I threw the phone in frustration on the bed. Urghhh. Why can't my mother just be happy for me? EVER? I pushed aside an unkempt pile of clothes which lay conveniently on the chair and made room for myself. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6,7,8,9,10... *phew* I sighed heavily.
I will never understand why she is so worried about me being single? So what? It's not like the end of the world now, is it? I am a doctor and a successful one too. I have more than everything I need. Most people will be envious of me. Why can't she get this? How can she be so callous and insensitive, as to ignore all my professional achievements and let all that hard work and acclaims go down the drain for the simple fact that I am still single? It disgusts me.
So what if I am 32? What is all the fuss about? I personally don't think I need a man to complete my life. I am in all sense of the word, whole. Alone yes, but whole. Complete. I don't need someone to keep me happy. It's not that I am anti-love and all against the mushy gushy feelings that come along with it. It's just that I have not had time for all this.
Nor do I have time or the energy to deal with her. I got up and scurried away to the kitchen counter. I poured myself a glass of wine. This will calm my nerves. I cannot dwell on all the nonsense she has to say. I have things to do and topics to read. I took out the huge and hefty "Schwart's principles of surgery" from the shelf and delved into its contents.
I came back from the hospital tired from the dragging and long day.
The incident from yesterday seemed like history...
Today was a nice day. Nothing interesting in particular happened... but it was a nice uneventful day. I think sometimes it's important to have just a plain regular day.
I remember counselling one of my patients today before I take him in for a surgery tomorrow. He was in his early 50's. He was charming and had a happy demeanour about him. I liked him in an instant. His wife was with him. She was also lovely...although a little teary and scared, but lovely! 28years to their marriage and they seemed like they've just fallen in love! Cute. How movie like? How surreal? How out of the world kind of love? I never thought love could last THAT long!
My train of thoughts was derailed by a ring on my cell phone.
It was one of my oldest friends. We lived in the same block and had gone to school together. We were inseparable back then... but that long before college. Seeing her name flash on my screen made me realise how much I have missed her... I grabbed for the phone, unable to stop smiling while doing so.
'Hey Ricks!' I chirped gladly.
'Hey Nina! How are you?' She sounded happy. There was something different today.
"Good, as always... you tell me?"
'Listen, I got some news.' She said in a voice so full of enthusiasm... it was almost contagious.
Boy, it's going to be big.
"I AM GETTING MARRIED"
OH!! REALLLLY BIG!
"Oh. My. God!!" I screamed, happily. Oh wow! I mean... I didn't expect this. Yes, I am very happy for her... but wow! This is huge.
"Yes! I am! You remember Richard?"
"Of course I do... The cute guy you met in college!" And I remembered how excited she was when they he had asked her out on a date... I remember she couldn't stop giggling and smiling.
"Yea... we've been together for like 4years now, and last Sunday he proposed!! THERE IS GOING TO BE A WEDDING...I WILL BE A BRIDE'
We screamed together for her.
"Wow! That is big Ricks! I am so happy for you" I said that genuinely.
"Yea... it is... I think I am floating"
I laughed. It was most certainly a good day.
"So what about you? Still single"
"yup' I said moving my head in unison with my words.
"Ninaaaaa" she said in almost exasperation. Oh, there it comes.
"Look I've known you since we used to wear diapers! It's okay to have a heart break once in a while... doesn't mean you are going to close yourself and virtually end all possibilities of love!"
"Ricks. Let it go." I said with a little irritation.
"No! You let it go. It's been 10yrs now!" Oh! Has it been that long?!
"Oh... when is the wedding? You decided on a date yet? Oh, how did he propose?" I asked her too many questions, in vain to divert the attention from me and my rotten old painful love story.
"Listen to me Nina... you were this hopeful jolly little girl who would watch all those romantic movies with me and read 'Mills and Boons' and believe in prince charming and undying love and..."
"That was long ago..." I cut her off mid sentence. "Can we drop it now..."
"Nina...All I am saying is, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO THAT GIRL?" she almost screamed in my ear.
" He messed you up. Real bad. To be young and in love! It's amazing Nina... open yourself."
"Ya..." I said with the hint of an obvious anger. "Now can we come back to your wedding?"
Luckily it worked. We swapped the conversation back to her wedding, spoke for another half hour, where she filled me in with possibly too many details.
But I was barely listening. I was lost in my own world. Drowning in my pain. She had dredged that one wound, that one closet; I had kept locked up for almost 10years now.
I still remember him. And I remember being in love. And I remember our first kiss and first date. Ricks was right! To be young and in love! It was like a blessing, like magic. It was like living in a shell oblivious to everything around. Being in love and feeling it grow on you.
He was the most amazing guy I've ever met. He was older than me. He was 33, I was 22. But it didn't bother me. He was different. He was sensitive and mature. He was romantic. He was so perfect, like a dream you don't want to wake up from. I should have known better, it was all too good to be true. He was just so perfect... too perfect to be real!
I had just entered my med school that year. We met at a bar, and it was like some force pulling me towards him. I was drawn towards him, like a magnet. Like a moth to a candle...Only to be burnt and scarred forever! We talked. We danced. We laughed. And laughed a lot. And when I returned that day, I was sure that we've fallen in love. And it was amazing. It was like I was high all the time. I was soaring with happiness. I was glowing, probably even bursting with all jolly radiations. Living in my own bubble. My happiness was infectious. I was addicted to him. Ah! To be young and in love!
Those were the best 8months of my life. THE BEST.
Until that day! The day, when everything in my life had fallen apart. My happy bubble burst and I fell down face forward on the ground. When I realised that nothing lasts forever, especially happiness.
I remember. I had volunteered to help at a charity clinic which ran on the weekends. I had never been to that hospital before... or the part of city it was located in for that matter. It was a long and tiring day. I was about to leave, when I saw HIM. He was lingering at the main reception, as if waiting for someone! He is here for me!!!!! I was so beyond happy... but, I didn't tell him I will be here? Confused. Is he sick? WAIT... He had told me he was going out for a week...He wasn't supposed to back until Tuesday?! His going out was the precise reason I had volunteered to work at the charity clinic on the weekend.
Maybe, he called but I didn't pick up. I checked my phone for texts or missed calls... Nothing. Oh! Maybe he is here to see someone and didn't had the time to call? That is possible? Right? Something just didn't feel right. Oh, I must be being paranoid... he would have probably asked my whereabouts from a friend and came here to surprise me. So Romantic. So like him. I was just glad that he is here. I brushed off all the negative thoughts and walked towards him. Smile on face, bounce in every step. I was so exuberant.
That's when I saw them. He is not here for me? I stopped midway trying to analyse what I just saw. A woman in her late 20's with a 6yr something beautiful girl. What is happening? I felt everything was spinning around me. He picked up the girl in his arms, and kissed the woman. The supposedly happy family. I stood dead in the hallway, unable to comprehend.
And then he saw me too. He paused for a second, surprised. Then he lowered his eyes, not letting them meet mine, ashamed probably. And he walked past me with his "happy" family. He didn't say anything... I tried to speak but words failed me. My voice was stuck somewhere in my throat. I could not feel my legs. I suddenly became very weak. He didn't even bother to look around to see if I was still there. I just watched them go through the door and vanish.
I remembered everything like it was yesterday.
I stood there in the hallway for a long time. Every second seemed like an era. Frozen, I stood there, too weak to move...fearing that I might crumple to pieces and scatter on the floor. I remember nothing but searing pain in my chest. My body numb and everything turned dim. I was the 'other woman'? I was too scared to even think. "Other woman". My brain was exhausted. Everything turned a shade of grey.
I don't remember how I got back home... but I do remember not leaving my room for days. Burnt myself with the agony of the painful thought 'why me?'. Breathing felt like an exercise. I felt suffocated and strangled. It was the most horrid feeling in the world. I was almost suicidal. I was broken. I was scarred... FOREVER
That day I had promised myself, not to let anyone hurt me ever...never to expose myself to that kind of pain. And to this day, I have kept my promise.