"I have to leave all of them and travel with you!"
It was the 100th time when she repeated the same sentence, and he was listening to it. He had no choice other than listening to her for the rest of his life. After all the odds, they got married at the start of the year.
'Honey, you know it is not my fault. I am tired of listening to this since we left that city," Alex tried to explain to her for the 100th time.
Alex knew Saundarya had rough times in the last few months, and then the relocation just added to the mess. Saundarya was a journalist, and she loved her job more than her life. She can risk her life to the extreme for the sake of real journalism. Her passion made her stand up on her toes every day and return home late at night until they got married. Marriage brought happiness to both of them, but for Saundarya, it gave her additional responsibilities of marriage. She was not ready for it, but the baby bump can be visible any time soon, and hence the wedding was the only option left for both of them.
Alex and Saundarya always wanted to get married but never thought it would be in this way. Everything around Saundarya was changing quickly. Her journalism job went for a toss when she informed her bosses about the unplanned pregnancy followed by marriage. The news didn't go well with the bosses as they required someone reporting from the war front. It was a lifetime opportunity for any female journalist. Saundarya always dreamt of the thrill while giving live telecast from the war front area. The sudden changes brought a comma or full stop on her dreams.
'But Alex, things would have been different if...." Saundarya stopped mid-sentence.
"If what, Saundarya?"
"If you would have thought about our baby."
Alex banged his wrist on the table, "Enough is enough, Saundarya. Why you always have to mention it? I am going out. I need some fresh air." Alex walked out of the main door slamming it behind him.
Alex and Saundarya first met at an official party. It was a casual meeting, and exchanging mobile numbers were equally necessary for a business relation. Soon, the text messages were shared, and calling each other day and night increased the business of mobile service providers. After a few more meets, the casual meet became a special one. Days changed into months, and soon they started living together, exploring each other's lifestyles.
Alex knew Saundarya was the girl he always wished for, and he knew her passion for her job too since Alex was also a journalist. They mutually agreed on two things in their life. Firstly, not to discuss their work-life with each other, and secondly, to marry each other only after five years of a committed relationship. Maybe destiny had some other plans stored for them. They completed one year together with no regrets, and then it was time to celebrate their live-in relationship anniversary, topping it there was a weekend. All clubbed together with alcohol, made a perfect romantic environment, happy vibes.
This vibe soon got over when Saundarya got news of her pregnancy. She could see all her plans broken, all her dreams shattering in front of her. She wanted to own a dream house in the city where she grew, worked, found Alex the love of her life, and wanted to settle with him, have a family with him. But not at this early stage of her life. Everything seemed to be happening too quickly, and she just had no control over it.
Next, she saw herself standing next to him in the church taking wedding vows.
Alex stepped out and started walking, angrily in the unknown direction. He was sweating profusely, and his heartbeat increased. After speedily walking for an hour, passing through a garden, he stepped inside and sat on a bench placed next to the water fountain. The fountain was lighted and was refreshing. Alex always wished to be here in this metropolitan city, and be part of the crowd, feel the hustle. The moment he passed his journalism course and stepped into the world, he had plans to move here and dwell with other folks. The loneliness in the small city was never appealing. Hence when he got an offer to move into a big city like this, he immediately grabbed it without giving it a second thought. He still remembers the day when he disclosed the news to Saundarya. That was the day everything changed to beyond repair.
"Guess what?" he asked excitedly, holding the letter in his hand.
"Now, what is it?" asked Saundarya, occupied in kitchen chores.
It was the end of her second-trimester pregnancy, and her mood swings were increasing day by day.
"Oh come-on dear, at least look here. You won't believe what happened today at the work-place! Oh, God! What a day, Indeed!"
Saundarya was focusing on cooking dinner and resisted looking at the letter.
"Alex, why don't you freshen up and keep that letter on the table. I will look at it later."
All the patience and excitement within Alex started to disappear, but he was trying to be calm. He stepped near to her, held her hand, turned her facing him, and said, "This is the promotion letter."
He waited for a few seconds to see her reaction. A wide smile spread on her lips.
She hugged him tightly, "Wow, I am so much happy for you. Congratulations! It's the time for celebration."
"Thanks. I know you will be happy. But, there is another surprise for you."
"What, one more surprise! Tell me. I am all ears."
"Pack your bags and all other stuff. Soon we will be moving to a big city. Isn't it great?"
A pin-drop silence filled in the atmosphere. Alex was waiting for her reaction, but it was silence before the arrival of the storm. Saundarya left his hand and started moving back to finish her incomplete kitchen chores. Alex was still trying to gauge the situation.
"What's wrong? Tell me," Alex asked.
"We are not moving anywhere."
"What? But why? It is a big opportunity. I do not want to miss it."
"Big opportunity! You know very well how you got this promotion. Don't you?"
"Yes, I agree. It was not my news. It belonged to someone else, but at that moment, this was the only escape I had. I used it, and now we are moving out of this city."
"You are boasting about your promotion on someone else hard work!"
"I am not. I deserved this promotion, and I had earned it," Alex replied angrily.
"You didn't deserve it. You are nothing but a loser."
"How dare you?" Alex's anger was now at its peak. He stepped forward and slapped Saundarya.
Their marriage was struggling to sail across the storm and reach the shore. It was suffocating every day. Suandarya stood there frozen.
Alex grabbed his mobile phone and stormed out of the house. The loud thud of the door brought Saundarya back to senses. She turned around and started to focus back on preparing dinner. Her life changed from love to pregnancy to marriage and hatred in just seven months of the wedding. She started walking upstairs slowly into her thoughts, holding the baby bump when her foot slipped, and she rolled down from the stairs and landed on the stomach.
Saundarya screamed out of pain, but no one was around to help her. She was bleeding and trembling in pain. She crawled to grab the mobile phone and call Alex immediately.
"Alex, pick up the phone for God's sake." she started praying. All her prayers went unanswered when Alex chose to ignore her calls. She was dialing his number for the twentieth time. Her fingers were shaking. She dialed another number from her speed dial list to seek help before slipping into a coma state. All her worries now shifted towards her baby.
She woke up the next day and found herself in the hospital. Alex sat next to her holding her hands. She tried to get up and sit straight, but Alex stopped her.
"How is our baby? Tell me, Alex, how is our baby?"
Alex was quiet, and so were others who stood there in that room. Alex held her hand tightly before breaking the unfortunate news to her.
"I am sorry, Saundarya. We lost our baby. It is all my fault."
"No, it cannot be. It cannot happen to me. You are lying to me. I don't trust you at all."
Tears started falling from her eyes, uncontrollably as she started sobbing. Alex stepped near to hug her and console her. She pushed him aside.
"Don't you dare step near to me. Leave me alone," said Saundarya wiping her tears and shifted on the bed facing towards the wall.
"Doctor, she is crying for the last three days. Very less food intake is making her weak too. She is not taking her medicines on time. What should I do?"
Alex was sitting in the Doctor's cabin, discussing Sandrya's health. Saundarya hardly spoke to anyone. After the unfortunate event, she locked herself in her room upstairs. Her physical and mental health was deteriorating. She lost the motive of her life.
"Why don't you ask her to start working again?" asked Doctor.
"I did, Doctor. But she does not wish to step out of her room."
"Then, you have to try and shift her to some other place. Far away from here. So that she forgets everything and get back to her old life."
Alex knew what he has to do. He packed all the stuff and convinced her parents to move to the big city as advised by the Doctor. Her parents agreed, and they all lied to Saundarya that they planned a short trip to refresh her mood and will return in one or two days. She never thought in her dreams that she would be relocated forcefully to a big city.
Alex came back to reality and started looking around. It was dark around when he checked his mobile phone. There were ten missed calls from Saundarya. He started panicking and ran towards home. Several thoughts came in his mind. He doesn't want to lose her after losing their child. His mind started creating a web of questions and scenarios around. He was sweating profusely but continued running towards home. The moment he stood at the door, he started banging the doors badly. After a few minutes, the door opened, and Saundarya stood in front of him fit and fine. He was happy to see her and hugged her tightly.
"Thank God. You are okay. I am sorry, Saundarya. I love you." he said.
Saundarya didn't hug him back. Alex still held her in his arms.
"Let me go, Alex."
"Oh..." He released her from his embrace.
"Alex, let me go."
"Let me be free once again. It's all suffocating in here. I want to go back."
Alex was shocked. He held her hand, "Please, don't go anywhere, leaving me alone. I will sort everything."
He held her and made her sit on the chair. A worried Alex sat on the floor, holding her hand, trying to convince her one last time.
"Give me one chance. I know I made too many mistakes. Give me one more chance. I figured out everything, and we can start living once again."
"Start once again, everything!. Is it that simple!"
"No, Alex. We both are different and forcing ourselves in this relationship. The only thread between us that tied us together all this time was our baby. Now we don't have that thread too! So let's part our ways," Saundarya said as a tear started to roll off from her eyes and made a way through her cheeks, finally dropping on Alex's hand.
Alex looked at her with teary eyes. She looked blurred. He immediately wiped his eyes and held her hand more firmly.
'No. No, Saundarya. Please stop crying. We love each other, and that will be our thread to start all over again."
She removed her hands from the clutches of his finger, stood, and started to stroll left and right. She turned around and asked, "In the last seven months of our married life, what did you give up for the sake of this relationship?"
Alex was quiet. He didn't know what to answer.
"Take your time to think. Do you know what I sacrificed?"
"I sacrificed everything I had. My passion, my aims, my ambitions, my dreams, my baby, and now even my city. The city I loved the most. Do you even know what were my dreams?"
"To be a good journalist," he replied.
"and?" Saundarya enquired further.
Alex sat there wondering if Saundarya mentioned anytime about her dreams. He was clueless because he never asked her. Saundarya understood he knows nothing. She started walking left and right once again while Alex watched her walking.
"Alex, I always knew you wanted to move to a big city. Your dreams were much higher than mine. I wanted to be a part of your dreams without compromising on mine. I wished success for both of us, but somewhere our dreams clashed with each other."
Saundarya was calm and composed. She was speaking her heart out after a long time.
She continued, "I always had small dreams. I wanted marriage and a loving, caring husband. I got both, maybe at an early stage of life than I thought. I was regretting initially, but not after I was married to you. I was learning to accept the new changes," Saundarya heaved a sigh.
Alex was quietly listening to her for the first time. It was a long time when they had such conversations. Saundarya stopped in front of him, and sat on the floor with him, held his hands.
"I was moving with the flow. My trust broke first when you misused the information for your good. That information which my friend shared it with me and mistakenly I spilled out in front of you," she said.
"I was left with no option. My job was at stake and hence used it as a savior," Alex said, clarifying his situation.
Saundarya listened to his clarification and then continued, "Second time I felt betrayed when you asked me to leave the city with you. That city where I wanted my dream house and dreamt of starting my family with you."
"I never knew you were so connected with that small city."
"But now you knew it. The final nail hit the coffin when I laid in the pool of blood and was calling you continuously, expected that you would rush home for our child. Our baby was dying, and you chose to ignore all my calls. I kept on dialing your number, but your anger was on peak. Our unborn child bore all the heat of your anger, and then you brought me here without my consent."
Finally, Saundarya spoke everything today.
"But, it was for your good health as per the Doctor's advice. I followed it," Alex replied.
"You followed because it was beneficial to you. You wanted to hit two aims with one arrow, and unfortunately, you lost me. I feel suffocated here. This house stands on my shattered dreams. I cannot stay here anymore and hence..."
Saundarya stopped mid-sentence, got up, and went inside the room. She pulled out packed bags. Alex stood up in shock and ran towards her. Held her hand to stop her.
"You cannot do this. You cannot leave me. Please, Saundarya, don't leave me alone here," Alex pleaded.
"Then come with me."
Alex looked at her. A tear dropped from his eye as he stepped back and made way for her. Her mobile phone beeped, informing the arrival of the cab. She smiled with teary eyes and started walking towards the door, pulling the bags behind her.