‘It is not the end of a relationship that kills us everyday since; it is the hope of getting it back alive that wouldn’t let us live.’
Rory was coming back after closing the library when she saw her sitting all by herself at the café. She got down from the bus at the nearby stop and walked to her. It had been 8 years. Mom looked so much older than her age. She looked at her and smiled. They spoke about her new husband, 3rd in row. But all the while, to Rory, she looked lost, almost sad.
While having dinner with Dad, she noticed that he looked withered too. Lying in bed, she started to think when it began. Her little brother was sleeping right next to her. The peace on his face made her smile and she drifted to those days.
Her dream was the same every night. The mansion right opposite was her home. The cute little boy playing in the sand was her brother. The lovely couple relaxing on the beach there was her parents, so much in love. In love. Yes. That’s where the antithesis lay.
Her dad was in a sour mood today too. Mom had asked him to drop them to school, because she wasn’t feeling very well. That had put him off. ‘Why doesn’t she understand? I have to reach for my audition on time, or else I might loose the part. But she won’t care, would she?’
Just the other day, Dad told her he was going to have dinner outdoors with his buddies. Mom gave him a disgusting look. ‘What does he think he his? I left all my ambitions and plans just to take care of our children and he doesn’t even seem to feel grateful.’
When Rory was a little younger, she used to get scared at the heated arguments and enraged shouting. Mom would explain later they were only having a discussion, a sort of healthy debate over the topic. She would comfort her and make her go to sleep. The next day Dad would come to her early in the morning and apologize about the loud voices the previous night. Until then, Rory didn’t know what a discussion meant.
She believed that only a happy couple would discuss every petty thing going on in each other’s life. The people have to be really in love to care so much about each other’s activities. After all she was just a kid. What did she know?
But her parents did not notice when she grew up. Not until the day of her college admissions.
Rory would have to leave town if she wanted to go to a good college. ‘No Mom, I am going to study in the district college. I have to prepare for other exams and I feel I can do that better if I am at home.’ ‘Yes Dad, I have thought it through. That’s best for me now.’ And they knew.
‘They love me and Rudy. They will find a way back into love if I am there to remind them. If I leave them, it would all end soon and I can’t let that happen to us.’
That’s when she realized the power of hope. The conviction it brings that everything has to have a happy ending. The things it makes us ignore and the things it makes us imagine. It makes it all seem so real you could die with it then and there.
This was the first of her many mistakes to come. To hope. To believe. To try.
Rory finished college and it was time for university admissions. It was time to think seriously about her career. She had to move out of town if she wanted to do anything worthwhile with her life.
It was ‘hope’ that answered it all for her. Nothing had changed and maybe, nothing will.
But if she left, maybe her parents get divorced. That would risk Rudy’s future. And she still believed that all was not lost. She had to try harder. Her parents had been crazy in love once. She and Rudy were proof, her early childhood was proof. Surely, given time, it would come back.
And she gave time; all her time.