About two years ago, one of my closest friends - Samantha - got married to a guy who adored her. Her wedding day was one of the most painful days of my life.
Many years ago, we had made a pact - that we would be true to our hearts, never compromise on love and never settle for less that our due. We'd been 17. And at the age of 28, after being whacked senseless by life and love, when she married a guy because she 'didn't care either ways', i felt betrayed. This girl, dressed in silk and gold, wearing a blank expression on the 'happiest day of her life' wasn't the friend i'd known and cherished all these years.
Months passed, during which phone calls were the usual mode of contact. But everytime i asked how she was doing, her brittle over-bright voice would travel across the phone waves assuring me that "Things are perfect." After a while, even those infrequent calls petered off - after all, it's impossible to have a real conversation when you're trying to ignore the elephant in the room. However, a few months ago, she called me and told me that she had filed for divorce. She sobbed about how horrible her marriage was, how she didn't love him, how her mother was making her life miserable because of the divorce, etc etc.
I was furious. How dare she expect me to just sit here and listen sympathetically when she knew exactly what she was getting into? And if what she was getting into was so anti-code, then how could she agree to it at all? And now, i was supposed to find it in me to understand her playing a victim? While i mouthed the meaningless platitudes that are meant to comfort and support, inside i was screaming, "What have you done to my friend?"
Then, a few days ago, i read a line that jumped out of the page and practically bit me in the ass. It went like this: Everyone, without exception, is leading their fairy tale life. What????
And then i thought about a conversation i had with Samantha, all those years ago. We were drinking coffee at my place one morning, playing hooky from college, and laughing about how it'll be when we grow up. I was going to be a high-powered corporate executive, having a series of highly intense monogamous relationships, while she was going to be an atleast-twice-married sexy Mama, with a string of admirers. Seems we were living our fairy tale lives after all....
Maybe that line was right. Maybe not. I called her anyway and really listened to her. And while doing so, i sensed my friend there, albeit in flashes. We spoke for an hour, and as I hung up, I promised to visit.
And then i sat down to rewrite my fairy tale.