I walked on briskly, single-mindedly. There was a restlessness in me. The restlessness of expectation of something too good to be true.
I was dreaming impossible dreams. No, they are possible, I corrected my own thoughts.
Despite my efforts to not think about it, my mind was giving me teasing glimpses of my future with Ajay. A future of beautiful possibilities and smiles.
As I entered the office building, I knew that I would be attracting curious glances. Not that I noticed them, though. I stopped in front of Ajay’s desk, who stood up surprised. His eyes had a hint of anger.
Will he understand? Will he forgive me? I knew if I thought about this at all, I won’t be able to go ahead with it.
“Yes, I will”, I said, still out of breath.
“You will?” The anger in his eyes melted, replaced by a hope that he was clearly trying to resist.
“I will marry you”. I grinned, moving forward to hug him.
“Oh no, you don’t”, Ajay said taking a step back. “You don’t walk out on me without a word. And then say yes, the next day.”
I could feel the excitement and hope apparent in my stance vanishing. A delicate, beautiful balloon hoping to float up in the skies, deflated… more like burst instantaneously.
Ajay saw the pained expression that he had glimpsed in my eyes often. Did he know by now that I would hide in my shell. Did he know I was expecting things to end badly. He had always assured me that he understood my problems from the past. And yet, he had felt an anger. No, it wasn’t anger, I convinced myself.
What he had felt the ache of his love.
“Okay, okay”, Ajay held up his hand, palms out. “Let’s go and talk about this”. He held my hand and pulled me into the conference room. Pushing me gently into a chair, he sat in front of me, held my hands and looked into my eyes, and waited.
My eyes met his for an instant, and then I closed my eyes.
Almost a minute later, eyes still closed, I said, “I went to his grave today. I told him I am leaving him.” I snapped open my eyes, searching his eyes to see if he understood.
“I had to leave him to be able before I could agree to marry you”, I continued.
Did he realize the extent of agony my possessive husband had caused me. I knew he tried to understand. I also knew that it continued to astonish him.
“And now?” he asked, ensuring that he sounded calm.
“For two years, I couldn’t garner courage to leave him. He died before I could tell him. He always said, he owned me forever. I had to leave him. And I have, now.
I smiled. He did too.
A truthful foundation for a new beginning…