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“Hey! It’s you. Yes I do remember you. Wow it has been so many years. How have you been doing?” I said.
“I’m good. How have you been? I saw you from a distance just now but wasn’t sure if I should come and talk to you. I don’t know why but I just felt like saying hi to you.” She said.
“Haha come on it’s great that you came on spoke to me. I am doing great. Just wait a moment here, I want to introduce you to someone.” I said.
While she took a seat at the bench, I quickly went to the playground and brought my daughter to introduce to here.
“Girl, say hello to this aunty. She is appa’s very good friend for many years.” I said.
“Hi Aunty.” She said while hiding herself near my legs.
My girl becomes a little shy when she meets someone new but when she gets comfortable with you, she will have endless stories to tell you.
“Hi there little one.” She said.
“You’ve got a daughter? I think I should get going first. It’s been nice seeing you but I should leave.” She said in a hurry tone.
“Wait why? It’s great seeing you after so many years. Let’s catch up over brunch tomorrow. For old time’s sake? Come on.” I persuaded her.
“I don’t know. I don’t think I should be doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t have come and spoken to you.” She said.
“Just one cup of coffee, 30 minutes and if you don’t like you can go. It will be a little nice to talk to you again.” I said.
“Erm, okay. I will see you tomorrow.” She said.
“I will text you the place. Let’s say 11 a.m. tomorrow. Still the same number right.” I said.
“Yeah the same number. You still kept my number?” She asked.
“It’s no longer in my phone, but I remember it by heart. I’ll text you. See ya tomorrow.” I said.
Once again we parted ways but this time I knew I will see her tomorrow.
After preparing dinner for my girl, I felt a little confused about meeting her tomorrow. My wife knew everything about her before we got into a relationship. Yet somehow seeing her tomorrow made me feel a little guilty in some way I couldn’t understand.
One side it’s me, another side I was worried if she should come and see me. Would her spouse be okay with the fact she is meeting me. Especially because I insisted her to come. I took my phone and texted her the details for tomorrow. As much as I wanted to see her tomorrow, if she would reply me she isn’t coming, I told myself I wouldn’t force it anymore.
“Ok.” She replied.
The next day, I was there 30 minutes earlier then the time I was supposed to meet her up. I’m some who likes to be punctual and knowing it was seeing her, I was there a little earlier.
Dressed in a blue shirt, with my sleeves folded up and black jeans, I waited for her at the café. Then she came, 10 minutes earlier as well. She wore a red blouse and with a smile on her and that look hit me hard about how much I’ve missed that smile. She looked as amazing as how the first time I saw her 20 years ago.
“Hey you are early.” I said.
“Yeah I didn’t want to be late. Knew you would come early as well.” She said.
We proceed to order our food and carried on speaking about our good times in university. Reminiscing those beautiful memories made the both of us smile. What was supposed to be a 30 minutes meet up has now dragged on to an hour already.
“So tell me about her. How did you meet your wife?” She asked hesitantly.
“I met her about 3 years after that night in Penang. Got to know her through a mutual friend and she is a doctor. We hit off very well with one another. We got into a relationship within 6 months. I knew she was the one and I proposed to her.” I said.
“Things were great but since the both of us had very odd working hours, we could hardly meet up for dinner or anything, so we decided to move in together. Perhaps that was the best decision we made. We grew to love each other better with that.” I said.
“7 years ago we tied the knot with the blessing from our families and 2 years later we had our only girl. Life was so complete with the both of them.” I said.
“Wow that really nice. I’m sure she looks amazing. By the way, does she knows about me? Did you tell her today you are seeing me?” She asked.
“Owh yes she knows about you. I told her the full story about me and you. From being in university up to that night in Penang. Yeah kinda knows about today.” I said.
“Kinda?” She questioned.
“My wife passed away 3 years ago. She is no longer with us but I somehow feels she knows whatever happens with me. So yeah kinda.” I said.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know. How did it happen?” She asked as she hold my hand to console me.
“It was an accident. She wasn’t working that night, but she got a call from the hospital saying it was an emergency. She was already tired from a long shift. She barely had any rest and she had to run again when they called. She was sleepy but she drove. It was a hit and run case. We don’t know who it was. She went to save a life, but she lost hers at the end.” I said.
While saying that, tears rolled down my cheeks. I have grown to love my wife so much and I still can’t talk about what happened to her without breaking down a little. She was everything you ever needed in a spouse and honestly I am a little lost without her by my side.
“I am sorry about asking it. I never expected that. Seeing you and your daughter yesterday, I had no idea about this.” She said.
“It’s Okay.” I said.
“So what about you? Are you married?” I asked.
“I was.” She said.
“Was? Oh my god I am sorry. Don’t tell me your husband passed away too?” I asked.
“Nope.” She said.
“I am sorry but I don’t really get you.” I said.
“I am divorced.” She said.
“I’m sorry. Was it another abusive relationship?” I asked, fearing a repeat of her past.
“Nope he was not. In fact he was actually a very nice and sweet guy.” She said.
“Sorry if I am crossing a line here, but why would you guy’s divorce then?” I asked.
“After what happened before, I had a little phobia about love, relationships and marriage. I didn’t want to get married, but you know how an Indian family are right. The moment a girl reaches 25 years old they will keep pressuring her to get married.” She said.
“My parents kept forcing me into getting married. After a couple of years of emotionally blackmailing me and pressuring, I finally gave in. They set me up with this guy and we got married. He was a nice sweet guy, but he always held a distance from me physically. A year passed by and we never got intimate with one another.” She said.
“One night while dinner, he told me he wanted to get a divorce. He said things between us was never going to work out. When I asked him why, he told me that just like me, he too was forced into marrying me.” She said.
“The reason he was forced into marrying me was because his parents didn’t like the girl he was in a relationship with. They forced him to leave the girl and marry me. Under the same pressure as I was, he too agreed to it.” She said.
“Although married to me, he still couldn’t stop loving her and they continued seeing each other. That was the reason why he didn’t want to get physical with me. He was in love with her and not me. He could no longer lead this dual life and wanted to get a divorce so that he could be with her.” She said.
“So I said okay. I too didn’t want to get married, and by divorcing both of us would be able to be happy so I did it. Ever since that, I’ve been single and my parents too are no longer forcing me to do it.” She said.
“I really don’t know what to say. You are of the most amazing person I know and it hurts to see you go through all this.” I said.
“Let’s drop this topic and talk something else happy.” She suggested.
I agreed and we continued speaking about other stuff.
It has been 3 hours already. I told her I’ve got to leave now because my daughter would be waiting for me to pick her up from the baby sitter. Before we left, a crazy idea came through my mind.
“Hey before you go, there is something I wanted to tell you.” I said.
“Tell me.” She said while smiling.
“As crazy as this sounds, I want you to be in my life. I’ve lost you twice in the last 20 years and I don’t want to do it again. If only we got together 20 years ago, our life would have been very different. Seeing you yesterday, reminded me about how much I used to love you and now yes I still love you. You were my first real love and I will always love you.” I said.
“I’ve got an amazing daughter who will love you as much as I do. 20 years on I am asking you again to be my girl. I love you ma, I love you and want you to be a part of us. It sounds as crazy as it is, but I don’t see any reason why a single dad and a divorcee shouldn’t get together knowing they love each other.” I said.
“You never told me, but I know you love me. I can see it in your eyes. Back then since university to now, I know you love me. You can deny it to me, but deep down you know it. Even yesterday, when I introduced you my daughter, your face changed and you wanted to leave. You came and spoke to me yesterday because you love me.” I said.
“You don’t have to tell me anything now. I will make dinner for the three of us tomorrow night. If you think, things between us are meant to be, then come over tomorrow night and meet my daughter. The 3 of us would make a beautiful family. 20 years of this hide and seek game is enough and we both know how it should end. We are meant to be together. I’ll text you my address and the decision is yours” I said.
She just stood there absorbing everything I said and left without saying a word. I guess she was overwhelmed with everything I had just said. I had no idea how I found the courage to do that, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
The next day, I started preparing for dinner since 4 in the evening for her. I had a list of menu ready for her and my daughter was there to help me out in her own cute little way. During that time I was telling about what happened yesterday and she too liked the idea of having a mom at home again. That was all the more reasons for me to go ahead with it.
I told her to come for dinner at 8 p.m. By 7 everything was almost ready. I just need to add the finishing touch when she arrives and it will be perfect to serve. I texted her my address but she never said if she would come or not.
I was nervous to know if she would come. Twice in my life I missed out on her. Would third time be the charm or will I get strike out. It was 7.30 p.m. and the doorbell rang. I jumped to the door hoping it would be her. I opened the door and it was…..
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