By: Khusbu Agarwal
Life had probably changed a lot for me that I never realised. Moonlight walks changed into late night strategy workshops and candlelight dinners turned into business meetings. Sweet and short phone calls from the loved ones, transformed into long hours of teleconferences. Gifts were no more priority now — there should be some tangible return whatever we invest, after all! Spending even 5 dollars on the bouquet for the Valentine’s Day seemed meaningless. You would lose at least half an hour searching for a parking space in the downtown.
Overall there was no respite from the hectic office and the future planning. Whenever he, in a very mild attempt, tried to express his feelings, I had pre-defined answers, “why don’t you understand Rudy! These all are for us only. You know I am the only one to take care of so many stuffs” and he used to be quiet for another couple of days or so. With the race in life, I never realised that Rudy was fading away, slowly.
I suddenly remembered him and memories took me down the time. Rudy is my husband. We got married 11 years ago and life was not less than a fairytale for us. He was a well settled businessman when for the first time I met him. Love at first sight turned into a ceremony of exchanging vows and rings and settling a deal to make each other happy forever.
I had to go to Almere on a business trip for a week. I was working on an important assignment. I didn’t have even five minutes to talk to my parents who traveled more than fifteen hundred miles just to meet me and him. I called Rudy to inform that I had to leave that evening. It was not new to him as it happened many times, and every time, in evening, I found him at the door, smiling, with my suitcase packed with all the necessary stuffs.
I checked in to Park Inn in Almere that afternoon. I wanted to rehearse my presentation before I meet the senior management buddies. I was sure that Rudy would have kept the file. In past, he never missed what I needed, never ever. But I could not control my anger. I opened my leather cased Samsonite and file was not there!!! I took out or rather threw cloths one by one on the cozy floor of that motel.
“Here it is! phewwww… what a relief.” I sighed. I knew he never missed even my minute taste and never ending petty demands to give him time. And for this important file, I had specifically reminded him.
Rudy only taught me everything about business. After our marriage, when I was not sure to pursue my career in modelling anymore, it was him who taught me to get into his ventures slowly. Rudy always used to say, as long as he was with me, I only hd to go higher and higher. I was nervous when for the first time I had to attend board meetings with him but now I’m not.
I had almost forgot that Rudy was existing in my life anymore. From being the pillar of my career, Rudy came on wheel chairs. Everything was absolutely perfect until the day he crashed his car and lost both of his legs, confidence and slowly I stopped giving him value that I once used to give. Nothing was intentional as I was now responsible to take care of his vast business and completely forgot that my husband needed me the most all these years.
I opened the file. There was a pink envelop, something similar to what I used to give him, long time ago, before our marriage. Those days, love was intense on papers rather on internets. Words used to be penned down along with thousands of emotions wrapped together. It had been eleven long years since I stopped writing for him and more than six years since I had told him that I still love him.
I opened the envelope with a curiosity. A moment of happiness stretched on my lips and hands were nervous to hold that pink thing. “It can’t be mine one. No way Rudy would have kept my letters till yet” I whispered to myself while opening it. There were two piece of papers — one was very old and the other was folded and fresh one.
I quickly opened the old one and while unfolding it, I was giggling. It was the first ever letter I gave to Rudy.
Thank you for accepting me. I would forever love you. If ever in life I would lose my mind, I would forget the universe but you would be remembered. You are the helium balloon for me and I am like an attached string to it. You would fly higher and higher and with you I would see the world from a height. Thank you for everything.
Yours forever Love
I couldn’t believe that I was giving myself time to read the memories that I suddenly found from the file. I am sure Rudy would have kept that for me to see. How stupid! The moment of happiness while roaming in a world of forgotten love was gone. I was sure that I felt annoyed because somehow I knew I was the one who forgot him and the love. I left both far behind me while running in a graceful race of success. I wasn’t at all interested to open the fresh letter as I was sure it would again turn out to be another piece of Rudy’s dedicated love and my betrayal. Yet, I picket it up and started unfolding.
Khusbu, Dear Khus, My wife, The love of my life,
I’m sure you’re annoyed that I kept these letters in your business files. But as you don’t have time and I have no rights left to stop you for minutes to sit before me and talk, I send them this way.
There would be an envelop containing all our memories of love, marriage and togetherness on the bed. Once you are back home, come find them. Along with all those things, you would find all our letters photographs, insurance papers, property documents and the rest of the things which would include a small gift for you. I set you free from bearing me anymore. I’m sure, my chubby girl would take a good care of everything. Take care of yourself.
I stunned. For a moment I couldn’t breathe as I was feeling chocked. What made me so restless as I thought of a life without Rudy’s presence so many times though I never expressed that before anyone. No matter what, there was still an ocean of love left inside my heart for him, that I was realising now. My eyes were stubborn to shower hands and legs turned numb. I don’t remember for how long I would have sat like that. I quickly called my manager to book the very next flight.
It took me three hours to reach him after reading his letters. I was in a hope to stop Rudy before leaving me. Life would become impossible if he wouldn’t be around. Even his silence around me was now the most important need of my life.
I quickly opened the door with a spare key. Rudy was gone. The house was empty. There was no sign of his wheel chairs around the corner. I rushed towards the bedroom to find the things he was talking about. There were so many! From the Teddy Bear I once gifted to him to the wedding gown he bought as per my silly demand to stitch two wings as butterflies. All those letters were scattered on the bed. One thing I rushed my hand to get — It was helium balloon a note attached to it’s string, “Free Me With Your Hands“.
“I’m sorry Rudy. Please come back” I was murmuring. My eyes didn’t stop crying since last couple of hours and I was lifeless. If anything would happen to him, I wouldn’t survive either.
My heart was melting and eyes were limpid pool of tears. I couldn’t move an inch and was holding the balloon. His numbers were off. Suddenly the land phone started ringing loud. I quickly rushed towards with an expectation that Rudy would have been on other side. I couldn’t hold the receiver for more than 30 seconds. One of our friend called up and asked me to turn the television on.
“Thirty-three years old X-Business Tycoon, Rudy Watson, found dead. The body has been recovered from Seine River. Cops are suspecting it as a case of suici……..”
The balloon was freed from my hands and started flying high in that room with the string attached with it.