“How are you?”, he asked and a violent chill spread over my skin.
How was I? I didn’t know. I was trying pretty hard not to think or feel after all.
“Dev”, I sobbed and that one word held all that I could ever feel.
“I am sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted at you, shouldn’t have handled the news the way I did. I should’ve tried harder, should’ve planned something to persuade you to choose me. I’m sorry I wasn’t enough, for you, for your family. I am sorry”
A gut wrenching pain enveloped me then. Is that what he thought? That he wasn’t enough?
He was the most wholesome man I had ever met and I had single-handedly destroyed his sense of worth. I had made him feel less and I hated myself for it.
“No, that’s not true. You were enough. You are enough. You are more than enough. Dev, you were the best thing that ever happened to me and I love you with everything I have”
“Yet you still married someone else”, he said and in that moment I realized how he must have felt when it seemed I chose some stranger over him. Some stranger over the man I had declared my love to.
Had the roles been reversed, I would have been devastated. I would have lost all sense of me. Frankly, I wouldn’t even have wanted to live.
To lose someone you love is hard, but to lose them to a total stranger was harder.
It wasn’t just painful or devastating, it was humiliating.
I could hardly understand the extent of my pain, how could I even begin to understand his?
“I am sorry”, I sobbed, “I didn’t want to but I had to”
“Why?”, he asked, his voice cracking harshly.
Why? Why? How do I tell him that my parents lied? That they essentially traded me for some crappy deal? That when they said it was life and death, they really just meant money?
How do I tell him that what we had was murdered for some deal?
How do I tell him how much of a fool I was to listen to my parents and not run away with him?
I couldn’t so I stayed silent. Praying that he would let it go; be the bigger person he always was and understand that I can’t talk about it. I couldn’t even think about it.
“Why, Rex, why?”, he asked again and I broke down.
I had never been good at keeping secrets from Dev. I could hide from everyone; lie to everyone, but not him. Never him.
An ugly sob escaped my lips and everything else followed. I told him everything. The wedding, the note, the scary woken nightmare, and how I was busying myself with useless things to find an iota of sanity, to function properly.
“Rex”, he cried and that one word held all the promises he now couldn’t make, all the words he now couldn’t speak and all the memories that couldn’t be recreated.
“I miss you, so much”, I cried and gripped my phone tight. The physical evidence of his voice was giving me a sense of comfort. With my phone tight in my hands, I could imagine I was with him. I could imagine I was still his.
“I lo… I miss you too. I wish things were different”
“Me too. Me too”, I wiped the tears from my cheek, “And I am sorry for not being yours. I am sorry for breaking all our promises of being together forever. I am sorry for hurting you when I should have been loving you”
“I’m sorry I let this happen to us”
“It wasn’t your fault”, s I heard his silent cries and felt his excruciating pain, I decided that I would have to be strong.
He was a great person and he deserved to live a life of happiness. He deserved to love someone and be with them. He deserved to be a father and help grow gentle, strong and beautiful babies.
Forget what he deserves, the world deserved Dev’s sunshine. The world deserved to hold masterpieces such as him. I couldn’t take that away from them.
So with a heavyweight on my heart, I gulped the bullet in my throat and asked, “Can you promise me something?”
My heart fluttered, and then clenched painfully, he would no longer be mine. I would no longer be his.
It was decided the day I married, but this still felt substantial, like we were finally admitting to our fate.
“Forget about me and move on. You deserve love”
He sniffled. A long stretch of silence passed where only our laboured breathing could be heard. This silence felt similar to our breakup. So many things to say, so many things to do, never wanting to leave but had to bid goodbye. It was the promise of being there without ever materializing the words.
“Goodbye”, he said then and with a sob of my own, I bid him goodbye.
We didn’t disconnect the call, but we stayed silent. Both mourning on our own ends.
Was this the end of us? I didn’t want it to be.
Was I losing him? I never wanted to. I wanted to be with him but the sound of his harsh breathing and sniffles were the only thing holding us together now.
This was a closure I didn’t want. But I was getting it either way.
Tonight I cried, for the first time after I heard the news. I cried, for the pain I had suffered and the pain I had implicated on Dev, for the love I had lost and the love I couldn’t give, for the life I was losing and the life I was getting, for the fear I had to face and the betrayal I felt; I cried for everything and each part of me.
I cried like I had never done before.
And by the time the call disconnected two hours later, I was still sobbing, my eyes bloodshot red, throat dry and my body dehydrated. While exhaustion seeped in my bones, sleep was nowhere to be found.
I rolled around in my bed, my phone clutched tight in my hands and sometime later I fell into a restless.
The ringtone blaring in my ear woke me up, and since I still had my phone clutched in my hand I picked it up without bothering to open my eyes.
“Hello”, I greeted in a sleepy voice.
“Hello?”, drawled the voice on the other end and my body jerked awake.
I sat up straight and checked my phone once to make sure if it was who I thought it was.
He sounded drunk, out of his mind drunk.
A crash, some choice swearwords and his ensuing giggles.
Worry creased my forehead, “Dev? Where are you? Are you alright?”
“No good. I am bad. Worst”, he slurred.
“Dev? Hey, hey, listen to me”, I ordered softly, “Where are you?”
“I looooove you. Why did you marry that… that…madman? Why did you leave me?”, he cried and the hurt in his voice slashed straight to mine.
A tear escaped my eyes and chill settled in my body, Dev rarely got drunk, but with the sound of it he was plastered. It was all my fault. I had to do something.
“Dev, darling, where are you?”, I asked.
“I love it when you call me darling”, he giggled.
“Tell me where you are and I’ll call you darling all the time”
Silence. A beat later, he clicked his tongue, “Home”
“Who is with you?”
“Okay, stay there. Don’t drink anymore”, I advised but I didn’t trust him to listen right now.
Switching him on speaker mode, I opened our friends group, named ‘friends’ because we were lazy like that, and texted, “SOS, Please Report – on text”
“Why did you leave me? Did I not love you enough? Were you sad with me?”, he asked in a voice so small, it crippled my heart. I didn’t know what to say, so I stayed silent.
A ping alerted me of Liam’s text, “What’s wrong?”
Dev continued in his heartbreaking, “You know what’s in my hand now?”
“No?”, I asked and texted Liam, “Go to Dev’s house rn, he is drunk and alone, and I am worried. Please go check on him”
“You got it!”, texted Liam.
“I have a little blue box in my hand. Weeks ago, I found the perfect ring for you. It’s a beautiful pinkish diamond, the kind you always gushed about on the celebrity pictures. I was so happy when I found it. I bought it right away. But I knew you weren’t ready and I didn’t ask, but now, you are married”, his voice broke in the end.
My poor heart spluttered on the ground once again.
A loud crash sounded and in a voice full of hatred, he screamed, “Why didn’t you propose? You should have, she you would have been yours”. A loud crack, like that of breaking mirror, sounded and I screamed.
“Dev, Dev, listen to me. Please, I love you. I always did, I always will. Don’t hurt yourself. Talk to me, please”, I begged as tears started flowing continuously.
Another crash, followed by a loud ‘thud’ and the line went dead.