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Story of A Marriage and Break up- Prompt #57

Can I sit on this bench? No, you don’t have to get up. This corner is enough for me. You’re probably thinking why I didn’t go to the other bench in such a big park, with so many empty benches, or why I want to sit near you? If you don’t mind, let me say the bench on which you are sitting is mine. Yes, I sit here every day. No, don’t get me wrong, this bench is not mine nor my name is written on this. People like me just come, sit here for some time, and then leave.

I sit here every day. That is why I have chosen this bench for myself. Sitting here, I can see that church. You don’t have to turn your neck. It is an old church. Getting married in this church is considered a great honor. People register their names months in advance. I think such a long gap between engagement and marriage is not right. Sometimes there is a dispute, and by the time the wedding time comes, the couples change their minds. The only problem in this park is that it’s so spacious, everyone is sitting far away from each other. You can’t even go to someone and say a few words of consolation. You look at others, and others look at you but that's all. Perhaps this can give some relief too. Or maybe this is the reason people often come here when they feel uncomfortable in a room, on the streets, or in pubs.

That’s what I do, I come out of my room early in the morning. No, don’t get me wrong, I come here for the sunshine. As you must have noticed, this is the only bench in the whole park that is not under a tree. This is the only bench where no leaves fall. Then it has the great advantage that from here I can look directly at the church, but I have probably already told you this. You are really lucky, you came here for the first time, and the horse-cart is in front of the church! Keep watching, in no time, a small crowd will gather in front of the church. Most of these people know neither the bride nor the bridegroom. But they stand outside for hours, hoping to catch a glimpse. I don’t know about you, but the curiosity of seeing a newlywed couple always intrigues me.

You must have seen that there is always a crowd around such things. Whether it is in your control or not, you always get pulled towards them. Sometimes it surprises me to think that the things that help us hold on to our lives are beyond our own control. We can neither think anything about them nor tell anyone else. Can you remember something about your birth, or tell someone about your death, or relive your marriage experience in your mind? You are laughing. No, I mean something else. Who can’t remember the experience of their own marriage?

I have heard, there are some people who can’t decide to get married until they are drunk, and later they remember nothing about it. No, I didn’t mean such personal experience. I mean, can you remember that moment when you suddenly decided that you would rather be with someone else than be separated for the rest of your life? I mean, can you rightly keep a finger at that point when you let go of your inner loneliness a little and let someone else in there? Indeed, just like how you let me sit on this bench by moving a little, and now I am talking to you as if I have known you for years.

Today it is sunny, but even in winter, people shiver. I have been seeing this for many years. Sometimes it is an illusion that the people who gathered on the occasion of my marriage fifteen years ago are still the same people today, even the same horse-cart, kind of Deja vu.

Yes, I was also married in this church. But this was long ago. Then the road was not wide enough for the horse-drawn carriage to come and stop directly at the door of the church. We had to stop at the back of the street, and I had come here on foot with my father. People were standing on both sides of the road, and my heart was pounding, and I was trying so hard that my feet would not slip in front of everyone. I didn’t know most of them standing in the crowd that day looking at me.

What do you think? If any of them looked at me today, would they recognize that the woman sitting on the bench was the same girl who was going to church fifteen years ago in a white dress? I don’t know about men, but I think that horse will definitely recognize me, which brought us here that day. Yes, I am always surprised to see horses. Have you ever looked into their eyes? I think horses remain the most depressed animals in the world. Those who are not accustomed to the end either become indifferent, like horses, or like me, I go from bench to bench in search of sunshine.

What did you say? No, you probably misunderstood me. I don’t have any kids, and it’s good for me. Had I had a child, I would have probably never been separated. You must have seen that even if there is no love between a man and a woman, they are still attached to each other for the sake of the child. I have never had such an obstacle. I was very happy but choosing is one thing, and getting used to it is another. When the sun sets in the evening, I go to my room. But before leaving, I always go to that pub, where we usually went before and after our marriage.

When he first told me that we would meet in the pub, I arrived early and stood near the gate until he arrived. Have you ever spent your first date standing in front of the pub all evening waiting for your fiancée? Later, it became my habit. Every evening, I would go to the place where he used to sit before meeting me, or go out for a walk in the city where I had spent my childhood.

It doesn’t seem strange that when we fall in love with a person, we not only want to be with them in the present, but in their past, even when they were not with us! We become so greedy and jealous that we find it unbearable to even think that there must have been a time when he lived, loved, and slept without us. Then, if you spend a few years with the same man, it becomes impossible to tell which habit is yours and which one you have adapted from another.

Look, sometimes I think that before we die, each one of us should do our own dissection. Take off the layers of our past like onion peels, one by one. Everyone will come to take their share, the parents, friends, husband, all the peels of others, and the last dry stalk will remain in your hands, which will be useless. See, it is often said that every man dies alone. I do not believe this. He dies with all those who were within him, whom he fought or loved with.

Just like this happened to me one night. We were both sleeping when I heard a strange sound. I got up from the bed and opened the door and looked outside. There was no one outside. I looked at my bed. He was sleeping with his face facing the wall like he slept every night for last few weeks. He had heard nothing. Then I came to know that the blow was not from outside, it had happened inside me. Probably it touched me like a bat in the dark, fluttering all around me.

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I went back and sat on the bed where he was lying and slowly started touching his body. He started touching all the corners of my body, which once comforted me. That day, it felt strange to me. I was touching him and the feeling, which used to come out of his body and settle in my soul, was missing. I was searching through his body in the same way that some people find their names on old ruins that they had written long ago on the walls. But my name was not there anywhere. There were other marks, which I had never seen before. Hey, we had some rules in place, but he had broken them so ruthlessly.

I found it awful that I could tell no one about the emptiness in me. Yes, not even my lawyer, whom I knew for a long time. These rules were not legal, but self-made. He could break them if he wanted to, but breaking the rules in a relationship is not done, unless of course you wish to break the relationship.

They understand that I am cranky. What a blow that was! Did my husband go see another woman? Was he cheating on me? Yes, my heart put on a flurry of questions, and I was like an idiot staring at his face. And then I came to think for the first time that separating was the only way. Often, people say that we become lighter by sharing our sorrows with others. I was never light. No, people don’t share sorrows. They only judge who is guilty and who is innocent. It’s hard to say that a person can accurately identify your pain. We got separated, and I left my locality and came to this area. No one knows me here. No one says, “Look, this woman lived with her husband for so many years and then separated.”

Earlier, when someone used to say such a thing, I used to stand in the middle of the road. There was a desire to hold people and tell them everything from beginning to end. How we had been waiting for each other that first evening in front of the pub. How he kissed me for the first time by the trunk of a tree, and how, in a strange fear, I touched his hair for the first time. Yes, I could say nothing about the night when I first broke down, and I wished I could go to another room. But that room was empty. Yes, I read somewhere that growing up means, if you wake up in the middle of the night and scream, no matter how much, no one will come from the other room. It will always be empty. Look how much I’ve grown since that night!

But one thing I still don’t understand is why they publish news of earthquakes or bombings in the newspapers. The next day, everyone learns that there were ruins where the children’s school was. There were ruins, and there was dust. But when this happens to people, no one has any idea. After that night, I wandered all over the city alone, and no one even looked at me. When I was in this park for the first time, I was sitting on the same bench on which you are sitting right now. And yes, I was very surprised that day that I was sitting in front of the same church where I was married.

Are you listening to music on the organ? Look, they’ve opened the doors. Here comes the sound of music. On hearing this, I know that they have kissed each other and exchanged rings. Now they are about to come out. If you want to see it, then go with confidence. I am just sitting here. What did you say? Yes, I’ll stay here till evening. Throughout the day, I keep an eye on the piece of incense sitting on this bench. There is no corner of the park where I do not sit. But I like this bench the most. This is the one, no leaves fall on it.

"Hey! Are you leaving?"

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