I am back with another short story from my collection. This was written somewhere back in 2011. I don’t know why I never shared this before. But, here it goes. Hope you like it and do leave your reviews!
I forgive you…
As I looked at the man who was once my life, I felt tears trying to make their way out of the confines of my eyes. No more. I am not going to cry for a weak man! I am not that weak. I immediately composed myself and channeled my emotions of hurt into hatred for him. He didn’t deserve me. I hate him more than anyone else in my life. He spoilt my life. He made my path full of thorns.
He is my husband. I wish I could add an ‘ex’ in front of ‘husband’, but sadly, we haven’t yet been divorced. We just got separated. He hates me almost as much as I hate him. I used to love him more than I have ever loved someone. He was my life… my bane for existence.
But then, he blamed me for having an extra-marital affair with his younger brother. And all I knew was the fact that I was framed badly. His brother had framed me. Shocking? Yeah. But that’s the truth. His brother couldn’t see him wasting his life with a girl like me.
And so, he devised a plan where he framed me like a characterless woman in front of him and threw me out of his life. The fact that hurt was he actually believed him. I had learnt not to trust anyone easily. But I did. I did trust him and thought that he would protect me.
But he failed. While his brother tried to rape me, I struggled to come to his office and tell him the truth. But when I reached his office with my torn clothes and told him the truth, he accused me of being characterless. He accused me of trying to create differences between him and his brother. He accused me of sleeping with his brother and then making up a story to hide my sin.
Apparently, his brother had told him over the phone, what I was going to tell him. His brother had brain-washed him. I tried to make him understand, but he wouldn’t budge. He hated me. He put a question mark on my character. And this did it. I couldn’t live with a man, who didn’t trust me. So, I walked out.
I wish he understood me. He doubted my love for him. I pined for him. I was hurt, yet I couldn’t make myself hate him. Even though he didn’t even care if I existed or not, I loved him with all my heart. And even after all this, when I came to know that I was pregnant, I immediately told him. But he put up a question mark on the paternity of his own child.
He had said, “Are you sure that this baby is mine? Or is it my brother’s? Or, you sleep around with so many men, that you don’t even know the father’s name?”
This had sowed the seed of hatred for him in my heart. I had slapped him and moved out. With every passing day, my hurt turned into heartfelt hatred for him. I was living in a rented apartment. I earned enough to keep myself healthy for my baby’s sake.
I couldn’t even cry because of the effect it would have on our baby. No, my baby. Only mine. He had long forgotten his duties to have any bond with my baby. After six months of separation, a court-notice was delivered on my doorstep. He wanted a divorce from me. And today, we were going to be divorced.
He made his way towards the court. And when he looked at me, heavily-pregnant, he stopped. Even after the six months of constant emotional turmoil, hurt and pain, he attracted me. My heart started beating heavily against my chest. His chocolate brown eyes, still made me drown.
His proximity melted my hatred. My heart started feeling. I felt hurt, all over again. Why can’t I move on? Why is it so difficult? Why doesn’t my heart, learns a lesson? Why am I still feeling for him? Why does he still possess the charisma to make me fall for him? I must really hate him!
He stopped in front of me, his eyes flashing a composed look. Oh no. He had shut down any emotional display which his eyes could portray. Yeah, his eyes spoke volumes. I loved that trait of his and it irritated me when he put a guard on his emotions.
He said, “Before going to the court, can we talk for a moment?”
Even though I really wanted to go and talk with him, I couldn’t do this to myself. I couldn’t fall back in his arms. I have been through a lot of shit, and I just can’t forget everything so easily.
So I said, “Is there anything left to talk?”
I saw hurt flash across his eyes. But then, he immediately composed himself and said, “You are right in your place, but can’t we talk for a moment? Just for few minutes?”
I saw no harm in doing so. I nodded. He gestured towards his car and asked me to sit in the passenger seat. When I raised my eyebrow, he shrugged nonchalantly. Even though I had my suspicions, I let it go. I sat down and he started the car.
I asked, “Where exactly are we going?”
He said, “To the beach.”
After this, I sat back and gazed at the passing shops, out of the window. There were times when we had been in the same car and couldn’t keep our hands off each other. It pained me that we couldn’t even make an eye-contact, today. Soon, we reached the beach and got off the car. We removed our foot-wear and I followed him outside.
Beach was our favourite place. There were so many happy memories attached to the beach. We had always played with water and made sand-castles. We used to laugh together. He used to lift me by my waist and spin me around. It was the place where we had shared our first kiss. Today, I felt a void inside me. It was as if, all the happiness inside me had evaporated.
We stopped at a place, where the waves came and touched our feet. We used to love this feeling. Whenever we had a fight, we always came to the beach and sorted everything out. We used to stand like this only, for the waves calmed us down, and we could easily talk like two adults. I don’t know why he is doing this now.
I wanted to ask him the reason but before I could open my mouth, he asked, “Do you remember how we used to spend our times here? We used to be so content with each other. We were happy. What went wrong?”
I had the answer to it. I wanted to shout at him and tell him that he had changed. I wanted to tell him that he had killed everything between us. I wanted to tell him that I wished that he had trusted me. But instead of saying anything, I fell silent.
His fingers made their way towards my hand and he connected his finger with mine. I allowed it. For a moment, I felt complete. I felt as if nothing was wrong. Nothing had gone amiss. We were back to a couple, happily married. I could easily forget those six months. I was in a trance.
He said, “Do you know the reason why I brought you here?”
I shook my head. I had no idea. And for a moment, I didn’t even want to know. I was happy with him. But he broke our contact and stood in front of me. His eyes were very intense. They were reflecting my unshed tears. He was deeply hurt. He came closer.
He gently cradled my face in his hands and said, “I am tired of pretending that I don’t love you when I do. These six months have taught me that I can’t survive without you. Each day, without you, was hell. I can’t even begin to tell you, how much I missed you. It was, as if, I was breathing but not living. My heart was beating, yet it pained.”
He took a deep breath and continued, “It pained badly when I didn’t have you by my side. I couldn’t bring myself to move on. I just love you too much to do that. I want to forget everything of the past, and move on with you by my side. I don’t want to recall anything. I just want you back in my life. Without you, I cease to exist. I need you by my side.”
His words gave me hope. I felt tears engulfing my eyes. I love him so much. Even after everything that happened between us, I still love him. Even I want him by my side. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how much I missed him. I had gone through the same pain of separation. It had hurt me badly too. I had missed him badly.
I had needed him more than he could need me. Every living moment, I had wished he was there. I had wished he was there when I first came to know that our baby was a boy. I had wished for him to be there to feel our baby’s first kick. I was engulfed by intense emotions.
I had so much to say. I had so much to share with him. I wanted to tell him everything that happened, but my voice was choked with emotions. I had suppressed my emotions for so long, that now, they wanted to get out in a rush. I felt tears falling down my cheeks. He softly brushed my tears away, and I fell silent.
He said, “Hey, don’t cry. I can’t see tears in your eyes.”
I wanted to hug him. I wanted to show him how much I love him. He understood what I wanted and enveloped me in a hug. My tears knew no bounds. Six months of suppressed tears were coming out in a flow. He held me closer and soothed me down. His hands roamed across my back and he silently whispered soothing words in my ears. I felt at home.
He said, “Hush. Don’t cry, baby. Don’t ever cry. I forgive you.”
This was like a bucket of cold water on my emotions. I felt myself stiffen. He immediately sensed that something was amiss. I felt my body like a rod. He removed his hands from my back and faced me. I put some distance between us.
On seeing hatred on my face, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
I felt myself hating my own self. How can I live like this? I may love him deeply, but I can’t accept him when he thinks so ill of me. I can’t live with him, knowing that he still didn’t believe me. I can’t be happy with him, knowing he didn’t trust me.
I can’t share my secrets with him, knowing that he still didn’t trust me. I can’t start a new life with him, knowing that the ground is unstable. I can’t live like his wife, knowing that my house on the ground, that had bends of doubt in them. I can’t sacrifice my self-respect for him. I don’t deserve this. I never deserved it. I deserve better.
I forced myself to be strong and asked, “When did I ever ask you for your forgiveness?”
I saw his face show surprise, but he quickly composed himself. He lovingly said, “You didn’t, but I forgive you. I am not asking you to ask for forgiveness, I am simply forgiving you.”
I was beyond caring by this time. I said, “Well you know what? Keep that with you. I don’t want your forgiveness. I have never done anything wrong.”
His face turned into a scowl. He was angry. His eyes showed a little amount of hurt in them. I wish I could correct everything, but I was beyond hurt. I couldn’t heal his wounds when mine were fresh.
With a venom-laced voice, he said, “You still have the audacity to say that you are pure? Even after everything you did? Even after you cheated on me?”
It took all my strength to fight back a sob. I put up a brave face and said, “Yes. Believe me or don’t believe me, but I am done explaining. I told you once; I never slept with your brother. He tried to rape me.”
His eyes were bitter. With a perplexed voice, he said, “I don’t understand. Why are you pretending? I forgive you!”
This cut deep. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do something before I was hurt beyond repair. This already had inflected some incurable wounds on my self-esteem. I couldn’t degrade myself anymore in front of my own eyes. So, I simply shut off all my emotions.
In a robotic voice, I told him, “I am out of here. I want to go away.”
Immediately, he said, “Please, please don’t test me. I am tired. I don’t want you to go anywhere. I really love you. My heart still longs for you. I lost the battle of trying to hate you. I still love you as much as I did earlier.”
His face showed his tiredness. He was begging me to stay. His eyes were pleading me to understand. If only, he understood. We may love each other, but I couldn’t do this to myself. He said he loves me, yet, he didn’t trust me. I fell silent. At my silence, he nudged me.
He shook me and asked, “Silence? Is that all you have? Why don’t you say something? Why don’t you feel something? I am forgiving you. I am ready to accept you and the baby, and not doubt that it may be my brother’s. I want to forget the past. Let’s move on to a new life. I really forgive you.”
Oh. My. God! He still had doubts about his own baby. I can’t believe that I even thought about forgiving him, ever for a moment. I can’t live with a man, who had doubts about his own baby! My baby deserves better. I decided to inflect the same hurt he has, on me.
In a detached tone, I said, “You know, I have decided to go out of your life. But before going, let me tell you one thing. You said that you forgive me. You stood there and told me that the past didn’t matter any longer because you wanted to forget everything and move on. Well, you may forgive me, but I won’t ever forgive you.”
He thought that I was mad. I could see it in his face. I knew that he didn’t believe my audacity to even think about blaming him. He thought that I had gone crazy. He was angry. But then, I decided to come out clean, once and for all. This would be the last time I am going to explain.
So, I continued, “You have betrayed me. You weren’t there when I badly needed you. I thought you would protect me, but you failed. Your brother assaulted me that night. I was badly bruised. My clothes were torn and yet, you thought I cheated on you. Would you mind telling me that if I had actually slept with your brother willingly, why was I badly bruised, covered in blood and why were my clothes torn?”
I could almost see the wheels turning in his mind. He was recalling everything that had happened. I could see sweat breaking out of his brow. He wanted to say something. I couldn’t afford to let him speak now. If I did, I would never be able to speak again.
And so, I said, “You know what the funny thing is? It is the fact that I thought that you would believe me. But you didn’t. You were so hell-bent on thinking that your brother can never do that. I felt so disgusted when he tried to touch me in a way that only you were allowed to touch. I saved myself anyhow and came to you for support, but according to you, I had slept with your brother and I had cheated on you.”
I paused and saw him finally realizing that he was wrong. The facts were finally sinking into his mind. He had finally started to believe me. But then, it didn’t matter anymore. It was all over. He didn’t believe me when it mattered.
I said, “You should have been the one to believe me. You should have held me and soothed me down. But you didn’t. Just now, you said that you love me. You know what? I don’t believe you. Love shouldn’t hurt this much. Love means trust but you don’t even have an ounce of trust in me. You believed the worst of me. You even doubted about the paternity of your own baby boy! How could you doubt me?”
I took a deep breath to control the ache in my heart. I could see him trying to make amends. There were tears in his eyes. He finally believed me. But I knew that deep down; even he understood that our relationship was truly over.
I continued, “The thing that hurts me the most, is that I still don’t have it in me to hate you. Yeah, I still love you unconditionally. Today, I was going to start a new life with you and move on, until you said ‘I forgive you’. As soon as you said these words, I decided that I couldn’t do this to myself. I deserved to be treated better than this. Our baby deserved better than to be doubted upon. I just can’t do this anymore.”
I brushed off my tears. One look at his face told me everything I needed to know. He finally knew everything. And he knew that now, I won’t be coming back in his life. Our relationship was broken beyond repair. I knew that he understood. I moved closer to him and gently kissed him.
I added softly, “I really love you, but I can’t forgive you.”
After this, I moved back. I left. I finally got my self-esteem back. I finally got myself back. Now, I could move on. I can start a new life. With the ghosts of my past laid out in open, I felt stronger than I have felt in years. I felt like I was already healing. Maybe it was time to open a new chapter in my life.
This was written long back and there are bound to be errors. I could have removed them but I didn’t want to alter the story in any way. The protagonist, like in all my stories, is a strong girl who lives life on her terms. Through this story, I truly want to propagate the search of strength from within in order to rise from societal norms. Be brave and shine, for the life is only yours to live!
- Mahak Goel