The rain outside has stopped, but not the one inside me.
I have lost my identity, who was I?
I am a doctor, an eye specialist for the public. Yes I am!
I am the mother of my two kids, a 25 year daughter and 21-year-old son. Yes I am !
I am the wife of a famous cardiologist, the woman behind his success and his strongest support and love, as he often tells his friends. Am I? I was doubtful.
I wasn’t even a bit doubtful about it, until today.
A month back my husband had met with a terrible accident. He had lost his memory. A heart-broken me prayed for him, cared him like a babe, spoke to him, smiled to him and tried my best to bring him back some memory, but he stared me like we had never met.
I used to sit near the window outside his critical care unit, look outside and cry till my eyes had no more tears. My mind had cried a never-ending cry since that wretched day!
Four days back my beloved husband suddenly spoke a word, which made us happy and confused at the same time. A word that eventually led me to think about my identity.
He called out “Sara…”. All of us were happy because he spelled a word . The family was essentially because I was not Sara and we never knew any Sara.
Since then he repeatedly called out the name. When I went near he drove me away and stubbornly asked for Sara.
I had been with him for more than thirty years, right from his college. Ours was a sweet love marriage. He was a great son, a faithful husband and a loving dad even when he was leading a busy life. But none could figure out who Sara was.
With passing time he became more adamant without seeing Sara. When he saw me he became violent. His doctor advised me not to go near him. Thus this imaginary person could separate me and my kids from my husband. He hated to see us. Too much for my fragile heart to bear!
My husband became weak day by day, but he called out the name in a feeble voice. His body showed less and less response to the medicines and food ; hope was diminishing.
Today his doctor told me that he should have a visitor and that might help. Some other gifted hands in the medical field, I thought. But my disorientation reached its highest when he told me that the visitor was my husband’s patient and her name was Sara.
The first question in my mind was invariably “who was she to him?” which I couldn’t ask any one; which none could have answered.
But the report I got from the doctor after one hour of her visit was quite enough.
The visitor tried her best to communicate with him and he did respond well. He identified her, called her name, smiled at her and hugged her. He tried to speak though he couldn’t. He was excited way too much that his weak body couldn’t bear it. He took his last breath holding her hands in his.
I was floored. The reality that he has left this world was a blow. Within that loss there was a pain of infidelity, which I never knew, which he never showed. More than his departure, I couldn’t come in terms with a person who existed only in my imagination and the fact that she meant so much to my husband than me or our kids or the family.
I didn’t cry, I wished to be alone. I climbed the steps hoping to find a place where I could find some solace. Frankly, being a doctor who knew what he had undergone, I was bold enough to face a bad news. But what happened was a bit much.
Climbing each step I re winded in my mind of all our days together, our college days, our wedding, our kids, our trips; all the love and joy we had shared.
When did he change?Why didn’t I notice? I couldn’t, for it was invisible, hidden and yet stronger.
I reached the top open space. It was all damp after the heavy rain. The sky was dark and i could see a bright light a midst the dark grey clouds, some white birds hastily flew across it.
What time it was? At what time he had left?
Wasn’t he an open book to me ? But even open books can have earmarked corners!
His doctor was right; the meeting helped, he died happily seeing her. Hers was the last voice he heard, hers was the last face he saw, hers was the last touch he had, he didn’t lose his grip over her memory even when everything went blank, doesn’t that tell something about their bond? Yes, it does.
Living with the memory of his secret life or secret love would be an unjust punishment for me.
It seemed there was nothing to block a ‘purposeful accident’, no walls, no parapet.
And from there I flew, with a mind full of unanswered questions, to the next world.
Published at YSC