Until I fell in love, I had an identity.
I was a public relations executive. I was a young girl finding my foot in the big, bad corporate world. I was also a daughter, a friend and a colleague. More importantly, I was myself. A human being. With feelings and emotions. With a soul. Not a lifeless individual. Or a thing.
I was someone before I became the other woman.
It all started on 24th April, 2013. His first day at work. We were not part of the same team but our bays were quite close. Despite not knowing anyone, he was surprisingly at ease. He wasn't great looking. Nor was he completely unattractive. He had good shoulders though. That was it.
I didn't think much of him. But not thinking only lasted a short while.
Soon, we were grabbing coffee and going for lunches. What started as co-working on a project soon turned into a friendship. We had a lot in common. We'd exchange books, recommend TV shows to each other and every Friday, go for a movie. It was the best equation I'd ever shared with a man. We never spoke about love. There was no conversation around our personal lives. Sounds odd, I know but we were too busy being friends to even think about being more than just friends.
But like it happens always, love was just around the corner.
It was on office party. Everyone had to get their families along. I got my parents; he got his wife. She was beautiful. He looked like he loved her. They looked happy. I was miserable.
A few weeks later, I confessed my feelings. Surprisingly, he didn't shrug me off. Instead, he said he loved me too. "My marriage is a sham. I don't love her!" This response was enough. Enough for me. Enough for us.
Before I could realise, we were dating. Walking hand-in-hand without a care in the world. He was my first love and like it happens in first loves, there wasn't much caution. We didn't care if the world knew about his marital status.
In hindsight, we should have.
He was a married man and I was his girlfriend. Or rather, the other woman.
I was first made aware of my new-found status by colleagues at work. They'd gossip about our love. Call it illicit, clandestine and many other such names. Once rechristened, every other identity I ever had, faded in oblivion.
For me, it was love. For them, it was dirty. I was dirty. For them, I wasn't a woman in love. I was a home-wrecker. I was to be looked down upon.
Things worsened when he told his wife. He wanted a divorce and all hell broke loose. From his parents cursing me to the wife destroying my character, I braved it all. But the final nail in the coffin came with my own parents shunning me. I brought them disgrace, they said.
I never knew love could bring in such misery.
I'm no longer with him.
Unlike all the cliches, he did leave his wife. We even got married. But our relationship couldn't stand the test of time. I guess, I could never live with the guilt.
Every morning, I'd wake up to his wife's face in front of me. I wasn't sleeping with my husband but another woman's husband instead. We were cut off from friends and family, society and the world. Maybe it's this claustrophobia that battered our equation. Love wasn't enough. It never is, I suppose.
Some would say it was karma.
I broke a woman's home. How could I have expected to live happily ever after?
Did I break someone's home?
A man walked out of a broken home, into mine. Yes, I allowed him in. That's my fault. But would he have not found another home, another woman had I not taken him in?
I've often wondered if things were tough for him. Frankly, I don't think so.
Our society doesn't blame a man for his infidelity. His infidelity is also somehow the woman's fault. Maybe his wife didn't love him enough. Maybe the other woman seduced him.
Yes, I did seduce him. But only when he wanted to be seduced.
I entered his mind before I entered his bedroom. If it's a crime then we both are criminals.
I'm the other woman.
I fell in love with a married man. That makes me the other woman. But he's just a man. There's no tag for him.
I think there should be. How about 'No One's Man'?