Tara’s body was encrusted in dirt and despair. She had unwillingly fallen into the bog. Like most swamps, the area had not indicated treachery before. Tara was surprised at her own novice. How could she have not seen it coming?
She had been out on another one of their ‘breaks’, the occurrence of which had rapidly increased in the last year. She’d leave for one of her mountain treks and he would disappear into work. This they unwittingly thought to be the solution to the problems they faced. But, distrust is hard to eradicate. Where personality can be shaped and morphed, the absence of trust is not a void to be easily filled.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Tara thought back to the past few months of having lived with Jay. It all came back like a jolt— the unwarranted anger, the spying on her and the slap. She had been called a woman of no character. Why? Because she had had multiple relationships while Jay had not. Jay himself couldn’t fathom this, the way his insecurities were cracking him open and leaving him enraged at no apparent mistake of hers.
Here, badly trapped, Tara tried to extricate a leg out of the muddy swamp. It was difficult. One miscalculated step and she’d fall face down. She trudged ahead with great effort. Yes, she was moving on. But she couldn’t yet move out.
Insecurities; she thought, made the strongest act in undignified ways. Both Tara and Jay came from having seen parents fight or neglect one another. Tara’s ‘need’ for love stemmed from the same discontentment. A hankering after love, the need to please everyone, the fear of abandonment were all things that defined her. Jay on the other hand was a controlling personality, easily inhibited by spontaneity and deeply afraid of being alone.
She wondered if it wasn’t Love but attachment that kept them together, stuck rather. And that one’s insecurity was feeding on the other’s and that this togetherness was not conjugal but a compromise. One merely existed in that conundrum. The entity of the relationship was more fraught with incompatibilities than understanding. Presently, an emotion churned deeply in the pit of her gut. The last time, the slap had been too much to silently bear.
Tara felt weaker than before, stuck without a hope of getting out. She managed to strut further. There was a tree standing not too far from where she was. If only she could clasp its branch and climb out into the verdant foliage.
Sooner than expected, she was out in the open; lost but un-stuck. She wondered if this is what walking out of the relationship would feel like.
Un-tethered, un-anchored but uninhibited and free to walk the path you choose.
Weeks later, Tara had already moved out of Jay’s flat. She had called off the relationship, something she thought her faint heart never could. She was not someone who’d give up on love. But what do you do with something you realise isn’t love nor is willing to grow into that? Yeah, relationships aren’t really so simple. It is indeed not just about love. But do you feel its presence in your life? Has it inspired you to understand, grow and become?
It was not too bad. At least not as bad as she had imagined it to be. She felt helpless and hopeless at times. She felt alone. Ironically, the loneliness had disappeared with the togetherness that housed it.
Karan Kapoor’s novella Maya is a beautiful telling of the insecurities and inextricability of attachments/toxic love/codependence what have you? 🙂
“Never confuse abuse for Love”
(Cover image: IG @poetryofdhiman)