Ed tried his best to keep a calm face. But no matter how hard he tried, unfathomable angst strained his chest, crushing his heart under a heavy burden of agony.
Unable to endure it any longer, his lips began to shudder and, a small stream of tears trickled down his cheeks, making its way towards his neck. His sentiments strained his chest, making his throat pain, his heart rate increased and, his lips started shuddering, bringing down the tears flowing through his neck.
Cedar's guilt-ridden eyes remained downcast as she held his shirt and silently mourned.
"He was a good man, Cedar. My boy, my brother, Derrick, was a good man. Ed whimpered.
"I know," Cedar agreed with a tight throat and shaky voice while falling on her knees.
Ed sighed his whole strength and plopped down on the floor and sat before Cedar as he began to question the vicious human lives.
"Why is it so hard to be honest and admit your faults? Why can't you be loving and happy with each other ? Why can't you be simple and correct and live in the present? Ed asked in between his sobs while staring deep into her eyes brimming, with tears.
"Love made me do it. Cedar admitted as she avoided his scrutinizing gaze Hearing her reply, Ed folded his legs and locked his fingers together and thought for a moment as he mulled over the irony before breaking into a peal of laughter.
"Cedar, love is not self-seeking- it does not lose hope, it always preserves, and never fails. Your love, Devan, was not in his hometown for a casual visit. He went to see his mother, who was on the deathbed. He went there to fulfil her wish. He went to make the arrangements, his wedding arrangements. Ed bitterly reminded her.
Ed's grievous words struck Cedar like bolts of lightning, as she looked at him in shock and moved her fingers to the lips in a vague effort to muffle her cries. As her eyes squeezed shut, strings of pearly tears flowed.
"Devan's mother wanted him to marry someone from their caste. Devan, of course, tried his best to convince his family of the inter-caste marriage, but none of his family members agreed and, one of his uncles was so furious at him and even dared to hit Devan, a grownup man. His uncle thrashed him the entire night. The news of Devan's love affair with you had spread all across his small town. And, they had started disrespecting him, as the people of his town believed that it was a shameful act, heinous betrayal to marry someone of another caste," Ed tried to mitigate his friend's harsh decisions that have led Devan to abandon.
" One evening, with a troublesome soul, he sat down to have a drink with me. And for the first time, Cedar, when I asked him about you, he wept. He was a proud boyfriend, I tell you. He showed you off-" Ed's memories travelled back to the night when he met a heartbroken Devan, 'Man, my lady is mine.' he cheerfully proclaimed every time with a happy grinning face. But that night, he wept, he cried, to the core of his heart. As if he was mourning your death. In between his tears, he repeatedly said, 'I love her, but I cannot make her mine. My Cedar, She is such a precious soul, Ed. Even if I hurt her, she never stopped loving me. It nearly kills me to admit that, every single time I've hurt her, she loved me more and boundlessly cared for me. She listens to me and respects me, and now when I abandon her to marry someone, what will happen to her? What will happen to us? She will hate me. She will hate me more than anything else in this world. I don't want to carry this pain. I can't. I do not want her to hate me, Ed,". He cried out in desperation, "But I'm forced to think of the future now and, I have to look for someone who will understand me. I have to search for someone from my caste to love me.' He mumbled, even in his sleep, like a mad man.
Covering his eyes with his palms, Ed lamented, "But little did Derrick know about Devan's backstory. He only watched Devan with someone else, and his innocent, naive soul rushed to your help.
You both did not know love. You and Devan were always self-seeking, you did not want to let go of each other for self-relied thoughts and reasons, and you both were quick to decide to give up on each other. But the one who loved was shown no mercy. Ed mercilessly blamed Cedar, who was on the brink of breaking down.
Banging her head with her palms, Cedar let go of the agony she kept hidden while cursing herself. "Fool, such a fool I am, this is what happens if we act without any wisdom. Why didn't I kill myself rather than ruining an innocent life?
Ed glanced pitifully at Cedar, wailing before him as he opened his mouth to utter the words of wisdom that she failed to realise.
"This is what happens when there is no love in the relationship, and you assume your attachment, your attraction to each other is love just because you are comfortable to undress in the same room, that is not love, Cedar. He sounded harsh as he spoke, "No, Ed, say whatever you want, but do not say that I did not love Devan. I have taken so much for him. Cedar strongly denied his claims and sprang up from the floor with her wobbly legs. "Love is not easily angered. It keeps no records of wrongs. Ed stated, monotonously, as he kept looking down the floor while Cedar stood there, doubting her whole point of view of her relationship with Devan.
SIDENOTE - "Inter caste marriages are not widely accepted in the rural parts of India,"
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