The crowd was moving fast, almost blurring, focusing on something or someone was arduous. Doctors reckon her eyes are working fine, it’s her mind that is refusing to register the things around. I have to make a conscious effort so I gathered every last ounce of my will and faced the crowd, now I could see the signboards, faces, and people rushing to get on with their lives. “Life, what a strange affair.” I mused as I hobbled into the metro train. “Vivan, Hey here… Vivan..” I yelled, but the metro was already drifting away and like always Vivan didn’t acknowledge my voice as if he didn’t hear. Or was it really him? all I saw was the back, perhaps it was someone else. I sighed as I took my seat, mulled over and took out my notepad.
When I walked into the office, Renee did a quick sweep over me and her expressions yelled that I am officially a wreck. Ninety minutes of hell in the TMM (Tuesday morning meeting) justified her agitation as she gave me the directions for the next month’s issue of our fashion magazine.
After three hours of reading the six articles for exactly six times, I have no clue of any of the context. Concentration was a leisure I couldn’t afford, my mind was running a marathon of nothingness. I logged into Facebook to check Vivan’s profile and again no update from him, the last status was updated a month ago when he has asked me for a surprise date night and I closed the tab suddenly as my mind was trying to block something that was threatening to crash everything inside me. That is Vivan, doing something exciting or crazy all the time, like declaring an alleged surprise over Facebook or sending me bunch of Lilies when I am at work for no reason at all. I need coffee I decided and stepped out of the office to the coffee shop across the street.
I saw him again in a cab but why is he going the other way to our home? I called him on his number for the hundredth time and again it went straight to the voicemail. Why is he not replying and coming back home, it’s been a month. I started to walk in the direction Vivan’s cab went. “Great, a three-way road, where would he have gone?” I bellowed in anger, counted to twenty-three and took the way to the park, our park where Vivan I used to sneak during our college days. Even After two years of our marriage, we have managed several blissful trips to our park. There he was, at our place in the park, why is he wearing different clothes? I could only see his side profile. I tried to run after him but my sour leg was holding me back. Then he turned and gave me his signature crooked soulful smile and I felt like every nerve ending in my body was a live wire.
Back at home, I saw something move, something fast and shadowy. I whipped my head around but there was nothing, so I stepped into the washroom. I realized I could smell Vivan. The small space was filled with him. The panic was back and my eyes scudded around looking for–what? I was afraid to look in the mirror, in case I saw some stranger staring back at me. It was then I saw his wash bag had slipped off the shelf. Things had tumbled out and a bottle of something have broken. I crouched down; it wasn’t Vivan I could smell, it was just his aftershave.
In the darkness, I woke with a knock, my heart was beating fast. The light was switched on before I knew I had done it and I was on high-alert and wide awake. I was still on the couch. I must have dozed off here in my work clothes because I have kept postponing to go to the bedroom. I heard a noise, I knew I wasn’t alone in the room anymore, someone was here with me, it has to be Vivan. He has to come back at some point and it’s been over a month already then I saw him, still smiling which infuriated me.
“You really got some nerve, smiling after all this!” I snapped.
“You look beautiful, good to see you too” he simply stated, still smiling and it was infectious.
“About time, I am really happy to see you Vivan, I can’t believe you still have the clothes you wore when you proposed me!” I squealed, finally happy after such a long time. “But how did you manage to come here?” I implored.
“What do mean, I came through the door.” He asserted.
“But, Vivan, ” I added as I remembered, “You’re Dead.” I whispered.
Vivan wasn’t smiling anymore, he looked confused and sad. Then he gazed at my notepad on the table.
“Why do you do that?” He nodded towards it, trying to change the subject.
I played dumb “What?”
“Writing, what it is to you?” he seemed genuinely curious now.
My mind clogged, like Deja vu. Last time when he queried this I had said “Writing to me is like a magic wand that creates doors to another realm, a place where imagination and fantasy is reality, just 26 letters woven in countless different patterns giving life to infinity and best of all, anything is possible when I write, World gets better, World is better.”
Being an author, writing means more than breathing to me but that was when the world was better, where the sun used to shine and flowers used to bloom. Now everything is different and it only rains. I collected my thoughts, I know he was talking about the notes I have left for him to read.
“Writing to me is surviving through the day,” I paused, breathed and counted to twenty-three “It’s a bridge between you and me, a channel so that you can hear me.“ I choked. My vision blurred, this time not because my mind was blocking the reception but my eyes were moist.
He moved his head as if he understood or was he disagreeing? I couldn’t tell through all the tears.
“Your heart,” he was smiling again, my favorite one “Is the bridge between you and me. Always.”
I nodded and was about to wipe my tears when he said “Don’t, let them flow. Let it go Nish, let it go.” and he started to walk backward and the room got bigger and bigger.
“Don’t go, please, Come back, I need you.” I bawled but he vanished into the thin air.
I woke up with a sob. Still, on the couch, I was sweating profusely and my cheeks were wet. I found my way to the bedroom and let my tears flow for the first time since his surprise date night, since the accident, since he saved me taking all the impact on him. I cried as I never cried before and cried some more and slowly drifted to an agonizing slumber as my physical pain took over me.
NOTE: The images of notes used here are edited by the writer, they are the notes Nisha scribbled for Vivan and left them at different places.
**THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. NAMES, CHARACTERS, PLACES, AND INCIDENTS EITHER ARE PRODUCTS OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION OR ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY. ANY RESEMBLANCE TO ACTUAL EVENTS OR LOCALES OR PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL….
I am an avid reader and when I read, the pain and joy of the characters gets trapped inside me.
With many other reasons writing to me is a medium through which I extricate that pain and joy in the world with the help of mere 26 letters to be read by many other readers like me so that they trap this pain and joy inside them again and release it in their own way.