My life, your life, our lives
It’s like I’m her dirty little secret, and I don’t like it one bit. Is she ashamed of me? Am I not worth her? These and questions similar to these kept chasing in my head like a game of hide and go seek. I felt weary and stretched to my limit. I have tried to be patient with her. Initially, it was her broken marriage. I kept supporting her morally as she waded through the thorny bushes of a legal battle. It had been nasty. There was no alimony. Not that she had hoped for or wanted even. She was an independent woman, financially sound and physically fit. All that she wanted was a supportive partner. I had been her anchor then. It gave me pleasure to be the rock on which she wanted to build her shaken self confidence.
That had been some two years ago. In the meantime much has happened but I still remain a figure in the periphery of her life. I don’t blame her. I try to put myself in her shoes. I know it must be difficult for her. I’ve seen her shed tears over me when she thought I was sleeping. She wants to be with me as much as I do. But… and that’s a big but. Some days I’m okay with it. I look forward to the few stolen hours that we can afford for each other behind the closed doors of my studio apartment. It’s not much and definitely not a permanent solution. She says for now it has to be enough. How long is that ‘now?’ I question her.
The fire in her sad eyes burn out every time I pose these unanswerable questions. Those days usually end with me sleeping on the couch. Not because she wants me to but because I don’t wish to be in the same bed with her. I hate picking up fights with her. So, the couch becomes my self-imposed punishment. She knows it too. In the early days of our courtship, she let me be. But not anymore. Now she squeezes herself beside me on the tiny couch and we end up making love. She doesn’t want us to lose any of the allotted time that we have set aside for ourselves.
What she fails to realize is that it leaves me hungry for more. Those days all I can think of is about the softness of her body over mines. Her curves, angles, and squiggles — all of her. It drives me mad. I keep floundering in my work. And I’m so desperate for her that I just close shop and count the minutes to her arrival. Those fiery hours keep me wandering on the street across her office. I don’t dare enter the building, for ours is a secret too big to be handed out to people carelessly.
For now, this has to be enough. For now, two girls planning a wedding is a remote possibility. And for now, all we want is for us to be together. Legitimacy or illegitimacy are issues for the society to ponder. These are not our burden to bear. All we know is love.
© Jonali Karmakar