To be brutally honest, I have never had any feelings for this girl since childhood. And something just had to happen to us that I couldn’t even make a friend out of her. I met her that day at Heathrow and she was kind of pale when I waved at her and she was completely bald. I had a flight to catch at 9:30 a.m. I’ll tell you what, I was… no, we were big time perverts. She is supposed to be my second cousin of sorts- like the one you meet once in a year during some family function or vacation. She was elder to me by few months and both of us come from very conservative catholic families- imagine not watching movies or television itself for that matter throughout your childhood.
My children love watching The Simpsons and I think they are not innocent to switch channels exactly when corny things crop up in my presence. Bible was the only book we were given to read. But I would sneak in home some of those good comics and novels and keep them in my old leather bag that nobody would doubt. Man, I never really asked her what she would do at home on weekends. I know that’s kind of terrible thing to do, though I would casually say she had pretty blue eyes.
Anyway, I don’t know if you can relate to us at least 0.1% but I am sure you would’ve gotten irritated as hell to live in sickening reality all the time. Reality was defined to us as being at the service of the Lord. It was unholy to be in a relationship with the opposite sex without parental consent. I did not find this Catholic at all but Rachel’s and my parents did. We weren’t ‘educated’ in co-ed schools because that could spell us so much trouble. So yes we were kind of young and immature and we did all sorts of nonsense sexuality talk whenever we met. I mean this was a little different from those things you talk with your buddies at school. This was more about ‘us’.
I feel a little guilty at heart that I never once questioned her if she really loved me. Because I did not know then if such love could exist and also because I was pretty sure we were doing it for fun. What we did were dirty yet harmless role plays of husband and wife, most kids of our age would have played something like the doctor-doctor, teacher-teacher, oh we played that too, we were sometimes love stricken Romeo and Juliet and other times just second cousins. We would meet at our ancestral house and find a room to do this under the pretext of doing a group study or playing checkers. But I swear that we never crossed our limits. I also remember conveying my best wishes when she had attained her puberty. The heat fizzled out after we stopped meeting each other since I was sent to do higher studies at Netherlands and I thought we were mature enough to realize our folly. The last time I saw her was in my wedding. She asked if she could be my best woman. Anna’s best woman all of 23. I refused because Mitchell-my bestie wanted to be. She gave me a weak hug and and said she loved me and that she will miss me. It never really made sense to me until that day.
I have still not decided to tell my husband what Rachel and I shared in our past. I can’t come up to terms that she loved me when I never even saw her as a great friend. She cried a lot and that felt horrible to me. She said she had just a few months to survive as all her chemo treatments had failed. She asked me for one thing that I was so afraid of. She was waiting at the airport because she knew I would be coming there. I told her of my children and husband and that it was too late to talk about the past. She pressed me with “Please” I cancelled the ticket and decided to put some sense into her and advise her to move on.
A few hours later, I was staring at the ceiling of her bedroom, appalled at what I had done at the same time a little happy for granting her last fantasy. It was the worst thing I had done in 30 years of my life-especially as a mother. To pretend to love a woman as a woman. When I walk past Rachel Schrodinger’s grave I still see those blue eyes smiling at me the way it did two decades back.