Why was she so happy with me when I was so miserable in life? I never did anything special for her and always used her to get my work done.I would call her shallow and what not when all she ever did was give, give and give.

The Seven-Year Itch

Aaru and I had been dating since our second year of college, when our parents found out, they immediately set up a meeting between the families and got us engaged, about a year later, we were married off. We were only 23 and not even sure if that was what we wanted. Parents and their obsession to ‘settle’ their children can be dangerous at times. The both of us were too young to think so much and our love was fairly new, so we went ahead without giving much thought to the permanence of a marital bond. 

‘I am just excited about all these clothes and jewelry that I am getting just to love you forever’, she would make statements as shallow as that, as a joke, of course. But to me, none of it felt right. Not then, not even after two years of being married. I wanted more from life, I wanted to take an education loan and do my masters abroad. Aaru, on the other hand, fit perfectly in the role of a wife. She blended in well with the family and was very good at managing her job and the house. But I think she did feel a slight disconnect from me. ‘Do you not love me anymore?’ She would often ask. ‘Of course, I do’, I would reply hesitantly. 

One night in bed, I randomly blurted out to her that I want to take a two-year study break. She got excited and asked if I wanted to finally go ahead with my ‘MBA in London’ plan. I nodded. ‘Oh my God! Even I need a break from this country,’ she said. That wasn’t my plan, however. I wanted to go alone and do my own thing for some time before I would be forced to produce a child - the conversations about whom had already begun at home. But I wasn’t going to say that to Aaru, so I simply said, ‘I don’t think we can afford us both going, and you quitting your job for my education would be a silly idea too. She was disappointed at first but got what I was saying. ‘Okay, I’ll come to visit you whenever I can,’ she said. 

So I began applying to colleges while Aaru did the groundwork of convincing parents on both sides telling them how important it was for me and our future to get an MBA. ‘I settled for a graduate, but my child should have an MBA father’ she said to them in her annoyingly shallow tone - except that my Aaru was anything but shallow. I got through some universities but my education loan didn’t come through. I was shattered. I could not have afforded that degree without a loan. When I shared this with Aaru, she walked up to her locker and took out the jewelry my family gave her for the wedding and asked me to go pawn it. ‘Are you crazy?’ I asked her - ‘Arey, I was anyway given these to love you remember? And that’s what I am doing. And anyway when you get that MBA, you’ll buy me more expensive jewelry, so consider this an investment for that’, she said cheerfully. 

Why was she so happy with me when I was so miserable in life? I never did anything special for her and always used her to get my work done.I would call her shallow and what not when all she ever did was give, give and give. Why did Aaru love me so much when I was a complete ass to her? If I would flirt with other women at parties, she would giggle and say as long as I am taking you back home with me, I don’t care who you compliment. She saw me as perfect - and that scared me. 

Sometimes, when we don’t work hard for the good things that we get, we tend to take them for granted. I did not value Aaru because she was smitten with me since day 1. Our marriage was fixed in a matter of days and she proved to be great with my parents - everything was so smooth that I couldn’t take it. I wanted a loan, I wanted to struggle, I wanted to have stories to tell my children. I was living in an existential crisis, yearning for toxicity to prevail so I created it. 

That night I got very drunk with a friend from school and ended up kissing her. I went back home and confessed it to Aaru - ‘There, I am not perfect, I said to her.’ The next morning when I woke up, she was gone. She had left a note on the side table that said, the money you need is in the locker, let’s meet once you’re back from London after two years - I think you need some time to think. I felt like shit. What had I done? I shamelessly took the money and fled to London. I tried calling Aaru multiple times but she did not speak to me - for six months. She called me up to wish me on my birthday and said we will speak at length once you have had the time that you need. 

Two years passed, and I had all the time in the world to focus on just my MBA, and yet I did averagely. It was time for me to return home and all I wanted to do was hug my wife. Life had taught me more than the university. I paid the cost of immaturity. I had a perfect life that I ruined but I wanted to make everything okay now. I landed in India and took a cab back home. When I arrived, Aaru was sitting in our room. I held her from behind and told her how much I missed her. ‘Please forgive me, Aaru’ I said. ‘Forgiven’ she replied. ‘I knew you were not okay, and so I left so that you could figure life out for yourself and then see if you want to choose me. I could not have forced you to love me, but now that I know you want me, I can restore my faith in this marriage’.

I would say THAT was our day of love. We started our marriage all over again. Aaru’s patience and understanding is something I learn from every day. I cannot believe how mature she is. I feel it’s human to make mistakes. Cheating is the worst thing one can do in marriage but owning up to it and ensuring that it never happens again can help you and your partner rebuild if they are willing to do the same. Aaru loved me unconditionally and now I love her the same way. I cannot imagine my life without her and can’t wait to start a family with her. 

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Teesta Rajan
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