MIDWAY : A portrait of perfidy

Rajib Raj Acharya

It had been two years since I left home for Qatar. High rate of unemployment and low wages left with few other alternatives than going abroad to earn a living and support my family even if that meant leaving behind my wife and a son. I returned with a handful of money and a slew of unfulfilled dreams. Upon my return, when I entered the compound of our house, my son came running to my arms. My wife, whom I had hoped would receive me with open arms, stood at a distance sporting a grin, eyes downcast, as if my presence was scorching. Far from a warm welcome as this was, I had, however, nothing to say. Perhaps the two years had been too miserable for her without me. I stepped inside the house and put down the luggage. Without the anticipated welcome the house was not a home. To my utter surprise, I noticed an infant lying on the bed in a deep slumber.

“Whose child is it?” I asked. “A friend’s,” she replied. “Her mother is out of town for some urgent work and left her kid with me.” Days, weeks and months went by, but there was no sign of the kid’s mother coming to collect her child. One day, when I and my son returned after a school function, I found my wife suckling the kid. That was when my first flames of insecurity began leaping inside me. But it was no reason to lose my composure. Now that it had been a long time since the kid was with us, I told my wife why didn’t we instead turn the kid to police. I am yet to receive a reply from her.

Weak as all human beings are, my mind was torn asunder between insecurity and the murky world of infidelity that she might have indulged in all this time. Indications supported my theory in all earnest. But she did not have courage to tell me the truth. Weighing all the pros and cons of taking this matter with a belligerence and considering the implications of it on both the kids and my relationship, I have deliberately kept mum on the issue. The sin of infidelity, as I know, is unpardonable and worse, unforgettable at any cost. Nonetheless, despite her icy coldness towards maintaining our relationship, my love to her has not been diluted by the incident. I cannot guarantee that she will not bear another child from another man, but all I know is that she will still get my unrequited love and that I will never be disloyal to her. I know, to err is human and to forgive divine. I have decided let the past be past. I don’t know if I did the right thing. But one thing is certain that I cannot live without her.