Cheating on your boyfriend is considered a cardinal sin in the dating and relationships world, so I have been a bit hesitant about writing this story. Can I bare my soul to the reader and still hope to be respected? I don’t know. But writers like me have come and gone, written and been shamed in their lives, so I say why not? I am probably thinking of Jo March, the heroine of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, when I say this. Though would it be fair to say that Jo cheated on her on-and-off boyfriend, Laurie? Again, who knows? I will leave it up to you, my dear reader, to judge…
I met my boyfriend when he was writing poetry. Funny thing, isn’t it? A poet’s world is full of passion and heartbreak and other emotions of unrequited love, and our love story began with enough flavour of all of these. He had just broken some girl’s heart, and I also just had had my heart broken by someone else. Maybe I was looking to break another one in return…
I think we actually fell in love the long weekend we went out camping in the caves. Desperate to get away from the world, and spend some time alone with each other, we decided to roll up our sleeping bags and travel in the countryside of this beautiful country. It was the beginning of summer- maybe late March or early April- and the fields were just being harvested. Everything outside looked yellow and light green and pretty bare. We kissed and made love as we camped under the stars, and we swore that we would look out for each other till the end of time. It was the happiest time of my life - to love and to be loved.
Some months later, even as my poetic relationship blossomed, I was having coffee with Karan, who was an old friend I knew from school days.
“So how’s your love life?,” he happened to ask, among other things.
“Decent. Thejas and I are hitting off great with each other.” (Thejas was my poet’s name). “How’s yours?,” I asked him.
“Bad. My girlfriend and I just broke up.”
“Oh no! What happened?”, I asked. I knew he and his girlfriend had been dating seriously for a couple of years now and he must be crushed about this breakup.
“Well, I don’t know- basically she grew more and more distant over the past some months, and then whenever I asked her about it, she’d be like, I worry too much…And so we began seeing less and less of each other, and then we had all these fights…”
“Yeah...and then one day, we just didn’t see each other anymore. I found out later that she was going out with this other guy.”
“And who’s that?”
“Someone she knows from work,” said Karan. And he looked so crushed in that moment that my heart absolutely went out to him. I knew this relationship had meant a lot to him. I squeezed his hand in a gesture of sympathy and he squeezed it back. But then, we never took our hands away and just let them stay there, holding each other, fiddling with each others’ fingers. I knew in that moment, something between us had changed…
How long had I known Karan? Twelve, or even fifteen years, maybe...And I guess we had been through a lot together- growing up, sharing our little pains, joys and successes…
“Do you want to go someplace else?,” he asked me.
“Sure.” I guess I knew what was on his mind, but I also was thinking about his loneliness, and the fact that he had nobody else really who he could share this with. A breakup from a long-term relationship can often leave a glaring vacuum in one’s life. For him, it was one of those times.
So we went to his place, and talked - about his relationship, what he thought about his girlfriend (there was little anger, and much sadness), and about old times, and we kissed.
“How long have we known each other?,” he asked me then.
“Many years, I guess…” I replied.
“Well, then maybe something as trivial as sex should not change things between us…”
Trivial? I thought. Is sex really that trivial? Does one not get to know another person in a very specific way when their bodies meet in the intimate way sex allows for?
But I didn’t say it out loud because his need seemed more important- his need to be comforted...And I knew that for the moment, sex would comfort him. Inconsequential sex. Not sex leading up to something like a relationship. But sex which is simple comfort borne out of the warmth of touch, and the bodily closeness of an old friend. It was thus that we spent the night together. I couldn’t help him battle his personal challenges, or relationship troubles...but maybe momentary peace borne out of casual sex would be sufficient in my role as a friend.
When I later thought of this encounter with Karan, I wondered whether I should tell my boyfriend about it. But like I said, it’s a funny thing, isn’t it?...Because when I came to actually think of it, sex with Karan seemed so irrelevant to my relationship with Thejas. Telling him I slept with Karan would be like telling him that I woke up and took a shower this morning. Like, what’s the point? Trivial, trivial...That word kept coming back to my head. How trivial are our lives, our relationships, our connections, our thoughts, in the larger scheme of the universe...How trivial is sex…? That’s a fun question.
So now that I’ve told you my amazingly “immoral” story, feel free to judge me, dear reader, as you will and as you must - for how are we to forge our relationship if we do not hold opinions about each other? ;) But remember while you pass your judgment, that life is full surprises and you never know when you might be on the other side of the jury table...when you might be in the same set of circumstances as me...And think, how would you choose then?