It was again a long tiring day with Sanjana, we had great fun that day. I love everything about her the way she talks, the way she treats me, her voice, her soft long black hairs. Her touch takes me to the ecstasy. It seems to be in a different world when she is with me. She has become everything to me in no time. After dropping her, I drove home with her thoughts in my mind.
When I got home that night, my wife Richa served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again, I observed the pain in her eyes. I do not know how to break the news to her that “I want a divorce”. I raised the topic calmly.
She did not seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why? I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the cutlery and shouted at me, “You are not a man!” That night, we did not talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to know the reason behind the failure of our marriage. But, I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer. She had lost my heart to Sanjana. I did not love her anymore.
With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger, a freaking arrogant woman. Finally, she cried loudly in front of me, which was as expected. The idea of divorce which I was thinking from several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.
The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I skipped dinner with her and went straight to sleep and I fell asleep very fast because I was tired after another eventful day with Sanjana. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care, so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning, she presented her divorce conditions. She did not want anything from me, but needed a month with me before the divorce. She requested that in that one month, we both will try to live a normal life as before. Her reasons were simple. Our son had his exams in a month’s time and she did not want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding night. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I should carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable, I accepted her odd request.
I told Sanjana about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applied, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.
My wife and I met nobody since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So, when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son Rahul clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down on the couch. She whispered in my ear -“Do Miss Me”. I noticed she has become very lazy and never go out of the house but I over looked the fact and drove to office. And after that day it has become like a goodbye ritual to her and her only words were –“Do miss me”.
On the second day, both of us were at ease. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her perfume. I realized that I have not looked at this woman carefully from a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I did not tell Sanjana about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
For Rahul, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last-minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tight, it was just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad she has gone so lean and weak. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, ‘I have not noticed that our life lacked intimacy’. I drove to office and jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind. I walked upstairs. Sanjana opened the door and I said to her, Sorry Sanjana, I do not want the divorce anymore.
She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever, she said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry Sanjana, I said, I do not want the divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I did not value the details of our lives, not because we did not love each other anymore. Now, I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day, I am supposed to hold her until deaths do us apart.
Sanjana seemed to be in a shock. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for Richa. The sales girl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, “I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart” and “I do miss you”.
That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find a note written by my wife which read “Its time ….let’s move on”.
A sense of shock went through my spine and my hidden fear gripped me and I was not able to stand on my feet. My wife moved out without intimating me and not even giving me a chance to explain.
My home has become just an apartment in no matter of time, I felt everything around me is cursing me for what I have done to her, guilt filled my veins and I felt a sense of urgency to meet her, to extend my love and feelings to her but she was gone.
A week passed by and there were no traces of my wife, I remember that Monday when I heard my sons voices in house compound it brought a new life to me and as I opened the door he hugged me tight and asked- “Hey Dad where is mom?”- I was stunned with a thought that if my son and my wife were not together than where is she and where had been my son for so long? I calmly asked Rahul, where he had been? He replied, I was on my after exams school trip and mom dropped me last weekend at school and she said she is having a little work in a nearby hospital and she will be back soon after your dad returns HOME. His answer took me to the hell and reminded me of my biggest sin.
His words kept resonating in my head and I straight away headed for city hospital. That was last February, when she was complaining about headache, she got her all diagnostic tests done but as I was busy with Sanjana I never cared about it.
As I reached the hospital my life crashed with reality.
My wife had been fighting terminal brain tumor for months and I was so busy with Sanjana to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce. At least, in the eyes of our son— I’m a loving husband and a caring dad, which actually I was not.
I held her tight in my arms and a tear roll down my cheek, I can feel her lean and week body. My arrogance and ignorance took a toll on her. I was crying and I noticed a weak smile on her dried and cracked lips and hugged her tight to assure her that I am there with her till my last breath, with her closed eyes she cuddled me and whispered in my ears..“Do miss me……………………..”