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What's a Soulmate?


"Dad, what's a soulmate?" Mia asked me, as I turned towards her. "A soulmate...," I replied with a smile, "...is someone like a best friend, but so much more- that one person in the world who knows you better than anyone else. It's someone who might not always be there with you, but will always inspire you to be a better person, a better version of yourself; someone who knows you for what you are, not what you pretend to be." As I sit by her and tuck the loose strands of her hair behind her ear, her lips part and then break out into a smile that lightens my day. "So, was mom your soulmate?" I stare back blankly, and then pull a little soft smile again, "Maybe, who knows?" ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ [ ongoing ] || regular updates An original StarsAndFireflies_ creation. All copyrights intended. Cover: @ElysianCoral on Wattpad.

Romance / Drama
Age Rating:

Chapter 1


I walked into my house, which was unusually quiet. Unlike other days, it wasn't filled with Mia's laughter or cries or her toys that she would keep throwing. Nor was my wife's voice present, filled with love and happiness to see me after office, welcoming me home. The only sound I could hear was of my own steps, and the silent that was screaming at me.

But to be more honest, I was glad about it. It had been a terrible day at work-- I had lost the deal I was preparing for months about because Mia had 'accidentally' spilled her water on my laptop last night, but who could blame her? She was a baby after all. I had to explain my clients, but they just wouldn't understand the problem of a twenty two year old who was stuck in his house with a wife and a one and half year old kid, when I should be working, traveling and enjoying my life.

Instead, I was bounded in this terrible and undetachable agreement of marriage. And to make it even more permanent, we had Mia.

Don't take me wrong. I loved my daughter. Like any other father, I loved her with all my heart. She was the apple of my eye and I think I could do anything for her, maybe even break a few stars.

And I had loved Nandini ever since I was eighteen and we met in college for the first time. She was seventeen then, my junior. Senior-junior relationships were very common in college, but who knew we'd fall in love?

Everything was perfect back then, and I think I could trade anything in the world to go back to my college days-- I had the best bestfriends in this world, a perfect girlfriend, a rocking band and a wonderful career in music ahead of me.

But as time passed, everything changed. Fab5, my band, realised we want different things from life. Problems came, and we had to split. Dad forced me to leave music and take over his company. His health had been dicy since a few years now and he had this feeling that he could pass away anytime, so he wanted to leave his precious possessions in the hand of his only heir, which unfortunately happened to be me.

I was barely taking in all the changes when something even more drastic happened.

Nandini became pregnant.

She was just twenty, I was twenty one. She was studying, I was trying to learn how to take over the company. And our parents thought it would be perfect to get us married, which definitely pissed me off, because they acted as if they had never heard of abortions.

We got married in a court marriage, because Nandini was adamant she wouldn't get married properly with a baby bump. And I would do anything that made her happy.

Nine months later, Mia was born.

Ever since birth, she bound me and Nandini together. The distance that had come between us gradually due to all the changes, started decreasing. We started spending more time together for Mia, got out of the house for her, took her to the park, to shop and do anything that would make our little baby happy.

Mia became the moon of my dark night, my only source of light. Her laughter made even my worst days so much better and there was nothing as good as being as Home and spending a full day with her. She made our House, a Home.

But things had changed between me and Nandini. Nandini wasn't the bubbly, talkative girl I had known in college who was determined for her dreams and what she wanted to become. This Nandini had become house oriented, her entire world started revolving around me, Mia, and our home. And that wasn't her fault, but I could see it. She talked lesser, wasn't that chirpy, and the light in her eyes of happiness that I first fell in love with, was lost. She wasn't herself anymore.

And the worst thing was, this wasn't her fault. This was mine. Had I been a little more careful that night and not got lost in desires. We loved Mia and we could never regret her, but I regretted what Nandini had become. She had changed drastically-- from a girl who couldn't live without her social life to the one who didn't step out of her house until she needed something. I had done that to her. And I gradually started hating myself for it.

I loved my family.

I think this is what I always wanted in life after I saw my parents getting divorced. I wanted a wife who loved me and not my money, and a child whom I could always love.

But I wanted this when I was maybe thirty, my career was stable and when I and Nandini were both happy in life, being able to devote our time and attention to our family, and not when one of us has to sacrifice their entire career for it, that one being her.

Right now, this was just a forced condition I was trying to grind happiness into.

But was I really happy? No.

Was I ready for such a responsibility? No.

Did I really want a wife and a child at twenty two while I was struggling with a straight career? No.

But I was given all of this, not considering that I wasn't ready.

And I was trying my best to keep the frustration within me, the anger and the resentment inside my heart and give all the love and time my family deserved.

But was I really being true to myself and my happiness by doing that?


I walked inside my room. Mia was asleep in the middle of the bed hugging a giant teddy bear stuff toy that I had brought her just last Sunday. She couldn't speak a lot, just a few words up and down, but she often called this bear Coco.

And Nandini was standing by the window, staring outside as if into an abyss. She didn't even seem to notice I was into the room.

I took a deep breath, forcing a smile on my face for her. "Hey honey, I'm home."

And she turned. Even in the darkness, I could see the redness of her eyes and her face sagging down as if it was taking everything in the universe for her to hold back the tears.

Horror stroke me as I immediately took quick steps towards her, taking her face in my hands. "God, what happened?" I asked.

She gulped, talking a step behind. Her hands clutched something from behind and she calmly kept a bundle of papers on the table to our left. I tore my eyes from her and as the papers came into my sight, I stood numb, battling if I should say anything or let her.

"When were you planning to tell me about this, Manik?" She asked quietly. I closed my eyes in a lot of things-- sadness, guilt, and most importantly, shame.

"Or were you directly planning to surprise me with these on our anniversary next week?" There was amusement in her voice.

"This is not what I want, Nandini," I barely murmured but I knew she heard me when her eyes glared into mine that remained stuck on the floor. I couldn't look into her eyes anymore.

"Really?" She gave a sarcastic laugh, "then did the Divorce papers run into your cupboard by themself? Or even better, is this some new sort of colouring book for Mia?"

I turned around, leaning on the window pane and stared out of the window. My mansion overlooked a lake and green grasses which were never this silent, always filled with local people fluttering around unlike today. It was dark even though hundreds of street lights burnt down since the sky had no moon. I wondered if I like the peace, or was it just the silence before the storm.

"Who's she?" Nandini asked slowly, after a long pause, standing beside me. She crossed her arms against her chest and we both stared out of the long window, not daring to look at one another without breaking off.

"No one!" I almost whisper screamed. "I have not cheated. There is no other woman in my life," I established.

She nodded, and then almost laughed, "and how am I supposed to trust you?"

"What?" I said, with an unbelievable expression on my face, "You just see some paper scrap & suddenly all the trust disappeared?"

"Paper scrap?" She laughed, "I haven't seen Mia's A-B-C-D book, Manik. It's divorce papers. And the last time I checked, people do not get divorced without a reason."

"It was just a bad day, okay? I felt like a failure, I couldn't understand why Dad wanted me to handle his so called empire, Mia wouldn't stop crying, you wouldn't stop nagging me about something, I was done. I was irritated. I missed being a bachelor and it sucked that I couldn't just break up and walk away. I was stuck with responsibilities I couldn't handle, I was scared. And this was a haste move." I explained.

She remained silent, and I could just hear her breaths. "How long ago?" She asked then.

"Seven months," I replied. She sighed in disappointment and I still couldn't look at her.

"What do you want Manik?" She asked finally, turning towards me. She drank her tears in, brought out a straight face we both knew was fake, "We've been together since four years now. I think we've been in love for most of the time, and I think even if the love ended, we respect each other and love our daughter enough to come to a mature decision about this."

It took me a second to process everything but then it hit like a lightning bolt. It was happening. When I saw my parents getting divorced, I had silently promised myself that I'd do anything, but never end up as one of them. I wasn't my father's son. But that was exactly what I was becoming, and I couldn't get myself to hate it. I think I finally understood why I was wrong all my life to hate my dad. But that didn't help settling the fear in my mind, would Mia hate me that way too?

"I can't live without Mia," I whisper, looking at my daughter who was now stirring in sleep with all the chaos happening around.

"Neither can I," Nandini added, "....Nor can I live without you. But I think we all have to learn what we can't, Manik."

"You have to see things my way, Nandini," I said quickly, "I know you love me. I know we can still work it the way it was going on, but ask yourself. Is that what you really want? Don't you want to be the astrophysicist you always dreamed of being? Don't you want to be someone Mia can be proud of one day? Would you be happy when you sit in your death bed, look back in life and see you left everything you once wanted to become just to take care of your duties?"

She remained silent for a very long time.

"I have always loved you. And believe me when I say this, I, as much time as we have been together, have only been loyal to you. There's no one else. But this...." I say pointing towards us, "...has become toxic to you, to your dreams, to your life. And I am not okay with that."

"All my dreams suddenly became yours. And that's not a bad thing, it's wonderful. But at the cost of you losing yours, I wouldn't let that happen," I say, holding her shoulders slightly,
"Believe it or not, this marriage has held us down Nandini, you more than me. You need to see a future for yourself now, it's time this monster frees you from his clutches."

She remained silent for so long that it scared me. My heart beat at a rate I couldn't decipher and I often tried reminding my head that I had to get used to this silence now.

"What happened to our Forever, Manik?" She finally asked.

I gave her a sad smile, "All good things come to an end. And us, we were two matchsticks, born to burn and so we did-- we burnt our love into dark ashes that will remain in a small corner of our tainted heart until it stops beating and we carry it to our coffins."

She stared back for a second before nodding. "Thank you," she whispered, a small smile on her lips.

"Why?" I whisper back.

She opens her lips to say something but a small cry from Mia startled us. Nandini immediately went onto the bed, picking a sobbing Mia.

"Hey baby, it's going to be okay," Nandini whispers into her ear. "We're going to my Mumma's house," she tells turning to me.

"It's night, don't go," I reply immediately.

She doesn't seem to flinch, or bother, "I'll take the driver. It's high time I should go. It's now, or never; ride or die."

She smiles sadly, giving a last nod and I just stare.

"I'll get the luggage picked up tomorrow. Let me know when you need me at the court. We'll handle this well," she assured me. Didn't protest at all, just picked a half sleepy Mia who kept calling for me and left.

She didn't turn back. I didn't stop her.

Nothing was ever going to be the same again, and I hated how I didn't mind that.

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