" To you, Dhaka
I remember walking reluctantly into your arms. Furious at having been snatched away from where I belonged, from the one I really loved, I sulked and fumed my way into my new life. It didn't feel right, I'd never get used to it I knew.
“You'll never be the one I belong to. I'll never love you.” I said.
“I'll wait,” was your reply. Little did I know then you didn't have to wait long.
I remember you tolerating my tantrums silently, never complaining. I'd scream and cry about how you were not at all what I had expected you to be, that you were so different from the one I had before, my one true love. Yet, when all was said and done, you were the one who took me in her arms and calmed me as I shed silent tears in the darkness. Sometimes I wanted to be left alone, you understood. You gave me my own space, but you were never far away when I needed you. I pretended that I didn't notice all this, but I did.
You understood my ups and downs, letting me blend in with the crowd when I needed to, yet helping me shine the brightest when I felt like. You gave me wings to soar as high as I wished, but kept me rooted so I wouldn't go astray. You accepted me with all my idiosyncrasies, yet inspired me to be much more than I had aimed for. With you, I learnt the lessons of life, most harsh, some bittersweet, but all memorable. And between all these, we shared our moments, moments that told me I was changing.
And before I knew it, I fell in love with you, Dhaka. "
This was what I wrote in the year's first issue of Star Lifestyle in the year 2009. Two years have passed by since then, and much has changed. I have not seen the face of old lover in the past couple of years, not because I am so in love with my new love that he matters no more, but rather because I am scared of revisiting old wounds that have the power to snatch away all that I had gathered of myself during this time. You see, what I did not write about in my Lifestyle article was my relationship with my old lover. I did write about how much I was in love with him, what I did not talk about what how much he loved me in return.
Our relationship, my old lover's and mine, was unconventional, to say the least. It was not 'rainbows and butterflies' ; it was a need-based relationship, my need for him. He was the one I had opened my eyes to, he was the one I had seen ever since I had the sense to understand things around me, and he was the only one I knew. My whole life was bounded in the perimeters drawn by him and I was happy to be confined there. I did not need anything else, I did not want anything else. What did not matter was how he taunted me, tortured me, bound me to himself and held me back in every possible way. I accepted that to be the norm and never dreamed of anything more, never questioned. My undaunted loyalty never wavered, even when I wasn't treated right, when I was denied my freedom to live my life my way, when every action of mine was questioned. I felt like a prisoner, yet the thought of breaking free never crossed my mind. Often, I cried silently, wishing him to be a bit more empathetic towards me, to feel a bit more loved, needed: the way I made him feel. 18 years I waited in the corner, until one day it was too much to make. And I moved away, forcing myself to shun the loyalty I felt towards him all these years.
As you can imagine, it was tough at first, staying away, trying to learn to love another. But I moved on. For a while, I went back now and then, lest the old familiar smell of my first love washed away from my body. And each time, I returned more determined to adapt to my new life, with a love that treated me just the way I wanted, needed.