Flattered and flustered, Yuri found a spring to her step and a leap in her heart. A faint smile enveloped her face and smoothened the creases in her forehead that has become constant now. She cried a lot the day before contemplating the futility of her life. When we get hit by disappointments, we often visit dark places in our minds otherwise tucked away safely. She went there a few times but came back again as the faces of her parents stared at her with loving hearts. Her eyes were red this morning, and her dark circles more visible in her beautiful, radiant face! She had howled at all the broken expectations and imagined every possible tragedy that will befall her in the future! Yes, we do that often! When we are miserable, we cook up stories in our minds and break down sure that a lot of misfortunes await us in the future.
Yuri slept little these days. Sleep came late to her at night, and she couldn’t help but wake up early in the morning to attend her meetings. She hardly talked to her husband now in the mornings. By the time she gets ready, he already leaves for the day! She couldn’t even remember the last time they had breakfast together. She was upset for a few months hoping to go back to those days when she woke up to his smiling face. He always embraced her tight and refused to let her go. Giggles and laughter filled the entire bedroom! They cooked breakfast together, ate together, and he often dropped her at her office! But these days are long gone! A part of her heart has got numb, and she deliberately tries to avoid conversations now.
That morning while she was getting her coffee ready, she got a message from an unknown number. She ignored it as she was already late and was in a hurry to attend an important meeting. As she entered her cubicle and opened her sunglasses, her colleague stared at her noticing her swollen red eyes! She looked at her questioningly, and Yuri smiled.
“I need to run. I will tell you later”, Yuri said to her colleague Angel, who was also a close friend. Angel smiled and nodded, and as Yuri walked away, a gloom enveloped her face, for she could sense what might have happened!
The meeting went well, and a sense of satisfaction and pride-filled her, getting applauded for all the hard work she had put in the last couple of weeks. She was in charge of executing a project. She led her team well to complete it and put forward excellent results.
Before going back to her seat, she craved another cup of coffee and walked up the stairs to the cafeteria. She avoided taking the lift when it was just a floor away. Sitting down at her usual corner, she looked out of the window at the lake looking magnificent. All that pride and the sense of achievement melted away as the thoughts rushed back to her. She took out her phone to check if there was any phone call. Not a single missed call, just a few messages!
“Hi, Yuri. Hope you are doing good! I am Tae Kim from Ascent school. I got your number from Ishan last week. So thought of reconnecting.” Read the message from the unknown number.
A smile came across her face as she saw the name. That name had vanished in her memories but now came tumbling back. A tall, lanky boy with straight black hair and round glasses always eager to help her around as she was the head girl of her school! He was available most of the time to run errands for her. Be it putting up notices in the school hall or helping her arrange for school functions. His soothing, exquisite voice felt so vivid on that winter morning. She liked him a lot as someone younger than her. She knew his adoration for her and his admiration. And she always ensured to be kind to him as everyone in the school knew about his difficult life at home! He was two years junior to her and an intelligent boy. He was loved by all for his sincerity and his charming demeanor! She wanted to know more about him. She only had pleasant memories as far as she could remember.
She immediately answered. “Hey! So nice to hear from you. Yes, I do remember you! What are you doing these days? We should talk!”.
In an instant, she got a reply.
“Nice to hear back! I was wondering if you would remember me. I work in a software company as a developer and basking in my boring life. Do let me know a good time to talk”.
There were a lot of emojis. It felt good to reconnect to someone from a part of her life that would always remain so special. She meant a lot to many in her life then. She was admired, envied, girls always trying to be like her. Not only was she good in studies she had a charm from which anyone could hardly escape.
“I will call you after work”, she wrote back.
Angel was waiting for her back in the cubicle with a heavy heart, concerned and eager to know what happened! Yuri was exhausted. She did not have the energy anymore to go through what happened again! These thoughts are constant, weighing her down every second of her life; completing emitting the vibrant girl she was! She remembered how she was scolded for being too loud, too happy! And now she stood here walking down the steps trying to paint her face with a fake smile. The correct life partner can help you reach the heights of existence while the one so wrong for you will pull you down, wiping out your entire identity!
Yuri smiled, “Hey, the project was a success! Let’s go out this weekend. I so need to rewind!”
Her eyes spoke another story but the excitement in her voice deterred Angel from probing more, nodding to accompany her. Angel was one of those people who respected your privacy and would stand by you, loyal to the T. She was sorted, clear about what she wanted, and came across as a little rude when you meet her for the first time. But first appearances have been known to be deceptive since time existed! People who might appear as the sweetest with honey-laden tongues are capable of inflicting the worst damage. With a resting bitch face, Angel had a heart so vast, it would bleed for all the people she cared for! She was just cautious about new people as she had encountered and faced a lot in her life.
After a hectic period, Yuri sat on her desk with little work to do. She loved to work, she loved her career, her sincerity earning her accolades along the way. As she sat there staring at her laptop with little to do, all those old memories came back to her. She remembered the white two-storeyed building with never-ending corridors and a courtyard so vast that even when the entire school stood there, there was still enough room! The surrounding was green, the air so fresh, and during spring, flowers bloomed around the huge walls. And those flowers many times found its place on school desks; boys and girls professing their love for someone they admired. And then they would be teased incessantly bringing them to the verge of tears.
Those teenage years! Filled with warm emotions, new feelings, and heartaches so deep! Little do we know then that heartaches are even worse later! Her heart longed for those days as she sat there staring at the screen. She was filled with overwhelming emotion, so deep that she was on the verge of tears all the time. Her relationship was intense, nothing short of a romance novel! But where did that spark go? How could it vanish? She had been married for four years now, and now no attachment was left. Her lips quivered as she tried to hold back her tears. Her parents were against the match as she belonged to a different country, a different race, and different religion. But they were so adamant, ready to face any obstacles that would come their way! It all felt so silly to her now. Sri tells her that love doesn’t always mean holding hands, having sex, or eating out. It also means a lot when you care! But when did he care now! She was invisible to him! He wouldn’t think twice before opening his mouth and throw words at her so hurtful that it smashed her heart in pieces. It has broken into so many pieces that it is difficult to mend now. She had been contemplating divorce for some time now but the effort she put into the relationship holds her back! If she gave up now, all that would be for nothing!
All those memories made her heart feel fuzzy! And she felt like revisiting old days.
Still thinking about how to start the conversation, Yuri dialed Tae’s number. She had a smile on her face yet her heart raced, and she didn’t know why. A sense of disappointment enveloped her as the call went unanswered. She was looking forward to this conversation. Putting her phone down, she went for a shower. Crying in the shower had become very common for Yuri these days. Washing her tears away was becoming more frequent. They fought so much these days and she knew they fought because they are finding it difficult to tolerate each other. He doesn’t like her ways and she is fed up with all the criticism. She doesn’t want kids now but he is stubborn about having children. He wants to move to a new city where he feels there would be more growth for him but Yuri is satisfied with the work here, and she wants to grow. They are on different planes, their goals colliding against each other, and the thing that hurt her the most was the fact that he hardly cared about her career, her feelings, and her opinions. Her life should revolve around him, and she is the one to make all the sacrifices, he always argued. She was earning less than him, so he didn’t see wrong in sacrificing her work for their future. But Yuri had worked hard to reach where she was now! And for someone to belittle her work and her efforts hurt her the most!
She had mentioned separation a few times, but his answer was always the same. “Why now? After we have gone through so much together?” and she would stay.
Embarrassment rocked her from head to toe when those incidents came trickling into her memory when he laid his hand on her. The first time he did it, she was shocked. She locked herself in a room and refused to budge. He cried outside her door, begging for forgiveness, and threatened to commit suicide if she left him. Then she was madly in love, and a few apologies and a few threats pulled her back into the relationship. But the realization did dawn upon her that he was not a nice person. She had fallen in love with a person so wrong! The second time it happened, she left and stayed over at a friend’s house for a couple of days. But he found her! He cried again, begging her to come back. This time he also let her how she was at fault for making him so angry that he took that drastic step. Deep in her heart, she knew she was wrong! But she also knew that a slap was not what she deserved, but she came back again! The thought that she would be broken and shattered without him brought her back which she now regrets every day! The slaps and the kicks stopped but then started the verbal abuse! Many times she blamed herself for putting him in these situations, later realizing that she was trapped in a toxic relationship. But there was pride and ego! Marrying against everyone, portraying a perfect life on social media, and then breaking everything up in an instant and entering into a new world scared her, and she stayed. But she lost love, and she lost respect! But now she knew she had to escape! It is not the way to survive! She was worth more than what he made her feel!