Once Upon a Time
She couldn’t believe it. Maybe she’d heard wrong. There had to be some mistake. He hadn’t said what she thought he’d said. Should she call him back and ask? Just to confirm? Because there was no way he would’ve done this to her. And definitely not over the phone. He couldn’t have been so callous.
And yet, somewhere in the distance she could hear those tiny voices whispering in her head. They were saying things she didn’t want to hear. Because they were wrong! He was wrong! He wasn’t a selfish person, and there was no chance in hell that he’d do something like this to her. Not after everything she’d done for him.
She sat at the edge of the bed in the hotel room, her hand still clutching the phone as if her life depended on it. May be it did. She didn’t want to seem like those desperate needy women who just wouldn’t let go. But she was a needy desperate woman! She needed him! Now, more than ever.
How could he choose to abandon her at this point in her life? How could he abandon her at all? Hadn’t he promised to be with her “through thickness and thin” and “in sickness and in health” till death do them part? What happened to all those vows that he had made, holding her hand, that he’d love her forever.
She glanced at the photo frame she’d brought along with her that stood on the night stand. It was a picture of both of them laughing like a bunch of kids. It was taken a couple of years ago on their trip to North-East India. It had been her gift to him for finally getting the job he’d tried for over six months. They’d gone for a walk with a tour guide in one of the numerous tea gardens in Darjeeling and her foot had slipped on the dew laden grass. He’d caught hold of her wrist as he’d lost his own footing and they’d both tumbled onto the grass. The moment had seemed hilarious at that time and the guide, sensing a ‘Kodak moment’ had taken a picture.
That seemed like two different people in a different life.
The picture only reminded her of one of the few times she’d given up her dreams for him. She’d studied to be a journalist. And she knew she was good at it. It was her life and there was nothing else she wanted to do. But the beginning of their married life had been financially low and she’d taken up a job at a BPO instead. It paid good money. It was as simple as that. When things had begun to look a little better, she’d heard about a magazine in her city that was looking for a fashion writer. She knew that now, with their life back on track, she could take this job. But he’d found another job in a Bigger city he’d said, and after many fights, she’d shifted with him to the new city. It was at that time that she’d surprised him with a week long trip to the north-east with part of the earnings from her previous work.
Once again, when life settled down, she took up another lifeless job just so that they could stay together. But all that time she had still been looking out for her dream job. She’d given so many interviews that she’d lost count. But nothing worked out in his supposedly ‘big city’.
She knew that her constant failure at nailing the perfect job was taking its toll on both of them. But she held on, trying everything she could.
Just when she’d thought things were at their worst, she’d gotten a call from a newspaper in a nearby city that was looking for a daily columnist. She knew she was perfect for it. Even though it meant spending almost six hours traveling everyday, she wanted to do it. She wanted to be happy and she needed it to make their lives happier.
Today had been her interview and she’d decided to spend the night in the city that would give her big break. She’d been so excited that she hadn’t noticed his subdued, almost indifferent, attitude as she’d left the house. She’d reached the press office in time and couldn’t wait till it was over. She knew she’d get this job. She knew this was the answer to their problems. Life would be the fairytale she’d always wanted.
But it hadn’t ended like she’d hoped. She hadn’t got the job. They were looking for someone with experience, not degrees, skills or passion.
She’d called him up just an hour ago to tell him that she hadn’t made it. She wanted to be with him, so he could’ve held her as she’d cried. She wanted him to tell her that everything would be ok.
But instead, he’d told her that it was over between them.
She wasn’t capable of finding a job that she wanted.
She was slowing him down.
She was becoming way too dependent on him.
She wasn’t hard working or dedicated to her work with the number of jobs she’d switched.
The voices in her head were getting louder now. They eluded any kind of emotional, pitiful or denial thoughts. They were screaming out loud now. They were saying things she should’ve said to him. They were demanding for answers that she couldn’t give but needed them just as much. They were counting off reasons why he had every reason to stay instead of abandoning her at a point in her life when he was all she had.
Tears failed to come. Because despite those uncontrollable voices, she was still in denial.
This moment seemed like something from one of those million Hollywood movies she’d seen. It sounded just as dramatic and over-the-top. She could almost picture herself in a scene. The situation seemed perfect for the movie. She looked like those depressed heroines waiting for the glycerin in their eyes to do its job. She could almost hear the soulful music in the background.
All she wanted to hear, more than anything she’d ever wished for, was for someone to yell “CUT!”