“Was it easier without me?” He asked, “The pain?”
She didn’t know what to say. He had left without answers and came expecting no questions. He had gone with the summer, and returned, expecting warm arms in the winter. The day he left, he didn’t turn back, and she knew any amount of query will be rendered futile. He had set his mind. She had no choice.
No questions asked, no questions answered.
He has now returned, without a hint of guilt upon his face. After living a life of splendid summer, he has now returned home in the banal winter. She was home to him. He knew she would accept him, again, after all this time. But he didn’t know that the seasons have changed, and so has she.
He want things to be the way they were earlier, but he has forgotten that the people they were then are now lost in the conundrum of life, and no amount of efforts can bring back time. He thought he had come back to the same home, but he didn’t know he was breathing a different air in there. When he left, something changed; she changed. If it was in her capacity, she would have accepted him back, but she had stopped listening to her heart long time ago, and mind rarely did what she wants. Decisions made on the impulse of a beat had blinded her to the wounds that had almost killed her, not once but several times. If she had learnt anything from her life, it was to never believe that impulse again. It made little sense to put everyone’s interest before hers and, then, sit back and witness her life falling apart, helpless as always.
He had come back; to claim what he thought was his, she. However, he had not, even distantly, bothered to ensure the well being of his claim all this while. He had come back to take from her; he knew her purpose was to provide for him. She was his after all; his claimant, his possession. It was typical of men to think they, always, had an auxiliary, modestly comforting bed back home, while they roved through the valleys and wilderness. It was magnificently gratifying for them to have the assurance that someone, somewhere, is waiting for them to come home, no matter what. But nobody cared for her choice. If he goes, she should wait; if he comes she should accept, open arms.
She didn’t want him to leave that day, but he did. She didn’t want him to come back today, but he did. She was given little agency to live her own life. His transitory presence had opened floodgates in her life. His presence, his absence, both had left her overwhelmed, and she was not ready for this momentary promise of eternity to hold her from living life on her own terms, again. He was an unwelcomed guest in her life. If he had come back six months earlier, perhaps he would have found here more accepting, but today, time had changed its course. She can no longer accommodate a nomad, someone who didn’t love her the way she did. He abandoned her, and returned with no apologies whatsoever. He broke his promise, and was insistent on making another, only to break it, again. And she stood there, looking at him, consumed in his conceit.
The door was open then, the door is open still. She was silent then, she is silent still.
She wanted to ask him where he went; she wanted to ask whether he’ll stay. She wanted to know where he was all this while; she wanted to know if he enjoyed his other life. But, silence will suffice, today, she guessed.
It was fascinating how her silence made little difference to him today. Perhaps, he hadn’t noticed her silence at all, when they were together and when apart. Or perhaps, she was never really anything more to him than a silent comforter. Her voice was futile then; her choice is futile still.
“Do you mind if I keep these boxes here?” He asks.
She nods a no, but within, a voice is screaming, “What do I do with the boxes you’re burdening my soul with? Was it not enough to live with a heap of boxes of your unscathed abandonment that you are loading me up with your unapologetic arrival, now?”
How she detested her existence to live through this moment! Her life was torn apart deciding if second chances had second chances too. She muses, “He has abandoned me, why should I love him still?” If love was about being redundantly forgiving, she thought she would better pass. It felt an eternity since she held the anchor of her sail. Then, he had left without a word and she had to cope up with the austerities of abandonment, was compelled to move on, when all she really wanted to do was spend infinite sunny Sunday’s with him, sipping coffee, planning life. Now, he has invaded her solitude and she is compelled to make peace with it, when all she really wants to do is live her life the way she had wanted to when there was no ‘him’.
There was some clatter in the background. A voice is heard, “Where were you lost all this while? I was talking to you, didn’t you hear me?” She smiled coyly, but unapologetically.
And then came the words, “Why are you so silent? Aren’t you pleased with my arrival?”
She didn’t know how to answer him. He was her lover after all. But, he had wronged her, and was oblivious to his crime. She maintained her silence. Perhaps, that was the wisest thing she thought she could do at the moment. However, her soul wanted to defy that silence, to scream about the scars he had inflicted upon her. The pain within her wanted a way out, it wanted to pierce through his bubble of ignorance and make him face the brutality of his crime. The innocence within her yelped in despair, if only he had not deserted her, oh! How happy she would have been in his presence!
Words were insufficient to express her misery, answer his query. So, her eyes did the trick. Tears trickled down her face and sketched a map of all the times, of all the places she had had missed his presence. It left a trail, giving him a way to her desolation, taking him back to the day when he had left her behind, unanswered.
“Was it easier without me?” He asked, “The pain?”