Tactic Of The Almighty
Tactic Of The Almighty7 mins 197 7 mins 197
There was a couple sitting in the cafe when I walked in. As the light was low, I didn’t know who they were until the woman turned around, and I saw it was my wife. Or rather, my ex-wife.
It had been 6 months since we parted ways “amicably” or atleast, we maintain that image in public. But what goes on behind closed doors is always hidden from the naked eye.
The light was low, camouflaging me from her as I stared at her every feature. Transition is an amusing concept. You know a certain person, their interests, habits and quirks alike and within a blink of an eye, you see a complete stranger standing in front of you. Did I dream of my marriage or did that really happen, I contemplate.
Everything about her had changed. Her hair was no longer unruly but straight. Her face was more structured, her demeanour no longer reeked of shyness but just pure confidence. She spoke with composure, she smiled more often or maybe the man sitting across her had a better sense of humour than I ever did possess.
Everything about her had changed. Except for those eyes. They were still those beautiful light brown globes which held the truth and the sort of light that only a person who had been knowing her for years could recognise. They say, eyes are the gateway to actually knowing someone completely. They give away all the shackles, all the lies that the person is withholding. Personally speaking, I considered it a bit over-the-top. Until now. She was genuinely happy. Her eyes were crinkling. Her interest in the conversation was peaking.
My food was getting cold, time was passing by. But I couldn’t just stop looking at her. Not because I was still in love with her or rooting for her. But I just wanted to reminisce the three years that we had spent together. Does she still think of me? Does she still have the numerous pictures that we took together? Does she still have the whole library of books that I gifted her for her 30th birthday? Because I still have all the things that remind me of her. Her pictures on my camera, her little birthday cards that she gifted me, her blue sweater that she forgot at my place, her paintings that she unknowingly left on the walls of our house. ‘My’ house.
I have kept them all, safely in a cupboard in the attic. Not because I still love her. But a part of me still craves for those days, a rather stupid part of me. Marriage will do that to you. It is the only constitution that can guarantee a permanent deterrence from loneliness. But clearly, not in our case.
She was casually sipping on her wine while I still stared at her like a maniac. I shouldn’t be making it so apparent. She might sense someone staring at her so prominently. She might notice me and that’s the last thing I want. I have no strength to face her even though, that’s the only thing I have been wanting to do for these last few months.
I decided on having my now cold piece of chicken fillet while glimpsing at her from time to time. I noticed her laughing frequently, smiling a few times more. Was she this happy with me? Was I caging her? Was I asking her to be someone she wasn’t?
I remembered the fight we had which led to the divorce. It was the first time we truly fought. I clearly remembered the words she spoke.
I can’t play the part of the perfect wife anymore. That’s not me. I am getting exhausted by this superficiality, by this mundanity. I can’t take it anymore!
These words were enough to leave what we had back then. I was living in a fantasy world. I was self-absorbed back then and not once, did I think of her and how she was suffering because of this marriage, of constantly playing the part of a typical perfect wife, of constantly being expected to behave a certain way, to have etiquettes shackle you, every now and then. Even for six months after the divorce, I was still in denial. I was still blaming her and her ludicrous reasons, for her unrealistic statements. But now, I realise what she meant by those words that day.
Time passes by and it waits for no one, the way it didn’t for me. She had flowed with time and I was just standing there, waiting for her to come back. Waiting for all of it to get over. Waiting for the things to go back the way they were before. I am sitting here now while she has transformed into someone I barely know. Maybe, this is how it shall be. This is how it is meant to be.
Divorces are very difficult for both parties. Often, it leads to the two people absolutely loathing each other. Fortunately, that’s not the case with us. Atleast with me, ofcourse. I promised myself after the divorce to never hate her because the three years of marriage that we had deserved much more than hostility and hatred. I promised myself that I shall always care about her, always wish for her well-being even though, a huge part of me wanted her to come back. And so, I cared for her even now.
I haphazardly finished my dinner, asked for the bill and quickly got up in the hopes of leaving the restaurant without getting her to notice me. I passed by their table, hiding my face. But suddenly, I heard her voice calling out to me. I stopped walking. Was I hallucinating? I don’t think she noticed me. Maybe, I am imagining things.
I continued walking but this time, I clearly heard her calling out to me.
I stopped. Should I turn around? What if I am not ready to face the reality yet? What if her eyes hold nothing but hatred towards me? Who knew after months of wanting to do nothing but see her, I wouldn’t want to even face her. Fear is a bizarre concept.
I decided to ignore the burning questions bombarding my brain and slowly turned around. I saw her standing in a red knee-length dress looking at me with a look of pure astonishment. She looked beautiful. She always did. But looking at her after months just made me remember her beautiful face more clearly. Nostalgia hit me in the face.
She was too baffled to say anything. We both stood there in our silent trance for a minute or two. The entirety of three years played in front of my eyes. With all my courage, I ignored them and walked towards her.
“Hello Angie. You...um..you look good,” I stuttered.
She got out of her train of thought and said,”Hey. You look good too.”
She was lying. “Do I?”
She looked down and quickly replied,”You look exhausted. Seems like you haven’t slept in days.”
The man sitting across her stood up and walked towards us.
“Hey. I am Robert, Angie’s fiancé.”
I looked at her in disbelief. After all these years, after all this time, it just took her six months to love someone else. Just six months to get engaged again. Just this once, I wished direly that this was a dream.
With all my strength, I replied, pretending to be unfazed,”Fiancé? Well, congratulations. I wish you two the best of life. “
I shook Robert’s hand, ignoring Angie completely.
“Thank you. Angie has a lot many friends but I haven’t seen you around.”
“Oh, it has been months since we last met. Maybe, we aren’t more than acquaintances anymore.” I laughed superficially. The awkward silence prevailed. I could sense Angie’s eyes on me but I still chose to ignore her stare.
“Anyway, I think should I leave. It is getting quite late. Congratulations again.” I shook Robert’s hand. And finally, I looked at her and said calmly, ”I shall never hope for you to feel the things that I am feeling right now.”
I didn’t wait for her reaction. Instead, I turned around and walked out of the restaurant, feeling light-hearted. I tried convincing myself that I did the right thing. Arguments were never my cup of tea to handle.
There will always be moments when you would get desperate for answers, desperate to get any kind of closure. But it shall never be worth it. Sometimes, it is better to stay in the dark even though initially, it will be too difficult to handle. Maybe that’s why they say - ignorance is bliss. And blissful it is, indeed.
I never looked back again. Angie remained at the back of my mind and a few things always reminded me of her. But maybe, this incident was a tactic of the almighty up there to make me move on. And move on, I did.