“WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS NOW? I AM FINDING IT MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT TO LIVE WITH YOU NOW…. CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING ME THROUGH!!!???”
She was screaming at me yet again. This had become a pattern in recent months. I was unable to explain my point of view and she was not willing to relent either. And naturally the proverbial shit used to hit the ceiling ever so often. I could sense that all love was lost between us now. Our relationship was hanging onto a thin thread which could snap anytime.
Today, I could not take her diatribe either and in a fit of rage pushed her laptop and other accessories that were placed on the nearby table. This may have snapped the thread that I was referring to.
She did not scream, instead with an icy tone, she said “Leave my house now and don’t you ever come back into my life”. Yes, it was her house indeed and so I left, without looking back even once. Being an orphan, I had nowhere to go or no one to care for, and so I went to stay with my friends who were a few blocks away. They were kind enough not to ask me anything about what had happened. Instead they just let me have my privacy. I initially thought that I will get back to her in a couple of days. However with every passing day, I felt liberated and at peace. Hence what looked like a couple of days of separation gradually started to be a norm. I did not find her looking for me either. So it looked like we both preferred staying away from each other. A few years ago, I would never have imagined that it would end like this. It was all so good between us until she found her new man. I never really understood how she could so easily abandon me for him. Alas she had rewarded my trust and love, with her betrayal.
A month later the emotional wounds began to heal, even though I knew that the scars would remain for many years to come. The past used to haunt me every now and then but I was determined to start all over again. I started to go for a morning stroll at the neighborhood park. The place was filled with people of all ages and sizes, coming there for different reasons. After walking aimlessly for some time, I decided to rest against one of the stone benches. And that is when I saw her first. She was walking at a brisk pace and like many others seemed to be listening to her smart phone. I could not take my eyes off her for a few seconds. I felt she consciously ignored me as she passed me. I could not shake these images away for the rest of the day. After the recent nightmare, I thought it is better to avoid going to the park. I did not have it in me to go through all of it yet again. But hope got the better of my sensibility and the next morning, I was at the park earlier than usual.
After a brief period of waiting, she appeared. This time though, I could not help following her. I walked a few feet behind her and tried to keep pace with her. It was a good half an hour before she stopped. She then started to stretch her arms and legs to perform some exercise routines. I did not want to embarrass myself trying to imitate her and so I sat a few feet away, never once taking my eyes off her. After exercising, she sat on one of the benches for a few minutes. And finally she walked her way out of the park. I did not muster the courage to follow her thereafter. Moreover I also felt that it would be a tad cheap to do this.
This became a routine for the next few weeks. I used to be very worried and lonely on those occasional days when she never turned up. Thankfully such days were far and few. Somehow my friends got to know about everything. While a few warned me that I should learn from my past, others let me make my choices as long as I was happy in life. With every passing week, I mustered the courage to get closer to her. Very soon I was walking just behind her and sat near the same bench as hers. She never seemed to complain or change her routine, which was very comforting to me.
Then came the day which I always feared. She finished her exercises and sat down to relax herself. I was sitting near her. She looked at me and said “I have been seeing you for a few weeks now, always behind me or near me. Why do you do this?” I did not know what to say or do. I was embarrassed and afraid at the same time. Unable to react appropriately and not wanting her to yell at me or call others for help, I quickly walked away without looking back. I did not come to the park for a couple of days. Those were a couple of very difficult and very long days really. When I returned to the park again, she quickly recognized me and waved her hand at me. Taking a cue from her gestures I started walking beside her and she never complained. I was so happy at this. I felt like an idiot having over-reacted in the past two days. Finally when I sat next to her, she said “I did not mean to scare you the other day. It is OK”. She introduced herself as Ria. I could not understand what her occupation was, even though she explained it in great detail. Even though she spoke for only a few minutes, I felt so elated. When she said “See you tomorrow!” my joy had no bounds. I was high spirits throughout the day thereafter.
And so it continued, I would reach the park early and anxiously wait for her. Once Ria arrived, the two of us would walk around the park many times. And finally we spent a few minutes sitting together during which time she would narrate her stories of the previous day. Passers-by used to throw strange glances at us, but we hardly cared. We never went beyond this routine for a few months. That is until the day I tried to do something daring. We were seated after our walk and she was talking about her maid not coming to work and how difficult it was. And as Ria was talking, I held her hand! She let out an audible gasp which attracted a lot of attention from our nosy neighbours. I immediately withdrew my hand and looked away. She was quiet for some time and then both of us walked away to resume the rest of the day’s chores. I could not sleep well that day wondering if I will meet her again in the morning.
The next day however was nothing that I feared about. She was there as always and waved at me. We did our usual walking and finally sat next to each other. I was a bit tense though. That is when she looked at me and said “You definitely scared me yesterday. I was not prepared for it. But it is OK”. With that she took my hand and continued talking as always. I was so pleased. I had not gone through this feeling of being wanted for a long time now. Ria was definitely changing my world and that too for the better. Spending time with her day after day was all that I ever wanted now. But, our relationship never went beyond that magical park and never lasted beyond that designated hour. From our discussions, I knew that she was married and hence had her other side of life as well. At times I wondered if I was doing what some other guy had done to me a few months ago. But I remained selfish enough to ignore my conscience and continue with what I longed for.
One cold morning, Ria walked into the park without the usual spring in her stride. She did not go for her usual run, instead she just came and sat next to me. It was very clear that something tragic had fallen upon her. She held my hand and never spoke a word for what seemed like eternity to me. And finally when she spoke, she uttered “I had to tell him about you yesterday”. And what she later said about the discussion that ensued between the two was not surprising. However what shocked me was that she had even gone onto say that she wanted me to be with her at all times. Such foolishness… why disrupt something that was going so well! She was in tears for some time and I just hoped that it would not attract too much of attention from the people around us. I continued to hold her hand as she sobbed gently. When she was leaving, she looked into my eyes and said “I will not give up on you. I will do whatever it takes to be with you”. She never asked me to intervene though, since she knew it was better managed without me.
For the next few days I was on tenterhooks. I sometimes felt that I should never have gone to that park at all; at times I felt that I should just forever go away from her; at times I wondered how badly would this end; but many times I just wished that this would end well and I get to be with her forever. Our morning meetings in the park were a very somber affair nowadays. On one such day she seemed in better spirits than recent times. We went for a short walk and settled down on one of the benches. She finally said “I have tried to reason it out with him”. I wondered if this meant that she will be leaving me. But she continued “I have explained all the good reasons as to why you and I should be together”. As she was speaking, her phone started ringing. She signaled to me that it was him and asked me to be quiet. I could hear only one side of the discussion. She was speaking into the phone “Yes… I understand… but you travel so often and I am usually alone… there is nothing wrong with him being with me… OK… yeah… so… sure… really? REALLY? DO YOU MEAN IT??? OHH… I AM SO HAPPY… THANK YOU. SURE… YES… I WILL DO THAT TODAY ITSELF…. BYE BYE”
She looked at me grinning from ear to ear and said “He has agreed. You can come home with me. All that he wants is that I get you vaccinated thoroughly before taking you home. Happy?!?!?” Of course I was happy, and I expressed my happiness wagging my tail away to glory. A dog’s life is not that bad after all!