My Terrible Secret
My Terrible Secret8 mins 350 8 mins 350
This is my story of revenge, repentance, and retribution. For years it has remained untold, buried deep within me. Like my life, I believe yours too would be a strange mixture of lies, half-truths, and truths. Often, when we get into complicated situations and find our life in a mess, we fight tooth and nail, using every conceivable deception to redeem ourselves. I refuse to moralize or ethically evaluate the means used to attain desired ends. We do exactly what we believe is to be done.
You may find it strange that after all these years I have chosen to tell you my story. I am doing this, because, after all these years, I find it difficult to bear anymore the burden of my secret. My terrible secret, I feel, now needs to be shared. But I do not wish that my dear husband, my lovely children, my lover and his family and all others involved, should read this and trace the story to me. Therefore, no names are used including mine, no places are mentioned, and no clue given as to the time of occurrence. Even the plot has been changed. This story cannot be traced back to me.
Without much ado, I shall proceed to take you to my chamber of secrets. I don’t care how you will judge me. At least I can go to my grave, relieved of this great burden.
One fateful day, once upon a time, my husband got the shock of his life which he will never forget. It was concealed in an innocuous-looking envelope, placed along with other mail which came that day. As usual, my husband returned from office, took his position on the couch, picked up his mail for inspection and waited for me to bring tea. It was all so routine and normal.
When I arrived with the tea, he was looking pale and distressed. He quietly asked me to get into the bedroom, shut the door after him and handed over the envelope to me: “Can you explain all this?”
I found six photographs in the envelope, pictures of me and my lover in positions you would normally associate with an ‘X’ rated movie. Blood suddenly drained out of my head and I felt giddy. After a long silence, all hell broke loose.
Two days and several arguments later, I was on my way to my mother’s house. It was too much for me to expect my husband to maintain his equanimity or even listen to what I had to say. The assault on his dignity, status, and character was too much.
At my mother’s, I weighed the option of coming clean versus lying to her. Finally, I decided to tell her all about it, or at least some palatable part of the story.
My love affair had all the trappings of a shoddy Bollywood movie. I met him at a social event, the chemistry was instant and soon thereafter we started meeting frequently. One thing led to the other and within a short time, we were discussing marriage. He was married and had two kids. We decided that he would take a transfer to another city where I, instead of his family would join him. We would then sort out the matter of divorce with our respective spouses.
The plan appeared to be cruising along well, till my lover suddenly had a guilt attack. He started talking of feelings for his wife, his parents, and children as if he were alone in all this. His love for me, the passion and the plans all started receding as the tidal wave of affection for his family swept relentlessly. I had gone too far emotionally with him to return to my family.
In a complete turnaround, he started avoiding me. In time he refused to take my calls and finally moved out of the city as planned, only change being, his family joined him instead of me.
And now, these photographs arrived without an announcement.
My mother could not digest all this. I was politely told to find a place of my own.
With a bit of luck, I got a decent job and moved into a PG accommodation.
Time passed, and everything appeared to be settling down for all concerned in this distasteful episode.
TWIST IN THE TALE
But destiny had something else in store. One day, my lover called, as suddenly as he had ditched me. He was livid. He had received a set of the photographs - the same set that had changed my life. He charged me with trying to ruin his family life. I told him what happened to me. That silenced him.
Who could have done this to us? The motive behind the expose was not clear. There was no hint of blackmail, no threatening phone calls. Nothing at all before or after the envelope with the pictures.
His calls now came with striking regularity. He was in trouble with his family. His distraught wife had collected the clan behind her and was baying for justice. He had very limited options: either convince his family of his innocence or leave them forever.
Every day, his calls brought reports of his vain efforts to save the family from breaking up. I would listen to him-sometimes shouting at me for all that was happening to him, calling me a slut and a whore who broke families; and finally begging for help. Most of the time I helped him to just cry himself out; there was no other person to listen to him.
The inevitable did happen. The unforgiving clan decided it was best for all to part ways. A divorce was arranged. My lover was punished, and he had now become a social outcast.
Time provides a new life and new options. After wallowing in the pool of self-pity my lover began to pick himself up from the debris of ruination, and one day proposed marriage to me. We could start life all over again, now that both of us needed each other most.
The proposal caught me by surprise. I was still married, and though my husband may never think of a divorce, he would have no further truck with me. After a great deal of internal debate, I decided to call my husband for advice. At first, he refused to have anything to do with me. But with subtle emotional persuasion, I managed to get him to meet me at a restaurant.
He came looking terribly frail and fragile. My betrayal had taken an enormous toll of him. He wouldn’t look at me and kept shifting focus. I knew this was my call and I must handle this myself. I made the opening.
“I am deeply sorry for what I have done to you and our family. I deserve to suffer…and perhaps more. My affair was a terrible mistake. You were decent enough not to ask about it in detail, but I must tell you all now. I must get this off my chest. So please listen carefully. What happened to me was purely physical. It was never meant to come between our family and me. You know how much I love you and the children.
Somehow, he got too emotional and wanted to marry me. He is married with two children. I refused because I never wanted things to go this far. He went wild and sent you the photographs. He still calls me and wants me to marry him, but I am done with him. Ever since I left you, I have not even once met him. I have realized that my place is with you. I love you and our family.”
“I can’t believe all this”, was all he would say. His eyes were bleary, clearly reflecting his traumatized mind.
Just when I thought he would get up and go, and our meeting would terminate, my cell phone rang. It was my lover’s call. I spoke to him for a minute, put his call on hold and held the phone to my husband:
“This is a call from him. Please just listen to him and say nothing.”
My husband listened quietly to what I rightly guessed were my lover’s entreaties for marriage. After a few minutes, my husband hung up, handed my cell phone back and, to my utter surprise, broke down. Tears rolled down in torrents.
I put my arms around him, and he buried his head in my chest like a child.
Soon enough, I was back with my beloved family.
This then is my story. And now for the moment of truth of which I spoke to you in the beginning.
It was I who sent the photographs to my husband.
It was I who sent the photographs to my beloved lover.
I know it was a mean thing to do, but how could I let the man get away after he had so callously shattered my emotions for him?
After the heartbreak, I knew that my husband should be told. I was too frightened to tell him myself. I had worked out the repercussions, keeping my husband’s sensibilities in mind. I had to be prepared for punishment, which I decided to take with all the humility it deserved. I was guilty as hell. But I knew that forgiveness would follow the punishment. It would take some time and I had to suffer alone.
It was very important that no one should know about the pictures. I took them myself, of course with some professional advice. It was equally critical that this one single blunder of mine should not end my life. And finally, justice had to be done, whatever be the means. My lover had to be punished too, like me.
Anything and everything could have gone wrong with my plan. But it didn’t and I had succeeded in punishing my heartless lover and making up with my family with dignity.
My repentance and revenge were both complete. My darkest secret is now out, and I already feel the heavy burden lifting.