Here Now ... There The Next Moment (4)


The story begins | Before he met her | The Approval

“My sister’s love story and his confession”


We met officially at my sister’s funeral. Sitting next to him and listening to his confession, I finally understood why my sister loved him so much. Loved him enough to be the “other woman” in his life. I had met this man before, however, he did not know that. Our paths had crossed at yet another funeral, that of our cousin brother. We were the only family our cousin had and even though we did not visit him much while he was alive, we had to be there as family. I saw this man and I knew instantly that he would play a special role in my life. I cannot say that I fell in love with him then but I did feel a weird pull towards him. It was later that I realized he was the same man my sister had fallen in love with. Right now, at this very moment I would not be wrong to say that he did and does continue to play a special role in my life. I know I am being stupid and I do not know why I made the same mistake my sister had made but I am in love with this man. I am in love with the man whom my sister loved with all her heart. The man who is the father of my niece. The man who is married to someone else.

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It was raining heavily that night, I was told. That’s when they met first. I had heard this story before from my sister as I slept next to her in her bed. I had never seen her so happy before. She had fallen in love with the guy who looked deep into her eyes and touched her soul. His eyes scanned her body once but later his eyes fixated on her eyes and then he looked nowhere else. The wet white shirt and the wet skirt that hugged her body made no difference whatsoever to this man. Their eyes met once and that was enough, she had told me, enough for her heart to skip a beat, enough for her to know that she could never love any other man. She was scared, not of him but of herself. She told me she wondered that moment as to how do you stand before a person you love and be in control of your emotions because to tell him the truth about your feelings would sound absurd? How do you tell a stranger that you have fallen in love with him, so much in love that you are ready to close your eyes and walk with him wherever he wants to take you?
Had I not seen the blush on her face, noticed the tears in her eyes and felt her heart beat with my own palm I would have never believed that my sister could ever love someone so immensely. I was supposed to be the emotional one in the family and here she was, the most practical person many of her friends turned to for sensible advice, talking about love at first sight. I found it difficult to believe that a person like her could fall in love like this, could choose the life she had chosen for herself.

On the day of the funeral of my cousin when she showed me the man she had fallen in love with, I finally believed. I could feel and understand the chemistry between them. For a moment when their eyes met, I felt as if it was not just the eyes but their bodies that had come together in union. For a moment they were alone, amidst so many people. I could see the colour rising in her cheeks and had it not been the time to bid final farewell to our beloved cousin, she would have either fainted or rushed into his arms. I noticed his disappointment as she broke the eye contact and walked towards the casket. I stared at him for a long time, long enough to notice a woman standing close to him, too close. She tugged at his arm and he moved with her towards the casket. Their synchronized movement indicated that they had been doing this for quite a while, the synchronization came from knowing someone really well and being with the person for a long time. It was through my cousin’s friend that I came to know about the relationship he had with the woman. They were happily married, I was told. How was I supposed to tell her that the man she loved so much was already married?
I could see him scanning the crowd and knew instantly that he was searching for my sister and all that I could do to save her from getting hurt was to hold her arm and pull her towards the parking lot. I hoped that would be the last time she would meet that man. There was nothing I could possibly do to make her fall out of love but I could at least genuinely hope that their paths never crossed again. I was surprised to know that even she had noticed what I had and she knew he was married. That day, I did not cry as much for the loss of my cousin as I cried for my sister. It seemed our roles were reversed. She was being the emotional sibling and I had to be the tough and practical one trying to console her while my own emotions were out of control. We hugged each other and cried. I cursed the man for making my sister fall in love with him. Why had he stared so deep into her eyes when he had another woman to look at, to be with, and to love?

I got my answer when we met, sat together and talked about her on her funeral. Covering my sister’s casket with soil and standing next to me as a family member, he proved how much he loved her. How one man could possibly love two women at the same time, I thought. And the answer he gave me convinced me that it could happen. His love for my sister was as selfless as was his love for his wife. It broke his heart as much as it did mine to know that my sister died being the “other woman” in his life. He hated himself for not being able to give her the rights she deserved.
He told me about the night they first met and I listened to the story as if listening for the first time. “Going back in time and thinking about the first meeting," he said and then stopped to press the bridge of his nose. "I believe it was not love at first sight for me, though at that time it seemed to be so. I loved my wife and I do even now, please understand. But that night, something happened between us, something I can never explain. I felt a magnetic attraction towards her, as if something was bound to happen between us in future. I believed we had a story together, I simply did not know at that time what the story would be. The chemistry between us at the funeral of your cousin was unexplainable too. It was later, after she told me how much she loved me, did I realize that it was the power of her immense love for me that attracted me to her and enveloped me completely. The night she told me how much she loved me was the night I really fell in love with her.