“ Midnight on the bridge. Come alone.” Six words were all I typed before pressing the Send button and then I switched off my phone.
So here I was, single and slogging away for an MNC that had the happy knack of conjuring up endless work for employees. I had spent exactly 35 years on the planet and had been relegated to the position of a hopeless, sour spinster. Of course, compassionate souls would still drop in with proposals, meant for a 35-year-old, from families far and wide and I would politely and firmly decline. Dad’s heart attack, Mom’s ranting and worldly advice from near and dear ones finally got me to accept the next proposal that came along.
I can’t claim to have been the shy, happy blushing bride- to- be, that I was meant to be. A business guy, based in South Africa was the knight. We had a few telephonic conversations during the “courtship” phase, where I began to get a hint of what lay ahead. He flew down a fortnight before the Day. And that is when he started getting on my nerves – most excruciatingly so! He descended on my house with a carload of expensive gifts, went into the minutest details of each gift, bragged to my gullible cousins about his meeting with President Obama and yes, his brief foray into movies!
Meanwhile, I had become cantankerous and would curse below my breath each time he called from his iPhone X. Prenuptial nerves, my aunt declared when my mother burst into tears at something nasty I had said. All of 72 kgs, the man also managed to throw around quite a bit of it, often barking out orders to people, except my parents, towards whom he displayed the utmost consideration.
It was the day before the wedding. I had reached the end of my tether. Having spent a good part of the day, sulking and plotting evil, I waited for everyone to retire to bed before slipping out of the house.
He was there, silhouetted against the light of the sole lamp post at the other end of the bridge, looking supremely smug. He had dark glasses on. I looked heavenward and moved towards him.
“Hi sweetheart,” he said romantically. I gave him that particular smile that I had cultivated over the last few days – a cross between a smile and a sneer. He knelt down and took my hand in his and kissed it. “Good, you called me. I have bought you a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch as a wedding gift. I will be too busy tomorrow to give it to you .” I cleared my throat and politely extricated my hand.
The rest, my dear friends is history. He flew back three days later, single as ever. As for me, I spent the next few months as the villainous woman who had ruined a poor man’s life. I really didn’t mind. I was way too relieved to mind.