I can’t talk about happiness without talking about heartbreak.
My first love.
Crushes were a regular thing for me, I used to think that I just fell in and out of “love” easily.
Then I met Rohit and we were convinced that there was no greater love than ours. I loved everything about him and he was earnest, sweet and loving. Incredibly cute and attentive. He was from India and working in a restaurant, saving money and sending it home to his parents.
That was a huge positive sign right there to me. A guy who takes care of his family. My mother liked him as well. She had met him and was impressed by his manners and kindness.
He always held my hand tightly and made me feel as if I were the only girl in the world. We had a language barrier at first. His English was limited but after spending two years dating him, we understood each other almost perfectly.
Sounds pretty average so far right?
Well, when I say we were dating…I should calrify that we went on half-dates.
He worked restaurant hours and never wanted to ask for time off. I worked nearby so I would dress up, walk over the store in anticipation of a date. We would spend lunch hour together, upstairs on the 2nd floor of the restaurant. Talking..making out and then back to work.
I would wait for Saturdays to have a proper date with him..and sometimes we did but more often than not, he would cancel.Afraid that his boss would fire him if he asked for time off.
Usually I would get there only to get turned down at the last minute with hasty kiss and apologies.
This continued for a long time and in that time, I would imagine our future together. I started making plans for us to move in together but…there was a small nagging voice and a picture I couldn’t see.
The voice questioned his lack of ambition. the half dates and the sadness I felt more often than not. He had very traditional views on marriage that I didn’t agree with but “compromised” on.
The picture…well I always wanted a family of my own and for some reason, I could not picture us walking down the street with a pram. I couldn’t picture him as the father of my children.
It seemed a small and trivial thing and I tried to put it out of my head but it bothered me more and more.
I won’t bore you with all the details leading up to it but one day I decided to break up with Rohit.
I geared myself up and headed to the restaurant. For a change, the manager was not there but had asked Rohit to be in charge and I had to wait for him to close up before we could have a conversation.
While I watched him work and interact with the other waiters, a feeling of love washed over me but I was still determined to end it for both of our sakes. Then a girl sat with me. She worked in the restaurant as well and she commented, “He never smiles, always just says OK”
I looked over, trying to see what she saw but I could read his face by now. I could see the pride in his eyes and the confidence. His shoulders drooping with fatigue but that smile..he looked over at me at that very moment and smiled at me.
I loved him.
Really loved him, I felt it , in that moment. This could work. I felt it in my heart.
Fast forward 6 months later, we broke up.
More specifically he broke up with me.
Even more specifically, he cheated on me.
The pain I felt was almost too much to bear at times. He was not a brave person and he had chosen to ghost me ( this was before ghosting became a well known term). He had moved to a different town to work in a different branch of the same restaurant. Before the move happened, I had tried again to break up with him because I was sure long distance relationships didn’t work.
He cried and told me how much he loved me. How much he needed me.
He bought a ring and proposed. Or rather he gave me money for a ring and told me to pick one…yes that really happened.
And then 3 months into his new job, the phone calls suddenly stopped. The messages slowed down and I felt something was wrong.
So I called him and lo and behold, a woman answered.
“Who are you? ” She asked in a sweet voice.
“Rohit’s fiance…who is this?” I answered back but my heart was already in my throat. I could barely breathe as I tried to focus.
“His girlfriend.” she replied
I laughed almost hysterically and cut the call. And I cried.
Hours later, he called me. Not to explain. Not to apologise.
To berate me, in stilted English, ” Why did you call? I love her too much. She is my everything”
Words he had used to describe me.
My heart ached. It burned. It broke. I wanted to scream at him, instead I said ” Don’t call me again, go to hell” and then, ” I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. But don’t call me again,please”
I just wanted to make it all go away. The tears wouldn’t stop falling and the humiliation and blame followed swiftly. I cried in secret that night so that my family would not know. I couldn’t let them know that I had been dumped in such a way. So I smiled outwardly while I died inwardly.
That night or a night later, my phone rang. I was still crying myself to sleep and when it rang and I saw his number come up…oh my heart. My hands shook as I answered the call.
She had called me. “Is Rohit a good person? ” She asked me in a soft voice.
“Please…don’t ..call me” I managed to choke out before throwing the phone down beside me and crying into my pillow.
Over the weeks, I pictured the girl in my mind. She was prettier than me, taller, sweeter, kinder. The perfect angel with soft skin and perfect brown eyes. She haunted me. In every random woman I met or passed by, I saw her.
I lost weight from being unable to eat. I cried and cried. Eventually I caved and told my mother who raged against Rohit and comforted me night after night.
My favorite memory was of us eating at a MacDonald’s. My mother was treating me to some of my fav junk food in the hopes of cheering me up.
But it wasn’t the food but what she said something that changed something in me.
She said that if she could speak to Rohit, she would tell him that she felt sorry for him because he was losing the kindest girl in the world.
I cried again but this time it was because i was overwhelmed by love for my mother. That she could think of me in that way. I was so grateful to have the unconditional love of my mother.
I started to realise that I did not have anything to do with Rohit cheating on me. That it was not my fault but rather his choice.
I want to say that I got over that heartbreak in a matter of days after that but of course it doesn’t work that way.
I was 100% certain that my heart had shattered into a million pieces.
Today I am happy to be wrong.
Time does heal all wounds.
I learned that the heart, my heart, has space for many loves. Infinite love. no matter how many pieces get given away , you will always have room in your heart to love.
Love for lovers, family, friends, animals, plants and the universe.
You will love. You will be loved.
P.S In breaking my heart, I learned gratitude.