BWW pieces · Mind takes over

FICTION: His daughter

What does immortality mean? Why do humans crave it so much? What is the point of living forever when there is no end in sight? These were the questions that ran through my head as I came out of the cinema hall. My husband and I had just watched ‘The Age of Adaline’ and I was chewing my lower lip, racking my brain for the answers to these questions. As he hailed a taxi to take us to the Chinese restaurant which served hot dumplings at 1am, I leant against the telephone pole, lighting a cigarette and inhaling the fumes that came with every city.

My husband was unusually quiet on the taxi ride to the restaurant. It was the norm for us to animatedly discuss the plot and characters of every movie we watch after we come out of the hall. But for some reason, today he didn’t even bring up the fact that the dog in the movie reminded him of our friend’s cocker spaniel. I nudged him and whispered, “Do you need some time to yourself?” He turned and looked at me with a frown on his face. “Baby, I need to tell you something.” The taxi stopped outside Wang’s Kitchen and interrupted my husband. I got out of the taxi and was going to make my way to the door when my husband grabbed my arm and took me into the nearby alleyway. “Woah there! What’s the matter? Why do you look like you’ve seen a ghost?” My husband’s face was the colour of the ash from the cigarette that I’d just lit. His hands were trembling as they pushed me into the darkness of the alley. I’d never seen him so terrified before. Not even when we gone on the scariest rollercoaster in the entire world. I puffed out smoke rings and said, “Ok. Now you’re freaking me out! Can we talk inside? It’s getting cold!” “NO! I should have told you this a long time back. But then we watched the movie and now I cannot stop thinking about it.”
I was getting rather worried now. What could he be hiding from me? He definitely wasn’t immortal because we had been married for 3 years now and his hair was turning grey well before I met him. Imagine if he was immortal! I scolded my mind for the digression and wondered. What secret was he keeping from me that he was reminded of only when he watched the movie? Then it dawned on me. “Honey, do you have a child about whom you haven’t told me?” His shoulders slumped and he began to cry. “Oh sweetie! I’m so sorry! It’s just that in the last scene, I was reminded of how Tara (his girlfriend before me) was so in love with my daughter that when we broke up, Tina (his daughter) was so hurt. That’s when I vowed that unless I get married again, I will never introduce her to any of my girlfriends.”

I should have been angrier. I should have screamed my head off and caused a commotion. But somehow, in that dark alley, with my husband weeping and shaking as he was overcome with emotion, I realised that he was truly afraid of losing me. I bent down and stubbed my cigarette out. I wrapped him in my arms, the big baby, and whispered into his hair, “Honey, it’s alright. Why don’t I go pack up some dumplings and we can eat them at home? Then you can tell me all the ways in which you hid your daughter from me.” He wiped his nose with the sleeve of his sweater. “So you’re not mad? Gosh I didn’t realise that I would be telling you here!” “Well if we had gotten married the conventional way, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now, would we?” He smiled and stood up. “Alright then, let’s go have some food. I’m starving!” I grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly. “I wouldn’t change how we got married for the world. We’re just two blokes in love and if no one can see that, then I don’t care!” I smiled at him and pulled him into a hug. We were indeed two blokes in love and I couldn’t wait to meet Tina!


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