To Ria, there was never enough time. Since the day she could recall, she was always running out of time. Whether it was getting late for the school bus, or getting ready for the dance class, or finishing her lunch in school! So much was the impact that finally hurrying, became Ria’s second nature. She was gobbling up her food fast, reaching venues some 20 minutes ahead, making holiday plans months ahead. Last minute decisions never worked for her, she was at her flustered best. Some might comment, that she was a good planner. Well! she did make plans and followed most through, yet she always rushed, checked clocks twice over and was always in a mad dash. Ria, forgot to relax. Sleep was her only time of the day when she was at peace with her surroundings.
Then Ria met Sam, a wonderful person. Sam was everything Ria wanted in her life partner, except for one glitch. Sam was laid back, he left everything to the last moment and was never ever in a rush. Sam worked in a bank and had achieved a lot professionally, at a young age. To Sam, Ria was a woman who had good career goals and meaningful hobbies, apart from being a good human being as well.
Finally, they got married one day and embarked on the adventure called ‘Marriage’. Sam and Ria had big expectations from life and were equally ambitious. Sam was the voice of reason in the union and Ria was always surging ahead with her ideas. They both worked equally hard, and loved each other passionately. Within a year of marriage, Ria declared that she wanted to have children. Sam was reluctant but yielded to Ria’s wishes. In the course of the next 5 years , they had 2 children, 2 years apart. By then, Sam was in a senior position and working long hours, Ria on the other hand took a break from work to raise her kids. As the kids came along, they got their own house and their car. Responsibilities doubled, the priorities in life shifted and life became a challenge. Both of them were not ready for this, they felt thrown headlong in the ocean and they had to learn to swim. They were ill-prepared for parenthood.
As the children grew up, Ria felt the pressure again to rush. She rushed with her household chores, her children’s homework, school and activities. A day felt short for all the work she took upon herself. Ria’s life became a frenzy of routine chores, she was too exhausted all the time, to indulge in her hobbies. To have a work life balance she did not go back to working full time. In short, Ria changed in many ways. The change was gradual and the powerful, happy woman transformed into a person always under pressure, hardly smiling much. Her children meant the world to her but everything else faded away! Sam, could hardly relate to her, gone was the assertive, passionate woman.
As days went by and Ria dashed from one chore to the other, the distance between her and Sam widened. There were no obvious reasons, they argued a lot, yes! Romance had fizzled out and they had just transformed into parents of their children. Ria, was sucked deep into her commitments involving her children and her home, while Sam got rapidly busy with work.Holidays were forced times taken out to enrich their children’s lives, and trying to put their own back to normal. They failed miserably. By the time the children had started high school Ria was a miserable wreck, always depressed and harried. Sam was indifferent and a workaholic.
There was never enough time for them to sort out their issues or give their relationship space to recover. Then one day Ria felt a sharp pain shoot up from her chest, it was agonising and lasted a few seconds. That day, Sam came back from work, exhausted. He quietly sat down and after a few minutes, said softly to Ria,’I want a divorce.’ Ria was stunned, they were having regular arguments and sometimes she did threaten to walk out of the marriage, but she never meant it. She had taken Sam for granted and believed that he could withstand anything she threw his way!
The next few days Ria tried talking it over with Sam, but he was in no mood to listen. He has had enough, his patience with Ria and the relationship had ran out. Ria, still loved Sam, however, the intimacy between them was lost, a long time back. The pain kept coming back as Ria was heart broken with the situation at home. The children were still unaware. Sam offered to split everything with Ria equally, there was no other woman in his life, he had felt hopeless with the situation at home.
Ria’s eldest was due to graduate from school and had to sit for her exams shortly, it was a crucial time for her. Sam had made up his mind and Ria simply requested him to stay put for another fortnight, to tide over the exam period.
Exams over, Ria broke the news, their children were devastated. The older one was anyway due to move away for her university degree, and this rapidly speed the process, she refused to choose between them and moved to the university dorm sooner. Sam, left the house and moved away, with a promise to spend every weekend with his younger child.
Couple of months flew by and Sam and Ria never met face to face again. Ria’s health had deteriorated much, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had few more days to live. She never divulged the information to anyone. Then one day, as Sam came to drop a letter, he found her on the floor, in pain.
Sam was heartbroken with Ria’s condition, he was sad that they could not make their marriage work. He was sad that Ria had only a few days more to live. There was never enough time.
To be happy each moment takes effort, if only he had tried harder. If only they had stopped rushing around and renewed their intimacy. If only either one of them had taken a step backward and reflected. All these thoughts ran through his head as Ria finally passed away. He grieved, he realised that he was still in love with her, that there really was no one else in his life. He grieved for all the lost moments of what could have been! Of what could have been a dream. Life had given them many chances but time was what they had to make for each other. ‘There was never enough time’, as Ria had often said.