I saw my wife standing in the distance as I came out of the airport.
It had been 3 years since I last saw her. She looked a bit different but in a good way. I hadn’t imagined that I would see her ever again.
I remembered the day I last talked to her on the phone. I was in a hurry to hang up, while she kept asking me to talk a little longer. She wanted to tell me something; I said – “Wait a bit, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll call you back, I promise.”
I couldn’t call her back. I had little idea that our wait would last for three years.
She smiled faintly as I approached her. I couldn’t take my eyes off her; I went back to the moment when I first saw her. “She is beautiful” – my heart whispered inside. I gave a shy smile.
“I’m finally out of that hell, and my heaven is standing before me.” I thought to myself and sighed.
I hugged her tightly; she didn’t hug me back. She had always been shy especially when it came to showing affection in public. I smiled to myself. I could tell she was a little uncomfortable.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah.” She replied, forcing a smile.
We got into the backseat of her car. I gazed at her, while she looked out the window. “You look beautiful in this red Saree.” I said.
“Thank you.” she smiled, shifting her gaze to me.
“When did you change your haircut?” I asked her.
“Last year.” She replied and looked away again.
“Won’t you ask me anything? Don’t you want to know anything about me?” I asked her.
I couldn’t figure out the reason behind her silence. While I wanted to know everything that happened while I was away, she did not even ask me how my journey was.
“Yeah…I want to. They didn’t tell me anything over phone except that you were alive and coming back.” She said, still looking out the window.
“I was held captive by enemy armed forces after we had made a sudden attack on them. I was tortured for over two years until I finally managed to escape. I was rescued by a family; they took good care of me. I was in a semi coma state for about 6 months. When I gained consciousness I told them who I was.” I paused for breath and added after a moment,” I didn’t think I would survive…but now I feel it’s all because of you, Mom and your wait for me.” I placed my hand over hers.
“We were told that you died in that attack. Your mother couldn’t get over that shock…she died after a year…”
“What!” I cut her off.
She nodded and continued, “I moved to my parents’ house after that…and…” she paused and turned her face to me. I was still in a state of shock, trying hard to digest the news of my mother’s death.
“Take me to my house first…” I uttered in a trembling voice as I tried hard to hold my tears back.
“Yeah I will. But you need to know something about me too.” She said, swallowing hard.
I nodded – “Hmm.”
“I…I…”she hesitated to speak; when I looked at her she turned her face away.
“I’m not your wife anymore…I got married to someone as per my parents’ wishes.”
I withdrew my hand from hers and blankly stared in her direction, not knowing what to say. Probably I had nothing more to say. I leaned my head back against the headrest and closed my eyes. For the first time I wished I hadn’t survived all the torture and pain I went through; I wished I had died. In front of my closed eyes, I saw a dark hole and I was falling through it.
“I’m sorry.” She broke into tears. Her trembling voice brought me back into the present and I opened my eyes.
“Are you happy with him?” I asked her, staring blankly at the ceiling of the car.
She was silent for a moment, then replied,” Yes.”
“Then don’t be sorry.”
The car stopped; I looked out and saw the empty house where once I had lived happily with my family; On my way back, I had pictured my mother standing at the door waiting for me; I had imagined the smile on her face. Tears welled up in my eyes as I continued to stare at the house.
“you’ll never see her again.” my heart reminded me.
I blinked to get rid of the tears. I laughed at my own expectations. “Nobody was waiting for me here.” I muttered to myself.
“Did you say something?” she asked.
“No…thanks for everything. I wish you a happy life.” I said and opened the car door.
“Do you remember…that day I wanted to tell you something?”
I nodded my head, but didn’t turn it in her direction.
“I was pregnant…our son is 2 years old now. I want him to know his father.” She paused, composed herself and continued, “Your mother and I named him Ekansh after you. Your son is waiting for you Ekansh…you’re not all alone.”
– Chirasree, a dreamer.