It was his mother’s 60th birthday that week. There was a small family get together coordinated by her loving son that included all relatives. A big table full of people, laughing & dining. Two chairs lie vacant & she thought how those could have seated her & her son. The stranger she married & lived with, had gone to visit his parents earlier that day. It was meant to be a routine visit. Nothing about a family get together was mentioned.
She was a part of a family group on social media where this photo was uploaded. His entire family including all relatives except them both were present. They never commented on each other’s post on the group, this was a protocol that they maintained. But from a string of chats, she gathered that this was a sudden plan that just fell in place. Something did not fit. She knew him & his parents too well.
None of his extended family had a clue about the real status of their marriage. Most assumed that theirs was a regular ‘happy family’. It had to be a planned party that he and his parents intended to keep her out of. Masking it as an impromptu plan would keep away people from questioning them about her absence. It was a way to remind her that she did not belong. For the first time she wasn’t really hurt by their behaviour.
Until then, it was just a lazy weekend without him around. She spent the whole day alone at home with her son. Cleaning the house, baking a cake with him & cooking his favourite meal, just being his mom. She spent her extra time discussing various topics of his interest like science and sports; making sure she filled in all the gaps & played the role of his father as well. As always.
Now, her mind wandered back to the various times when she would drop everything & run after the stranger she married, like a lost puppy. Completely uninvited, but with the hope of spending some time together, to feel a sense of belonging & with the hope of being accepted. How he would always walk away from her, keep her out of his plans, not introduce her to anyone, just leave her abandoned, to fend for herself. And how each time, she would try to keep a brave smiling face & deal with it all, pretending that everything was perfect, just the way it was meant to be. All those years flashed by quickly like an old movie. Tears rolled down her cheeks that she wasn’t really aware of. All the times that she had trusted & was let down. Nothing had changed & nothing would.
The sadness, hurt and tears, did not belong to this incident though. Nothing really mattered anymore. She no longer held any expectations from him or his parents. It was just a reminder to her to walk out & that too soon..