It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Except for a drenched street dog that was lying down miserably near the gate, there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Rain water had puddled under the lamp post. A breeze ruffled the mango tree in the courtyard and few things fell down and broke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Did I hear a soft knock at the door? Eagerly, I rushed to open the door, to meet the person waiting beyond it. It had been so long since I had last seen her. I felt a pang in my heart as I pictured her face. She would leave me again to return to her life. To see her was a torture in itself, if she was going to leave so soon.
"No," I said to myself. I arranged this meeting for the sole purpose of getting her back in my life. She was everything to me and I could not just let her go. Maybe she had moved on, still she must return to me and putting up a feeble smile I opened the door. As I looked into her clear brown eyes and at her smile reaching into those beautiful eyes, I was transported 25 years into the past. The day when I had first seen her as she entered my life, sprinkling happiness into my sad existence making my life worth living. I felt the confidence in me growing to invite her back where she belonged.
"Welcome," I said. My smile quickly became a full grown stupid grin at having seen her after four long torturous years.
"I missed you so much." She grinned back. I felt good as she covered me with one of her bear hugs. "Oh! You have gotten me all wet you dripping creature." I grumbled at her.
"You have not changed a bit. C'mon a little water never killed anyone." She laughed as she hung her dripping raincoat in the balcony.
I felt happy feeling her familiar presence in the house. Like she carried sunshine with her everywhere she went, lighting up the path she walked on. Shaking my head and chuckling, I followed her into the dining room.
"I should have known, you were bound to go mad staying alone here," she remarked. I chose to just raise my eyebrows in response. "Look at you, laughing alone like some person gone mad!"
If only she knew that only her presence makes me happy now. Like the earth revolving around the sun, my life had always been revolving around hers. She sensed it somehow as she looked around the house, noticing for the first time the frames and the trinkets which she held dear decorating the furniture everywhere. Cleaner then the blue sky and reflecting our silhouettes, somehow they seemed to mock our present state.
"You never moved on, did you?" she finally asked the inevitable question hanging in the air since she had entered the house.
"No." I surrendered with a sign. Anxious to feel safe again, to know that all the trouble and struggle I had gone through to contact her and get her here for this one meeting was not down the drain, my expression begged her for the answer to my unsaid question.
She looked down and with her gaze my heart sank further in the depths of its gloominess. She did that when she disagreed with me, "You know me well, the reason I fought with you four years ago has not changed a bit and I have moved on. There was never a moment when I have regretted my decision to leave this house."
It felt like the final nail in my coffin had been struck when I heard her say those words but I couldn't lose it all, I would not be able to bear it if she left me now so I begged again, "I am ready to change everything and anything to have you back, my life is nothing without you. It was easy for you to move on but for me 25 years ago when you entered my life you changed it forever, you made me want to live again when I had lost everything and my life has always been about you. What do I live for if you leave? I have nothing left. Please don't take my world away from me."
I saw her eyes fill with tears as hope again rose in my heart. I persisted hoping that it would change her decision. The fear remained though what if my grave has already been dug up for me? Yes, that's how I would feel if she leaves me again and so clinging on to that sole ray of sunshine I begged again.
"After Anita left you were the only one who knew me, who understood me, who became my world you can't leave me like she did. Why does everyone do this to me. What have I ever done wrong?"
"Wrong?" she mocked me with her tone, "Now you ask after 25 long years. Let me enlighten you, it's your overwhelming nature. It's like the person living with you has zero identity and all that matters is you, that's how self-absorbed you are."
"I know don't worry these four years living alone have opened my eyes. Now I won't commit the same mistake again. Don't leave me alone, I doubt I would survive for long," I practically whispered as I closed my eyes and pathetically gave in to the grief which had engulfed me by the time she had finished.
"Wow! It seems you might have changed a bit after all." After a moment she began again, "but then what should I come back for, the fallen mango tree outside, this house, or just you? These are all my past memories, how can I let go of my future for the past."
"Please just don't leave me. We will work something out together, like we always do just don't go," I said desperately as I held her hand. As if expecting that it would change her decision.
She looked at all the pictures decorating the walls around her. Our 25 years of journey together, documenting the time we had spent together, enjoying, creating some beautiful memories on the way.
Once again I tried, not wanting to stop till she had finally left the house, "How can you forget all that I had given you? All the things that I have taught you at least for that please return to me." I was already on the verge of another breakdown.
"Then let go of the past and move on like I have. Even you know deep down in your heart that its time to let go." I began shaking my head even before she had finished.
"I can't let go of this place which has been a part of me for so long and what about her? she dwells here, I can't let her go just like that."
She smiled bemused, "Well you have to do it someday. I can still remember how you left me alone just because you were so full of yourself and your thoughts about her. You should learn from your past mistakes and grow up now. Because I have, a long time ago"
"Anyway, I can't stay here but I have an option for you." Now her eyes questioned me.
"Why can't you stay? What more do I have to sacrifice to make you stay why can't you come one step forward like I have and stop being so STUBBORN!" now I felt myself shaking with anger but controlling myself I took a deep breath hoping she would understand and not react to my outburst. But she just smiled again, almost as if pitying my helpless state. Then she lifted our hands entwined together and put them on her stomach, confused I looked into her eyes as mine continued to question her.
"So for the last time I am asking, do you wish to welcome your grandchild into this world with me Dad? Because I really don't want you to miss this."
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