I was standing at the entrance of the hall and she stood right there in the far corner. She looked stunning in that dazzling maroon dress. Her hair tied in a neat bun and few strands left loosely to fall on either side of her cheeks, just made her look fascinating. She was busy talking to some guests. I never found her so happy and lively.
Tara, the girl I loved the most, invited me to her parents’ wedding anniversary. The party was pretty nice and Tara seemed to be flying in the party from one place to another, greeting all the guests she knew. The way she carried herself made her look extremely confident and elegant. Soon she spotted me and gestured to me to come towards her. Captivated by her beauty, as always, my legs took me to her.
“Wow, you are late again. I had asked you to come early. You have no idea how boring it is to entertain all the guests,” she said while fixing my hair.
“Really, you were bored? I thought you were enjoying meeting people.”
“Of course, I do enjoy meeting people. But answering their same annoying question, is so boring,” she said while rolling her eyes. I smiled at her innocence. She was always a kid at heart.
“Now that you have come, let’s go and talk in the fresh air,” she said, nearly dragging me out of the party.
“Hey! Hang on,” I stopped her.
“What is it Tara? Why are we going out? Moreover, I forgot to…”.
“Let us just tell our parents about us and our relationship,” she said without letting me complete my sentence.
“But why?” I don’t know what made me ask this. Maybe I didn’t expect her to say so.
“What? Is that all you have to say?” she said. It seemed as if she had numerous questions on her mind.
“We have been dating each other for over two years and now I think we should tell our parents. You see, my relatives and family members have started asking about my marriage plans.”
“But isn’t it too early? I mean we don’t know how our parents may react when they come to know about us.”
Soon we started arguing and it seemed as if the atmosphere was choking us. I turned my back towards Tara and leaned against a wall and stared at the sky. I don’t know when Tara went downstairs while I stared at the sky. When I returned to the party, I couldn’t find her at first. Soon I spotted her but this time she didn’t seem to be lively. Though she smiled at the guests, I knew she was upset. Maybe she was hurt.
I came back from the party and changed into my night suit. I tried sleeping but I couldn’t. Sleep seemed to be far away as my mind was full of thoughts and questions. Lots of ifs and buts were racing on in my mind. I did love Tara and wanted to be with her but I never saw the question of getting married coming so early. We were barely 24-25 years old. Moreover, I doubted if my parents would agree to this relationship.
After a few days, I convinced Tara to meet me at our usual meeting place. After ignoring my calls and messages, she finally agreed to meet me. She came and waved her hand at me. I asked her to sit.
In no time, we were again arguing. Eventually, I gave up and Tara decided that we will first talk to our respective parents. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy thing. Still, I tried talking to my parents at dinner. Initially, I began talking in a subtle manner until my parents broke the news of fixing my marriage with someone else. I was taken aback.
“What on the earth would I answer Tara?” Silently, I asked myself.
My parents were busy praising the person they fixed my marriage with. They talked about how good the family is and how happy they were after going through my profile. I tried telling about Tara to my family but don’t know what made me go silent. The happiness and pride on their faces stopped me from saying anything about the girl I loved.
I somehow finished the dinner and went straight to my bedroom. I felt a heavy weight on my chest and so I drank water as if I had been thirsty for weeks.
The next day, Tara asked me if I was getting married to someone else as my parents had already informed her family. At times, being neighbours is so frustrating.
I couldn’t say anything. I just tried my best not to look into her eyes. She then grabbed my hand and took me to the backyard of her house.
“Will you be happy after marrying someone else?”
I was still silent.
“I know you won’t be happy. Why are you doing this? Just deny getting married. Ask your parents to give you some time.”
“Tara, I have never seen my parents so happy. I just can’t say a ‘no’.”
“And what about your happiness? What about us? Have you forgotten the moments we had?”
“Tara, I would like you to pretend if there was anything between us. Let’s just accept that we aren’t meant for each other.”
Tara stood there in silence, shedding tears. Soon I walked out of her backyard leaving her alone and heartbroken.
In a few months, wedding preparations began. Invitation cards were printed and distributed. My mother was busy doing all the shoppings with my aunts and cousins. Dad seemed to be too proud to have fixed this marriage. He couldn’t have been happier.
Soon, I was getting married. Tara did come to my wedding. Probably because her mother insisted her to come. I was smiling and enjoying the things going around, maybe because I had learned how to fake my emotions. For once, my eyes met Tara’s. She smiled at me but I knew she was faking it just like I did. She even came and greeted my spouse. The three of us got a photograph clicked as well.
After the wedding I shifted to some other city with my spouse while Tara went abroad to pursue her dream course. I accepted my married life and tried my best to make my marriage a made-for-each-other one.
It’s been four years since I got married. Last week I came back to my hometown to visit my parents and spend a holiday with my family. Today, after seeing Tara on her terrace, I was reminded of the relationship I had with her. No, it isn’t that I forgot her. But today I admitted that in these four years, I have never been happy. Not even for a single day. My happiness was Tara and I let her go.
Now lying next to my husband, who is fast asleep, I accept that I could have tried telling my parents that I was in love with Tara. I feared their reactions upon knowing that their daughter was not straight. I gave up easily on love and for that, I hate myself more than anyone would do.
Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.