To Forgive4 mins 393 4 mins 393
A cold day in October, it had been a year since my ex-boyfriend, Anish, had passed away. I was sitting outside the academic hall at my university with my best friend. She had come across an article Anish's best friend had written in the university newspaper about coping with the death of a loved one, and how to not place culpability on oneself. While it had been made very clear that he didn't blame himself for what had happened to Anish, I knew for a fact that he did blame me.
Anish and I met in our freshman year of college, both enthusiastic aspiring lawyers. We bonded over our passion for art and theatre, along with our being from Kerala. He was in the Arts course, while I had been a student of Business. We were very close, but not to the expanse of growing sick of one another.
Anish had a great conflict with both his parents, but mainly his father. His father had been the one to push him to pursue law, almost to an unbearable extent. His mother was delicate and never raised her voice at him, but this worked as a double-edged sword, as she couldn't raise it against his father either. Anish had made it clear multiple times that he had no interest in the field of law, but was instead interested in literature.
We were very good friends before we began dating. As an introvert, I had been a tough nut to crack. With Anish, however, I found comfort and a certain sense of peace. His calm presence and selfless undertone drew me to him the same way one would be drawn to a warm fireplace or freshly mown grass.
Unfortunately, Anish could not find the same ease with me.
In our third year, he grew distant and cold. I blamed his new behavior on bad grades and peer pressure, both of which I felt as well. As time went on, his disposition worsened. He was perpetually bilious and grumpy. Having the troubles every law student did, I had decided that his constant irritability was too much for me. Perhaps he realized it as well, for he broke up with me that autumn.
I would have gone the stereotypical way of mending my broken heart had I not been piled up with assignments and deadlines. These tasks made it rather difficult to plunge into the melancholy of heartbreak.
On the eve of our final internal test, Anish died by suicide.
Naturally, everybody assumed I had something to do with his death.
I believed them.
Although our breakup had blown out of proportion during its time, people had seemed to forget the course of events that had taken place. The shock and sensationalism of his death led me to a standstill on my emotions. Such a traumatic experience alone was unbearable, but combined with the constant attention and fascination of my peers, it grew insufferable. I found it difficult or forgive myself for an act I couldn't be sure of whether I had committed or not.
The time had come for me to finally graduate. It was peculiar how it had come so quickly, yet I wished it had gone by even faster.
Anish's mother had been invited to her son's would-be graduation. She was a frail lady with many wrinkles and spots, but she had the same gentle eyes and kind smile as Anish. Her subdued walk made it clear that she had faced trauma only one could experience from the loss of a child.
I was sitting on the wet grass as I had on numerous occasions, for the last time. She plodded towards me and sat down next to me. I was frightened; this woman doubtlessly believed that I had been the reason for her son's death. I had dealt with confrontations regarding Anish in the past, but this was more intimidating and intense. This was his mother.
She reached into her torn leather bag and pulled out a thick mound of papers. She told me they were his medical records. Amid the stack was a yellowed paper that had been torn from a notebook, with me beside her shaking the entire time. She handed this paper to me, placed a warm hand on my shivering shoulder, smiled and left.
Startled, I looked down at the paper.
It was Anish's handwriting.
It explained in great detail that he had been sexually assaulted by his father. His abuse had gone far beyond that of emotion as if it wasn't enough alone.
I wanted to hug him. I wanted to say how sorry I was that he had to endure such pain. I wanted to apologize for being selfish.
I could not do any of the above.
What I could do was forgive myself.
It was long overdue, but I finally did.