I spent two whole sleepless nights, trying to come up with a plan to save ourselves. An entire weekend. My body was used to not getting enough sleep. But this time, my mind was working productively. It's crazy how the human mind works. I don't know the technicalities, whether it's Adrenalin or Cortisol or what, that causes this high functionality under stress, but it sure works. That Monday morning, I woke up with a Plan A and a Plan B. I fixed breakfast, packed lunch for the kids, showered, and accompanied them to school. Their school was a very familiar place to me. My husband and I have made donations to this school, countless number of times. They even have a secret society comprising of the "rich parents" who are requested to make donations in exchange for the appearance of their names in newsletters. Sometimes, if the contribution was in favor of the construction of a new block, the entire block would be named after the highest benefactor. And whenever they needed a celebrity guest of honor for a program, they could always count on my husband. I was part of various PTA committees and knew the Principal personally. In fact, she has even come over for dinner a number of times. I maintained a good relationship with her and other staff members, simply because I wanted my children to have an easy time at school. Little did I know that all these accumulated favors would be of use to me in the near future.
I met up with their Principal in the morning itself and as always, she was happy to see me. I told her, very casually, that I was bored of being a housewife, now that the kids were growing up, and I wished to work at the school. I came straight to the point and am sure that was appreciated. Long story short, I landed a deal with her. The deal was that she'd give me a temporary position as an English teacher in the school, based on my degree in English. But since I didn't have a B.Ed degree which is compulsory for this position, it would have to be temporary. I bartered further and was promised that if I could complete my B.Ed as a correspondence course while I was employed there, she would surely grant me a permanent position as soon as I was done. I could start in exactly 7 days, on the following Monday. And Plan A worked out so well, that I don't even feel the need to dwell on Plan B.
In the seven days that I had, there were too many things to be done. My first step was to do a little bit of research on gold prices and jewelers in Chennai. Soon after, I went to the bank and collected all of my jewelry out of the safe. Everything starting from my wedding jewelry to the many gifts from my husband. I segregated them based on their importance and weighed the pieces that meant nothing to me. I saved ancestral pieces and some special gifts from my parents and in-laws and set them aside for my daughter. What were left were mainly gifts from my husband, especially the ones he bought me over the past few years to shut me up and make me feel important. I roughly weighed them using my kitchen weighing scale and made a few calculations. The results were satisfying. The next day, I sold each and every piece of jewelry that he'd bought me over the years. I deposited most of the money in the bank under a scheme that would provide me with a good rate of interest every month. I did more research on the internet and applied for a correspondence B.Ed degree course in Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. It was to be for the duration of 1 year. I had an entrance exam coming up and the timing for everything was just right.
Since my position at the school was temporary, I was only eligible for half my basic starting salary. Hence, with a salary of 15K INR and the interest I received each month from the bank, I could feed my kids and lead a slightly squeezed but comfortable life. Whenever it was time to pay their term fees, or some unexpected expenditure came my way, everything would just miraculously work out. I saw the hand of God in the way things worked out in my life. However, just to be on the safe side, I started taking extra tuition classes for some of the kids in school. That part was easy. I just had to tell some mothers how there was still scope for improvement in their kids and managed to work their paranoia in my favor. Mothers these days worry about everything. Especially the working moms. So they're more than happy to send their kids to someone else so that they'd be freed from the responsibility of handling their kids' academics. This thought provoked me to start taking tuition for even younger kids whose mothers didn't have time to help them with homework. I handled all the subjects for these kids and prepared them for tests.
Within a year, things got even better for us. My position at the school was secured and we were truly comfortable. The only thing left for me to handle was the divorce. The divorce that he had finally filed for. He went around proclaiming how he was tired of me and wanted to get out of the marriage. He settled for a very good sum as alimony. A sum that would secure my children's future without a doubt. A sum that would make things very easy for us. My brain kept telling me to sign the papers and be done with it. I didn't want him in my life anymore. I wouldn't take him back even if he were to come begging on all fours. He hurt me beyond reckoning and worse, he dared to hurt my children. There was no scope for forgiveness anymore. Not after he left my children to starve. I didn't even want the alimony or the safety net. My brain told me that he just had to leave my life, once and for all. But my heart would tell me different things. My wounded heart was proud and hurt at the same time. It asked me, "how dare he file for divorce and pretend as if it was all your fault?". My heart wanted to refuse him what he wanted the most for two reasons. Firstly, because he was the one who filed for it before I even thought about it. And secondly, because I didn't want him to have the license to walk around with her. Not that he wasn't doing it already, but the heart wants what it wants. My heart also tried to remind me once in a while that some part of me still loved him. A monster he may be, but the heart wants what it wants.
I'm stuck in this debate between my brain and my heart. I look at my children and I see how with time, they have grown to get used to his absence. They don't miss him anymore. They don't ask to speak with him. My son is nearly a man and he seems to even resent his father at this stage. I should just stick with what we have now, what I made for them and for myself, and let him go. But it hurts too much! And I know that time heals. Time healed me enough to get me through the worst that could happen to me. Time will heal my heart and I will surely find the strength to let him go, for good. I will find it in my heart to not hold anything but indifference for the man who, in a way, led me on a journey of self discovery, and made me who I am today. But today is not that day. I need time. And time will heal.