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The Love That Wasn't Meant To Be
Author's note: The names in this story have been changed.
1986 was a year that will change my life forever. I was sitting outside on one summer day when a flash of beauty just passed me by. Her name was Zia. Now, this was love at first sight. I was gasping for breath as I tried to get control of myself. This moment was going to change my life forever.
From the moment I looked into her eyes, I knew she is the one, the one I would spend the rest of my life with, until my time was done. I was lucky enough that soon someone suggested a night out together. At that time, I was ecstatic as my only wish was that she would be there. I was even more thrown overboard when I heard she would be there. The few hours I had to wait felt like a few days. Finally, the time arrived for me to fetch her. She got into the vehicle and we went on a night out to remember for life. I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I tried to hold her and she was a bit defensive at first. It was a romantic evening as there was a full moon accompanied by the backdrop of lovely mountains. I started to talk to her and hold her hands. She gave in and we held hands. That was the softest hands I have ever held in my life. I simply could not let go of her from that moment onward. We walked around holding hands very discreetly as my heart pounds away. I have never felt like this for anyone in my entire life; I was shocked at the way my heart was pounding. This was the first time I had all these emotions, which was new to me.
This was the night where the grass was green.
This was the night where the moon lit so bright.
This was the night of discovery.
The night of recovery...
This was the night of a new love.
The night where we became one.
We walked and let out some very inner feelings and the evening felt too short. She turns around when we were alone and I put my arms around her as I felt her soft gentle lips on mine. It was my first kiss. I kiss her passionately as I have never kissed anyone like this before. I felt a bit embarrassed. Did I kiss her correctly or did I look so stupid? For me that was the kiss of a lifetime. From that moment forward, all I could do is only to think about my love. I could not eat, sleep or do anything without any thoughts about her on my mind. This was the start of a relationship that would last for eternity.
I got home all flushed and excited, with butterflies in my tummy not knowing what was actually happening to me. I asked myself is this love and is it causing me to be unable to breath properly. Oh god, help me make sense of what is going on in my heart! My parents were taken aback by me and kept asking me if I was sick or was there something wrong. I was too occupied with her on my mind and hence did not say much. Following that, we spent days and nights on the phone. We even spent time sleeping on the phone! This love was far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Within 5 months, my parents moved house and it took me miles away from my sweetheart. However, we got to live near some of her relatives whom I got to know very well and spend a lot of time around. It was brilliant as Zia would come down during her holidays. Everything between her family and I seemed as perfect as it could be. We would meet discreetly from our families until we both felt ready for marriage. By then, we had been going out for 3 years and the love just got stronger with each passing day.
Both of us came from Indian families. Hence, the Indian culture and religion plays a major part in our families. Culturally and religiously, what we have been doing would have been deemed inappropriate. Having a romance like what we had was taboo at the time. Our long distance relationship went on for years with me travelling to her at every opportunity I received. I gave her every attention I could from my body, heart and soul. We lied, hid and did anything possible to gain every single moment together. By now, we could not keep our hands off each other and being apart for any time was something neither she nor I could handle anymore.
Both of us decided that it was time we spoke to our families. Her parents have known me pretty well over the years and there should really be no problems if my parents asked for her hand in marriage. I was lucky as my parents were very liberal so it was much easier for me to talk to them. We had a family meeting with my family and I made my intentions known and confess my love for the woman I love. I asked them to ask her parents for her hand in marriage. Her dad had passed away so her uncles and mother were to be consulted. This is the way how things should be done culturally. My parents set up a meeting with her family and I was asked to be present at the discussion. The day came where we went to ask for her hand in marriage,
I felt very uncomfortable when we entered but played that down to me being nervous. We took our seats and greeted everyone as we are all familiar with each other. One of her uncle is an accountant and he began asking me several questions. General questions which I answered to the best of my ability. I sensed or get the feeling that somehow things have changed overnight. They were asking me questions as if they had never knew me. It was a scary feeling. One of the questions was how I would look after his niece as I had no academic qualifications since I left school early to help my sick dad . My dad and I suggested I would run his business which I would inherit eventually. Her uncles did not seemed very impressed with that answer. He said to me he had high hopes for his niece and would prefer someone that is more professional with some qualifications like a doctor, lawyer or even an accountant. In his eyes, being a businessman or self-employed was not very professional. He also asked how much money I have. At that point, being young and naive, I was becoming very upset as I got the impression that I was in the bank applying for a mortgage. I kept my cool and listen carefully to everything they have to say. By that time, I realised that her family did not approve of me. It was shocking to me, but it was the truth. Her uncle went on to say that without a profession or a degree, life would be very difficult for me. I even offered to study hoping this would please him. I was hurt to bits but the fear of not going to be with the woman I love more than life scares me more than anything else.
The normal situation when you ask for someone's hand in marriage is they come back to you with a reply a few days later. Hence, we were told they would let us know their decision. A few days later, they came out with an excuse to reject our proposal so it does not look too bad on them. They claim Zia was too young. My parents apologised to me saying they have done their best and couldn't do anything more. I could not handle the failed proposal and we decided we would not allow our families to break up the love we share. Zia lived 700km away at that time with her mum and 3 sisters. Knowing her family won't approve of us, we carried on our secret relationship again. We just could not let go of each other.
Being that far away from Zia, I was very lonely and it was then when I happened to meet Jane. Jane and I became very close as she was always willing to listen to me. I had many moments where I felt useless and told Jane about my inner feelings. There was so much obstacles the love between Zia and me have to conquor.
Zia had a friend who was getting married and she was invited to the wedding. Her friends and I have met on many occasions. They supported our relationship and hoped we could get married as well. I went for the wedding and Zia and I share our thoughts about how we can deal with our families. I love her so much but her family couldn't understand. I was shock when I found out from her that the following day after my proposal, her family had arranged and allowed someone to come ask for her hand in marriage. I went insane when I heard the news. These same people told me she was too young to get married to me but now all of a sudden, she is not. This confirmed to me these people are money hungry bigots who are looking for their own benefits and did not care about how Zia and I felt. Zia cried and told me if she goes home tomorrow, they are going to marry her off to someone else. I told my sweetheart I would not tolerate that. We discussed and agreed the best thing to do is to elope and get married secretly. That way, nobody would ever keep us apart.
We got into a vehicle and left the wedding. We went to a family member of mine and told them about our predicament. They suggested Zia calls home and let her mum know she is with me and not going back home. We also made our intentions known that we intended to get married. Throughout the night until the next morning, we were threatened by phone calls claiming that all roads are manned and they would be searching for us. My parents were very upset with me as they felt this was not the right way to do things. My entire family, including by uncles were involved in the mess. Most of them felt I was tarnishing our family name and we should not get married like this. They promised me they will get us married but I need to do it in the correct manner. I asked for the correct manner as I have gone down that way and they wanted to marry her off to someone else. They promise that we will start all over again and guarantee we will be together as long as I give her back. After some pressure from my parents, we agree to abort our plans.
This only set the stage for another memorable chapter.
We arranged a meeting with her family to hand her back and arrange an engagement the following week. At the meeting, I was supposed to have my mum's brother representing me and her uncles there to take her back and discuss things. I noticed the moment I walked into the room, my uncle was not there to represent me so as to save face for the family. I sat there in what was supposed to be a discussion only to get blasted by them for kidnapping their niece and made to feel like the worst person alive. By this time, I could not even look at Zia as I felt I have failed her yet again. Being young and naive, I had no choice but to remain silent and watch the love of my life being taken away from me yet again. I suspected then that I had made the mistake of not getting married while I could and it would become even more difficult in the future. Still, I would not give up hope and told them to keep their promise to let us get engaged next week.
Zia went back to her family while all I had was hope so I went back home. When I got home, things got even worse as her family had no intention of letting us get married. Zia was banned from leaving the house or even answering the phone. She was given the hiding of her life, leaving her bruised. Hearing this drove me insane. I have failed my love yet again. I would sit up at night to imagine talking to Zia in my mind, apologising to her as I have failed her yet again. I am supposed to have protected my love and I couldn't even do that. Her family was not done with me. They manage to get hold of me on a Friday, assaulted me and bundled me into the boot of a car. I only got left alone when more people came to the vehicle. I had 2 of her uncles assaulting me and one keeping guard as they made it clear that I was never going to have her.
The following Monday, the police came to my house and told me I was charged with kidnapping. I went to the police station and also open a charge for assault. Her uncles asked me to drop the assault charges and they would drop the kidnapping charge. Well that took care of the legal matters but it sure did not help me getting my sweetheart back. Zia's accountant uncle was full of threats on what would happen if I did not leave her alone. I realised that I need to remember Zia has three other sisters and they will all suffer if I push harder and that would make Zia's life a living hell. That incident became a turning point for me. I have failed my love in everything so far. I couldn't ask for Zia and her sisters and mom to pay for something I am totally responsible for.
As Jane and I became closer, I would tell her my most inner thoughts and how confused I am in the direction I should take. I would tell her how much I love Zia and can't stand the pain I am putting her through. I also joked with Jane that if we hook up, maybe Zia would forget about me and move on to a better life. I felt that maybe I am not good enough for her. She deserves the best but all I have given her is pain, sorrow, heartaches and failure. Feeling totally heartbroken and dying for a hug, I put my arms around Jane for some comfort. That lead to Jane and me kissing and somehow ending up spending the night together. I woke up in the morning hating myself. I was going insane and by now I felt terrible. Jane and I had a talk the following day where I apologised for my actions. I told Jane I love Zia very much and what happened with us shouldn't have happened. She also apologised for being too kind. She told me that at the very least, we are still friends. I started having thoughts of hoping that if Zia hates me, she would get on with her family wishes. I hated myself as well because I have betrayed her.
I felt if I got involved with someone else, at least Zia and her family will be spared the wrath of her uncles. They could all move on with their lives and things would get better and easier for her. I started a relationship with Jane. Jane was always there for me when I needed her and I guess she was the easiest for me to latch onto. Jane and I discussed about Zia and I made it clear to her that I could never love anyone as much as I love Zia and if Zia ever needed me, I would be there for her. Unfortunately, Jane got pregnant. I read this as a sign that I have to let Zia move on with her life. I explained to Jane my feelings for Zia and we discussed on how to handle our situation.
Jane and I got married on the 1st of April 2000 with her expecting our first child. I did my best to move on with life so that will make it easier for Zia to get on with hers. I hoped she would hate me so much that she would find someone who would not fail her as much as I did. Zia was sent away by her uncles to keep us out of reach of each other. I thought this would help her get along with her life. Despite being married, my love for her was so deep I would go to bed every night thinking and hoping she is okay. Jane knew how I felt at this time and was very patient with me. I felt I hurt many people around me including Jane. I was totally lost. Jane would hug me every night and tell me that time heals old wounds. I realised that Jane have actually fallen in love with me. I was not sure if Zia's life got better as she would have to keep the relationship between us a secret. If anyone knew about it, nobody would marry her. I felt that although I am trying to help her, I have stained her life forever...
Zia finally got married. When I heard about it, I broke down. I miss her so much. I still love her. I got a grip on myself and realised that I should be happy for her. I told myself that my sweetheart finally got her life back and the love we share would be ours forever. Zia's husband is a man whom I could not match up against. She truly got the best. Her family allowed this marriage as the husband to be is not me. All the talk of professions went out of the window. Time has passed and the saying time heals old wounds applies only if it is true. I tried my best to contact her. I just needed to hear her voice and tell her I am sorry for everything I had put her through. After some searching, I manged to get her phone number.
I phoned her to check on how she was doing. Hearing her voice gave me goosebumps. I tried to speak properly so that she does not hear the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes. I ask her how she is doing and apologised for my failures. I can hear in her voice the love we shared is burning bright in her heart. She tries to hide her feelings for me and I do the same. We always manage to think for each other so well. She would always know what I was thinking and so would I. We started to talk to each other every now and then just to check that we are both alright.
When Zia got pregnant, I was so happy that you would have thought I was the father. Her life for once is going in the right direction. We kept contact throughout the years and yet we have been apart for twenty years. I still feel her love in my heart. I guess I only look forward to everyday hoping that I get a glimpse of my sweetheart. My love for Zia is unconditional. I will love her until my last breath. I feel guilty for my failures and misgivings for people around me. Jane and I are still married and I try to be a good husband and father for her and my two kids, a daughter aged 16 and a son aged 12. I have also grown to love Jane in a very different way as she have been by my side all this time. I laugh, I joke I put on a front that everyone accepts my life as they see it.
I live my life everyday with pain, agony and live purely as a son to my parents, father to my children, a husband to my wife and a failure to the one I love the most.
The 26th of December 2006 will be 20 years for Zia and I.
WOODLAND HILLS, California
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