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Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote Oh! What are these days I have found myself in! The bagpacks I carry n...

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Image She Loved

She tossed and turned in her bed. Tears, there were, flowing from her tiny eyes, which he had lovingly called almond-like. She never understood how can someone’s eyes look like almonds, but leaving all logic behind, she loved anything he would call her. He wasn't anywhere near to call her anything anymore. Since the last three months, he was gone. “’Lost’ is the word”, she would explain. Indeed, he was lost; she lost him to the hands of time and fate, to the hands of love and hate. She had wailed, begged him to stop. He didn't stop that day, nor did he look back as he walked out with his suitcase and backpack. She had called his name out, so loud that even her neighbours came out of their houses. But he didn't for once turn around, not even to bid his final adieu. “Probably he didn't hear me, he has always been absent-minded in his own train of thoughts”, she had reasoned herself like a dutiful wife. Three months have passed since she last saw him. Getting into a cab with his luggage was the last image of him imprinted on her mind. What happened before that was something she chose to forget; the direful argument, vases flying off their hands to break into pieces, his broken cellular phone which he had recently bought with his first salary, the smashed TV, and the cracked mirror in their bedroom. They say when there is a mirror in a couple’s bedroom it gives an entryway for a third person in the couple’s life. She wondered if it turned out to be true. “I’ll never know”, she said to herself. Three months passed away quite quickly, now that she realized it. The first week was the longest; she would wail and weep sitting in the cold floor of her bathroom, where they had taken a million showers together. The second week was the week for remorse; she would sit in the veranda  look at a distant star and think for long hours in the evenings. From the third week her life resumed; she left her old and took up a new job, replaced the broken TV with a new one, started to read and began listening to songs, soothing ones. Life was actuated for her, although aimlessly, but it did finally. The next couple of months passed easily, or probably too swiftly. She would miss him occasionally; when she would come home from a long tiring day, she would miss his comforting touch; when she would have a controversy at work she would miss his reassuring words; she would miss him in the loveless nights when she would just lie on her large bed looking at the empty space where once he used to sleep stroking her head lightly with one hand; and she would miss him the most in those sleepless nights, just like this one, reminiscing his snores that would lull her to sleep every night. She got up from her bed, she couldn't sleep. “Not tonight”, she thought aloud. Something troubled her; not his memories, for they were her everyday visitor, her comrade, and she was more familiar to them than her own self.  Although she hadn't seen or heard from him for three months, she had formed a perfect image of him and his new home in her mind. And that image would do his daily chores yet finding time to talk to her when she would sit alone daydreaming. The image didn't come today; she missed it the whole day. “It’s all in my head”, she reassured herself knowing pretty well that it’s her imaginations and she could turn everything around in her mind. But she didn't feel reassured, that image seemed so real for her in those three months. It seems like loving his image was far easier than loving the person whose image it was. She was the owner of his image; of him, she knew nothing. The image loved her dearly, while he is a thing of the past whose love was ephemeral. She looked at the clock on her bedside table; it was thirty minutes past four in the morning. She decided to wake up and complete the work she brought from her office. Working has always been a source of satisfaction for her, when nothing else was. A cup of coffee with work was her idea of a perfect life. She worked restlessly that morning, trying hard to subdue the anxiety that rested within her. It was after three hours that she grew tired of working, her anxiety turned into a rapid throbbing of her heart that became so well known in the last couple of hours that she forgot she had a fear within.

The following evening they found her with her head on the table, one hand holding a cup with remnants of a bitter coffee, another holding a pen with a loosened grip. They carried her body through the door they broke to enter her palace of woes. They stepped on the newspaper lying near her doormat as they carried the cold corpse to the truck waiting. The pen fell from the hand of the corpse, and it fell directly where it should have: on the obituary column of the daily, where printed was the name of the mortal whose image she loved.