Well, he did call and had nothing of substance to say. I have a good memory for memorable things – and since I don’t remember our conversation, you are safe to assume he said nothing memorable.
At the risk of alienating people who are reading my posts and looking forward to the next ones – let me tell you the whole story now.
This story, for me is really about how a person can change entirely that they become unrecognizable. And I don’t mean change in things like – he was nice and then he was not; or that he loved me and then he did not…
In this particular case, the man that I met in New York, fell in love with and talked about getting married (something I haven’t done with many men) became an entirely different man within a short time. The change didn’t occur overnight but it definitely had a upward or downward trajectory – whichever way you may want to look at it. And it continued for years; I believe it is still happening. The difference is that I no longer care, it no longer impacts me and the changes are a tad more subtle now.
A little backstory before we move on:
When V went back to India to take care of his mother who had a stroke, he had gotten a very generous family leave from the company that he was working for. This was the same company that at the end of that year was going to finalize his green card process. When the leave was coming to an end, he was contacted by the company to ask him of his decision as to how to proceed. Since we were not in touch, once again, I learned of this after the fact and also was unable to make him answer them. Well, the day came and went when he was to get back to them and so he was let go.
By not responding to one email of his intentions, he threw away 10 years of his work at this prestigious company and his chance of becoming a legal resident of the United States where I was; and also where he wanted to live.
This was a very different man from the one I had met in New York. When we met he was ambitious and excited about his future. He was well educated with three advanced degrees, very disciplined since he had also been an officer in the Indian Navy. Now he was drinking everyday, not looking for a job; or finding jobs that were not up to par with his education or qualifications.
One might argue that when one is stressed, one drinks. That is true but there is drinking and then there is drinking. He rapidly turned into a drunk and then a full blown alcoholic.
Now the calls I got were in a drunken stupor with him telling me he is fucked up, his life is fucked up; and in the next breath, “Come to Bombay and save me.”
So far I still loved this man and did contemplate going to India to be with him and see what could be done to help him. I was not delusional enough that I could solve all his problems or save him but I sure could be there for him. That’s what people in love do. Every time I would start looking at tickets and planning my trip, something else would happen like he had to now take his mother to Agra (another city) for treatment or he would just disappear for weeks. My concern started to turn into anger and eventually the urge to give up on this relationship was stronger than the love I felt for him.
While all this was happening, I was seeing F and that relationship was developing.
How could I do that – you may ask. I’m not sure. That’s just how the cookie was crumbling.
I even told F about V and he didn’t have much to say. He told me that I was being a good friend and it seemed to him that that was all I could do.
I continued to see F and even wrote an email to V telling him that I was now with someone else and that he should try to get better for his sake. Not wait for me or anyone else to save him. That’s just not how it works. These words were falling on deaf ears – he was consumed with drinking and now his mother started to get better and was very worried for her son.
He did get a job but quickly got fired due to a drunken episode that led to some sort of altercation in a bar.
It was now fall of the year when he left and I flew to Australia to spend about four months there. By now V had totally stopped contacting me and I didn’t bother either.
Towards the end of my trip in Australia I get a message from him telling me that I was in Australia and he was thinking of coming to the US. How he knew I was there – I have no idea as I hadn’t told him. I later learned that he was lurking on facebook and other social media to figure out my whereabouts. I also believe that his messages were written to me during some crazy drinking episodes because they were angry and accusatory of what I was doing in Australia. Well, I was doing nothing untoward – I was with family. Besides, it was none of his business any more.
Fast forward to just a few months back – 5 years after he left for India and never returned – he contacted me, fresh out of rehab. Hallelujah! I could tell by the way he was speaking and the language he was using.
“How do you know that I was in rehab?” he asked.
“I know the lingo – I have several friends in the program.”
“You know you were right about everything you said. That I need to get better for myself. That I need to love myself and only then can others love me.”
“I am just glad you got help,” I replied.
“I am now in Bangalore with mom and have a job. I am going to get myself together and then I want you to come and then we can get married.”
It was like he was suspended in a time warp, while I had moved on, many many times over.
“I want you to get better and get things in order. I am very happy for you but I am not going to marry you. We haven’t been together for 5 years.”
“But, you are my bubu…”
“That was then, this is now.” I felt awful saying this stuff to him. Actually I didn’t. I was telling him the truth. I no longer loved him. I no longer believed that he and I could ever have a future. The sooner he realized that, the sooner he could move on with his life.
“I told mom about you and she was so mad that I came here and let you go.”
“Your mother is a smart woman!”
“If I somehow come to the US, we could get married.”
“I don’t think you are understanding what I am saying. You are welcome to come to the US. It’s a free country but there shall be no marriage. If you do come, call me and we can meet and see what happens. But I can promise you there shall be no marriage – at least between you and I.”
I have no idea if he even understood what I was saying.
To wrap it up – our last interaction.
“I am going to London for business. Come meet me there. Please. It’ll be so nice.”
London … I could do that, I thought to myself.
“I’ll send you my itinerary – it will be in the next three weeks.”
I looked at tickets and thought it was feasible. Why not. I could meet him for old time’s sake. I could use a mini vacation.
Ready for this?
Two weeks go by. I hear nothing from him. People don’t change, I suppose. Or they change so much that they are not even recognizable.
I obviously nixed the idea of going since he couldn’t even keep in touch in the weeks before our trip or tell me the dates so we could plan.
At the time I thought he was to be in London, I texted him, “Hope you are having fun in London.”
“My trip was delayed. I have cancer.”
Call me what you like – intuitive, a bitch, callous – but I knew he didn’t have cancer.
He said it just to get a rise out of me. And in other news, he had started drinking again.
There were some exchanges in text – I said some nasty things and in a couple of days his cancer had turned into the flu.
“Was it cancer or the flu?” were my last words to him. Ever!
I got texts from him from London or wherever the hell he was. I never responded.
I got texts when he got back to India. I never responded.
I was done.
I am done.
And that is the story!
Wait – I am still done but I want to say this that I am so sorry that a man like him – so full of life, love and aspirations has now been reduced to what he has. I am sorry that his father died. I am sorry that his mother got sick but we have to take care of ourselves first before we can do anything for any one else.
I feel so sorry for him even though I don’t love him any more – he really is stuck and doesn’t know how to get out of the situation he finds himself in.
He was compelled to tell me many times that he had not been any other woman since me.
“Well, that’s awful. I don’t know why you would do that to yourself.”
“I know you have been with many men,” he would reply.
“That’s really no longer your business!”
Okay now that’s the end of the story.
I am curious to hear from you – should I write a script and send it to a C class Hollywood producer 🙂
There shall be no script but I would love to hear from you about this story or any of your experiences.
Until I date again!