‘What should I do now?’
‘Go, talk to her! Apologize for your deeds and show her how much you still love her. Don’t let her abort your child.’ Aarav’s mother was sugguesting Aarav with some ideas to get his life back.
‘Abort my child?’
‘Yes, son. She’s talking about abortion, as she says she can’t raise a fatherless child.’
‘Fatherless? I’m not dead, mom. She needs to understand that I still love her and I’ll be with her, whatever it takes me to be.’
‘Yes, yes. But you need to talk to her for that, make her understand that and try to stay calm. Alright? Even if she screams at you, shouts or even slaps you, stay calm!’
‘Mom, you think I’m afraid of her slaps? I deserve a lot worse after what I’ve done, and a few slaps are nothing in comparison to that.’
‘I don’t think she’ll slap you or whatever, but when a woman is falsely accused, when her faith and trust for her own man is doubted, her heart becomes hard as a rock for the world, she becomes indifferent and emotionless stone, it only softens for either her own child, or her love, but in this case, you are the one who accused her, so try and stay calm.’
‘I will, mother. I’m leaving now; you want to come with me?’
‘No. It will be better if you two sort things out on your own, and it would be best if everything remains within you. Son, I want to hear a good news, please!’
‘I promise you, mom. I’m bringing your daughter back this time…’
At Ashima’s Home
The bell rang. Ashima got up lazily from the drawing room couch to open the door. It must be her mother-in-law, she thought, and mentally prepared what she was going to say about why she wanted an abortion.
Ashima knew it would be difficult to convince her, after all she was bearing her grand-child, and she would simply not let her kill it. But she was stubborn enough herself, that she would not raise this child without Aarav.
Thinking weirdest things in her mind, and trying to keep her mind at one place, she opened the door, and was shocked to see Aarav, standing with his head held down. She tried closing the door on his face, but he somehow pushed her aside and forced himself in.
‘At least listen to me, Aashi.’
‘You listened? When I wanted to tell about, Jatin, did you listen?’ Ashima screamed.
‘I know, I’ve behaved like an asshole recently, and I know I deserve worst treatment, but I just want to tell you, that I’m sorry, and I still love you. Life without you is hell, and I cannot bear even a single day alone. Without you, my days have been nothing more than a combination of sunrise and sunset. Without your presence, my body is becoming weak, due to excessive drinking my organs are on the verge of failure, doctors say I won’t live any longer than five years, tops.’ Aarav started crying.
Ashima stood their silently, listening to his pleadings.
‘I want you to know that without you, I’ll die. If I won’t, I’ll kill myself. But I just can’t live without you…’ Aarav broke down and sat on the floor.
Ashima also sat down and placed her hands on his shoulders.
‘Aashi, in the entire last month, there’s not been a single moment, when I smiled. I don’t know what is laughter, I don’t know what is happiness. If anything that has given me smile, is just one thing, and that is the news of your pregnancy, the news about me, of becoming a father soon.’
‘Aarav, I wanted to talk about it…’
‘I know, you want to abort this child, don’t you? To hurt me, and to kill me instantly, right? But sorry, I won’t let you do that. This child is as mine as it is yours, and killing it would require you to kill me first.’
‘I know there must be a million things going on in your mind. But I’m sorry, I’m sorry for everything I did, I’m sorry for not trusting you, I’m sorry for not listening to you and doubting upon you, I’m sorry for mistaking you of having an affair with a gay man behind my back, I’m sorry for every drop of tear that has fallen off your eyes because of me, I’m sorry for giving you a shitty time, in this filthy apartment. If you ever loved me in your entire life, please, please give me one last chance. I promise to give you all the freedom, and I promise I’ll trust you, I’ll listen to you, I’ll take time out for you, I’ll manage my office hours and always come home early to spend time with you, I promise I’ll never hurt you, and I promise to take care of you, always…’
‘Aarav, can you listen to me?’
‘Yes, sure. I’m sorry, say…’
‘I agree I’ve had a hard time living without you as well, and I also want to apologize…’
‘No, Ashima. Please don’t make me feel more guilty for my faults, please don’t apologize.’
‘Let me finish, Aarav? You just promised that you’ll listen to me, right?’
‘I tried to kill myself.’
‘Please, let me finish, will you? I tried swallowing a dozen of tranquilizers to end this life, but I could not. The moment I brought my hand of meds close to my mouth, I realized how much I still love you, how much of me, you still own and how much you affect me. I just cannot end this life at any cost, as it is unaffordable for me to do that. The next immediate day, I realized that I’m missing my periods, and I went for a check-up and found about my pregnancy. There were ladies, who came with their guys to the hospital; women who were accompanied by their husbands, but I stood out, I was alone. Pregnancy is such a wonderful thing that I didn’t want to go through it alone. Having a check-up was so hard, then how can I spend 9 months alone with a child inside me? That’s the reason I decided to abort it, and so I called mom to talk to me. But instead she told you everything…and in one way, I’m glad she did!’
Ashima hugged Aarav and they sat on the floor for a while. Aarav kissed her on her lips, and placed a hand gently at her stomach.
‘We both, will raise our baby together. We’ll not hurt it, and I promise an entire one year’s vacation, to be with you. And you won’t force me to go to office. I’ll cook for you, I’ll take care of you, your meds, your check-ups, your hospital visits. Everything is now my responsibility, Aashi. You’ve had enough, no more hard times, and no more tears! Pack your bags right now. You’re coming home, sweetheart!’
‘Not before you make one more promise, Aarav!’
‘Promise me, you’ll stop drinking and take care of yourself. For me, and for our baby!’
‘I promise, sweetheart…’
Aarav kissed her on her forehead and they both moved back to Aarav’s place. Aarav phoned his mother and informed her that everything’s fine now, and Ashima is back.