He was gentle, caring and certainly she enjoyed his nearness and the safe thrill of his body in bed.
“Thanks love,” he crooned. “I love you all the more.” He looked at her intently and stroked her cheek, pushing the hair back from her face. “Hope I didn’t hurt you.”
“Hmmm, no.” she said pillowing her head on his strong biceps, inhaling deeply his manly cologne.
‘I must tell Manish’ she thought in the midst of her busy schedules at office, a week later. ‘He really loves me in spite of my thick set legs and short frame and I too love him, his mind, his thoughts, and his attitudes towards life. I cannot build relationship on dishonesty. The base of any relationship is trust.’ It was conscience that spoke.
Her cell buzzed. It was him. He said, “Hi, I must meet you. I have something to tell you and it’s important before we proceed with our marriage arrangements.”
“Actually, even I have something to tell you. I was going to call you up just now.’
“Fine, we will meet in Nariman point, same place. Same time.”
‘God what did he have to confess?’ He is so good, has a foreign degree, good job, good pay, good home background, and never married before. His father has a lion’s share in Radford and Sons. He has a sister settled in Sydney, happily married with two kids. They had discussed everything under the sun including matching curtains for the wall color in every room of their new bungalow in Pali Hill that he has bought for her. And now he has even proved his physical potency. Anxiety gnawed at her guts. ‘Will this relationship work?’
She walked slowly along the boulevard in the slanting sun and saw him on the other side of the road. His tall well built body in his formal wear looked attractive. He looked like a macho man. They waved and both began crossing at the same time and met in the middle of the road, held up traffic and was oblivious to the sound and commotion.
“I’ll come straight to the point and tell you, I lied my age. I am 32 not 26. Have I gone up six years older in your eyes?” she said.
He looked at her plump figure quizzically.
Hot words flew in the air.
“This ain’t a park.”
“Get out of the way….”
“No probs. It’s fine by me. I see you six years more mature!”
“Thank God, now what have you to confess?”
“Hey you…..Are you deaf?”
“Call the police.”
A traffic police blew his whistle. Manish and Manisha looked up and saw the traffic. They waved a ‘sorry’ and walked to the footpath. “It’s about my, my….. er… gender.”
“Ten years ago at eighteen I underwent an SRS.”
“Sex Reconstruction Surgery. I was born a freak. If I was one, I have progressed from the third to the first.”
She froze and unfroze. Silence.
“I know it’s quite disturbing to hear this, but that’s the truth about me. In case you are feeling cheated, or wondering why I didn’t tell you much earlier, let me tell you it’s because of the fear of losing you. I love you so much that…… you know……I was scared that you might reject me, so…..I concealed this fact till now. But now I ……er……want to follow the dictates of my conscience. There shouldn’t be any secrecy between us, especially when we are going to be united in wedlock.”
A sublime insight into the meaning of ‘compatibility’ overpowered her in her drawing room while reflecting on the new predicament. She had walked away without a word. Yes, there was ease in their togetherness, freedom in relationship and an unvoiced understanding.
What more did she want? Kids! They can always adopt. What difference does it make? Nobody can love her more than he does, especially with the broken-family-syndrome background she came from. Why then did she brood for these two days? She loved this macho man; handsome, rich, influential and so loveable. It was 3 am. She had to wait till morning to call. But she had no patience. She dialled his number. He picked the call in half a ring.
“What shall we have for last night’s dinner?”
“Okay, I shall be there in fifteen minutes and we’ll decide,” he said.