“Baby, I am sorry, it’s going be a long night” - the nth excuse that week had me super pissed off! I knew he was doing it, I knew there was someone else. I was sure thanks to the table reservation phone call for two, which to my beloved boyfriends hard luck, I happened to have answered on his phone. The poolside table at The Olive Bistro (my favourite) was booked on the day of my boss’s send-off dinner which I was organizing. My boyfriend had always teased me saying “It’s quite crappy and not my kinda place!” - and suddenly it became what? Not crappy?
Recently, a LOT seemed to have changed about him. He would walk out of the apartment smiling on the phone, on the pretext of a jog, and not come back for hours; grin while texting...and he had the nerve to ask ME what sweeps young girls off their feet on first dates! When I asked him why he wanted to know, he said “Karan wants to take a chick out and wants a second opinion.” Karan was his younger brother - in high school - so obviously I didn’t believe him. The worst and most embarrassing was when Mrs. Arora from next door saw him sneak this 21-ish young girl into our apartment while I was in office, but thankfully promptly let me know. Boyfriends sure take us to be pretty dumb sometimes and assume that these meaningless flings can be enjoyed and flung out without having to take any heat for it. But I was not willing to have the most earth-shattering experience of being cheated on for the second time!
When I’d been cheated on by my boyfriend way back in school, the blow had been cushioned owing to my sister-like best friend being there for me and to hug me while I cried through the night wondering 'Why?!' It had devastated me, leaving me feeling bitter towards most things in life - and I’d only got through it because of my bestie. But now my bestie was happily married and 6 months pregnant and sitting in America - hence this time the distressed damsel would have to pretty much deal with it on her own. I tried hard to gather courage to confront him, so I decided to play along. I wanted to catch him red-handed with her, so that no one was left with any doubt about what a douche he really was .
I was not being able to give the required attention to the send-off dinner organizing that I was supposed to be doing - Mr Khanna had been quite the mentor for our team, and would not be very pleased at the lukewarm send-off. I had leapt at the opportunity to organize the dinner as Mr Khanna's exit was going to make way for appraisals and promotions and it was about time for years of hard work to pay off! And now because of my jackass boyfriend, I wasn’t being able to do justice to that!
On Saturday, I left the apartment at 7:45 pm .As it happened, both the events were scheduled for the same time - 8:30 pm .So I called my friend from work and lied about having to urgently meet someone at The Bistro pre-dinner. I wanted to get done with the whirlwind of the unpleasant brouhaha that I was heading towards first.
I entered the restaurant with sweating palms and a pounding heart . There he was -the bastard was waiting for her, presumably she was late. To add to the drama, he had his back towards the main entrance and did not see me coming. Within my determined and strong facade was a heartbroken girl who took tiny timid steps towards that table. As I placed my hand on his shoulder, he turned around with a jerk. My face was red with anger, but he said, “Where's the treat, New Senior Analyst?” To my surprise, his face lit up with a wide smile at the sight of me. And then he got up from his chair, lifted me up in a tight hug and kissed me. I was shocked. And then out, sprang my colleagues, singing the clichéd “Congratulations and celebrations” song, along with Mr Khanna, who looked the happiest.
My boyfriend had apparently found out about my promotion weeks ago (thanks to a friend of his who worked in the HR department at my company), and had been working on this celebration since. Making use of his persuasive charms, he’d invited my colleagues to be a part of it. Talks made the rounds that I had the “best boyfriend in the world”.
My eyes filled with tears of shame and happiness - both together. He took both my hands and looked into my eyes. He knew me very well and had figured out the story I must have “over-smartly” constructed in my head. He slowly whispered in my ear: “He's gone, I am the one.” Tears rolled down my face as, with a grin on my face, for the very first time since that high-school disaster, I felt secure, assured, calm and happy.
That's when I realized that the bitch was no other than the one inside me. The bitch called cynicism. My life had been so excessively governed by bitter and negative pre-conceived notions and assumptions that I had given myself no space for trust and positivity. Everyone is not the same. I accepted at that moment that if one person slashes your life to the ashes, another other might bring you back to life - and heartbreak is an integral part of life and everyone goes through it. So don't let eavesdropping neighbours feed you gossip that can affect your relationship with the one who loves you... You should be trusting that person more than anyone else!
* Names have been changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Nov 24, 2015