For ages now, she had longed for his return. But when he did return, she realised she had loved the idea of the estranged lover than the lover himself. The pining and missing she felt and pity she received from friends and family was more bearable than his presence. Now all of that was gone, she was left with nothing but him. A mere man. It is easier to long for someone than to love. When you long you long for an ideal, when you love you are condemned to loving the real. People are an illusion, are an ideal, it is easier to love people, hence her unwavering commitment to the people’s struggle. But a person, with all his grotesque imperfections, the in your face irritation and constant contest for your attention – a person is hard, nay, it is impossible to love a person. Through him she had learnt to love the people, through loving the people she had grown out of love with him. She found it an irritation that after all these years, after all that had happened, he still expected her to play wife. Like he she had now dedicated her life to the people’s struggles. He took this lightly, if he didn’t have a dim view of it that is. The rupture was nigh. Only one thing, according to her, could save them – their love of the people. Only one thing, according to him, could save them – her submission to his authority. The rapture was nigh. It dawned upon her that he had fallen more in love with the idea of being the hero of the people than the people. He was a leader; his sense of self-importance overshadowed the very people he claimed to lead. There was no redemption. The more they loved him the more he loved his leader-self. They all bowed beneath his feet, he kept them there by pretending to reject their admiration. “I am just one of you” he declared. She didn’t bow. He didn’t take kindly to her refusal to bow. Not that he asked her – it was ridiculous that he should ask. In asking he would be admitting to his impotence to make her bow. She knew this very well. Hence she didn’t make a ceremony out her not bowing. The point she made being that it is not that bowing was withheld; it wasn’t even on the menu. As thus no language existed between the two of them. He was god whose divinity was lost to her. So he bowed out of the marriage. She, she just let him, and went on about her business, as though his return was but an uninteresting interval. The albatross that was his presence gone, she could live again, breathe once more, and love him forever.