It was going to be torturous day for both of us. After 24 years and six months we had decided that we were not compatible for each other. What went wrong between us? We were the ideal couple in the eyes of our family, friends and kids. We understood each other perfectly well. She could read my soul better than she could read her own. I could read her thoughts and desires better than I knew mine. But then where did we go wrong or what was missing between us?
It was that dreadful day when I came home to my wife who seemed stranger to me. She was sitting quietly with her head bend down. The thundering sound outside the house broke this biting silence between us momentarily.
“What happened, honey? ”,I asked.
She didn’t respond. She was searching words to make herself clear to me.
“Is something wrong? What happened, darling? Tell me, we will sort it out.”,I said , offering her glass of water and then sitting down on my knees with my hands placed on her lap.
She sipped the water and took deep breaths. “I need divorce, Kevin.”, she said at last.
Her words struck my heart like a thunderbolt. I couldn’t believe my eyes. “This must be a nightmare.”, I wondered, blinking my eyes repeatedly. I still didn’t believe this was happening to me. “ Why? This is a joke.”, I said, getting up on my feet.
“Everything is joke to you. I am serious. I am tired of this marriage. I am tired of being your wife. We are no longer compatible to each other. Our needs and wants have become different.”, she argued.
“Oh! I see. After twenty four years, you think that we are no longer compatible. What about those years we were together? What about those memories we shared together? Doesn’t that matter to you? Those years of love, patience, loyalty, romance, family and status is not enough for you? “, I asked heartbroken
She didn’t respond. She tapped tips of her finger nervously on her lap. She didn’t have the courage to look into my eyes. She was still staring at the floor, looking for the answer. “ Tell me, how can I get you back? I can’t live without you.”, I pleaded.
She couldn’t control her emotions. She got up from the seat. “There is nothing you can do to get me back. It is too late.”, she said in choked voice. The tears in her eyes welled up. She controlled them. She didn’t want to weep in front of me. As usual she wanted to cover them like she used to for twenty four years.
“So you have found another man in your life. Tell me, who is it?”, I growled at her. I was furious at her blunt response. How could someone break a relationship without any reason after years of togetherness? I couldn’t digest this thought inside me.
“For Christ sake, stop it! I have never loved anyone so deeply like I loved you. There is no man in my life. Why can’t you see I am tired of love? Anyway, I will send you legal documents tomorrow.”, she cried.
I grabbed her wrist before she could walk away. But she managed to release her hand from my grip and walked as fast as she could. I didn’t stop her. I stood there in the same place where she left me with questions.
The next day was a mess. I received legal documents from her. It stated about the divorce and what she needed as alimony settlement. It also mentioned about the custody of our children would solely remain with her and that I would have rights to meet them whenever I wanted. What? Custody and separation seemed like alien words to me. I looked for the reasons for separation. They weren’t specific or real. It was only mentioned that separation was due to irreconcilable differences. We could have those differences sorted if she would mention to me what were those differences. I tossed the papers away and focused myself towards work.
I came home to see Tania waiting for me. “Did you sign the papers?”, she asked eagerly without waiting for me to even greet her.
“No! I haven’t. Honey, we can sit and sort out all those differences. We don’t need the court to decide whether we need to separate or not.”, I said calmly.
“Why? Why can’t you sign the damn papers?”, she protested.
“No! I won’t sign the damn papers until unless you tell me the reasons clearly.”, I said firmly. She remained quiet with one of her hand resting on her eyes. “You are being selfish. Forget me! At least think about the kids. It would shatter them if they know that their parents were separating.”, I continued.
She took out her hand and stared at my eyes intensely. This was the first time she made an eye contact with me while talking to me since last night. “Selfish? Don’t accuse me of being selfish. Don’t show that pretentious concern for my kids. Where were you when they needed you the most? It’s okay if you missed their school functions. It’s okay if you missed our son Raul’s football match. It’s okay if you missed our youngest daughter Sofia’s ballet performance. But it’s not okay if you forgot our Tina (eldest daughter)’s death anniversary last month. You weren’t even there when Ron (eldest son) was hospitalised due to drug overdose. I single handedly took care of them. It wouldn’t matter to them if we separated.”, she said.
I was taken aback when she accused me of not being there for them. I was busy creating wealth and life for my family. I didn’t notice that I had forgotten to be a father while providing them lifestyle. I wasn’t even there to support my wife when she was going through all these burdens. I sat there as I took out the papers from my bag. I didn’t read the document again. I signed them with heavy heart. I didn’t think rationally. I thought that at least by signing the papers, I would be doing a favor for her.
The divorce procedure was taking toll on both of us. It was nightmare for both of us. It was ripping us apart. Our first meeting at the court was quick. The judge had given us six months to reconcile our differences. In those six months, we acted normally. We carried on with life like old times. I started spending more time with my kids especially with Ron. I tried my best to fill the gap between us. I tried my best to reconcile with Tania but I failed as soon as I thought about the days I was never with them. I wished she would reconsider her decision.
As the days passed, we grew more apart from each other. I came home to stranger who was mother to my children. I came home to stranger who was my life once upon a time. I came home to stranger with whom I had grown up with. It’s strange that a person we fall in love with becomes a stranger in few minutes. I wanted to speak to her. I didn’t like this cold vibe between us. I wanted us to be normal again. Didn’t the judge give us time to reconcile and get back together? Why doesn’t she understand? How can anyone be so blind to forget love?
After six months, here I was waiting for the final hearing. I was dressed in pale grey suit she had gifted me for our twentieth wedding anniversary. She wore black laced dress. She looked beautiful except for her grim face. I missed her smile. I remember the day she smiled brightly. It was our wedding day. Her smile enhanced her beauty that day. Those wide full lips coated in bright red lipstick made my heart skip a beat that day. Everything was perfect. We were happy to be together.
Who knew we would sit before judge in the family court to hear him grant our divorce after twenty four years. I nervously played with my fingers as our lawyers presented our case. Each of them spoke the facts, the reason and settlement. I tried to remain deaf to their words. But then I couldn’t control myself. I wanted to stop the mess. I was getting ready to stop them. To my surprise, Tania got up and pleaded before the judge, “I can’t do this to my heart. I can’t be selfish. This is not me. I don’t want the divorce. I want us. I want our kids to have their father.”
Everyone stared at her in bewilderment. They didn’t expect the sudden change in mind from my wife. I was overjoyed and without waiting for a second, I rushed towards her. I hugged her and wiped her tears. I kissed her forehead and said, “I love you.” She buried herself into my chest, promising to never let us apart. I promised too to keep our family the top priority in our life.
The judge withdrew our petition. It was miracle that we had come before the judge as strangers but walked out of court as one soul.