‘I told Tanu about the incident at the salsa class and she was just telling me that I should leave him and, hey, I am really, really sorry that he hit you,’ I say, laying out the topic in the open. ‘Well, you don’t have to apologise for him. I was really shocked. This has never happened to me in class before and I was taken totally by surprise. And, ouch, it still hurts. From now on, I must make sure that the spouses sign a no-objections clause and a consent form before I let married people join a class,’ he says half-joking, rubbing his jaws and making an exaggerated comic face to show extreme pain. Tanu laughs. I am unable to. ‘Hey, Diksha, relax, It is really not your fault that you are married to an asshole who is stuck in the dark ages, pardon my language,’ says Gaurav. I tell them that I really want their advice. I explain that Sandeep is in Korea and will be there for the next few weeks. I truly do not want to stay in this marriage anymore. But the problem is I have no financial means to fall back on. I have never worked and have a nine- year-old son whom I dote on, to take care of. I am actually filling in the void for a father as well in his life as Sandeep is never there for him. I tell them how much it meant to Abhay to have his father at his science fair, but Sandeep couldn’t care less. I explain how difficult it is to walk away from a marriage when a child is involved. ‘Child or no child, ending it and going through a long-winded divorce is always messy, Diksha. Trust me, I speak from experience,’ says Gaurav. I reach out and squeeze his hand. I can feel the pain behind those words. ‘I agree. Not the divorce bit, but ending relationships,’ says Tanu. Our steaming-hot mini-idlis arrive and we eat in silence. ‘Hey guys, you both are truly the only real friends I have and I am so glad you are with me in this,’ I say. ‘Anytime. We are with you, Diksha. We will sort this out. There are no easy solutions, but that does not mean there are no solutions at all,’ says Gaurav. ‘Yes, I agree. You have time for now, Diksha. At least till he returns. We will figure out something,’ says Tanu. And sitting in that café with Gaurav and Tanu, I am really glad I have these two people in my life. I feel grateful to have someone I can speak openly to, without fear of judgement. Someone who under- stands the situation fully. Someone supportive and someone who genuinely cares for me. I feel good about my friendship with Gaurav and Tanu, who have unexpectedly come into my life and are now there when I need them most. But I still hide my involvement with Ankit from them. Somehow, even though I have shared so much, I am not ready to share that yet. My phone beeps and I smile when I see that it is a message from him. I quickly put it away, like saving a treasure for later, to be savoured in secrecy when I am by myself.
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- Fall '19
- 2007 singles, 2008 singles, 2006 singles, 2005 albums, Ankit