Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Directions

“I am sorry but this isn’t what I want to do with my life.” She said wiping a tear off her eye.

I looked at her and sighed. It wasn’t how I had planned my 30s — getting divorced and searching for meaning of everything. And yet, somehow, looking at his past, I felt that I could see it all coming. All my decisions, mistakes and even victories would have eventually have resulted in today.

“Please don’t try to stop me.” She said worried by the look on his face.

I nodded and looked away. I wanted to say that I was surprised but it just seemed hollow. I had seen her moving away from me like seeing everything foreshadowing but couldn’t do anything to change it. I wanted to tell her that I tried sometimes to improve the situation but in the end, I simply couldn’t.

“Mehul. Please forgive me. I… I just don’t feel the same way about you. I don’t know why but I don’t think we are going in the same direction and I want to soar, while you have settled.” She started blabbering, words flowing out of her mouth mixed in apology, sincerity, sorrow and pity. I winced.

I hadn’t expected pity. Yes, it was true that I wasn’t the same ambitious person that she had met the first time but that didn’t mean that I had become lax. I just had new and different priorities. What I wanted in life now didn’t match her world-view and thus, it made me seem useless in her eyes. I didn’t mind that she didn’t understand this but I thought that she could at least respect me for choosing my own path. Nevertheless, it is how it is.

“I am sorry Mehul.” She again said, definitely noticing my wince. I nodded and picked an apple to eat.

A few moments of silence passed as I kept on chewing the apple. I guessed that she wanted to say something, perhaps apologise more but I wasn’t interested. If I would have been shocked perhaps, I would have valued her words but I could see this happening from a mile. We were moving apart and she finally broke free. I was prepared for a moment like this.

“I want to tell you one more thing.” She said softly. I looked at her and realised that she was waiting for my permission. I jerked my head.

“You and I were drifting apart long before he came into my life. I hope you realise that it isn’t him that is causing this.” She said with a sliver of fear in her voice. She was afraid of me. It isn’t her fault really. I was famous for my temper. Not right now though. Not for this. She was right. It wasn’t his fault.

She gulped audibly and I realised that I was looking at her sharply. I looked away. My phone buzzed and I checked the notification. I pushed the thin smile forming on my face. I stood up and went to the kitchen. I was suddenly hungry and the apple wasn’t sufficient.

“MEHUL!” She shouted behind me, her voice laced with fear. She ran behind me and saw me opening the fridge to eat yesterday’s lasagna. Comically, this made her burst.

“I AM TELLING YOU THAT I AM LEAVING YOU AND YOU ARE EATING LASAGNA. DON’T YOU CARE AT ALL!!”

I was almost about to say something but realised its meaninglessness. Now, it doesn’t matter what I may say. Things are going to happen as they are going to happen.

“Please say something.” She pleaded. It melted my heart. I wanted to tell her that it wasn’t her fault. I wanted to tell her that I still loved her. I wanted to tell her that I have been trying to find a way for us to be together. However, I knew that none of that mattered anymore. As much as I loved her, she didn’t love the person I had become. And as I wasn’t going to change back, it didn’t matter how much I loved her.

She kept looking at me expectantly and sweat beads came to my forehead. It was her phone that saved me from speaking. I knew that if I started to speak, I would try to stop her. It wasn’t right. She picked up her phone to see the message and the change of expression on her face told me everything.

“No.. No.. NO.. NOOOO..” She screamed and it gave me a very painful joy. The kind you feel when you eat a bowl full of chilli or when you are on a roller coaster. I looked at her with my near-perfect blank expression.

“He was in an accident. Oh my God! I have to go Mehul.” She left swiftly.

I knew that her going was as useless as me trying to stop her would have been. I opened my phone to delete the message that had came earlier.

‘It’s done.’ The message said.

I looked at the door from where she had gone. I knew she would be back.

“I love you and I forgive you.” I whispered waiting for her.