December 6, 2020


(c) J. Singh, 2017

Rachna bit her lip as tears began rolling down her cheeks. Her husband, Tarsem, was shouting at her. She couldn't hear his words, all that registered was the scowl on his face and how angry he looked. He was leaning in towards her, gesturing with his hands, yelling. She felt alienated, betrayed. The force of his emotions seemed too powerful, and she wilted before it. She wondered what had happened to that kind, loving gentleman that she had always known. She felt frightened and small, not knowing where to turn to for solace.

So she just stood there and closed her eyes as she cried. He went on for several minutes before running out of words. Finally, in frustration, he cried out, "Why can't you just understand such a simple thing!?"

She attempted to nod. But she couldn't keep herself from sobbing.

"Oh, great. Just great!" he said, throwing his arms up in exasperation.

She wanted to stop crying. She wanted to tell him how much she was trying to resolve this issue, that she didn't want to fight. She wanted to be poised and confident and show him that if they just worked together, if they just talked with each other lovingly, they could overcome anything. But she was not even able to open her mouth to say a word. She just kept sobbing uncontrollably.

Tarsem shook his head and turned around as if he was going to leave the room. She looked at him, her eyes pleading with him not to go. With his back turned, he didn't see her. A moment later, he sighed deeply and turned back to face her. He was about to say something, but caught himself, stopped, and stared at the floor with a pained expression on his face.

Rachna could feel that he was hurting. And she felt his hurt and his pain through her entire body. She wanted to reach out, to embrace him, to soothe his frazzled nerves and hurt feelings, to tell him that everything would be ok. But she was afraid. What if she tried to give him a hug and he exploded at her again? So instead, she stood quietly where she was, watching him and feeling his hurt emotions, and at the same time feeling her own feelings. The two mingled with each other like different currents in the same river, until it was hard to distinguish which was which.

All of a sudden, she had an idea. She walked over to the couch and picked up her purse. He watched her, puzzled at first. She opened her purse and rummaged around inside for a moment. Then she walked up to him and stood in front of him, looking into his eyes. She reached into the purse and pulled out a small card. She handed it to him in silence.

He looked down at the card in his hand. It was old, with frayed edges and faded ink. She must have been carrying this around in her purse for years. It was a handwritten card, with drawings of hearts and smiley faces on it. Tarsem stared at it for a few moments before he remembered.

The text on the card read:

For Rachna,

Good for one 30 minute massage, redeem at any time, any place. No expiration date.

With All My Love,
From Tarsem

The handwriting on the card was his. He had written this card and given it to her, years ago. The memories came flooding back now. He remembered when he had written the card. It was just after their honeymoon. They had returned home, and he had given her this card as a sort of gift. She had never used it, instead she had kept it in her purse all these years. And he had completely forgotten about it.

"But," his voice had softened. "You never used it."

Rachna nodded. "I wanted to keep it with me. It reminds me of how much you love me. Whenever I feel sad or down, I just have to look at this card and I feel happy and loved. It makes my day better."

Tarsem opened his mouth but no words came out. His face betrayed the struggle of conflicting emotions. His anger melted away, replaced by guilt, remorse, and penitence.

"I have a request," Rachna said, her voice pleading and full of emotion. "I want to redeem the card now. Can I redeem it now? Please?"

She teared up as she asked the question, her face betraying her desperate longing for a loving connection with him.

He nodded and scooped her up in his arms.

"Of course," he replied, crying, "of course! Rachna, I'm so, so sorry."

She leaned her head on his shoulder, grateful that the Tarsem she knew was back.

"It's alright," she whispered, hugging him back.