The reality was sinking down on me each passing moment.. I slowly replaced the receiver which moments ago voiced J's wrath," It's all over between you and me. I want you out of my life woman! I want a divorce."
Two years of putting up with his abrupt mood swings, outbursts of abuse and doing everything to keep him with me was now down the drain..I should have known it when he stopped saying sorry for his crude language. I should have known when I often found him ogling at other women.. I had pulled down wool over my eyes.. I just had to make my marriage work.. Because she didn't.. First time in my life, I didn't blame her for the disaster in my life..
I was 12 years old.. My parents lived like two strangers in the house. They doted on me. The coldness between them made me unhappy. The soft but firm command," Go to your room" meant they were going to have a fight. I remained locked up in my room till the loud noises stopped.. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep. The blames, the loud cries from my Mom, the vehement denial from my Dad and his indifference to her worries, everything shut down and suddenly they were no longer bothered about what the other did.. They lived in oblivation. I was the only connecting link and I often became a football in their court.. kicked and grabbed by their ego..
I woke up one morning to see her packing. The melancholy of her face talked volumes. She bent down to me and gently stroked my hair, " Zia, I m leaving. Take care baby. I will contact you. I m there for you always". She kissed my forehead and quickly wiped her tears. She walked out of the room. I couldn't even stop her. She was leaving me behind.. She was running away from her responsibility. She was out to have a good life for herself leaving me to fend for myself.. I hated her since that moment.
My father was good to me. My mother's step shook him. He was a different man now. He talked less and spent more time alone. I blamed my Mom for his misery.
I was young, vulnerable and alien to the ways of the world. I was growing up and I hated every new physical change accompanied with it. I was shy to talk about them to my Dad.I blamed her for the first bad touch I ever experienced from a pervert male.I blamed her for my helplessness.
I lied to my friends about a happy family I did not have. When they found out my Mom had ditched me they kept distance from me. Those who were with me invited me often up their place. Their mothers gave me those sympathetic looks which said they knew it all. I should have been humbled by the care they showed, but I felt like an urchin. I blamed my mom for my humiliation.
I grew out to be an introvert and a clumsy one at that. I lacked the grooming which other girls had. I always stood out from my peers. I watched other girls and emulated them. Visited the beauty saloon when they went. When the girls discussed some matters which I had no clue about, they often spoke aloud,"Didn't your Mom tell you that?" The conversation stopped there when they realised the wrong in their statement. I blamed my Mom for their careless attitude to me.
Suddenly she was the only reason why I was a failure. She was to blame if I scored less in my exams. She was to blame if I didn't make into the magazine team. When I had my first heartbreak, she was somehow responsible for it..
In these years, she tried to contact me many times. I received her call but held it without saying anything. I met her sometimes but remained silent all the time. When she asked about me, I did not reply. I was punishing her for what she had done. Slowly the meetings stopped. Calls were restricted only for special occasions.. I was healing the hurt..
For the first time in my life I was feeling secure with J in my life. I was 25 when we got married. J was a passionate lover but somewhere down the years the passion dried up. He was just mechanically into the relation. We hardly talked. When we did, it was me voicing my needs which he clearly ignored. I cried and pleaded. I begged him to stay on.. I was weak and I needed him to prove to my Mom that I could make a marriage last..
I realised now what my Mom must have gone through. She had the courage to move on in life and be happy. She was a strong woman. I should have respected her urge to live and her right to a better life. She did not give up in life.. I did..
I called her up. My hands were trembling with each ring.. She finally picked up the phone..
I did not speak up.. I could only let out silent cries..
"Z baby.. I knew you would call.."
I burst into tears.. She recognised me without me speaking.. Maternal instincts one may say.. She really did care.. She never ditched me.. I refused to let her close..
"Mom.. mom where are you?"
"What happened dear? Do you need me?"
"I always needed you Mom" that was the truth...
I met her at the Tata Hospital.. She was battling cancer.. Fighter she always was... She had kept me in dark about her condition.. I was heartless that I didn't even check why she hadn't come for my wedding...
Talking to her for hours, I relieved myself of all the pain stored in my heart.. all the burden and concerns.. One thing I learnt was, my Dad was a good father and that necessarily didn't mean he was a good husband as well.. I was naive then.. I didn't let my mother make me understand the difference.. I now value her..
She overcame cancer like all other problems in her life..
Like she always says," One can't always solve the problems in life.. sometimes it is best to let go and live one's life with dignity".
That was what she had always done.. Served as a nurse with dignity rather than taking abuse as a wife..