When my daughter, all of 19 and heartbroken spent a weekend sulking in her room and not eating, My husband who had bitten not only nails but also almost all of his fingers urged me to go in and check on her.... He had never approved of boyfriends, but I was the liberal one in the house. "She is 18 now" I had said " She needs to learn to take the right decisions now, If you ask her not to do it , she will still do it , but on sly ....." He had nodded sadly forgetting the fact that he was once 18 too. Like all dads he hated to see his darling daughter grow up.
Now he held me responsible for her state .... convincing him otherwise ( but failing in it) , I went upstairs to her room where she lay in the middle of a mess she calls a room. Some toys were strewn around , some snaps torn and thrown in the dustbin , well, in short the room of a recently disillusioned lady.
She saw me, the child she was, she could not hold back her tears,she held me tight (or was it me who held her tight?? i dont know) her face in my bosom and let out her inner most secrets to me ... the endless days of gazing into each other's eyes, the lazy afternoons where she shared her icecreams with him etc etc .....all the time her dad stood at the door shaking his head , getting sadder by the minute .. was it beacuse of time wasted, money wasted or her duaghter's tears wasted , I did not know .. maybe it was beacuse of all the above, supressing a smile , i turned back to the task at hand.
"Mom" said she,with a tearful face, "I will never love again, I can never have a marriage as happy as yours , I will never look at men again" , the tragic innocence of the life's first rejection was evident in those beautiful eyes.
No amount of persuasions, no promises, no philosophy or rhetoric helped.
Sighing painfully, I knew it was time for a confession.
I told her about my first love , I had imagined myself to be in love at 17 .... to my daughter, that was impossible , to her I had always been a middle aged woman . Giving her the time to overcome her shock .. I smiled and went forth with my confession. I told her about our secret meetings after college, our stolen kisses ( which were a definete taboo then , now you can see anyone and everyone kissing around); the combined "study" that we did, I remembered everything, my first love/infatuation ( call it whatever) was etched deep in my mind .. the first rose, the first handshake, the first blush, the first monsoon, Oh so many firsts !!!
I told her we had broken up too ....it was painful very painful, not when we broke up , because I believed he was only ineterfering in my studies and my life , he was dominating and overbearing among several other things.After he left and we went our ways did I know the depth of my feelings for him ... I spent years pining for him.
My daughter, now engrossed .... speechless that her "perfect" mother had a past too .. to her I was a serious doctor, someone who bore no nonsense from anyone, a very strict task master.
My husband too had a shade of colour on his face I could place niether on fury and jealousy nor on embarrasment ... but I had to go on, for I was telling this for my daughter , If anything could ease her pain , this could, no - ONLY this could , time as a healer would step in next.
I told her that when I met my husband , I did search for signs of my boyfriend in him , seeing none ... I was almost not interested in him ...
"And Today" I ended " We are a happily married couple , I doubt I would ever have such wonderful kids if I were to marry anyone else," "Today" Said I "Im the most happiest person on earth ; and this is possible only if you let go of the past"
This and some more pacifications from me made her eat her food , ( I'd cooked her fav dishes) and get to bed with a smile.
It was soon the time to get back to bed and I dreaded the very moment ... what would he say after a 25 year marriage? How would he react? How was I supposed to react? These and many other questions raced through my mind as I got ready to get to bed.
There he was , unlike his usual manner, he wasnt reading a book, he wasnt undressed either... I treaded into the emotional arena carefully ... and the first question I faced was "Why did you lie?" as I stood there as dumb as a doll, he came over
"Why the half truth? Why did you lie?"
"She has the right to know the rest of the story as well, about us ...." his voice grew fainter with every word.
I feared his reaction , we had never spoken about our teenages ... we had vowed to never discuss our previous life with anyone , even ourselves...and just when I was about to answer
An immediate jerk of his head , a mischevious smile in his eyes " Was I really so dominating? I thought I was cute when I was younger!!"
And yet again the seroious version of my husband ... "Why didnt you tell her that we met again? Why did you make it seem as though there are two men?"
Oh well, two can play at this game, it was my turn to be mischevious now
"Well, It definetly is two versions of you ..."
A serious me now .. "But why arent you undressed?"
"Cos The Barons offers Candle light dinners for oldies who have had a second time lucky card up their sleeve ".."Oh and yes ... they dont mind if you have already eaten dinner either"