Memory of a Love Affair – A Short Story

How could I have done it?! How could I? Why did I ever let her go – literally and emotionally. She would still be here with me if I hadn’t been to haste in my decisions. My parents had always warned me that the rage would get the better of me one day and I guess now, finally and tragically, it has caught up with me.

He name was Rekha……yes, my sweet Rekha! She had been mine, all mine until she pulled away, out of my life forever. We had met out ‘special’ circumstances. Weird, to most actually. But then again, maybe not. I had been late for an appointment one hot Monday afternoon and was just counting my lucky stars that a taxi happened to glide by when I needed one so badly. But just as I put my foot in and turned to slam the taxi door to babble off to the driver my destination, I see her coming in through the other door!!!!!

“Hey! I got here first!” she yells in my face. I turn to retaliate her answer but find myself just staring blankly at her. There’s just ‘something’ about her. Something you can’t exactly pin point and give a name to, but it was just there.

Instead I ask her calmly as to her destination and discover we’re heading in almost the same direction. We finally settle on taking the cab together. Phew!! At least I get to spend a few more minutes with her, I tell myself. We get to talking, and I finally realise the worry in her eyes. She’s off to the hospital to see her father, he just had a heart attack. I told her, I’m, a surgeon there myself – Dr. Raj Malhotra. She then extends her hands to me and says, “Hi! I’m Rekha, Rekha Nair.”

That was the last I saw of her that week, at least in person anyway, because you see, she was constantly on my mind. In my eyes, she had never left me the minutes she exited that taxi.

I made it a point to bump into her the next day, but had a surprised shock when I saw her coming up to me instead. I had noticed a slim figure at the corner of my eye, but couldn’t help smiling when I saw who it belonged to!

“There you are finally! Do you know that it has taken close to forever just to track you down in this maze of hospital!” She looked happy to see me, and it made my heart skip a beat. I complimented her on the beautiful saree she was wearing, leaving out that it accentuated her figure perfectly. It didn’t surprise me – she could turn mens’ heads a mile away.

She was a true beauty – like someone you could picture out of a romance novel. Long cascading jet black hair, beautifully shaped eyebrows, her big beautiful brown eyes-like that of cats and of course her prized possession, the mole to the right of her chin. She too had a cute dimple on her left cheek. I guess it was something we already had in common.

Looking at her, I knew I wanted her to be mine. Mine and mine alone for everyone to see. I’m sure even my mother would agree this time. But how? How could I in my current state??!

At that moment, something just took me over as I vaguely remember asking her out for a drink sometime. As I clenched my jaw waiting for her response, I saw rainbows as she said yes! YES!!!

Well that one word made much a different in my life. It was the beginning of a string of dates and fun times together. The best part was, we planned all together and found many common interests. She was a biologist, and fascinated me on the beauty of Mother Nature.

But in my mind, there was and always would be only one true beauty. Rekha, they called her, and she was my inspiration.

Our platonic friendship grew fast. I guess it was always destined for something more. Her touch could send chills down my spine and her smile could always make me glow. I wanted to tell her how much I ached for her, but then again would I feel right, and then again……. what about the children, and most of all …….my ill-fated wife!!!

Yes! Yes! I am married or at least in my mind I was. We had a happy life the first 10 years together, producing 2 beautiful babies along the way. Babies I cared about so, so very much. It would break my heart to see them hurt. And then there is my wife Sanjana. Sanju as I still call her was a student in my medical college. We had fallen in love instantly and passionately, too fast. But I loved her still anyway. Unfortunately, the Gods had dealt us a trump cord. Sanju, developed a brain tumour, and slowly started to lose herself. There would be days she didn’t even recognize me or her own beautiful children. Doctors’s advised us to institutionalize her, but we just couldn’t. It finally, had to be done one fateful day in August when she became violent and tried to injure herself.

From then on, I lived a life of loneliness, except for my 2 wonderful children. We visited Sanju often, but she didn’t recognise us anyway. It could make a grown man crumble to his feet.

Rekha on the other hand brought love and live back to me. It was time to move on. Somehow, I could explain it to society to leave us in out own nest of passion, so that we could have happiness in us too.

But I guess it all happened too quick. Another blow to my already ill-ridden life. Somehow, Rekha had found out I was married. She had even seen my 2 children the past week. I guess it was my fault. Honesty from the beginning should have been my policy.

She left me. Packed her bags and didn’t wait for an explanation. I had known she would take off like a bullet, but I always wished she has seen me first. All I remember now is seeing blurred visions on TV telling me flight IC 941 to Bombay had crashed. It was a mechanical problem they stated and investigations were of course underway. I recall holding the list of survivors in my hand and seeing Ms Rekha Nair’s name on it. This time she had left for good. Walked straight out of the door of my soul.

I sat sobbing in my room that night. I know it’s not a manly thing to do, but I guess I’m just human with feelings and needs. The bright light that had once shined in my soul as a candle of hope was just put out never to shine again. Maybe there was a bright side to it, I had been in love and should have been happy to have loved than not to.

Rekha……my dear Rekha, I just hope you’re looking down at me from above at this very moment and search me deeply to know how much I loved you. At least if I hadn’t given you a fast-enough chance to be my wife here on earth, I ask of you only one favour… that you look over me and my children with your gently eyes and be our guardian angel. As I know you would have taken well care of us here on earth, I know you will from above. Just know this Rekha, in my heart you already and always were a part of me…

About the Author: SUGIRTHA SR is an alumnus of the ICHS, Manipal University, Batch 0f 99. This story Won 2nd prize at the ICHS Short Story writing competition held in November 2000.

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