They stand face to face like bulls locking horns, all ready to fight it out. In a three year long relationship they have had tiffs before but never have they come across a situation where they are so entirely opposed to one another. They have always agreed on all the important things and their friends have always envied their apparent like-mindedness in everything, from which movie to go to how much space the other person needs. They have themselves taken this like-mindedness so much for granted that it has shaken them up immensely to discover that they actually do not think alike in all matters.
“Are you telling me that you do not want to shift to Mumbai?” he asks, as if the thought had never even occurred to him.
“But I thought we had decided to move to Kolkata, where our families are. We are both the eldest child and we got to take care of our parents, especially now that they are getting older”, she tries to reason.
“How can we take care of our parents if we cannot take care of ourselves? Baby, opportunities like this do not come every day in life. You have to understand. If I stay here, I get this promotion and if I move from here then God knows how much more time I have to wait before getting a similar opportunity. I have worked hard. Don’t you think I deserve this?” he tries to make her understand, his voice rising towards the end.
“And what do I deserve? I have always supported you in everything. Three years we have had this long distance relationship, you in Mumbai and me in Delhi. I have never complained. You promised we would move closer to home and I have already left my job to move there. We are supposed to get married in another three months. Now you want to break that promise just because it suits you”, she says her voice breaking with all the emotions that she is feeling.
“Oh, and what about the promise that you made? You said you will always stand by me. Have you forgotten that?” he says in an accusing voice.
She does not respond for a long time. He looks at her and finds her standing like a figure carved out of stone.
“You know, I also promised to myself that I will take good care of my parents. Don’t make me choose”, she whispers.
“Why? Because I know you will never choose me? Go ahead and tell me. I think I don’t even care anymore”, he says in a tormented voice.
“Well then, I think we have nothing more to say to each other”, she says calmly even though she can hardly believe that those are her words. The tears running down her face, she looks at him and finds that he is equally shocked by these words.
They look at each other helplessly, wanting to say something and not knowing what to say. They both wish they could unsay and undo what had been said and done in the last ten minutes. But they feel as if an invisible wall has risen up between them while they were not looking and now they do not have the power to break it even if they want to. Actually they no longer feel sure that they want to break the wall. Feelings of hurt, betrayal, pain and disillusionment prevent them from reaching out to the other. Looking at the other person, they can no longer see the one that they wanted to spend their lives with, but a complete stranger.
All that is left are memories of happier times and broken promises, and an uncomfortable silence.