March 21, 2008


Before I discuss what I plan to, let me start off with a small story. (Please excuse the length. Bear with me. The end will be worth it, I can promise you)

There lived a man sometime back. He was successful, happily married with a family that loved him as much as he loved them. They were in all senses the perfect family. He went to work, came back early to spend time with his family. The wife stayed at home and took care of the house. It was not something he forced on her. He had once told her that he was OK if she wanted to work. However, she chose to stay at home. She felt that being a full time wife and then a full time mother in itself was a job. She did not want to be one of those women who tried to balance her career and her family. She knew what was important to her and she was willing to do anything to make sure that it remained that way. She loved being at home when her son and daughter came back from school, loved talking to them about what happened that day, who they met, whom they liked and what was going on in their lives. It was not like that she did not give them their freedom. She was just involved with their lives. She especially loved when he came home from work. She mixed him his drink and they sat down in the veranda as the sun set, talking about random things until it was time to make dinner. Over all they had a good life.

Just like in the movies, I am going to bring in a twist. What is life without its twists and turns?

This man conceals a secret. Now please do not go about telling me that there is no person who does not conceal something or the other. However, I have always believed that in a relationship, especially one that has taken the form of marriage and has endured the test of time and begot two kids, the couple would have in most cases told every dark secret there is. Not because the spouse wants to know, but more because they want the other person to understand who they are and to accept them for all their deficiencies.

He had been in love once, with someone other than who was currently his wife. It was not that he did not love his wife. It was just the before marriage, he was in love with a woman. Again, this is something most men go through. I would rather go on to state that there are hardly a handful of men who have not loved someone before marriage. And there are some who have loved a handful before marriage. This was not the secret. This was the first thing that he told his wife when they were to get married. The secret was something that he was doing for the last fifteen years of marriage.

Everything he did, he sought his ex-lover's approval. It was not something that he did consciously. It just happened that everything he did, his thoughts automatically went to her.

For simplicity sake, I shall name the woman X.

He had not met X since the time they had broken up. In the last twenty years since the breakup, they had not even kept in touch. For all practical purposes, he did not know if she was alive or dead. And he was sure that she did not know of his existence either. He had moved on as she had. He was happy in marriage. But, as I said, everything he said he sought her approval. Every time he bought a something new, a shirt, a toy for his son, a dress for his daughter, the school he admitted his children in, the diamond ring he got his wife for their tenth anniversary, the house he got twelve years into marriage, everything he thought of her and what she would say.

He thought that he could hear her voice, “Very nice; expensive but nice. Do you need to get something that expensive to thank her for staying with you for ten years?” for the diamond ring. “You have to be kidding me. Why do you have to always go for black shirts? Do you not know that you look much better in white? It brings out your eyes?” Every act of his, he thought what her reaction would be.

As I said, he thought of her long after she was gone. He did not dare tell this to his wife and let us be honest, can you tell your spouse that you still think of the person who was once held in the same pedestal that you now hold your spouse? Does it not sound that you do not love your spouse and are still in love with that other one? Till his death, at the ripe old age, when his son was settled, as was his daughter and his wife had passed away, he thought of that woman who he loved for a brief period of time every single second of the day. It was her name that was on his lips when he breathed his last; not the name of the woman with whom he spent most of his life with, it was neither his mother or father, and it was neither of his children. It was X. With a smile on his lips and X on his breath he died.

The one thing I want to ask is this; does what he did throughout his life amount to infidelity? Was he unfaithful to his wife for more than fifty years that he spent with her? Was he ever disloyal? Is fidelity restricted to only the physical aspect of a relationship? Or does it surpass the mere physicality of the body and transcend into the mind? Does the thought of someone other than the woman or man you are with surmount to being infidel?

My views on this are already out in the world through my story “Betrayal”. For one who believes in the fact that even an extra marital affair does not amount to infidelity, the thought of another should not be an act of disloyal. However, being one who treasures the realm of thought, will the fact that my dearest is constantly in the thought of someone other than me not make me question the reason that person is with me? Single situation, two aspects, no decisions; just a thought.

1 comment:

Lazy Lavender said...

Hmm same question. I wanna know the answer too. Does having someone constantly in our mind become betrayal to the one we live with?