Vows of Life and Death

I don’t think that my life had really truly begun until the day I fell in love. It was the most beautiful moment in my life and of course it defined the rest of my days. Till the day I met her, I had only been a wanderer. Not only did I not know what I was searching for, I had no clues where to look for it. But there she stood like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – holding all the answers to my questions in the palm of her hands as she beckoned me forth.

Physically, there was nothing of great significance about her beauty. Even if I had been a poet, I would have found myself extremely pressed for words to describe her appearance. She was one of those people who grew on you with time. For me, it was her shining eyes with a secret knowledge that drew my attention constantly.
I wanted to know everything about her but she found fun in mocking me instead. While I was enamoured by her, she never even hinted that the feeling was mutual. God, how much she made me work before finally consenting to be my wife! I guess in that respect, all women are alike!

My family would often make fun of me and call me names. They thought that I was ruled by my wife. So what if I was? I didn’t particularly mind that. She was all that was good, holy and pure in this world. I could never achieve her high levels of discipline, self control and purification. Though she loved me a lot, her priorities were different than mine. I only wished I could have been the number one man on her list. But I wasn’t.

Since childhood, she had grown up believing that the only purpose of this life was to spend it pleasing Him. She gave Him so much of time and attention that I would spend many days green with jealousy. She would laugh at my immaturity but never changed her ways. Reluctantly, I respected her for her beliefs.

Over time, she made me experience the joys of fatherhood. While it was a trend of the time for men to not get involved with the children, she made me break traditions and do just that. I knew my children as much as, if not more, my wife did. I felt complete knowing that I was not just a money-making, wish-fulfilling genie in their lives. I was their father in every sense of the word.

Decades past and the brothers decided that it was time for them to fly away from home. While one migrated up north, the other decided that the sunny south was more to his liking. Finally, we were left alone in the company of each other. Those were the best days of my life.

When we are young, so much time is spent planning for the future. Everything including life is kept on hold to ensure that the coming years will be smooth. We never think about all our unfulfilled wishes and dreams thinking that there will be time for them later. The present moment is only for securing the next! The wheel of time keeps spinning till finally one day you’re lying on your death bed regretting all the things you didn’t do.

I didn’t want to be filled with regrets when it came to the one person who filled up my senses. I know the world might look at her and see a different version than I did, but for me she hadn’t aged a single day since I first saw her. My heart still beat wildly for her. Blood rushed to certain places when she gave me those looks when no one was watching. Her smile still had the power to leave me breathless. To me it seemed that time had stopped still all these years.

The first months alone were awkward. We had forgotten what it was like to perform without an audience to cheer or boo our every action. It seemed selfish to think of what we wanted to do after so many years of putting others first. The house felt empty of the cacophony that the children made. Thankfully, in a few more months we formed new habits and developed new routines.

I loved to wake up to her voice and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee intermingled with her soapy clean smell. Breakfast was a calm unhurried affair where we spent hours chatting while we went about our routine. We were smart enough to know that spending entire days together would only lead to friction. So every day I would head out to the club for lunch and get back at sunset.

I looked forward to seeing her after a few hours away. Every time it struck me anew, how beautiful she was! The light shining in her eyes had only brightened over the years. I was like a moth continuously being drawn to her flame, unconcerned of my own existence.

Life was going on as comfortably as if I was already in heaven. Then one day He decided that maybe it was time for me to actually visit the place! The peaceful breeze suddenly danced to a wild frantic tune as a tornado alert was announced one day. Everyone was advised to vacate their premises and head to the safety shelter. The city had been turned upside down in the matter of hours. Our lives couldn’t have remained unaffected.

I don’t know when age had caught up with our bodies though the mind was still as young as ever. The panic and confusion caused a haze of fear to settle over our eyes as we bumped around the house trying to figure out what to do next. We had spent so many years trying to build a perfect life that it was agonizing to leave anything behind.

When the last siren had blared signifying the departure of the final mode of transport, we looked at each other. Suddenly there was a moment of clarity and peace. We headed to our room and lay down in each other’s arms. I looked her in the eye and made her a promise that I won’t let even death tear us apart. Wherever she would go, I would follow.

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18 thoughts on “Vows of Life and Death

  1. Such a well written piece. I think that is the kind of love all those who “fall in love” hope to find. What they don’t realize is what your protagonist here found out: he loved her unconditionally, and it was his doing, his choice, his “power” that made it so. Again, kudos for this piece.

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      • Vows, like promises are made to be broken. Just like secrets have only one purpose: to be told! “Do now swear, not by heaven, nor by the earth. Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” Anything else is of evil.” Ancient wisdom. You see, a vow, a promise, a secret, these are all meant to convince someone else of one’s truth, or belief. But then they become a cover for lies or anger. A malicious “secret” is gossiped, and someone gets hurt. A vow is broken and expectations are shattered or it is kept when the reason used to make the vow no longer exists and misery ensues. “I swear to tell the truth…” in court usually means that person is going to lie and lie and lie on order to get off. When someone asks me, can you keep a secret, I always reply, only until I can find someone else to tell it to – for why would I burden myself with “your” secret if you, yourself, can’t hold it? If I made a vow, I’d be telling the whole world that my word alone can’t be trusted. “Do you vow to love me forever?” “No. I love you and that’s all I need to say.” Now then, how many “vowed to stay until death doth part” remain together through all the years? For me it’s help me raise the children because they are ours, then you can choose to stay or leave, and I can choose the same.

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        • In truth, people no longer understand the meaning of making a promise. When I was a kid, my granny used to tell me stories where if a man/king has told that he would do something, he would. His word was honored because not doing so would bring shame upon him. Kind of like the knights and the samurai warriors of lore. Today, a promise is just another word for consolation or maybe a token with which to exchange love, trust or whatever they feel like gaining.Marriage vows especially have become more of a formality. I know of couples who’s marriage has not lasted beyond the first night or the honeymoon phase! how would they ever have been able to keep the flame burning till they were old and beyond redemption? The true vows are those that are made in the heart. Silent in its presence, but not absent in its silence.

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          • Yes – it’s not a feeling (transient) thing, but a commitment come what may. But as individuals we can still choose to live that way. I do, therefore I am very, VERY circumspect about what I say I will undertake to do with, or for, someone else. I weigh the consequences, or possible costs, very carefully. If I am not sure I can carry it through, I make no agreement, no deal. What would be the point? But too many enter into these “resolutions” or “vows” on the spur of the moment when for a split second everything is aligned and seems so right and so easy. Then “the weather” changes… and as the saying goes out here… it all turns to shit! 🙂

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            • So what was it that you thought of doing with the questions I asked? Will you be answering them? I lost your comment on the awards post so can’t remember…. I also found the two posts you wanted to comment on but had gone MIA.

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              • Give me some time. I have to go help someone move today. I’ll find your questions and deal with them. As to the short posts, I did comment (I’m almost sure) on the one, and just mentioned that “Violation” was also missing. That has a theme I’m only too familiar with and I wasn’t going to comment beyond “Like” although it is a hateful theme, but well presented. TTYL.

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                  • A sad reality, and it isn’t just women who suffer being violated. The entire world is being violated through exploitation, oppression and wars… wars… wars. To change that reality means changing how people perceive themselves in relation to their environment. We were raised to glorify the fact that we are successful predators, and indeed we are. But should that not be cause for sorrow rather than pride and praise? We have succeeded beyond all expectations: today we can destroy the planet with chemicals; we can, in a moment, incinerate millions of people. And the group think mindset that is responsible for this “success” is alive and well. How then, can change happen? (Hint: that’s a rhetorical question!)

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