Everything for the Career Ch. 06byHeavyHeartLaments©
(Thank to all for your patience.
Note that comments are more than welcome. You can comment on this story or send me an email via the link below. As usual, bricks and bouquets are welcome.)
How do you converse? More importantly, about WHAT do you converse?
Everything that was said and done, has previously resulted in nothing. Whatever you have tried to convince your husband about, has fallen on unmoving resolve. No words could ever take away the pain of my actions of all these years. I was unable to penetrate Arthur's heart before. Before also, he had listened, but even then, my words had failed to touch his soul. How then could I get past his memories this time? How could I make him feel, what I felt for him now?
Understand me, my realization, my heart. My soul. My love. Would he ever? So I asked myself again.
How do you converse? More importantly, about WHAT do you converse?
What could I do THIS time, that he would understand?
I had no ideas.
But I knew 2 things.
One, Arthur had agreed to meet me and talk to me. And two, somehow, somewhere, in the deepest recesses of my heart, I knew that I had to make this conversation count.
No business win, no project success, no accolades or awards, no appreciation, no position or event in my life was as important as this. While everything else previously put my image and career at stake, this time my love was as stake. My life. My husband was my life. I realized this. And to NOT have him in my life, would kill me. That much was certain. I had to make this conversation. I knew this was the only opportunity I had to make things right. There would be no other.
But the problem was, I did not know what to say. What to say to him that I had not said before? What to show him that I had not done before?
Sure, I had resigned and Arthur was aware of that now (God bless my dada). He also knew that Bernie had sent the message on his own accord and not mine. But would that be enough?
Is a resignation from your obsession and breaking of a relationship from an acquaintance, equivalent to make up 15 years of neglect? Can the totality of all my actions, over the last 15 years be erased by a simple act of giving up what I was obsessed about earlier?
I don't know. And honestly, I didn't think so.
And that scared me more and more as the days passed.
Today, was Sunday. My Arthur was coming to talk to me. Presumably, he would let ME do all the talking. He would let me lead the conversation. He would not interrupt and try to get in what he wanted to say. That was the way my husband was. Yes.
But that still did not resolve my conundrum. How would I convey the intensity of what I felt to him? How can you convert your words to feelings?
By the time it was Sunday, I was exhausted. Exhausted from all the thinking, from all the planning and all the fear. I was beginning to get scared. Afraid and exhausted. And there seemed to be no avenues opening up for me.
Exhausted. And afraid...
When realization dawned on me.
This was not a client gone bad. This was not an opportunity that was squandered. This was not a negotiation that had failed.
This was my life and my husband.
And to talk to your husband, to convey your feelings to him, you did NOT need a strategy. You do not *plan* a conversation with the one you love. You don't analyze in advance what he will say and formulate responses accordingly.
You just went with the flow. I may not have faith in my ability to show Arthur what I felt. I may not have the faith in my ability to articulate my feelings. I may fail in convincing Arthur through words. But I had faith in my love. My love for Arthur would guide me through. Just as his would for him too. The love, the DEEP love that I knew was there, but the one that I had allowed to be pushed under the carpet of my obsession. The love that I had knew *I* had, but did not have the time to show my husband to. The love. THAT would guide me!
The love. From a wife, to her husband. Arthur and I were two bodies. But our souls were one. Once upon a time. I had let that oneness become weak with the passage of time. But never again. This time, a Vice-President's mind and experience would not show the way. Instead, a wife's love and hope would shine the light.
And for the first time in so many days since I heard Arthur wanted to see me, that I felt my love overflowing for my husband. No, this meeting was between a husband and wife. And so much could be conveyed between the two souls in this holy union, without so much so as speaking a word.
This was a new one.
I came to our home and expected to be greeted at the front door by Jenny, instead I get a locked door. Obviously, I was not informed of this and I wondered for a moment, whether Jenny had actually got my message. Of course she did. She had confirmed it via her father whom I did have a soft spot for.
But looking at the closed door, the locked door, I was left wondering. Was I getting too soft? Was this how Jennifer was going to treat our discussion with? I did not hope she would fall at my feet begging to take me back, but the least she could have done, was at least be there. After all, she knew I was coming.
And then a thought creeped up. What if, I mean, WHAT IF, she had gone to...her BANK??!!! I mean, it was natural for her to do this earlier when we were living together. And what would stop her from doing so now? Sure, she may have realized her love for me was stronger. But was it strong enough? I was wondering whether I should walk off on her for leaving me stranded like this, at a fragile juncture like this. I even caught myself thinking of her as Jennifer again!!!
But then again, she had resigned. So why would she want to go to her bank for?
I was pondering this, when the screeching of tyres brought my mind back to reality.
A car, JENNY'S car, swerved around the corner, sped up the lane and screeched to a halt outside our garage, half the car still on the road.
I stood watching as Jenny hurriedly opened the door and I could see relief flood her eyes. Her eyes... they seemed to be so grateful to see me...
She reached inside and pulled out four packages from the back seat. Then she ran towards me, carrying two packages in each hand. Ran, as if I would walk away if she simply walked. She ran. To me.
"I... hff,Um... hello... hon... Arthur.. huff, I .." she was trying to talk to me when I saw the packages. It was packed food from my favorite restaurant this side of town.
"Calm down Jenny." I said, in as neutral a tone as I could muster, "what happened?"
"I am SO sorry Arthur. So Sorry. My GOD! I hope you have not been waiting long... Oh GOD Arthur I am so sorr..." she started off crestfallen.
"Jenny. Relax. I was here waiting just this last 5-7 minutes. Nothing happened. What about you? What's all this and this food for?"
"Oh God Arthur!" she looked as if she were about to cry!!
"Jenny... what happened?" I asked, trying to keep my voice neutral.
"Oh Arthur... GOD! I wanted... I so desperately wanted to cook your favorite dish.. and I ...I ...GOD!" she started crying. My GOD! She actually began crying!!!
"Jenny!" I shouted. That jolted her out of crying, "WHAT HAPPENED?"
"The food... I wanted you to have home cooked meal, but ... god I... I... I BURNT THE FOOD Arthur! Oh GOD! I should have learnt to cook earlier... I am SO SORRY Arthur... I wanted to give you... OH GOD!"
And despite the absurdity of the situation, I couldn't help it. I laughed out. LOUD.
Jenny was taken aback for a moment. "Wha... what is it ... Arthur..?" she spoke out hesitatingly."
"Jenny. It's OK! IT'S OK!!" I said, composing myself, reminding myself what I was here for. Regardless of what happened, Jenny had never really taken the time to understand and learn how to cook really good food. Not surprising then, she had burnt the food that she was supposed to cook for me.
And then my face turned serious. She did not know how to cook. But she was TRYING to do it for me. Trying to make me happy. FOR ME!
"Jenny..." I asked softly, "why didn't you just call them and ask them to deliver? Why go all the way and get the food yourself?" I continued.
"Huh?" she was looking at me glaze eyed.
That is when I realized it.
She did not call them up because she was not really thinking clearly! She was so scared, nervous about her meeting with me, that she could not think clearly!! She was just focused on meeting me. There was nothing else, it seemed, that mattered to her more. Just our meeting.
That told me many things.
But more importantly, it showed me a window to the anguish in Jenny's heart. It showed me just HOW MUCH I was beginning to mean to her. It reflected just how much she had changed, wanted to change. And I began to choke up. Dear GOD! If she had just shown a fraction of the concern and love then, this would not have happened.
I took a deep breath and composed myself. I smiled at Jenny.
She smiled, then turned serious, and then smiled again, hesitatingly. She was not sure what my smile meant. She was afraid to hope.
"Shall we get in Jenny?" I asked.
She continued to stare at me. Recognition sparkled in her eyes. A smile full of hope was spreading on her lips. And her eyes were watering up!!
"Jenny?" I asked again.
The smile spread.
"JENNY?" I asked. A little louder.
And her smile got EVEN wider. And her eyes began watering up even more!
"What?" I asked seriously puzzled.
And then... her tears began falling. Her smile was still plastered on her face as her tears began anew. Fresh, large tears streaking her face. And through all that, her smile kept on getting wider!!
"What Jenny?" I asked softly, looking into her eyes.
She took a deep breath, looked at the ground, composed herself, and then looked at me in the eyes. With a joy unrivalled that I had EVER seen in her eyes in all these years!
"You called me 'Jenny', didn't you?" she asked.
This time, I matched the smile plastered on her face with mine.
"That's Hugo Boss?"
The question took me entirely by surprise. This was the first time she had commented on what I had put on.
I looked at my shirt.
"Yes." I said simply.
"I..." she wanted to say something, but stopped. I got the impression that it was because she felt I would not take it nicely.
"What Jenny?" I asked.
"I think... Arthur, that black suits you. This shirt makes you... the old dark blue was not so... I mean this one brings out the ... um..." and she just got jumbled in her thoughts. I could see it in her eyes.
"You like it?" I asked.
"Yes." She replied demurely.
"Then why have you never mentioned this before Jenny?" I asked. My tone became hard. "Why not?"
She looked at me. And her eyes began watering up again.
"You mean you didn't have time from your bank to comment on how your husband looked?" I continued looking at her eyes.
Her eyes began tearing up again. And her breathing changed to a haggard pattern.
And that is how, we opened our conversation.
The most important conversation of our lives. Both of us.
How long can you sit and discuss your past? How much angst should you put when determining how to get your best years back? How much depth of emotions should you have for the one you love, for the one who has wronged you, and yet... yet, the one whom you cannot really live without; the one, whom you hoped against hope would see how much you really need them? What is the correct proportion of love and hate you should display? Just how much should you push? How long can you continue? How long can you say and do?
Again, how long can you sit and discuss your past?
Well, everything that had to be said, was already said before. And what had to be done, already gone through.
This realization came to me after an hour or so of discussion, as we stared at each other during the silences that so often seem to follow serious conversations.
She, in anticipation of what I had to say, me, in understanding that whatever we discussed today, did not really make a difference -- what I wanted to decide, I *would* decide, discussion or not. There was nothing in the discussion that would convince me to begin our relationship anew, should I not want to get into that, nor anything that could convince me not to bring the relationship to a closure, should I really want that.
The realization came.
What we discussed, did not matter. What I wanted to decide, did. And ultimately, whether Jenny liked it or not, whether she would accept it or not, it would be my decision. For the first time in our married life, I would be the one deciding in which direction this relationship would go.
Strange, what comes to your mind when you are in charge. It really depends on your view of life, I guess. All I could think of was Jenny, her love for me and the way she looked when she walked down the aisle. Yes, I also remembered the pain she gave me, the loneliness, the ache... and somehow, sitting here today in front of her, with her complete dependence on me, I did not really feel victorious. I felt... sad. This was not what should have happened. But it did, and I had to decide what to do.
I took a deep breath. This was NOT going to be easy. For me, OR for her.
"Jenny." I said simply.
I looked at her.
She looked at me, her eyes streaming with tears. A face that showed great pain -- pain of the soul, of the mind and of the spirit.
"I still love you Jenny."
That was her only response.
Before she broke down bad.
And I mean bad as in never-seen-her-so-bad kind of bad. She slipped from the sofa, onto the floor! Her palms covering her eyes, and she was crying. Big, heaving, racking sobs!
I should have rushed at her. Should have crouched by her side. Should have comforted her. Instead I just let her cry. Love, sometimes, means letting the other person get his poison out his system, on their own. So I got up from my chair, sat crossed legged on the floor opposite her. And let her cry. Without touching her, or talking to her.
I did not make any efforts to calm her. No hands on her shoulders. No running fingers through her hair. No speaking soft words. No assurances. No expression of the renewed love. No display of a rejuvenated emotion. Nothing. I just sat down on the opposite floor and watched as my wife cried her fears out. Her insecurities, her fears, her life... I watched as she cried it all out.
And when her chest and shoulders stopped heaving, when the tension in her body dissipated, when her breathing became more steady, when the raging river of her sorrow became a mild stream, I reached for her.
Removing the hands from her face, I looked into her wet eyes and tear-streaked face. Into her soul.
"I still love you Jenny." I said again.
She literally threw herself at me.
And for the first time in so many weeks, I opened my arms and let her back into my life.
Most people expect that when something unbelievably good happens to them, or something happens that is beyond their expectations, they become elated. They float in a cloud of happiness. Their wishes fulfilled. They turn ecstatic. They are happy.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When most people are faced with unbearable happiness, they cry. Not laugh or jump in the air, punching the air or making victory signs. They cry.
From relief. From happiness. From the feeling that says there is someone, something above, that is taking care of you.
And so, I did too.
I cried. Really cried. For everything that had happened. For everything that could have been different. And for that one force in the Universe, that I could never define, but had given me a husband, literally worth his weight in gold. A priceless human being.
"I still love you Jenny."
Oh God! OH GOOODDDDDDD!!!
I *LIVED* for this moment. Ever since my husband separated, ever since I came to understand that it were MY actions that caused this, I was nothing but a shell. My bank, my obsession, it was so hollow... it really did not make a difference. And then to come to the edge and know that you were going to lose what you loved the most, your husband, AND to realize that your husband really loves you... had always loved you... and that you were just too blind to see it. THAT, That really brought the tears in my eyes.
And I cried. Not for the fact that my husband had forgiven me. Not for the fact that my insecurities, my fears, were unfounded. But for the fact that despite ALL what I had done to my Arthur, when it really mattered, Arthur was there for me. More than what I can say about myself.
And then... then when he separated my palms and opened his arms for me.... What can I say?
God, don't give me heaven, for I already AM there on this very Earth.
As I lay in my Arthur's arms, inside the cocoon of his body, inside the warmth that felt like a fireplace in a snowstorm outside, I felt his heart beat slowly. It seemed to talk to me, reassure me, comfort me.
And strangely, it seemed to beat in rhythm with mine. Both our hearts. They felt like one.
The tears came again.
And head still on his chest, I let the tears flow for a long time as I just lay there. Completely dependent on him.
And a single thought penetrated my consciousness.
So, *THIS* is what Paradise felt like.
The first time I heard his laughter, 2 days after our reconciliation, in our home, was when he was watching a comedy movie, I ran to the bathroom. And closing the door, I leaned on it, breathing heavily and then I cried. Really hard, but trying to keep my voice down so that my Arthur would not hear it. I cried. At hearing his laughter in our home again. I had missed this so much in my life.
I straightened up and washed my face. And went down to lay the table for dinner again. Finally I had cooked a dish. Nothing complex, just something simple. But I wanted to feed my husband. And damned if I was not ready to spend hours just perfecting the taste and look of the dish.
The first 2 days after the reconciliation, were awkward. Crying and displaying your feelings is a very private thing. When you do that in front of someone, you make him a part of your innermost circle. So after the tears, the drama on the floor, we got up, I washed up and went back to the living room.
He had gotten up and had stood near the window, looking outside, his back to me. His head was down.
I walked back to him and pressed my breasts to his back, while encircling my arms on his shoulders, my head snug between his shoulder blades, as I felt him jerk and shake. I held him, as he too, cried silently. And for what seemed like an eternity, I let him.
Then he turned to me, his eyes wet and I reached out to him.
And kissed him on his lips.
Let me tell you, the taste was by far sweeter than even the time when I had first shared the first kiss with him or when I kissed him not as his girlfriend but as his wife the first time.
And then, we just stood there near the windows. Holding each other. Nothing. No words were necessary. None needed. Both of us afraid to speak the first. As if whatever we were sharing at the moment was so fragile, that merely uttering a word would splinter it, shatter it.
Then he sniffled, looked up to me deep in my eyes. And our smiles matched each others.
"You got to admit, it DOES look better." He said. Smiling. Eyes still wet.
I gave him a puzzled look.
He turned his head sideways and pointed at the curtains.
I could not help it.
I spluttered in a mixture of laughter and tears again.
Even as his lips found mine again.
I did not reach out to his "throbbing member" at the first night when we slept together after such a long time, nor did he try to caress the "quivering petals of the vagina". Nothing that immature.