my marriage to be able to survive. This was one thing that I could finally make my husband understand after many discussions. Initially he was flabbergasted. He accused me of being perhaps adulterous. But it was not so. I did not even have the time or the space for that.
I had become a wreck, a shadow of my real self. And when I wanted a divorce it was for me.
Would I be happy without him? Not really. Would I be happy with him? Not if he did not change. If my happiness is so dependent on one person, it becomes dangerous. I had to stay away from danger. I had to stay away from this.
Related reading: Divorce at 50
The bond still exists
It has been four years since our marriage ended. I am less tense. I have lost a lot of my fire, some people who are close to me say. This is depression. But I’m calm. I eat healthy. I do yoga. I’ve joined a meditation group. I have bought a house in the hills where I go every couple of months. I ask my ex-husband to come along at times. Strange? Yes. But you see, we did share a comfort zone. We were friends. His coming doesn’t matter to me. We were almost like siblings now. He has many girlfriends, he boasts to me. He also has many friends. And a lot more money to spend.
I’m happy he is happy. We meet for coffees and breakfast at times, even. He jokes with me, asking me to not fall in love with him and deciding on marrying him again; he won’t submit. We have come past the bitterness that had loomed large over our heads. Now I have begun to appreciate all the things I have in my life. I don’t feel like ending it. I have begun looking up people I used to know and connecting with new people. Sadness has various shades of blue and does not tarnish my favourite colour red anymore.