Stay By My Side! ( 5 )

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He stopped at a restaurant and ordered a takeaway meal of spaghetti and some French fries. He asked me but when I didn’t answer him, he took something which I always liked to have.

Patrick and I had had our share of fights. It was usually because he could not keep up the dates and dinners he planned with me, or he forgetting about me, once he entered the Firm. He would always explain that it was because of his work. He had to work up to father’s expectations and for that he was forgiven, always. He would buy me a few roses or a ring, depending on the severity of my anger.

But now more than angry, I was hurt. Was Patrick sleeping with women, while I was kept waiting? Had he been coaxing me with gifts to avoid me from suspecting his affairs? I wanted the truth. I needed it.

When we drove quite far, there was this small garden, with a wooden bench. This place was where we would always come when we wanted some peace or when we wanted to spend time with each other. When I kept my feet out of the car, I realized how cloudy it was. The wind was strong and cold. The small plants seemed to be swaying in turmoil as I was being uprooted from the roots of my love.

Patrick came around and offered his hand to help me get out. I looked at him. There was peace and calm and a strange serenity on his face. His green eyes were like a mystery to me today. I stepped out by myself. And walked away. He banged the door hard and started walking behind me.

When I reached the bench, I sat on the corner of it. Patrick got a bottle of water from within the car and washed his hands. He offered to me. I let the water cleanse my hands. Still not a word from him, not a question asked. He sat beside me on the bench. His thighs touched mine, but not love or desire filled me. It was fury and annoyance that was flaring within my body.

He opened the sealed box and handed me a spoon. He put the food in front of me, my stomach was grumbling. I hadn’t eaten since the breakfast and I knew neither had he.

I am not hungry, I said.
Eat something Anna, please, he said in a soft tone. You know I would never begin unless you take the first morsel.
That was Patrick, as always. Wouldn’t take a morsel when we dined together. He loved me so much. Why was I suspicious about him then?

I took a spoonful of spaghetti and ate it. He plunged his spoon and took a spoonful and ate as quickly. He was really hungry. We kept eating silently, spaghetti and fries. When we were done, he put it all into the polythene bag.

Suddenly he got up from the side of the bench. He came in front of me, he bent down. He was on his knees now. His ironed grey pants were getting soiled by the damp soil, but he did not care. He placed his arms on my knees, What happened Anna? What makes you so mad at me?

His eyes looked at me confusingly. His face filled with concern. His arms on my knees and his hands holding me softly at my shoulders.
Patrick, I want to know something, and you will not lie to me. How much ever pain it will cause me, you will not hide the truth. I hope I deserve this much clarity between us as man and wife.

He looked at me. Bewildered as ever. What is it that you need to know? What bothers you so much my Queen? His words sounded as genuine as they were spoken on the day we confessed about our love.

Patrick……. Tell me….. Tell my truly, why was Alice in your office? What happened last night?
He looked at me dazed. What are trying to ask Anna? Do you think I am cheating you? Do you think I would fall that vixen of a woman, or for that matter, any other woman?

My eyes were filled with tears now. I didn’t look at his face. I was scared, I would get influenced by his innocent face and deep green eyes. I looked beyond him. A question does not provide answers to my questions Patrick! You need to answer me!

He slowly withdrew his hands from my shoulder. I wanted his hold to go tighter but he loosened the grip.
You are being suspicious of me, Anna! You think I sleep with every woman who comes to meet me or I come across!

Don’t try to read my thoughts, just tell me the truth! I retorted in anger.
He stood up. His body became rigid and there was all silence around.
I am extremely saddened Anna, he said, It has hurt me more than anything that you would have doubts on me. That you would disregard my love that I have had for you since I met you! So, I do not think i should answer anything Anna. You are the judge here. After years of love that I gave you, this is my earning!

His demeanor became more cold and I was surprised that he wasn’t trying to talk it out with with me.
He bent down and kept the car keys beside me. And started walking away. I did not raise my eyes, I didn’t want to see him. His silence was adding more fuel to the fire of suspicion that had sparked within my heart and mind.

Slowly he moved out of my range, I saw his back, but he didn’t even turn once. My heart told me to call out to him, to run and catch him, to hug him and hold my heart close to his back. But his escapist behavior was proving me right. I burst into tears and just then, the skies seemed to cry with me. The clouds were unable to hold the rains like my heart was unable to bear the pain the man I loved the most, was giving me. There in the little garden, the clouds, the sky and I wept!

S.F.R.

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