Kavitha sat on the bamboo swing in her balcony flipping through the morning newspaper when an advertisement caught her attention. She flinched and turned the page quickly, but it was too late. It had already unlocked a box of painful memories.
‘Why did I have to see this today?’
It was, or would have been their 20th wedding anniversary if not for her impulsive behaviour that day. She must have been delusional in thinking she was doing it for him.
She had met Amit at an inter-college fest and it was love at first sight. After dating for seven years, they had tied the knot.
Being the only son of working parents, Amit had always longed for his mother to be at home when he was a child. Opening the door of a silent house and waiting for the clock to strike seven for mom to be home was no fun. He wished his children could have a mother who was there for them. Naturally, he was overjoyed when Kavitha expressed that her heart’s desire was to keep a tidy home, cook for him and be involved in every moment of their children’s lives.
‘Pooja and Pratik’ – he had chosen their names on their honeymoon itself.
‘What if it is two girls or two boys?’ she had teased him.
‘You know, Kavitha? I wouldn’t mind having a dozen kids, but I guess I’ll be happy with two.’
‘What’s stopping you from having a dozen?’ she had smiled mischievously, kissing the dimple on his cheek.
Amit loved kids and in her mind’s eye, she could already see him running in the park with a pigtailed Pooja and naughty little Pratik. He would be the best father ever.
Their love for each other grew with each passing year. Amit was everything she could ask for. Everything was perfect except that Pooja and Pratik seemed to be taking forever to enter their lives. When her uterus bled each month, her heart bled too – more for Amit than for herself.
‘Please, let everything be okay’, she had prayed, sitting on the cold steel bench at the infertility clinic.
‘Is your husband here with you?’ the doctor’s voice had sounded grave and Kavitha instinctively knew that something was wrong. Amit was away on an official tour and she was there to collect the reports. In reality, she hadn’t wanted him to be there, in case the reports indicated problems.
‘Your fallopian tubes are completely blocked and your chances of conceiving naturally are slim to none’- those were the words that had brought her world crashing down. ‘But there are options…’ the doctor started explaining at length, but his words were blurred to a distant noise amidst the cacophony of tumultuous emotions raging within her.
She left the clinic with a decision. Amit would have kids, so what if she couldn’t be their mother?
Stealthily, she had planted the heart-shaped card in his drawer. ‘Had the best night of my life, I hope he goes away often’, were the words she had scribbled herself, tediously trying to disguise her handwriting.
They were divorced six months later.
Amit later married a girl his parents chose for him and they had a daughter after a year. Kavitha settled into a routine bracing for a lonely life ahead but was happy for Amit.
How he discovered her lie was still a mystery. The day he found out was the worst day of her life.
‘Why did you do this to me? I loved you more than anything else. Yes, I wanted children, but together we could have explored treatment options, we could have adopted a child. But all you wanted was to be a goddess of sacrifice, you selfish woman!’ He had stormed out, trembling with rage.
Two hours later, she had got a call from his distraught father that he was no more. His mangled bike and his body were found on the highway. His wife Bhavya hung herself two days later unable to come to terms with his death.
Today, the advertisement of the same infertility clinic where she had stupidly decided to ruin her life had scraped the wounds that the balm of time had failed to heal.
‘Mom, you seem lost, get dressed, we’ll be late for the temple’, said fourteen-year-old Pooja, hugging her from behind.
Pooja was Amit and Bhavya’s daughter whom Kavitha had adopted after their demise.
‘In a minute sweetheart’, she said fondly kissing her dimpled cheek.
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