I was back in my flat, relaxing on the sofa, after spending most of the day in Shoreditch. Instead of either one of us driving, we took the tube. Shoreditch was very arty with fashionable clubs and bars. It had vintage and design shops which Sarika enjoyed popping into. She picked up a few items which she didn’t mind carrying as we walked along High Street with its street art.
After hours of walking, we went to Aladin Brick Lane because the street food vendors were in the area on Sundays, not Saturdays. I had the Lamb Badshah and Sarika had the Chicken Tikka Moducash. Afterwards, we headed to Le Labo, the lab where you can make your own perfume. I was an observer not a participant.
On our way to the tube, we passed vendors selling houseplant, bouquets, bulbs and herbs. We could hear the traders shouting as they manned their stalls. If Sarika had her way, we would have been there much longer but I had had enough and wanted to go home to peace and quiet. When we got to my building, we didn’t come upstairs. I followed her to her car and we said goodbye. I waited until she had driven off before I headed for the front entrance.
I tried to enjoy myself but it was very hard. I kept thinking about Rehema and wondering if she had said anything to Aunt Savitri about what happened between us when I went to her flat so many weeks ago. Well, there was only one way to find out.
I could go over to Aunt Savitri’s flat and tell her in person or I could face time her. We’ve spoken to each other several times on ZOOM. My heart began to pound when I thought of how she would react when I told her that after Rehema had opened up to me, I ran out on her.
I got up from the sofa and went for my laptop. I went into the kitchen and placed it on top of the island. I texted my aunt, letting her know that I wanted to speak to her on ZOOM and to let me know when was a good time for her. She replied five minutes later and told me that now was a good time.
A few minutes later, we were on ZOOM. “Hello,” she said, smiling. “It’s good to see your face. It has been a while since we last saw each other. How have you been keeping?”
“I got back a little while ago from Shoreditch. Sarika and I spent most of the day there.”
“That’s nice and you have the perfect weather for outdoors. How is Sarika?”
“She’s fine. She was surprised when I told her that I haven’t visited you for a while.”
“Well, you have your life to live. And I’m sure she was happy that you spent today with her instead of with me.”
“I’m sure she was. Aunt Savitri, I have something to tell you.”
“I can tell from the look on your face that you have something on your mind. What is it?”
Taking a deep breath, I told her what happened when I visited Rehema. When I was finished there was a brief silence and I could see that she was very upset. “I’m sorry, Aunt Savitri,” I muttered. “I shouldn’t have run out but I was sick to my stomach.”
“I know that it must have been hard for you to hear about the things she was forced to do but that was no reason for you to run out on her like that.”
“I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand hearing about all those men she had been with–“
“How do you think she felt being with them? Do you think she had a choice?”
“No, but why didn’t she try to escape before she had sex with any of them?”
“Don’t you think that if she could have escaped then, she would have?”
“I-I guess so.”
“Trishan, I’m very angry and disappointed with how you treated Rehema. She went out on a limb and told you about a very painful chapter in her life and what did you do? You ran out on her even after she begged you to stay and talk things out.”
“I’m sorry I ran out on her but I couldn’t stand to be there any longer. I couldn’t look at her.”
“Why couldn’t you look at her? She’s the victim. She deserves your compassion not your condemnation.”
“I couldn’t look at her because whenever I did, I kept seeing her with those men and it made me–“
“It made you what?”
“Jealous!” Aunt Savitri looked incredulously at me. “How could you be jealous of those monsters?”
“I know it sounds crazy but every time I think or imagine her with any of them, I get jealous.”
“Trishan, this isn’t about you and your jealousy. This is about Rehema. She needed you and you turned your back on her. I warned you not to hurt her and you promised me that you never would but you did.”
I sucked in my breath sharply, feeling like a man who had been charged and then convicted of a terrible crime. “I’m sorry…” I mumbled.
“Don’t tell me that you’re sorry, tell her.”
“How could I face her now?”
“Trishan Aarul Ghai, stop acting like a child and go over there and apologize to her.”
My heart skipped a beat at the thought of seeing Rehema. I was filled with trepidation. What would I say to her and after the way I acted when we saw each other in the train station, why would she even want to see me?
“All right, Aunt Savitri. I’ll-I’ll go and apologize to her.”
“Good. And the sooner you do it, the better.”
“Yes, Aunt Savitri.”
“Now, I’d like you to come to church tomorrow. The sermon is about Compassion Like Christ.”
“I’ll be there,” I promised.
After she lectured me for a while longer, we ended our call.
Source: The Culture Trip