Mark could not just easily take off the wedding ring. After all, it was on his finger for 10 long years. Some might say it is just a very short duration. But was it truly? Did 10 years really amount to nothing? Yesterday’s conversation with Jill was playing on in his mind.
Mark: You should go. That is the life you should have had. You deserve it.
Jill: It was just a thought, Mark. I do not want to leave you. How will you manage without me?
Mark: I have been selfish. This is not right.. (turning away to leave, grief clearly visible on his face)
Jill: (now crying) Please Mark, don’t leave. We should not be having this conversation today.
Mark: Why should we not, Jill? In fact, we should have had this conversation when you first met Alex. I was blind… I was…
Jill: Stop. Please stop, Mark. What I have with you is much more important than what I have with Alex.
Mark: Please do not make it more difficult, Jill. Let us just end this discussion now. (Thus saying, Mark left from home leaving Jill crying in the hall)
Since then, Mark has not gone back home. He was sitting by the river, in his car and playing with his wedding ring. All those years were flashing in front of his eyes. He had first met her when she had come to visit his parents. They had a mutual friend who had made their acquaintance. His parents had immediately liked her and since then, she had been frequenting his house.
The day he told his parents that he and Jill wanted to get married, they had been so happy. His parents’ happiness had mattered so much to him. Their marriage was a grand celebration. He was their only son.
From that day till then, Jill had been nothing but a perfect partner to him. Then Alex came and everything turned upside down. He was clearly besotted by Jill. She had also liked him. But being a true partner, she had never expressed that to anyone, not even to Mark. But Mark could see. Yes, he could see very clearly. After all, she was his wife. He knew her very well.
Following this realization, he had arranged for a subtle background check on Alex. His sources ensured that he got all the required information. Today, he could proudly say that he knew Alex almost as much as Alex knew himself. But that realization only stung further. Alex was a very genuine person. He was self-made and rich, kind-hearted, friendly and sophisticated. He would keep Jill very happy. He could give Jill everything she needed, everything that Mark could not give.
She deserved it, he knew. But he also knew that he wouldn’t be able to go one step ahead without her. In his own way, he had loved her and he was sure she knew. She had loved him much more than he deserved.
Finally he came to a decision. He went home to Jill and hugged her. “You know I love you. And I shall never stop doing that. But now it is time for you to live your life. Even after knowing everything, you have stood by me for my needs right from the start. You knew it was my selfishness but you still never wavered. This is my gift to you for all that you had gone through because of me. There is no other word for this now. Today I want to set you free. I have already called Alex. He is understandably confused. Please go to him. Explain everything to him or don’t, I leave that decision to you. But I know for sure that he will keep you happy. Or else he will have me to answer to. Go, Jill, go and be happy. You deserved it long time back and now you shall have it.”
So saying, he placed his wedding ring in Jill’s hands and hugged her tight for one last time. He had been living a false life for so long and Jill had been covering for him. Now, it was time for him to come out of the closet. Now it was time for him, too, to be free.