Like many people, I have instances from my past that I am not very proud of. But I never let them affect my present, believing that the past ought to remain in the past itself. And I definitely did not expect my past, present and future to collide and explode in my face...
I met Avinash at a common friend's farewell dinner two years ago. We had a lot of fun relating old stories to embarrass our friend and ended up having dinner sitting next to each other. At the end of the night, we exchanged each other's numbers to keep in touch on WhatsApp. We chatted often from the privacy of our phone screens – comfortable in that phase where we were openly friendly but there was that flirtatious undertone to try and judge whether the other party was interested. We spoke about different things – work and hobbies and so on.
In a conversation about relationships, Avinash asked me about my exes. I lied. A part of me felt like we were basically strangers at that point and I did not want to divulge my personal history. More honestly, I did not want to say something that might give him the wrong impression about me. I cooked up a story that made it seem like I was this very innocent girl with just one serious college relationship that did not work out because he took up a job in a different city and I stayed on for my postgraduate studies.
The truth was that I was a wild thing in college. I don't know for sure where it came from. I was young and in a new city, away from my small town and strict family. I got caught up in the attention and began sleeping around. I knew I was called the 'S' word but I did not care. Looking back, I did not even enjoy the hook-ups, and after I graduated, I naturally mellowed down and moved past all that.
I had not lied about that serious relationship though. There was a guy – Darpan - who really, really liked me for some reason, and we were in a relationship during the last semester of college. But during one weekend binge party, I ended up sleeping with someone else. He found out and was devastated. He went into full Devdas mode and almost flunked, and I still cannot think of him without a massive sense of shame.
When I lied to Avinash, I briefly thought of Darpan, shoved that thought aside in my memory box and locked it up. Avinash and I grew closer. We began to hang out on weekends and soon we were an inseparable couple. He was not perfect but he could make me laugh at any point and I knew I could count on him no matter what. There was no grand proposal but we both knew this was it and we were going to get married.
Everything changed one night. Avinash had gone out with a group of friends and ended up meeting some of my college batchmates. Apparently, Avinash mentioned my name and the guys there blurted out my past like it was a joke. I guess it was not malicious and meant to be this nostalgic story from the past, but Avinash was shaken.
He came to see me that night and asked me upfront whether I had lied to him. My knees shook. I confessed but begged him to understand that what happened was in the past and I truly loved him. I was sobbing in front of the gate of my house and Avinash was also tearing up.
He said he needed time to think and left. I sent him lots of messages. After almost two days, he replied that it was not my past but my lies that bothered him. He did not know if he could trust me to be honest with him and he did not want someone he could not trust as his life partner.
Our common friend at whose dinner we first met tried to talk to him but Avinash did not budge. I was completely shattered. I wondered whether this was karma. My friends told me to give up on Avinash, that I was better off without a guy who judged my sexual history. I knew it was not that, but nonetheless I erased his number from my phone to keep myself from messaging him.
After two months, he called me. He told me he missed me terribly and wanted to give our relationship another go.
It's been a couple of months since then. I don't want to jinx it and say we have made it, that we have moved past what happened. But we no longer take each other or our relationship for granted and I think that might have made our relationship even stronger.
* Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Jun 20, 2016