It has been 17 years now but I still feel the nervousness rising in me when I see him. When I talk to him, I still feel like the nervous teenager in high school who has felt her heart flutter for the first time at the sight of a very good looking boy. But I must tell you, it was not his looks that drew me to him. It was not his personality either. What was it then? I question it to myself sometimes, late at night when my husband is snoring next to me. I also wonder if I am being unfaithful to my husband by not being able to forget him. But who do I blame? Don’t doubt me. Except hugs, we have had no elicit physical relationship. And yet, when I see him, I feel my heartbeat increasing and warm blood rising to my face.
This year, I saw him twice. Though, it is always a pleasure seeing him, I fear wondering if it means the frequency is increasing. The last time I saw him was just four days back. He was very kind to drop by at my house for lunch on his way back to Thimphu from a tour he had in the eastern dzongkhags. I must confess if my husband was home, I wouldn’t have been able to invite him for lunch. No matter how I tell myself that there is no reason for me to feel guilty, I feel guilty. My husband was on tour as well and returned that night – and that night was a torture for me. The guilt dimmed the happiness swelling in my heart at seeing my high school love, so much so that I couldn’t sleep well that night. I tussled in the bed a hundred times that night. If my husband was not tired from the long journey, he might have grown suspicious of my sleeplessness. I still felt like my heart was bubbling with youthful joy of love. I am sure I was not imagining my knees feeling wobbly still. That night, I felt like only love ruled our lives and nothing else mattered. I admit, I thought I could leave everything behind and embrace love. But of course all this changed the next day with my little ones scampering around the house – my day starting with preparing their breakfast and readying them for school.
It was not even an unrequited love. The first time I set my eyes on him and caught him looking at me, I knew we both felt the same. But my fate of who I would marry had long been sealed by my parents. I could not let down my parents and I had to marry the person of their choice. And today, here I am: though content, my heart feeling a little gloomy every time I think of what it might have been like to marry the only person I ever felt connected to.
I will tell you, this guy I am still so much in love with is not the person so many people will choose to marry. He is married and has kids too but he is still running around with abundance of carefree flirtations. It is like he has to leave traces of love everywhere he goes. And yet, it is him I love. Is it this compelling nature of him that attracts me? Or is it the sexuality he exudes with the wayward remarks only he can make without flinching to a girl before an introduction? I tell myself that maybe, when I see him I feel myself freeing from the organized, family-bound life of obedience and obligation. Whatever it is, this time, I broke the rule and texted him sneakily that when I see him, I get so much energy, feel strong and he will always be my baby. Did I do wrong? Should my guilt go up? I will not worry myself with the answers. I will now cherish only love and be happy that even if I can’t turn back the things, I have loved truly.
And as I write this, I am listening to Kenny Rogers’ ‘We have got tonight’ and I feel right.
Note* This is a true story with just a small change in between.