‘Free.’ Yes, I am that, after a long, long time.
Free to sip my morning cup of coffee and water my plants in peace, without feeling the sourness of sarcastic words inside my mouth.
Free too, to do as I like with the hours in between, be it skipping off to stuff street food in Old Delhi or catch the latest, silliest flick in town, without having to explain where I was and why it took me so long.
It hasn’t come easy, of course. 18 long years was what it took me to say that simple word: “Enough.” Enough of waking up with an ache inside my heart. Enough of going to sleep with a dull headache. And truly enough of trying to unlearn beautiful words such as ‘peace,’ ‘companionship,’ and ah!, ‘freedom.’ But as they say, better late than never.
Today, for the first time in all these years, I am the one who flicks open the envelope that informs me I have a hefty phone bill to pay. Though I know I can ill-afford the amount it is asking me to shell out, I stare back at the document quite defiantly, even managing a smile. I have hit bottom dollar, but then, the only way to go from here is up.
Breaking up with a spouse after 18 long years is by no means an easy or happy affair. And I would be lying if I denied the ‘funny, familiar, forgotten feelings’ that start walking all over my mind from time to time. But the wonderful thing is, we haven’t let it become bitter and ugly. Now that the initial bitterness has worn off, we both feel a friendship that had ceased to exist.
Even today, when I read the success story of an average writer who has made it big, I shoot him an e-mail, asking him to complete that novel he has been writing, because very few can write like he does. When we traveled together recently for unavoidable reasons, he gently advised, ‘Mind your right side—you have an injury there.’
Ex-spouses who aren’t divorced but not enemies? Ever thought about it? I hadn’t either, but now that I am one half of such a relationship, let me tell you it isn’t half bad a deal.
A whole load of negativity and compromised living has made an exit from our lives, ever since we decided to part ways. We are living for the moment, planning for the future, and trying to remember all that was good and beautiful about our past.
All we’ve really ‘broken up’ is the negativity.