Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Monologues Are a One Way Street - 2

(I wrote the sequel to the story last week, here. Because sometimes endings are easier to get to, than the start)


I'm not entirely sure when she found out or how. I was obsessed with knowing though.
As if the mechanics of her discovery would help me roll back what was an unravelled ball of wool now.

To her I lied straight off the bat.

Even before I knew how much she'd found out or through whom, I flew into a valiant, indignant denial and complete refusal of the whole thing. 
If I remember correctly now, I sent her a raging email giving her a detailed version of what I wanted her to believe happened.

It wasn't the first time I'd been found out.

By her, or the other women I now refer to as my exes. 
The drill each time was fairly simple: lie and get really, really angry when they questioned or cried. Your outrage, indignation and anger will make them second guess what they knew. 
If you pulled this off well enough, she'd be willing to believe the half version of truth you were giving her. 
That’s the thing about sadness, when your world is coming undone you’re willing to believe even a ludicrous tale if that means regaining some semblance of control and happiness. I do believe that’s how people invented magic. 

Of course, all of this depended on how much she knew and through whom- I considered this the heat switch which tempered the intensity of my answers.

Some nights, many, many years later I will wonder how things would've turned out had I just come clean. Had I sat her down and explained to her, carefully, that even what she knew and found out was a tiny detail in all that had actually happened. Maybe the truth really would have set us free. But thinking of that now was too exhausting and required me to follow a script I'd never really written.

I'm not sure when the women started to overlap.

I was certain though that each time there was a reason to not call it “cheating”. One time, my girlfriend (at the time) and I were almost breaking up. The other time I did everything but sleep with the other girl. Hooking up with an ex-girlfriend while seeing someone new doesn't count. Neither does flirting and going out for a hot-dog at 2am with someone new while you text your girlfriend goodnight and tell her how madly you’re in love with her .

I could tell you all the stories before this one, or just how this specific one came to light. They blur and almost read the same anyway, so for now let's stick to what had just been found out.

It was mostly around her demanding how I could do “this”.

Unsure what or how many stories comprised of “this” -I feigned ignorance, racked my memory for links of how she could have known while reminding her that baselessly accusing me made her a small, and if I recall my genius words at that heated moment, “ narrow minded, cheap, disgusting person”.

What was laughable was that the affair had ended many, many months ago and she only just found out. It wasn't even my latest or most recent 'indulgence'. 
Forget karma, for me timing was the real bitch.
The girl, my fiancée was so torn up about, was now happily married and living in a different city.

This was something I'd gotten away with and we'd been through so much after that. 
So much better, and so much worse, and yet.
And yet.

You want to know how it started?

Exactly like the ones before this did. That's what gets to me-- people still cheat in those same four or five ways, and yet each time they're found out there’s always horror, sadness and shock. You’d think we’d have emotionally evolved beyond that.

I met her at work. We were friends, until the day we weren't. I wasn't in love with her or madly attracted to her. I just needed new ‘attention’ and lets admit it, action.
There were no sudden moves. I needed to be completely sure. So we just hung out, flirted, while I waited for this girl to trust me.

Now before you assume that I'm some cold hearted predator, know that my moves are nothing more than a series of simple steps that have been perfected over the years and by now are just a stimulus response. I'm not consciously devoid of feeling, but I know when I'm hunting and I know just what to do. It’s primal. It’s who I become between one girls bed and anothers.

I'd tell my fiancée I had to spend time with my parents while I was over at my new friends place. We didn't do much the girl from my office and I, the first few times. I would stay up talking to her, at her apartment where she lived alone, sometimes till 2 am and then leave suddenly telling her it was late. This routine had always worked for me, because the girl knows you’re not waiting to be alone/ drunk with her. That you really care. In any case, unlike other men who make a move the minute they get a chance, this way you steer clear of rejection and jumping to mistaken conclusions.

What followed was what always does. Days of hanging out, getting to know my office colleague, in more ways than one. Fantastic sex. Isn't it always? Telling her how amazing she was, and watching her slowly fall in love with me.

I was still a great boyfriend to my fiancée. I never let her find out. I loved her. To ensure that it wasn't really “cheating” , I didn't even act out of guilt. If someone had told her then that I was cheating, she’d have laugh at them. 
One day while driving to somewhere (now it seems that all we ever did was drive from one place to another), I cupped her face between my hands, looked into her eyes and told her to never, ever worry about another woman because if I ever cheated on her she would never find out. 
She laughed and told me that this was the strangest reassurance she’d gotten. But I’d meant it and what else could be a greater testimony of my love?

The other girl eventually wanted me to “take things forward”. I never understood this about women. I wanted to tell her, that “things” had ended in my head long ago. So I weaned myself off her- calculated, simple steps also practiced over the years.

And now here we were, so many months later.

My fiancee wanting to know how I could do “this”.
A broken heart is always followed by questions. More than from pain and sadness, I want to protect people from their own questions. 
I wanted to tell her that I could never answer her questions honestly, not even to myself. Especially not while I was sober and still surrounded by shiny, sparkling, different women. I wanted to hold her and tell her that my answers would never help her leave. That the way out, was simply straight out

Why did you hurt me?

Did my love not stop you? Did you even love me?

Did you think of me, even once?


God! I was so stupid

But, weren't we happy then? Everything was fine. Listen, this was that time around my birthday, we were happy. Don’t you remember?

Wait. was this the time I was really ill and in bed for two weeks?

Did it mean nothing? The 7 years together?

Oh god, I was so stupid.

How many others were there? There must’ve been more.

Did you come back to me after spending the night at her apartment?


What do you even mean it wasn’t about me?

Do you have any idea how hurt I am?

What do you mean you love me? Do you even know how that works?

Many years later I will wonder how it would have turned out had I come clean.

Told her I loved her. Perhaps only in my small, selfish, mangled way but shouldn't it still count? 
I wanted to convince her that despite the many, many other women it was her I wanted to marry. 
I wanted to honestly tell her that no one had ever loved me as much as she had and if she left, despite our problems, my life would never be the same again. 
I wanted to repeat the words “I love you” to her the exact number of times it would take to erase everything else I could have said and should have said and done.

But I will think about these things years later, right now I don't know what telling someone the truth looks like. That it looks small, scared and clean. The truth is like a freshly laundered, new-born baby;  tiny, raw- pink and chafing so viciously at the flesh from all the scrubbing that no one can stand to really look at it without making it put a small sweater or even a sock on. So I said nothing at all.

Except to myself: Different is good. Different is new. Different is all I’ve ever had.

                                   (Secret messages on a wall in Greenwich, New York)

1 comment:

  1. ¡Qué maravilloso!
    Beautifully and powerfully written...

    You most definitely have a way with the verbal form that I vibe with immensely; will be checking out more of your writings...! (great blog name as well!)

    This piece, in particular, struck some interesting chords on a scale that I've been hearing in my mind a lot but not giving enough airtime.

    I ran across this 'randomly' as I was checking out some things in my own writings (regarding the multidimensional nature of truth)... however, it's got my consciousness moving into a new direction for the time being, one that is important but challenging.

    I appreciate the sharing of your writing and give gratitude for providing fuel and inspiration in my current alchemies! Best wishes in your writing and other pursuits!

    Most likely someone else, but slight chance, you're somebody I had met at a birthday party in Delhi some months back. I do remember meeting a Kakul who was moving to New York...I was deep in the presence of sacred herbs. Either way, best wishes!