I remember being a naive teenager. Facts were carved in stone, information was important, I had an absolute judgement of things. Implies? Right v/s. Wrong. Black v/s. White. Grey did not exist. Grey in my opinion could not exist. I always had this firm unbiased opinion about things I knew. Partly because my parents had encouraged my habit of asking questions. They didn’t try to shut me up, they wanted me to think rationally. And I did. Until I found out that certain things exist in the shadow of the curtain, it’s neither light nor dark, neither white nor black. It was grey there, it is grey there and it’s in this grey where life’s most beautiful and most dangerous things happen.
For years I couldn’t write about them. The two of them, mom and dad. I can’t write certain things, specially if they are too close to my heart. Sometimes certain people make you feel something so strong that you take time to absorb it, slowly and carefully understand the feeling. Because time runs out and when you’re all alone you just rewind your memory and feel it, and it’s still there intact and untouched, as if it just happened, as if you travelled in time. Isn’t it magical to feel something so deeply? It is in a way but it’s difficult to show it to the world. They’ve got eyes that see but don’t retain.
I remember my parents being like any other married couple in my house, in any house for that matter. She cooked, he worked. She did all the housework, told me stories, watched the television, more stories. That’s exactly what everyone else did. But in spite of being a kid I saw the difference. My mother never took extra efforts to look good or tidy. She never behaved like other housewives getting ready by dusk because their husbands came back. It’s not that they never fought, not that they never had misunderstandings. But what I did notice is that they always cleared things out and never went to bed holding things back. She did not point his weakness out. She knew he knew it. She always encouraged him and gave him ideas regarding his work. He motivated her to learn, to study, to be independent. He knew that she was better than him at certain things and she knew the same about him. This was their strength. They thought of each other as parts of a jigsaw puzzle, there was always something in one that the other missed and it was only together that they could be stronger.
He loved her and respected everything she loved. She loved with all her heart and we could all see that they never took each other for granted. Yes they were crazy, threw things here and there, sometimes even hurl things at each other when they pissed each other off, but everyone knew that they’d settle it down, they always did.
He wouldn’t eat without her, he hated travelling without. He didn’t want her like an obsession, he simply preferred her company. Even though she wasn’t very expressive about it we knew she liked it. I sometimes felt out of place with them and hence spent most of my time with my grandparents. They were both very affable and social individually but when they were together, they very often zoned people out.
Even in the hospital he spoke of her to the nurses. He spoke of her to relatives and friends. She was his friend, his love, and his life. What else does a woman want to be? This is what she had, something that I understand now, all women crave. To be loved and understood and respected all it once. And above everything, to be accepted. For all our flaws and follies.
It was a hard time for her when he passed away. It still is. Whenever I think about it and look at her, it almost kills me. I feel this helplessness, that I know what she wants and no amount of money can buy her that. She never cries, not a tear. It kills me even more. She is lonely but not because she needs someone. It’s because she needs something that can’t be replaced. It’s a place she chooses to live in now, in memories. The struggle is real for memories are bitchy and they tend to fade. I can forget his face, his voice, his air but what I can’t forget is how she was with him. How one person can effortlessly be such a big part of someone’s life. And most importantly how love is the only thing that wins over death. You might forget what they were but you can’t forget how they made you feel.
They have set an example, not of love but of friendship. Of feeling things at a whole new level. No I don’t believe anyone should wait like she does. But somehow she thinks that’s the best she can be. We share a similar friendship, mom and me. That’s how we look at our relationships. Our idea of love isn’t the sort of love people see in the movies, maybe that’s the reason why both of us hardly watch the television. The lack of love in the world makes me sad, but I don’t blame mom for this. He loved us, moulded us and then left us. Not that he had a choice. But you know what I regret? Not being able to thank him, not being able to love him, not being able to tell him that he is the best a man can be. That the world was wrong, he was enough, he is enough and beautiful and the best father of all best fathers the world has ever seen.