As I sat in the open restaurant of Rennome in Prague, I gazed at the few couples cuddling cozily under the awning near the idyllic river Vltava, flowing subtly and gently in the cold February night. The weather was perfect and the soft music floating in the air heightened the charm of the dulcet evening. I looked at Varun seated across me and talking animatedly on the phone, probably to someone in his office at India. This was supposed to be our 5th wedding anniversary vacation. But ever since we got here Varun had been constantly on the phone or the laptop, trying to seal a multimillion dollar deal with another conglomerate.
I berated myself for agreeing to come for the trip. I knew that this would happen, after all I had plenty of experience from the past few dismal years of our marriage. Varun was the CEO of their family business that had expanded it's reach to several industries. Being a successful and a high-powered business man had its own perks but unfortunately finding time to spend with one’s own wife was not a part of it.
I sighed as I pushed away the plate containing delicacies that promised to titillate even the drabbest palate. I was not interested in the food or the ambiance that exuded love, warmth and passion. How did our marriage decay into apathy and indifference? Had Varun and I drifted so apart that it was impossible to even salvage the last vestiges of our marriage?
I looked at Varun’s handsome face that were now lined with deep frowns and the few silver hairs that gave him a more distinguished look. My memory took me back a few years, to the early days of our marriage, when we were still enamored with each other and we couldn’t get enough of each other. During the day, when Varun was at work and I was in the house, we waited eagerly for dusk when we could be together.
We just couldn’t keep our hands off each other and I remembered, with a smile on my lips, how Varun would hold my hands beneath the table when our whole family was having dinner. I remembered his touch that could quicken my breath and make me melt in his arms passionately. Where did those days go? I missed his touch so much. How is that Varun, who used to be so perceptive to my feelings, now felt distant and cold.
Varun looked into my eyes that were already brimming with unshed tears. He quickly disconnected the call.
“Meera, I am so sorry. I have been on the phone for so long but this mess in our office has to be sorted out”, he said reaching for the glass of champagne.
“It’s ok Varun. This is not the first time you have ignored me because of your work and I am sure it won’t be the last too”, I replied, my tone more caustic than I had intended.
Varun’s hands froze and he looked at my face. All though I had been suffering silently, I had never voiced my feelings, in the hope that Varun would change. But I guess that was never going to happen.
“What’s wrong Meera? You seem upset”, Varun said reaching for my trembling hands on the table.
I withdrew my hand before he could touch it.
“I am tired of waiting for you Varun. All you care for is your work and your company. When was the last time you held my hand? When was the last time you said you loved me? When was the last time we kissed? I cannot pretend to be in a marriage that is shallow and meaningless. It takes two people to be in a relationship and if you cannot be there for me, I guess it’s better to be separated”.
By the time I finished speaking , my words were coming in short spurts and my face was streaked with tears.
Varun quickly came to my side and held me in his arms.
“Meera I am sorry. I really am. I know I have been occupied with my work but it does not mean that I have stopped loving you. You are right. I have not been spending enough time with you. But please don’t talk about going separate ways. You are my pillar of support. Without you I cannot even think of a life that’s worth living. Please, can you forgive me?”
I buried my face in his shoulders as we hugged for an eternity. Our intimate moment came to an abrupt halt when Varun’s phone started ringing. He switched his phone off and stood up.
“Now, my beautiful wife, would you care to join me for a walk”, Varun asked extending his hand.
As I smiled radiantly and placed my hand in his, I knew that my Varun was back. The touch that had ignited my love for him had been rekindled.