It was not by chance that I was in Texas. I had been planning for it since years. I wanted to see Bala one last time. From far, without him knowing that I was watching him.
I was spending my hard earned money to feed my pathetic heart. I wanted to see him in his happy world. I watched him go about his day from far. I watched him go for jogging in the nearby park and on most days I jogged behind him camouflaged in my goggles and hooded track suit.
One day, he stopped jogging all of a sudden and fell onto the lawn of the park clutching his head. I looked round for help; the park was deserted except for the few kids who were playing football in a faraway corner.
He appeared to be shaking and I feared he was having a stroke. I ran towards him and squatted beside him. What I saw tore at my heart; he was crying his heart out.
“Bala, Bala… what happened? Tell me dear,” I asked unable to stand his tears. Hearing my voice, he looked up and grabbed me. He removed the goggles and pushed off my hood.
“What sweet madness is this? Is it really you, Chaya?” he said and swept me into his arms. His sobs rocked us both and I cooed to calm him down.
“I cannot go on anymore without you, Chaya. I die a little every day being away from you. Please Chaya, be mine,” he said caressing my cheeks.
“Bala, you are married and I don’t want to be the cause of destroying a marriage,” I said trying to talk some sense into him.
“What marriage Chaya? We live like two strangers inside the four walls of our house and pretend to be happily married in front of others. I can’t and won’t ever consider her in your place. My life has become a huge farce,” said Bala and broke into tears again.
“Bala, you are acting like a kid. You need to grow out of this madness. You can’t destroy your present , based on your past. You have to move on,” I said.
“Have you moved on? Don’t lie to me. Your presence here is proof that you haven’t. Why should we keep up the pretense, Chaya? We can recreate the heaven that we once had,” he said and looked at me with so much longing that I felt the wall of numbness around me crumpling.