Here Now ... There The Next Moment (7)

The story begins | Before he met her | The Approval | My sister's love story and his confession | Back to routine, or Not | That’s how it happened – his story begins

“What this was all about … his story continues”



He knew that to explain to the sister what his relationship with the mother of his only alive child meant to him he would have to re-live the pain and the shame he had undergone during those months as he spent time shuffling between his wife and her, being here now and there the next moment. He was ready for the pain, which he knew would come and shatter him once again. It was better as compared to the alternative. The sister assuming that the relationship was about sex. He was sure she would not only believe him but really understand why he did what he had done. His wife already believed – why would she not? She was a part of the decision he had made.

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The look on his face reflected what he must have been feeling within his heart. Despite being angry earlier I pitied this man now. I knew he was searching for the right way to start telling me how it had happened. I helped him–
I know about the day you saw my sister at the funeral of our cousin. When did you two really meet?
It seemed as if he needed one little push and the words came out. Slow first, then fast and then slow again as he tried to regain composure. Obviously he was aware that I knew about the first actual meeting but nevertheless he decided to tell me about it. Rather, he wanted to tell me about it as much as I wanted to hear it from him.

I would be lying if I say that your sister was constantly on my mind since I saw her at the funeral. Even though the weird attraction, the chemistry stayed with me for a while, eventually I got busy with my own life and the problems that were part and parcel of it. Somewhere deep within my heart I knew that we had a story together. I let that feeling take a back seat in my mind. When I told you earlier that my wife cannot bear a child; I did not mean that she cannot conceive. She can but her womb is simply not strong enough to hold the fertilized egg. It took a while and a lot of pain for us to finally understand that. We were luckier than the couple who desperately tried to start a family however unlucky as compared to the couples who held healthy baby in their arms. The news of first pregnancy came right at the time when things were starting to get difficult in our relationship.
I know you might wonder why I am telling you all this, you might even want me to stop but I need you to understand – this is as much important as telling you about my relationship with your sister.

I nodded. He continued –
We were very happy. I made her feel loved and cared for. I cooked food for her on Sundays. We went for walks every evening, holding each other’s hand. I took leave from office to be with her when she visited her doctor. The obstetrician told us that everything was fine. The obstetrician was wrong.
A few weeks into the pregnancy, she had a miscarriage. She cried her lungs out and for the first time in my life, I cried too.

I took my wife for a short vacation. I walked alone at night on the unfamiliar roads, taking turns not knowing where it would lead me. She had lost a child, I had lost a child too. We needed each other but she did not understand that, she was too busy mourning her loss to notice mine. She spent time looking out of the window, sometimes helping me with the chores. One cold night, as I moved closer to her to warm her as she shivered, she pushed me away.” He stopped and I realized he was on the verge of crying. I turned to look at the window, his wife was now looking at him with pain evident in her eyes. I followed her gaze to the man, he was crying. He wiped his tears with the back of his hand and continued –

We decided to seek professional help to come out of the grief. The counselling sessions helped. We knew we could not change the past and we realized we were blocking happiness from our future. It was time we had to move on and we did. We were back to the routine. The news of second pregnancy came as a pleasant surprise. We both were very happy. At times, though, I could see a hint of worry on her face but she never told me about it. We consulted the obstetrician, once again she said everything was fine. We questioned her about the earlier miscarriage, she said it won’t happen again. Once again she was wrong. A few weeks into the pregnancy, my wife had a second miscarriage. We both were devastated. We started avoiding having a conversation. Days went by without a single word being uttered. It started affecting our health. Finally one day I decided to talk to her and I did talk, only the outcome was not what I had expected. She told me she did not want to have a family. It hurt me to hear her say that, especially because she knew how much I loved children. That was the night I first saw your sister when I stepped out of the house in frustration and took shelter under a tree.
He looked up to see my reaction. But, it was too early for me to display any emotions because right now I did not know how I should react. I turned to look at his wife, she was crying. The window even though closed was not exactly sound proof. I knew hearing this was painful for her, as much as undergoing the miscarriages was. Memories do that to you.

When and how did my sister come into picture in all this?” I asked starting to get uneasy. The sun had moved further up in the sky and it was not pleasantly warm anymore. I suggested walking inside the house. He agreed. We got up together and his wife moved back from the window.
The moment we stepped in, he looked at his wife and their gazes hugged for a long time. Neither of them looked away. It was their way of showing support for each other. I could not believe what I was seeing especially after hearing about their fight and lack of conversation after the second miscarriage. It proved how much they loved each other, how could he then get involved with my sister? Every time I started to get angry on this man, things happened which made me pity him and the moment I started pitying him, something made me get angry again. I was fed up of this emotional somersaults. I wanted it to end soon. I cleared my throat and he looked at me. He took the hint and walked to the sofa. I sat on the chair. His wife continued standing near the window.

Forget about how you first met my sister, we both know I am aware of that. Keep aside the family drama and tell me what I need to know.” I said annoyingly and regretted the words the moment I said them. He did not react but his wife did, she stepped forward perhaps to say something. I gave her the ‘don’t-you-dare’ look.
Stay out of this” he said to his wife; the words hurt her but she obeyed. She was about to walk away from the living room when he stopped her, “Wait here. I want you to listen to what I am going to tell her sister. I want you to hear again how much l really loved her sister.
The words took me by surprise. I looked at his wife, she was looking down at the baby.
Yes, I loved your sister – there is no doubt about that and it is not only because she is the mother of my child, I love her for the person she was, for the brave decision she took, for all the pain and loneliness she accepted in her life by being a part of mine.” He stopped allowing the words to sink in. These words brought tears to my eyes and I let them flow. I tasted the salt of my tears through the smiling lips. I was happy for my sister.

Knowing what happened between them was important but more important than that was knowing that my sister meant something to him. His presence at her funeral, his tears – everything hinted at that but I wanted this – I wanted him say it in words. Most importantly, I wanted him to say it in front of his wife.