Wednesday, May 19, 2021

#25SilverLinings - The Elephant In The Room

Money talks or lures many men to work abroad, especially in the Gulf, leaving their family behind. That works well until they get married and have children. Many of them are not around to attend the funeral of their parents, birth of their child or during the challenging times to lend a shoulder to their wife. Rizwan was one of them. He missed the death of his parents and birth of both his children. He had moved to UAE at a very young age, maybe 18, and spent the majority of his life there. In our 7 years of marriage, we had been together for a short time. Unfortunately even the little time we spent together was not quality time since there were always issues to be resolved. His family never hid the fact that they disliked me since the day he announced he was marrying me for reasons known better to them. They always created a lot of stress in our relationship, and at times I would get tired of explaining things to him about what actually happened when he was not around. Most of our post married life was spent resolving issues, either related to us or his family.

Now, what usually happens with these couples who stay apart for say 16 -24 months at a stretch, sex becomes something they look forward to when they meet. I feel that is a natural response for any couple.
In my life, when cancer had raised its ugly head, my daughter with special needs and the crying husband who was withdrawing into a shell, sex became an elephant in the room. I did not know how to address this issue. Should it happen, should it not happen was the dilemma. I was confused about handling this issue. The elephant was there but we both were not addressing it. I was worried about his response and he was crying silently and looking completely worried, not excited or aroused at all.
I was very confused about my role. I had no idea what was the right thing to do. I decided to take the back seat. Now I cannot mention what he was thinking, because people’s thoughts are hidden from us. I am damn sure if that was not the case, then Thanos did not have to make the effort to wipe out half of the population. People would do that for Thanos. Ignorance is bliss and the reason the human population is growing.
We were sitting silently in our room, since it was decided that we would go for a second opinion the next day and since I agreed there was nothing more to continue the conversation. My sister came to speak to him. He was saddened to see her. She was upset that I had not given him a good bedsheet, and ordered someone to get it for him. He still remembers her gesture and mentions it at times. She was in pain and was on Morphine and for someone talking to her after a long time, the effects of cancer’s progress were too striking. I could see both fear and sadness in my husband.
We had our dinner silently. Tomorrow I would go to an oncologist for a third opinion (not second)- I already had opinions from two doctors. As we retired, the elephant remained in the room. For me at that moment, sex was not a pleasure, a need but an assurance that things were OK with me. Somehow, breast cancer and the talks surrounding it had made me feel as though I am losing my femininity rather than a breast. The assurance was not happening and I wasn’t going to seek it either since my ego was bigger than an elephant. It always has been and I saw that cancer had not touched it. I was only losing my breast and not my pride.


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