I guess we all have stories which we don’t wish to tell others. It’s not always easy to hide them though, some skeletons simply refuse to be safely tucked away in closets. That’s how this terrible horrible story began, with a secret that should’ve remained a secret, but it didn’t.
“Hey, Susan sweetheart, where are you?”
I called out to my wife as soon as I crossed the threshold of our front door. It was an important day and I wanted everything to be just perfect.
“Just give me five minutes, I’ll be down,” she shouted back, probably from our room.
She was still not ready. I hated it when she took so much time to get ready. But she was obsessed with looking perfect. So, I usually tried to be patient and let her take her time.
“I’m ready,” she was all smiles today.
I looked up, she was coming down the stairs. I must admit, she took my breath away. Although, we had been married for ten years, but I still felt like a newlywed who kept falling in love with his wife every time he saw her. She was simply the most beautiful woman on this planet.
“You look stunning darling,” I told her, taking her in my arms and giving her a kiss she won’t forget any time soon.
“Thank you. You look good yourself,” she replied giving me her best smile.
I loved her smile. Her smile was the first thing I had noticed about her. It was so warm and so welcoming. Before I fell in love with her, I fell in love with her smile.
“I love it when you smile like that.”
I would never let any opportunity to tell her that pass me by. After all, it was my life’s purpose to put a smile on her pretty face, and keep it there.
“I’m the luckiest woman in the world,” she sounded content.
“And that, my love, makes me the happiest man in the world,” I said.
Sometimes it all felt like a dream. She was so out of my league. I still remembered how everyone told me that she’d never fall for me, but somehow she did. I didn’t know why or how but that gorgeous, accomplished, independent woman, fell in love with me! With years our love had only grown stronger. If it was indeed a dream then I never wanted to wake up.
“Let’s go, we shouldn’t be late,” she reminded me.
As we left our house, I wondered how much better our lives were about to get. Today was our tenth wedding anniversary. In itself it was a happy day, but what made it absolutely perfect was the fact that we were about to become parents. Everything had been finalized and now we just had to go pick up our adopted daughter. Our family would be complete now. Everything was perfect.
Life was perfect … until it wasn’t.
What was supposed to be the best day of my life soon turned into a nightmare. James wasn’t supposed to find out the truth. I had hidden it so well. No one even knew my real name. To them I was Susan Johnson, James’ wife, a doctor who cared for her patients more than anything else. I was successful and rich. I was beautiful and kind. I was a woman of every man’s dream. And my James was perfect for me. He loved me. He adored me. To him I was everything.
Some might think me lucky but luck had nothing to do with it. I had sold my soul to the devil just to get everything that I now had in my life. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly and I knew one day I’d have to pay dearly. I just didn’t know that day would come so soon-or in such a devastating way.
“Say hello to your parents dear. These nice people are here to take you home,” the social worker coaxed the child who refused to budge from her seat. Clearly, she was scared and feeling unsure of herself.
“That’s right love, we’re here to take you home. Do you want to go with us?”
I tried my best mommy voice or at least what I thought it was. It worked because the child gave me a small smile. That was progress. I was already in love with our daughter.
“It’ll be perfect. Don’t you worry about anything,” James said.
I could understand his happiness, because I was feeling it too. Being a parent is all I wanted now.
Soon we had all her things and we were on our way home. A home that was about to become so much warmer and welcoming. James would be a great father, that much I knew. I hoped I would turn out to be a great mother too. Not that I had any idea what a great mother should be like. I would figure it out. I was determined to make this little family work. I was determined to keep my dream intact. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be …
It happened all at once. There was nothing Susan or I could’ve done. The car came out of nowhere and crushed ours-us. Just like that, our daughter died before we even reached home. There was no going home for any us. Our dream died with her.
Now, when I thought about it, I realized how strange it was. Our paradise was no more. After ten years of pure bliss it was the darkness that surrounded us. Susan and I, we were both utterly lost. We could’ve come out of our grief though. With time, we could’ve find our happiness again, but with our daughter, our love died too. I couldn’t forgive Susan for betraying me the way she did. Only if she had told me the truth. Only if I knew everything before we decided to adopt.
“How long are you going to hate me?”
She asked me as if she was the victim.
“Forever, you betrayed me. Nothing was real. I simply can’t forgive you,” I was bitter, “I hate that you lied to me for so long.”
Nothing she could say was going to unfreeze my heart-my broken heart.
“I meant well. You know I did. I love you. I always have,” she tried again.
“Love? Do you even know what love is?”
“James, please, don’t be so stubborn. It has been two years now.”
“To me it feels like yesterday. I cannot forget it.”
“Will you ever?”
“I don’t think so.”
This time I didn’t look into her eyes. I feared I was lying to us both. I couldn’t help it though.
“We were happy once.”
“Yes, but now I know that was just an illusion.”
“What does it matter? We were Happy! Isn’t that enough?”
She was getting desperate.
“Go find your happiness somewhere else, with someone else. I am done with you. Why do you keep coming here?”
I hated that she wouldn’t leave me alone. Even after two years she would show up at my home and ask for forgiveness that I wasn’t willing to give.
“Okay, I’ll go for now. But I will come back. Maybe you will change your mind then,” with that she left.
She was wrong though. I was never going to change my mind. In fact, I was going to leave. My flight was already booked. I wasn’t going to tell anyone. I was simply going to move to some third world country whose name I can’t pronounce, and I wasn’t coming back. There was nothing left for me here. My life was just a dream and I was awake now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. So that was that.
You might be wondering what that secret was, the one that destroyed us. It was nothing, that’s what it was. I was never in love with Susan. We were never happy. She wasn’t even the woman I thought she was. It was all a lie. All of it.
Apparently, she created this illusion and I happily accepted it. I saw what she showed me, I felt what she told me to feel, I was living in a haze. For ten years nothing was real. Until that accident. When our daughter died, Susan lost her powers. Her true face was revealed to me then. And with that this feeling crept up, inside of me, this gnawing feeling of being betrayed by the person I thought I loved. It was all gone. In a single moment our life crumbled like a house of cards. I don’t know, maybe I overreacted, after all even if happiness was an illusion, it was beautiful. But I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I couldn’t forgive her for betraying my trust.
Who knew my James could hold a mean grudge? I hoped and I waited, but he never forgave me. He was lost to me and I didn’t know what to do. True, I lied, I betrayed him, but in the end, I did fell in love with him. Not that he would ever believe me now. I would have to live with this hole in my life.
You know what the worst thing was? He would die and be with our daughter someday, I couldn’t even do that. I was going to spend eternity with my regrets.
I sold my soul and I became an Immortal. That was centuries ago. I was not beautiful. I was rich though, beyond your imagination. I had spent so much time on this planet alone. Then I got tired of being alone. That was when I decided to create my own paradise.
I chose James because he was the kindest soul I knew. I made him believe that he loved me. I made him believe that he was happy with me. I created an illusion of a perfect life and I lived it, with him. But something was still missing and that’s when I decided to become a parent. Humans say that nothing in life is more beautiful than that. Immortals couldn’t give birth so we decided to adopt. I didn’t know though. Immortals weren’t allowed to have children for reason. It was an unspoken rule of the universe and I dared break it.
She was killed and my illusion was broken.
Rules can’t be broken, universe demands balance to be kept no matter what. So, this was my punishment, an eternity without James and our daughter.
Life plays jokes on us sometimes. Things we want to see are shown to us and when we accept them as truths, suddenly, we find out that they are nothing but lies.
We hate what we don’t understand. We hate what we can’t control. We all have our prejudices. The universe is really messed up in certain ways. Not that we can do anything about it, but that doesn’t stop us from trying either.
I once knew an immortal. I miss her sometimes. I wonder where she is now. I hope she is happy somewhere, without me. I wish I had forgiven her then, but I didn’t want to live in an illusion. I wanted reality. As painful as it is, I love it, this life, it’s mine. This pain too, it makes me human and I love being human.
We all have prejudices even if we like to pretend otherwise. Yes, I was prejudiced against non-humans. That was a long time ago though, I know better now. These days I try not to be so judgmental and be more forgiving. After all, I was living a dream that many would kill to live, yet some dreams are not to be…
© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved