(As told to Ram Kumar)
Seven years of pure bliss – till last year, when it all came crashing down. Today I’m twenty-four, battered of heart, but a wiser soul.
We both grew up in a small town in South India, studied in schools opposite each other. His was an all-boys, mine a co-ed. Boys would cross the shaded road to hang out with their friends from my school. We got to know each other and soon fell in love. I was sixteen and it was beautiful. Both he and I thought it was meant to be… forever.
For higher studies we both moved to different cities. Still we held on – all our spare moments were spent over the phone, writing letters, cyber-chatting.
After graduation our jobs forced us to again live in different cities. We visited each other as often as we could and sometimes travelled together. Our parents now knew about us and approved, asking for a road-map from us – when we wished to get married, which city we intended to live in, etc.
Physical intimacy was a given natural progression of our relationship. It was intense, every time we did it, with each craving for more. Totally guilt-free. Physical love nourished and strengthened our bond, and never even in my dreams did I think it would break.
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He was a very reticent, emotionally sealed-up person, only opening up with – sometimes – close friends. He had his quirks and indulgences, all of them solitary pursuits. I was probably the only woman in his life except for his mother. I was always the bubbly, chirpy, party-livewire type. I was a talker. He was a listener, talking little. We were so made for each other! I made him write. It opened up his mind and he thereby discovered his penchant for poetry. His verses, in spite of their shaky structure and grammatical errors, could express the most amazing and pithy thoughts. I was thrilled.
And then, last year, he moved to a bigger city. Better career prospects. We spoke as usual. His working hours had changed as a result of which he seemed to be yawning a lot – and seemed somewhat distracted. I chose to lessen the frequency of our calls and began sending him increasingly long and passionate emails. His replies, as expected, were short and poetic.
Our interactions declined. I began feeling uneasy. An emotional distance seemed to be cropping up between us. When I demanded his attention he became rude. I thought maybe he needs space and gave him just that.
A few weeks passed thus. We were hardly talking. Whenever we did now, more often than not, he seemed sozzled. At times he showed the old passion, at times he was secretive, and at times there were stony silences.
My intuition sparked. Four months had passed since we had met. I decided to go see him.
On a sunny Saturday morning I rang his doorbell. He was half-asleep and fully surprised as he beckoned me in awkwardly.
There were alcohol bottles everywhere and a strange smell permeated the apartment. He took me into his bedroom and pulled me into an embrace. For the next hour we made love and then collapsed to sleep until afternoon.
Persisitent knocking on the door awoke us. He sprang up, got dressed, and went to answer it. I was feeling very happy as I myself got dressed. Exiting his bedroom I saw three girls and two boys at his apartment door, giggling and speaking in hushed voices. With my emergence there was an awkward silence. He gave me an apologetic look. A girl winked at me. He introduced them as colleagues, and me as his girlfriend – not fiancee. Startled, suddenly uneasy, I retreated into the bedroom.
A little later he came in. A long silence followed. He was drinking steadily from an open bottle of expensive Scotch. Then he confessed.
In that city he had found his ‘wild’ side. The guys at the door were more than colleagues. On a drunk night, after a taxing March closure, he had become part of their secret club. They lived it up ‘together’, had orgies in each others’ places. Soon he was a part of different orgies.
The liqour level in the bottle was rapidly declining. Taking a large sip he said, “Baby, take it easy! Our relationship is over. We cannot live a normal life anymore sweetheart. My life now is different and this is how I want it to be. I hope you understand…”
Shell-shocked, I wept. He let me cry for a long time. Then I hugged him and said, “It is okay you went down the wrong path, babe. It’s okay, baby, come back to me. I won’t judge you, but come back to me…”
For some moments after this outburst he stayed silent, gulping from the bottle, even as a range of emotions played across his face. Then the bottle was empty. Flinging it away he shouted with red-eyed fury “Go away, get lost! We’re not meant to be. I am different, can’t hide it anymore. I found what I am. Let me be!”
He grabbed my things in one hand and shoved and dragged me with the other out of his bedroom and out of his apartment. “Go!” he hissed. The door shut behind him.
It was dark, nearly ten at night, as I shuffled listlessly down the road heading for the bus station. Life, at that moment, seemed pointless.
Today, I am on my own. I have moved on. Though I have found love again it is not as intense as before, as it was with him. Still I’m not complaining and don’t judge him. Perhaps I’ve matured.