Written by Anne Aparna
An individual place of residence on the roadway of the city, a career that satisfied our hearts and minds and a long existing love were sufficient for us to spend our days on earth.
I met Harvey in high school and it took us no time to admit that we were soulmates. We stayed in love from then till we graduated and pursued our careers together. Harvey became a well known businessman of Manchester, and I, Ashley Harvey was a musician. Concerts in different cities were my schedules and continuous business meetings were Harvey’s time table. But still we never missed our weekend outings and candlelight dinners.
As days went by, both of us became more occupied with our work and fell behind in spending time with each other. If I were in town, he had meetings to attend and if he was free I had shows to attend. This cycle continued. Harvey’s business grew and the time he had to spend at work grew. I couldn’t stay alone at home. So I fixed more shows and always stayed out of town. Though I returned home, Harvey didn’t bother to be with me. I refused to see him for a long time.
One day, we both sat at our dining table and began negotiating on this.
“Peach, I can’t handle this anymore. I’m not able to cook or do laundry when you’re not round the corner. It’s impossible to do all these things amongst my busy schedules. We have to make a decision”, said Harvey.
“What is that decision Captain?” I asked with lots of thoughts racing through my mind.
“My profit is sufficient to run a family. I feel… ” he paused.
“Why do you hesitate Captain? Complete it.”
“I guess you can stay home. You needn’t go around singing. “
That was the beginning of the pain I never imagined I would ever experience in my life.
“Well, if you haven’t realized, I don’t sing to earn, I sing because it’s my passion, Captain. Isn’t my dream as important as yours?” I said, sobbing.
“The number of your concerts have increased Peach. I don’t like you staying out of town all the time and coming home once in a while. I don’t want to argue much now. Choose now Peach, it’s going to be me or your passion”, he stood facing the wall.
He sounded firm and steady. Harvey had made up his mind about this already. He just wanted a yes from me. Our carefully sculpted life seemed to shatter all at once. The thoughts that were running through my mind paused. I couldn’t think of anything immediately. I looked up at my red faced husband, standing firm with folded arms, waiting for my answer. His eyes were filled with anger. I rose up from my chair and took in a deep breath.
“Captain, I call you Captain, because I thought you’re my rock, you’re the love of my life. You were the only one who encouraged me to chase my dreams after our graduation. You used to attend all my shows before. You said that you couldn’t cook and do laundry. You see, though I can cook, I couldn’t eat without you at the end of the table. You saw your used clothes in the laundry, but you’ve noticed the new ones in your wardrobe that I bought from each trip. I don’t work everyday as you do and neither do I have so many meetings like you. I can run our family without you earning. But I never told you to stop following your dream. So, Mr. Harvey… ” he turned to me in astonishment as I took off our wedding ring.
“Let’s move on.” I kept the ring on the table. Without another word, Harvey went to his room, packed up his stuff and stormed out of our house as I stood there motionless.
Within a few days, Harvey applied for a divorce. He ran to and fro during the process. He changed his schedules now and then based on the call of the officer for divorce processes. Harvey’s lawyer Mr. Smith made us visit his office often. I cancelled 4 shows and changed the date for 5 events in one month.
Finally I reduced my working hours and started doing just 5-7 programmes a month. Harvey reduced his number of meetings to one per week, unable to make frequent changes. But we hadn’t reached the final stage yet. We were frustrated with the procedure and compelled Mr. Smith to bring it to an end.
Harvey lamented about his difficulty in adjusting schedules and I was frustrated at not being able to attend my shows. But he continued to do the same for two more months. By that time, I got accustomed to the changes and I felt Harvey had adapted too. Finally Mr. Smith agreed to talk with us at the end of 4 months.
“How are you Mr. Harvey? Are you able to run your business now with fewer meetings and a moderately tight schedule?” he asked.
“Yes Mr. Smith. Everything’s going at the same pace”, he agreed after deep thought.
Mr. Smith turned to me and asked, “How about you Ms. Ashley? Are you still happy doing concerts fewer than before?”
“Yes Mr. Smith, I’m content with the number.” I replied.
We both turned at once and looked at each other. Mr. Smith interrupted us.
“This adjustment was your problem. Wasn’t it? If you were able to sacrifice so much to get separated, why don’t you try to do the same to live together?” He asked us with a pleasant smile on his face. We both looked at Mr. Smith and gave him a smile simultaneously.
“All you have to do is love as before. The strength that your love will give you is greater than anything. I made you come off and on just to make you know how well you can pull things off by adjusting your commitments. I hope this struggle will turn out to be a good experience.
Harvey looked at me, he stretched out our wedding ring and said, “Peach, I promise to spend time with you, in fact I give you a new promise. Hereafter I’ll attend your shows and events. Will you accept my love?”
I saw the love in his eyes, just as how it was seven years ago. All the good memories of the past flashed across my mind. The grief I went through these few months vacated my thoughts. I hardly remember them now. Captain stared at me, waiting for my answer.
“I love you Captain,” I said, with tinted cheeks and a wide smile on my face.