The windows were filled with droplets of water; the fresh water had touched the earth which was yearning with thirst. Jenny stood at the window watching the rain and a few kids playing at the backyard. Her eyes were dull and swollen and her face was serene. She held the letter that Rajeev had written to her in one hand and held his photo in the other.
Wherever she turned to, she could see him, his care, his warmth, his affection, his presence. But alas it was all her reverie. She held his photo close to her chest and hugged it tightly, trying to tell the world that she had held him back and he was still alive.
“How am I going to live without you, Rajeev?” she tried to question him knowing that he would never answer. She kept making designs on the windows with her fingers because of the moist that was left behind on them.
Lost in her thoughts, she barely heard the footsteps that were approaching her room.
“Mom…..” Jenny woke up hearing a loud and familiar voice.
“Mom… open the door….” Sarah banged the door of the room Jenny was in.
Impatiently, she kept knocking it hard.
“Give me a second, Sarah, I am coming”, Jenny replied rushing to open the door.
“What’s the matter, Sarah?....” She went on to question Sarah.
Sarah raised her hand and showing her the palm tried to ask her to stop talking.
She held out the photo in her hands, “Who is this Mamma?”
She flipped the photo and showed her father’s writing, “And isn’t this daddy’s handwriting”
Jenny felt a shiver run through her veins, her hands were suddenly chill and she could hardly speak. She stammered as Sarah interrogated.
“Please Mom, I need an answer. It’s killing me and just few moments ago I thought that this loss was worse for you than me.” Tears dropped her eyes and her cheeks were red.
“But I don’t feel the same anymore. Did you kill my dad?” Sarah was unstoppable, and her words pierced Jenny as though a sharp dagger was being pushed fiercely in her heart.
“Sarah, what are you talking, my child? How could I ever kill the man who loved me so much?”
“Yes mom, he was the man who loved you. Even now you didn’t accept it that you ever loved him.” Sarah examined.
“Sarah let me explain, please give me a chance”, Jenny begged.
“Are you going to explain to me how you cheated on my Dad?” Sarah began.
“I never cheated on your father, Sarah. I never could. He was a good man. He loved me very dearly and he wanted to see the same love in my eyes. I tried hard to love him. But love cannot be forced my child.” She looked into Sarah’s eyes in pain. And slowly Sarah could see her pain reduce as she continued to speak.
“It’s true that I married your father out of my own will but I was compelled to do so. I didn’t have a choice.” Sarah was no longer convinced with her mother’s explanation. “Mom, get to the point, what are you trying to explain?”
“I was a darling to my dad, just like you. Each time I saw Rajeev and you together I would feel the same warmth that I shared with my father. With due respect for him I never did anything against him and agreed to marry Rajeev even though I loved someone else.”
“You could have explained your father, mom.” Sarah retaliated.
“No I couldn’t. I did tell him about Karan.” She sat on the chair next to her as she began to speak about Karan and Sarah could say nothing but just listen to her.
“Karan and I studied in the same college. He was not of our religion or caste, but he was the man I loved”
Sarah cut her short and said, “And the man you still love, isn’t it ?”
Jenny turned towards her, ignoring her statement she went on, “When dad learned about our relationship he called me and spoke to me. He said he would never agree to it. I had decided to convince him, but destiny had other plans. Daddy was diagnosed with lung cancer and he was counting his days. His last wish was to see me happily married. And I have never regretted on marrying Rajeev. What I have regretted was that I could never love him completely”
“Your father encouraged me to write a book and I wrote about Karan and me. I never knew that my dream of writing a book would make me lose my husband. Rajeev read the book and connected it with the photo that he found among my clothes. He confronted me about Karan but he couldn’t accept the fact that I had lived a life of lie with him”
“I am sorry, Sarah”, she held her daughter’s hand pleading her for forgiveness. Sarah caressed her mother’s hands and cried in grief.
In a minute, she pulled her hands away from her mother and walked out of the room.
Jenny was again left alone, but she felt light after revealing the huge burden that she had carried for all these years.
The next morning, Jenny walked into Sarah’s room with breakfast. She found the door open and the room empty. She searched for Sarah throughout her room but couldn’t find her. However, she found a letter addressed to her in Sarah’s handwriting.
“Mom, I am sorry to leave you alone, when you really need me a lot !! But each time with you would remind me of Dad. I just need sometime for myself”
A month passed and there was no news from Sarah. Jenny had tried meeting all ends to search for her, but it was all in vain. However, she was not the only person who was doing this.
Mr. Sharma was Rajeev’s best friend and companion was also dying to meet Sarah. It so happened that a few days later he met Sarah in a supermarket.
“Sarah, Where have you been? Everyone is searching for you.” He asked compassionately.
Before Sarah could reply, he picked out a letter from his bag and handed it over to her. Sarah opened it inquisitively and impatiently as it was her father’s letter
“Dear Sarah, I know that you are very angry on me
and that you miss me. I am sorry to have left you. Please do not hurt your
mother by questioning her. I walked out of her life just so that she lives her
life with the man she loves. She would never have been able to do so if I was
alive and away from her. She is a very nice woman, please accept her the way
Sarah, walked out of the supermarket in despise. She loathed her for leaving her but her love over shadowed it. She was not in a state to confront her mother again. She needed time to get accustomed to the fact that her father was no more.
It had been two months and there was no news about Sarah. Jenny’s life was filled with emptiness. She prayed each day in forgiveness.
And one day her prayers seemed to be answered. It was a bright Monday morning and Jenny had finished her morning prayers. She was about to enter her bathroom when her phone rang.
“Mamma, Sarah here”, It was jenny on line.
“Sarah, Please come back home.....”, Jenny begged.
“I will but before that please come to the central mall by 5.00 PM.” She hung up as soon as she said this.
Jenny waited impatiently for the evening to dawn. She was going to see her daughter. She was going to say a sorry and bring her home.
Central mall was filled with visitors and Jenny had reached by 4.45 PM. She sat on a table close to the porch. Her eyes searched for her baby, her daughter. As the clock ticked 5.00 PM, she heard someone pat her back.
“Jenny…..”, she turned in surprise as the voice sounded familiar.
There in front of her stood a man who was tall and well-built with a French beard to cover his age and make him look younger. He smiled as he said, “Jenny, my love how are you?”
“Karan……”Jenny’s eyes were filled with tears and surprise.
Karan held out a letter addressed to Jenny.
I know it is difficult for you to accept this. But this is where you always should have been and this was the man with whom you should have taken the vows.
Please do not cry mom as dad also wanted this. He love you .
Mom, no matter what, I still love you.