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he Fight

I never wanted to hurt her and provide her with any pain but it was necessary at that time. She left the room and ran. I could still feel her tears on my shoulders. Wanted to hold her but sometimes we need to figure out things ourselves and Ryan had to fight this on her own and get the best out of it.

It was never easy to raise Ryan all by myself after the death of my wife Steffi when she was just 22. I was 24 at that time with a good job, ample money but this is the time when you need someone to stand by you during your hard times and to celebrate with you your achievements. I had my daughter, my few days old daughter by me. The ways in which I was going to take my life was going to affect her too. I had no time to morn for Steffiís death or to get confused about my life without her presence.

Ihad a life to take care of and not easy though, I decided to leave my past behind and fight against all the odds in order to give my daughter a perfect world which would be full of happiness and joy. The few things which remained away from her mother and me. I belong to a very orthodox family where the elders have all the rights to take all the vital decisions for the younger. Steffi was raised in an orphan and she had no information about her parents. We met each other through a common friend and soon fell in love. My parents were not happy with my decision of marrying Steffi so I had to opt Steffi out of Steffi and my parents. One day I just packed my bags and left for Steffiís room.

We got married. She was 20 at that time. We were very happy, the same happy feeling when you follow your heart and donít let your brainís or otherís brainís reasoning rule your actions. It seemed as if we were victorious in a war. We never knew that a much bigger fight was waiting for us. Soon we realized that love was not enough to support each other. We needed money. I was in final semester of my engineering degree. Steffi had just started her college. It was completely her decision to take up job and discontinue her studies so that we could manage our household and I could continue my studies which would get over in a period of 4 months. She started as a receptionist in a telecom industry but her earnings were not enough for both of us. So I decided to take up some part job apart from my studies. I joined a call centre with flexible timings so that I could give time to my college too.

We met twice a day. Once during morning breakfast and the other during dinner which we usually had around 2:00 a.m. after I returned from my night shift. We never had enough time together but it didnít affect our feelings for each other. We never lost connection. Just a look managed to make each other feel better. This was the time when I learned how to read Steffiís face and eyes. They were so transparent and beautiful that everything which bothered her appeared to me through her expressions or through her eyes. We woke up early in the morning. Most of the times I was the first to rise because of the college assignments I had to finish. For sometimes I kept on looking at her face. It seemed to be so peaceful and calm. The best thing I could ever see in my life was Steffiís face when she was asleep. Whole world seemed to be so beautiful at that time. During my classes or at work whenever I felt stressed out, I used to sit silently and visualize her face. It provided me strength and peace after which I was able to concentrate at my work.

This continued till I finished my college and got employed by a multinational company with a handsome salary. Steffi had to work no longer. She started with her studies apart from taking care of our home. Now we lived in a fully furnished rented house. There was no scarcity of money now. We had all but still we didnít have much time to spend together. I got busy with my work and she with her studies. The face reading and eye reading still helped me to know Steffiís feelings. For sure we took out some time to celebrate special occasions and sometimes for vacations too.

I remember it was 22nd May, our first anniversary and my birthday. We both were not fond of grand celebrations so we liked to spend our days together in our house with each other talking and listening to music. That day after dinner we sat with a glass of wine each and Bruce Springsteenís record playing. I don`t remember exactly but may be the song playing at that time was ďmy hometownĒ when Steffi told me that she was pregnant. I know the reactions that I gave were not expected by her or even canít be expected by any to be mother. I panicked up. I didnít want a child so early and then when we had just settled and still barely had time for each other. I wanted her to get the baby aborted. Steffi again didnít say anything but at that time her eyes didnít only speak but they screamed using the tears that rolled down. She was hurt. No mother wants a word against her child and it was easy for me to talk about killing my child but very difficult for her to even hear that. I realized my mistake but the bullet was fired. No one can take back oneís said words. The words which I had spoken without giving much thought had done the job. There was a strong bond between me and Steffi which was tied by a very week thread. It was the bond of trust. She no more trusted me. She started thinking that if I could be so rude to my own child then I could be no better to her too. She became insecure about her and her child.

Once in my life when I thought that everything was moving fine and I had no more wars to face, life played a game and I the one to start it and I was going to be the one to lose it too. The little time we got were spent in arguments now. We stopped even looking towards each other. I knew I had to take some steps to improve the messed up situations cause I was at fault but again the most common evil ďegoĒ played its part here too. I started spending most of my time in office. During those days I tried to remember Steffiís peaceful face too but of no use. Steffi was 8 months pregnant. She needed me but I wasnít there for her. I was aware of it and the feeling kept killing me so I decided to take leave from my office for some days to be with her. It was Friday, the day when I was going to complete the project I was working on. After that I had applied for ten days leave to take care of my wife and my leave was sanctioned too. In the evening while returning home I bought a beautiful red rose for Steffi. It was one of the red roses which helped me propose her for marriage and with the other I thought I could mend the patches that were created in our relation.

When I entered our house I found I note there. It was from my mother. First I was surprised to see my motherís writing in my house but when I read the contents of the letter I had no time react to it. Steffi was in hospital and her condition was serious. Throughout my drive to the hospital I kept on thinking about what could have happened to her. May be due to pregnancy at a very early age or something like that. My mother was standing outside the I.C.U. I was not allowed to enter the room where my wife was fighting for her life. I just had a glimpse of her through the glass walls. Her face had the same serenity as it always had while she slept. I sat on the bench. My mom sat beside me. She was called by my doctor to my house as Steffi was not doing fine and I was unapproachable. She along with the doctor, who was called by Steffi when she found that something was wrong with her, took Steffi to the hospital.

Mom told me that Steffi was taking cocaine. I was startled. No words flowed out of my mouth. She unable to bear the loneliness. The whole picture was clear in front of me. I had noticed some changes in her time table since last few months but I never bothered her cause I was scared of the fights. I wasnít aware that a bigger fight was waiting for me. According to the doctor she was using lots of drugs and that could affect the child too. I sat there unmoved with my mom holding me.

In midnight Steffi opened her eyes. I entered the room after taking permission from the doctor. She was on oxygen cylinder. Her mouth was covered by oxygen mask. Again the same eye talks as we always had. Tears rolled down her eyes. I was unable to control mine too. We continuously looked towards each other. I was sitting beside her bed holding her hand. Suddenly she felt sudden loss of breath and I shouted for the doctor. The doctor sent me out. Later when he came out he told that they needed to operate Steffi, probably a premature delivery so there was a chance to lose either the child or the mother or both. He was there with a document which I had to sign in order to grant permission for the operation. With my shaking hands I signed the paper which could result into death of either of my loves, my wife or my child.

When they were taking Steffi she kept on looking at me and once again I was able to read her eyes. She was saying Good Bye to me. I was trying to hold my tears but they continuously rolled out. Just before the door of the operation theatre separated us, I gave her the red rose and I could see the same peaceful face once again in front of me.

After around two hours the door opened and a nurse came up to me with a small baby. She gave the baby to me. It was my baby girl. I held the baby close to me and cried. I wanted her to feel my heart which was apologizing for the behavior I had against her. Her touch gave me the peace I was searching. I was happy till the doctor arrived with the news that he was unable to save Steffi. Steffi lost to death and I lost her. I had no time to morn for my wifeís death. I knew I had her part in form of our daughter to take care of and this time I didnít want myself to lose.

Next day after my wifeís funeral I stayed at my parentís place. My mother wanted me to get married again. It was not her fault, I was her kid and she couldnít imagine me fighting for my daughter and myself all alone. But I never needed anyone for this. I knew Steffi was with me as my conscience and she will help me raise our kid properly. This time I was not going to repeat the same mistakes that I did with my wife. She was going to get all my time and all my understandings. I named her Ryna after one of Steffiís favorite band. Ryna and I were best of friends. We had nothing to hide to each other except one thing. I never told her about her motherís cause of death and the situations we were in that forced her to opt for it. I wanted her to have a beautiful picture of life and that she was going to get by seeing the one that her mother and me had, no matter whether it was fake or not. We both were very happy together. We celebrated all our occasions in the same ways as Steffi and I did and missed Steffi together. It was the time when I really felt some comfort. In the mornings I sat near Rynaís bed and stared at her face. It gave me the same strength what her motherís face gave. I was able to read her face and eyes too and she did the same but this time there were words too which helped us communicate with each other.

Everything was moving fine till the day. It was when I returned home after completing my work at office. Ryna opened the door. She didnít appear to be the same. I felt her body was not in her control. Her eyes told me that she was getting involved with the same things which separated her mother from me. At that time I didnít want to embarrass her. So I just finished my dinner, kissed her forehead and left for my bed room but the whole night I was in a great dilemma. Did I do something wrong this time too that I could see the devil entering my house again. It was difficult for me to make myself understand that my daughter was moving into drugs. I was scared again. Life again posed a war in front of me and this time I was not going to lose it. Once I did, and I lost my love, this time I canít let it win again to lose my daughter. At night when I slept I had prepared myself till then for the fight awaiting me the next day.

The next day I didnít go to office and asked Ryna to accompany me. I drove her to the hospital where her mother died. We walked to the operation theater where her mother died while giving birth to her prematurely. I sat and told her what really happened with Steffi and me. I said,Ē This was how your mother left me. I lost her then and till today I am unable to console myself. It is you who made me live. I died the day Steffi left me because I know I was responsible for her death in some way. Yesterday when I saw you following the same path I got a way to free myself from the guilt. This time donít let me lose this fight.Ē Ryna bumped into me. She held me tight and started crying. She left the room crying. I never wanted to hurt her but sometimes when you lose the right path, you need something to stir you up and I did the same. She needed to know her motherís and my fate which was due to the same thing she was getting involved into. I wanted to hold her for some more time but then it should be her decision and I wanted her to fight this herself.

I left the hospital alone as Ryna had already gone. In the evening when I reached home I found my daughter sitting at the doorsteps. She had her face buried in her legs. I knew that my daughter has finally arrived home. There was a relief. I sat beside her and hugged her. Then Ryna said,Ē You were not responsible for her death Dad. You never lost then and this time too I will not let you lose.Ē My baby girl managed to make me a winner again.

Contributing Story Teller Amit Mohan is an Engineering (Electrical & Electronics) student from Karnataka

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