I knew it was my last chance to save what I had then. A last chance to save my relationship from slipping away into oblivion. It had taken courage to dial her number. It had taken contemplation of days. Numerous drafts of messages that were written, edited and then deleted. Re-written and re-edited and when the ‘send’ button was finally pressed, I felt my breath being stuck in my windpipe till I received the reply.
It was a plea to meet. It was a plea to be able to at least put my point of view. A plea that I would be devastated if he left at this point. And she was my only messenger at that time. She was his best friend. Somebody he listened to. She was privy to everything between us. The fights, the arguments and the lovemaking too. I had felt violated in some way when I came to know that she knew everything about us. One might be the closest friend, but what happens between lovers should stay between lovers. But only I believed that, not him.
She agreed to meet over a weekend at a popular fast food chain near her office. Entire day, my stomach churned with nervousness and my heart paced like it was running a marathon. I rehearsed the lines I would say to her in my head. I wanted to tell her about the good, bad and mundane times we had shared. I wanted her to convince him to not leave me at a time when the marriage was on the cards and when I had moved mountains to convince my family.
I reached on time and waited. I saw her walking towards me and something inside me dreaded this meeting. But I was determined to take my chance. We went inside, ordered the food and took our table.
We started talking about work and other stuff munching on the French Fries. I tried steering the conversation on the reason of our meeting. She probed what had happened. I told her whatever I could in an urgency as if my life depended on every sentence I uttered. But, my every argument for saving the relationship was counter argued with narration of every fight we had. It pinched hard that everything between us was already out there in front of a third person. My mouth was turning bitter with the bitterness in her voice. I was already declared a culprit. But like every alleged culprit I had to put my points hoping it would be my saving grace.
‘You know what I have been telling him since last three years to break up with you. He never agreed then. When you are not compatible with someone, you should just move on. What is the point of being unhappy and be in a relationship?’ she said dipping her burger in ketchup.
‘Three years?’ her words stung my ears. But we had started having arguments just six months back. How could she be convincing him to break up with me since three years? The questions loomed large. The answers of which I wasn’t ready to listen.
‘See’ she continued. ‘You have to be practical. You can’t be with someone who isn’t compatible with you. Do you understand what I am saying?’
I didn’t. Her practical advice felt like acid on my skin. I continued staring at her while she munched on her burger nonchalantly as if she were talking to somebody who was asking her advice on where to buy reasonably priced groceries.
‘Have you seen yourself in the mirror?’ I heard her.
‘Huh?’ I asked.
‘Have you seen yourself in the mirror? Just look at yourself. You are overweight. Much more than him. Don’t you think he has already been too kind in accepting you this way? I mean he looks way better than you since he isn’t fat like you.’ she said.
‘I know you both were in a relationship and all that. But we have to be practical. I mean which guy would accept your weight while he is so fit. So I think you should tone down. Not just physically but also as a woman. Accept whatever he says. Do as he wants. He is the man after all. Plus he is accepting you with the weight. No man would want to be with you if you are healthier than him.’
Her words hung around me like stale air. I choked on them. She was another ‘woman’ I was talking to. An educated woman. An educated working woman.
And there she was. Telling me that I didn’t deserve my relationship just because I was overweight? That I was receiving some favour because the guy was fitter than me? That it was absolutely okay to pull down a woman by another woman just because she had more layers of fat around her than her man?
The noise around me had suddenly increased. A child bawled on the adjacent table. Something was nauseating me. I felt claustrophobic. Because there were too many people around? Or was it something else? Maybe the thought? That the only parameter a woman lays down for another woman for being in a relationship with somebody was her weighing scale.
The relationship eventually ended after I found that the real reason for the misunderstanding was not me but his interest in somebody else. But it was too late till then. Because somewhere deep inside, I blamed myself and the weight for everything that happened. Because I was judged for the outer appearance that I carried. Until I accepted myself for what I was. A person with stories to narrate, a person with poetry inside, a person who was not just her appearance.
Did you know that:
a. 69% of men agree that their judgement of women is based on their looks.
b. 64% of women agree that the judgments passed on them have affected their ability to reach their true potential.
c. 70%of women agree that majority of judgments on women are from family members or friends rather than strangers.
d. 72% of women agree that working women face more judgments on their looks or their clothes than housewives.