By the Ocean
by Geetika Sodhi Lohan
(Ghaziabad, India )
“Ever wondered how things would have been, had you spoken to me instead of the world”. She murmured looking at the moon as they sat by the ocean. A discussion, they both had dodged for a decade, had pounced on that broken bond with hurtful edges hanging between them. Of all that had happened, just a blurred reminiscence had stayed. Silences had been filled with manipulation and the sea of anger, chaos and misunderstanding had only widened because one hadn’t communicated and the other had nothing left to communicate.The imbalances caused by unrealistic fears are the worst enemies of bridges. He had buried all his regrets, fears, and guilts into the sheets of blames and everyone had patted his back for choosing to save his dignity by staying silent. After all, was she even worth ‘investing’ in, to begin with!
“Would she have come to him? No”“Left her marriage? Never”“What would have he gotten had he chosen to save her trust? Nothing at all” were some common questions asked at the tables he sat on.
“The only place for a bond is James Bond”; he had once joked and everyone had laughed.
“She wanted to have candies in both her hands” “she wanted attention” “she wanted to use you”.All these remarks by others had intoxicated his mind and he had conveniently placed her opposite to himself.
He had been reassured that she deserved to be shown a mirror of how characterless and ugly she was for which woman of character befriends a man until she wants to sleep with him?
However, now when he sat there beside her, none of it made sense and pain of not speaking at least once, thumped loudly in his chest.
He broke the silence that her question had cloaked them with; ego totally masquerading his persona, “ So Mrs. Steve, how has life been”.
He hadn’t matured a bit in all these years, she thought to herself. “I have been good rather happy” she replied with a sigh of peace.
His jealous streak took charge of the conversation. “Of course happy and at peace. That’s how it should be for a rich man’s wife. Happy and Peaceful.”
It hurt! As someone well aware of where it came from and where it was going, she stood up, politely asked for leave and left him with his inflated ego, perceptions and self appeasement. “Ha! People don’t have the courage to listen to the truth. I shouldn’t have entertained her in the first place.” He said sitting there on the sand virtually applauding himself for how he “handled” the meeting with her.
She on the other hand, had nothing to explain. Not to a man who barely held the responsibility or accountability of an adult. Age hadn’t changed the fact that he was just a credulous man child who had never learnt that merely wishing for people doesn’t keep them in your life.
A woman who does selflessly in any relationship -as a mother, a friend, a wife or even just a colleague - doesn’t ask for any returns but at the same time doesn’t have the patience to keep waiting to be respected.
She sat alone for rest of the night remembering the pain of being made the subject of mockery by a group that he aided, facilitated and supported. A group of his friends that he shared everything, she had ever uncovered for him.
Memories of how shame and self hate had pushed her into sickness and bitterness of a mad woman who would cry like a child on the bathroom floor feeling the pain of being stripped off her vulnerabilities, and bad moments of life. It was a hard pill to swallow that judgemental eyes that tore into her soul had access that was allowed by someone she trusted.
She had left that night and had refused to meet him again. He had refused too - to understand her side and the pain all of it had caused to her.
What could be wrong with sharing everything with friends for they had right over him and everything in his life! What she could never explain was that he was not just a friend but a confidant she had shared her meekest of moments with, only to find herself being deceived by those around him for entertainment while every time she wished it was him.
That chapter of her life had left her feeling naked. She had shut herself down to the world and had returned home to a man who since childhood had been selflessly devoted and protective of her. There was peace and a sense of security in the arms of this person who didn’t do things that made her uncomfortable.
The minutes by the ocean in the present were just an imitation of the night in the past when she had realised the truth that her vulnerabilities were torn apart by none other than the man she called her guardian angel.He was just an insecure man, now a little older, but not any wiser! Her cold silence towards him was because of her understanding of how misunderstood she was since the time they had met. It was her choice to never let the same stone break her twice.
A society is an uncomfortable place for every woman and every step is a battle even her times of grief. A woman who is strong herself needs a man who can be her peace. Someone she can call Home because being there doesn’t feel like walking on the egg shells. The resistance to this mindset often comes from other women, who are conditioned to be around men to validate their identities. They call this set up of validation with different names like love, marriage, or companionship.
As manipulation destroys so many relationships across the world, truth roars in the sounds of the waves trying to convince itself that it wasn’t wrong just in the wrong place and held by wrong hands! ***