I was going about my normal daily routine, eking for my daily bread, when suddenly my phone rang. The number was not saved, but it looked familiar. I could not tell who it was. I tapped the green button. On the other end, was a faint female voice. I couldn’t recognize whose voice was on line, bit it sounded familiar.
“Hello?”, I called.
“Hello”, the voice responded.
“How are you?”
“I’m very fine, thank you.”
A period of silence
“With whom am I speaking?”, I asked.
“My name is Ruth, but you used to call me Ruty.”
Since I did not have her number – I may have deleted it – I was a little bit lost when I was unable to identify her, at first. But as it is, one of my cardinal rule of the thumb is to make a discussion longer especially when talking over the phone to a stranger.
“Ohh!” I quipped. “How have you been?”
“Very fine. And you?”
“Very fine, too. Thank you”
She went silent for a few seconds again.
“George”she began, “I’m happy that I found you. It has been years since we last spoke.”
“Yeah,” I answered. “Many years indeed.”
Ruth, or ‘Ruty’ was a special part of my life. She was a voluptuous woman, friendly and approachable. Her attitude struck out from the many women that I interacted with. Her personality was exceptional. She rarely used make-up, something which made her naturally beautiful. There is no negative word, under the sun, which I could use to describe her. Everything she did was done to perfection. I feared approaching her because she looked very tough. However, one day I gained courage and strength. I was able to talk to her fearlessly, at least from the outside. Deep inside, I was trembling to the core.
We started dating almost immediately. We were in the same university, but studying different courses. I was doing Computer Sciences and she was studying Business Administration. We started meeting frequently at school during free times. In the evening outside the school hours, we would meet for a cup of coffee. It was through these numerous meetings that we came to know much about each other. We talked about our lives, desires, dreams, fears, weaknesses and strengths. This, coupled with a few moments of cuddling, made our love bond strongly. I cannot say that our love was infatuation; it certainly came from the deepest part of our hearts – so I thought.
I am the kind of a person who loves with my heart fully. I do not believe that I can give love in portions and expect a different return of the same.
“George, dear, do you remember how much you loved me?”
“But of course I do. You were also exceptional, in that field. I wish we could redo time again.”
“Me, too. But…”
“…but you were a very shy man. You didn’t like walking with me, holding me hands.”
I laughed off, and as a man, argued that I was not shy, but playing a slow act.
We laughed our heads out, until she stopped laughing and began coughing. I quickly thought that she was exhausted from the laughter, and the memories of our past.
“When I think of you…”, she began “I see a missed opportunity. I’m sure we would be a happy couple, with two or three children.”
My mind raced back and forth. I was already a married man, with three children. I wondered whether she was aware about it or wanted us to rekindle the lost love.
Before I could respond, she continued:
“…instead of a family, I’m wallowing in regrets of a wasted life, experimenting with all sorts of careless opportunities at my disposal.”
When had parted ways three years before. Her reason for breaking our relationship, she claimed, was the indifference between the two of us. She pointed out that the disconnect between us could not be undone, hence the reason for cutting our links. I was bitter at her assertions. My ego, image and reputation were hurt. I recalled the numerous ecstatic nights we shared, the future dreams and aspirations. We were a team, whose winning was assured.
When I came to know her better, she was already a single mom of two – a boy and a a girl – from two different fathers. Her story resonated the challenges facing young girls who get involved with selfish men whose intent is to lure the unsuspecting woman into a dishonest and untruthful relationship. I talked to her about my desire to make her feel like a woman again. Our chemistry reacted tangling us together. I assured her that her two children would be mine because I was fond of children.
“No, Ruty, there is no need to look at the past with regrets. You have a whole future ahead. Your children need you more than ever, isn’t it?”
“George, you’re a truthful man. I don’t know why I didn’t listen to your advice. You stood by me in all ways. You were love was the best. You supported my children as though they were yours, and even made me feel like a worthy woman.”
I kept silent before she continued.
“Right now, my dear, I’m hospitalized and this year, I’m told, will breath my last.”
I was about to talk back, when she added.
“…but you were a clever man whom I thought was shy. Little did I know you were playing your calculations well. Had it not been for that we’d be facing the same fate.”
With those words, she started sobbing before she disconnected the call.