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Time to say Goodbye

5 Votes | Average: 4.6 out of 55 Votes | Average: 4.6 out of 55 Votes | Average: 4.6 out of 55 Votes | Average: 4.6 out of 55 Votes | Average: 4.6 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 4.6 out of 5)
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Time to say GoodbyeThe last time I met her was on prize distribution day at her school. She was being awarded the coveted prize for general proficiency. As I watched her, I felt a surge of pride. My eyes filled with tears as images of her childhood flashed across my mind. I could hear her puzzled voice asking me, “Ma why do we have two past tenses for dream… dreamed and dreamt? Which one should I use Ma?”

She had always been a lovely child, the apple of our eyes. I could see Shekhar waiting eagerly near the far end of the stage. Next to him, her arm tucked into his elbow stood Sejal, the woman who had changed the contours of our lives and was now his wife. It had hurt so much when he’d said, “I’ve been meaning to tell you this for some time Suman. I don’t think it’s working out between us. I think we should go our separate ways.” I had laughed then, a nervous, brittle sort of laugh, not quite grasping what he was saying. “Yeah Shekhar, things have been a little difficult recently. Let’s take a holiday, the three of us and things will sort out soon enough.” The words just tumbled out in furious haste.

“You don’t quite get it, Suman, do you?”  There was a coldness in his voice that I had never noticed before and I was afraid, tongue-tied. “It’s over Suman, it’s over. There’s someone else. Someone I truly love.” 

For days together, I remained a zombie, unable to put the shattered pieces of my life together, unable to see what shape life would take now that Shekhar, the anchor of my world, had opted to move out of it. I devoured magazine after magazine that told me how to get my man back, met and believed astrologers who advised me to wear this and that stone. I tried everything that a woman like me could try. But nothing worked. My world was coming apart at the seams and I was powerless. It was time to take Megha into confidence. Her final examinations were around the corner and I was anxious for her.

I decided to defer giving her the news till after the exams but her father was equally anxious to begin divorce proceedings. Providence found a way out. My mother had a stroke and needed my attention. I moved out of Bombay and out of their lives forever.

“Congratulations Megha,” I said embracing her tightly. She hugged me back and said, “Mom I’ve missed you.”  From the corner of my eye I could see her father and Sejal, looking around, looking away, waiting for this scene to get over.

My eyes felt moist but I put on a brave smile and went up to them. “Congratulations!” I whispered.  “I’m so proud of you sweetheart,” declared Shekhar, as he embraced Megha. I watched him surreptitiously, my heart still aching with love for him. I had once trusted my heart’s response to him as a flower trusts the morning sun. But my sun had set on me without warning.

Now as I watched Megha move from her father’s arms into the arms of the woman who had taken my place, I felt a deep pain seize my being. Megha turned to me and I read the look of embarrassment and confusion in her eyes. Smiling, I put my arms around her. “Don’t worry sweetie. I know you love me. And it’s ok to love her too.”

“Mom I have a cell phone now. Sejal mom gave it to me. You can take down my number and we can talk.” How easily the word Sejal mom slipped out from my daughter’s lips, I thought. It’s almost as if her real mom, me, had died. I dug into my purse and took out a card on which to note her number. It was a card I had received on our twelfth anniversary.

Strangely, I remembered the words by heart. “There may be some things that will forever remain beyond my control. And though I can’t promise you that tomorrow will be perfect, I can promise you my ever-lasting devotion, my loyalty and my unconditional love. – Your everloving Shekhar”

“I have a better idea. Why don’t you give me a missed call?” Never one for making small talk, I took my leave of them and moved out into the shadow of the night. I could feel a strong wind building up. Reaching out for the card, I tore it into pieces before the wind carried it far away from me… It was time to disconnect from the past.

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