the deal - Book 1

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Twenty Nine

“You don’t have to worry about anything. We’re here for you. Always. ”

I was sick, in bed, when mom said that. Made me feel so good. Brought a smile to my face that only mom’s sweetness could. I now find so much more meaning in the same words.

Everyone said that, all the time. We’re here for you, you don’t have to worry about a thing. What could they have meant? Which memory holds the key? And how am I to find it? One thing is clear though. The one piece that fell into place. I am different.

It was an indescribably feeling. We were drunk. Too young, almost too weak to hold down the three beers we drank too fast. We were delighted though, crossing the line of victory much before the night could reach it’s end. We won the race. And we were in the best possible state for celebration.

Songs on our lips, tears streaming down our eyes, from joy and a feeling we hadn’t experienced before. A feeling we couldn't give a name to. Limbs free of constraints, weaving freely to the rhythm of the song. The night joining in the celebration with a gentle breeze. The trees giving their contribution with the bristling of the leaves. The ground throwing up light dirt, adding to the ambience. It was a party as wonderful as it could be, with all the craziness.

The already blue world is even more so under the influence of beer. Allowing me the lightness I didn’t know I had. Allowing me to see the blue with even more clarity. Showing me what I was missing all this while. I am in the centre of all the blue.

“Here we are free,” Aniya said. “We can be ourselves. Anything and everything holds. We can be happy. At peace. We do as we do, we are as we are.”

I can see what she meant. I am as I am. I am free. I feel like me. And I feel the blue. All around me. Shrouding me. My blue. And the rest of the blue. I feel it all. Flowing through me. Flowing out of me. Like it is as much a part of me as of the blue of the world.

And I realise what it is.

When we were in the nest, in the dark side. When it was just the two of us, and we were free. When she kissed me, and I felt disconnected from the world. It was just she and I, all else gone. When we were listening to the stories of aunt, spending all our time talking about the stories. What the old man’s new world must be like. When we were in the car, driving home after dinner. Every time the blue was centred around me.

I had seen this before. Around aunt, when she told the stories. When we were engaged in the discussions over her stories. When I was hurt, and everyone was rushing to patch me up. The blue was around her, enshrouded, as if she was controlling it. It was the same as the blue around me.

It was my blue.

Long after closing, long after all other customers were gone, we were still at the table. The entire staff of the restaurant singing me the birthday song again, before sending us off. We were all laughs, even tired as we were. The grown ups could hold their liquor much better than Aniya could hold her ale. Falling over, needing me to hold her up. But maybe that was just sleep. Aniya and I were in the back of the car, mom and aunt in the middle, dad and uncle in the front. Even dad couldn’t tease, smiling with the rest at us. Aniya was asleep, a satisfied smile on her face, as she rested her head on my shoulder, her arm around mine. And I had my head on hers, though my eyes were open. Meeting the four pairs of eyes staring.

It was beauty at its best. Our warmth filling the car, fighting away the cold of the night. And the darkness too. It felt like we were floating in heaven. In absolute bliss. The greatest feeling there could be. We were the happiest we could be.

Then came the crash. The realisation that it wasn’t heaven we were in, but the car before it drove us to the end. The feeling of bliss was the weightlessness before rushing into the storm. The car had been lifted, twisted on its head, and thrown back onto the road. Screeching along the road. Leaving behind a scorching trail, the road burnt. Glass shattered, leaving us in a world of red. Then came the sparks, in multitudes of shades. Like the sky of a Diwali night. The explosions of crackers lighting up the night, filling the dark canvas of the night with intricate designs.

When the car finally came to a stop, I came to. In a world of pain. My head spinning. My body screaming. All else in the car, gone. Everyone I loved, everyone I called family, gone too far.

The blue droplet the car was trapped in for the long while before the crash, lifting the car off the road. Exploding just as the car was thrown back. The splash of colour and fire was just as bright as the explosion of blue.

In the light of the blue, I saw him. Looking from a distance. Far enough to be as disconnected from the scene as he was connected to the accident. Watching carefully so as to not miss a thing. At the same time, far enough to not seem present.

As the darkness came over me, I found new strength in me to fight it. To endure the pain for longer. The night hadn’t been brighter. He hadn’t been clearer. I hadn’t seen more of the night than now. I could see the stains of red on Aniya’s face, my breath catching at the sight. Wishing with all of me for strength to reach, pull her close, tell her she was going to be fine. Tell her I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her. Wishing futilely, because such strength I didn’t have. I could see dad held in his seat by the seatbelt, his black hair stained deep red by the blood dripping off of it. Wishing I could wash away the blood. Clean him up like he always was, absolutely clean. The perfect gentleman. It was painful watching him in the mess that was so uncharacteristic of him. I could see with absolute clarity the blue snatching them all away from me. The helplessness tearing me apart.

And I saw him. The blue growing, lighting up more of the night. Showing more of the dark road. Making him visible, increasingly more than the shadow he was. The darkness was drawing over me with unparalleled wrath, and I fought it back with everything Aniya had taught me. All the strength I could gather. Holding on until the blue showed me all of him, showed me his face. Just as I reached my limit, when I could no longer fight the darkness, the blue lit up his face.

And the last piece of the puzzle falls into place.

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