Normal Is Overrated [#Shortlisted]

Posted: February 18, 2018

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I know my truth but have been keeping it to myself all these years. I’m just not sure whether my mother would understand and let me live the life I see for myself.

“Why do you always leave a mess behind for me to clean up?”

Standard morning greeting in Riya’s house on a weekday.

“Riya! You may be all grown up and a woman now but the rules stay the same. Make your bed before leaving the room. And for heaven’s sake pick up the wet towel off the floor. This is a house, not a hotel!” Ma hollered.

“I’m going to grab a sandwich at the office café. Just hand me my cup of tea and I’m out”, said Riya.

“I don’t know why you chose to take up such a tiring and time consuming job when you can’t even manage to have breakfast properly,” retorted Ma, quite exasperated by now.

Standard meet and greet phrase 2, thought Riya, trying to suppress a grin.

“Ma I love my job just as much as I love the sandwiches there! Love you! Bye!”

She knew why Ma set the stage for this rant on a daily basis. Because that’s what mothers do – well at least hers anyway. Also the fact that her mother felt she needed to be married by now and have a family of her own, not just a career.

It had taken immense hard work and cajoling her mother, but she finally landed the media head job at a key PR firm. Sure she was just all of 29 and the timings sucked.

But there were some perks to the job of course. Company expense account, reimbursement perks and then there was TJ.

TJ had walked into office on a cold winter morning. Riya remembered the meeting all too well. 6 months ago – she had stumbled out of the elevator and walked right into TJ. Files splattered across the floor.

“I’m so sorry!” said Riya. “No problem at all!” said TJ. Riya looked up to see a face smiling down at her. Her embarrassment faded and excitement took over.

“You’re TJ aren’t you? Am so glad to see you! We’ve been looking forward to the meeting with you!” Riya exclaimed.

“Am just as excited about it as you are. How about I show you some notes I made on the way here and we’ll take it from there?” replied TJ.

That meeting soon turned into a 4 hour lunch and coffee meet.

TJ was undoubtedly one of the most interesting people Riya had ever met. From the time TJ had spent working the way up as the country’s lead brand strategist, being sought after by most of the big PR and media houses to the charitable foundations for women and children set up to make the world a better place for them.

The conversation soon moved from work to their life choices and lifestyles. Riya proceeded to talk about the life her mother wanted for her – marriage and kids. “She calls it normal, settled, stable – whatever! exclaimed Riya.

“Normal is overrated,” TJ mentioned during that lunch. “One needs to own their truth. Everyone’s normal is different. Society confines us and makes us believe that we need to follow norms. But who can tell me what’s right for me? I define my right and wrong. Actually there is nothing called normal I feel. Some things are just common hence considered ‘more normal’. Look up Dorothy Parker on this,” TJ winked.

Riya, unsure of whether to speak her truth now, hesitated but then remarked softly, “I know my truth but have been keeping it to myself all these years. I’m just not sure whether my mother would understand and let me live the life I see for myself.”

TJ patted Riya’s hand reassuringly. “I know how you feel. Trust me, I’ve been there.”

6 months since the day. TJ made her feel more like a woman than ever. The love they shared was what Riya had yearned for all her life. Never before had she realised that she would meet someone who would truly accept her for who she is, with all her fears and follies.

She honked outside TJ’s house. Out walked TJ, looking stunning in a blue suit.

TJ slid into the car and turned to Riya with those gorgeous brown eyes that had her mesmerized all those weeks ago.

“Hi sweetheart,” she smiled at her.

Editor’s note: This story had been shortlisted for the January 2018 Muse of the Month, but not among the top 5 winners.

Image source: pexels

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