“ I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. That current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how I think it is with us. It’s a shame dear, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”
I wished I would have said these lines aloud to her that day when she met me at Peacock Bay. With her hair tied back in a fuschia colored ribbon she walked towards me in that pretty baby pink dress I had gifted to her a year back. The best jewellery she wore was her smile. Oh! so vibrant and charming, that given, every time she smiled, my eyes would gleam to see her happy heart all in love with me. She had come to see me off for I had to depart for my orders at the field. We had a nice supper as she talked about the banana cinnamon muffins she had baked in the morning and how the aroma of those simply made her remind about me.
As we walked along the bay, with the sea airs making us feel cold, I drew her closer to me. She opened her bag and wrapped a purple shawl around her fragile shoulders. To think of, she wasn’t as fragile as I had thought her to be. I had seen her braving many irreparable losses that she had to see in life and had been with her all through them; yet after a few days she would be seen smiling as if she had forgotten the past and was here in the present moment with me, with ‘us’ spending the time we so lovingly deserved together. Even as I marvelled at this potential of hers, I often caught a tear or two in her eyes when she would get lost with herself looking afar at the horizon.
I told her then “Maira, you can let go of things that hold you, nothing does. Don’t let your heart get older with the pain you carry inside. Let go love, let go”. She looked at me with those tired eyes and tucked her face into my chest. She remained there like this for a few seconds, then finally her tears flooded her as if they had waited for the rains to raze the entire beauty that the village by the river was. I tightly hugged her. Even as, on that day, I had sensed the pain which she had deep inside, I only wished that she was gifted the peace that she truly deserved.
We sat there, with our bench facing the bay, for more than an hour. There was this silence which was heavy at my end. I recalled the conversation I had had with my Senior Officer in the morning that day. “I do expect you to know Dev that the situation there is very tense. You have been explained the points of attack and shelters too. Even as you go out there as peace makers, it’s important for you to be vigilant for every second you spend there. We here, at the academy are extremely proud of you. Yet when the duty calls, you ought to pay your respect, for this is what we are here for”. I departed with a loud “Yes! Sir” and a nod which meant I had heard every word correctly and I knew there was no assurance if I would be back for her and for my family that waited back home, looking forward for my next visit”.
Giving up on something was not my style, whether it was an honour or my love of life. Yet life being life, one never knew what might happen the next moment. And when I saw her there restful in my arms, I couldn’t make myself tell her what my posting in the north east state was for. She had questioned me twice before on different occasions for she had read about the unrest there. I had ignored her question and smartly taken it to a different path. It had been more than a year with her. I recalled that day when I asked her for a date over a walk with ice cream. Her eyes got big as I asked her. She savoured her butterscotch cornetto for a while enjoying it as if that’s all that was there. I waited for a few minutes and then asked. “ Ma’am, I wonder you heard me a few seconds back?” “Oh! sorry. What did you say?” Even today I remember the courage I gathered to ask her that question again beats all the dares I was ever given in the truth-dare game. “ Dear Maira, will you go on a date with me this weekend?” This time I made very clear. She looked up at me with ice cream still on her lips and blinked as if she was in a daze. Then she gave me her big smile and offered her unfinished ice cream to me. I took a bite and off we went hand in hand always together, in joy and sorrow.
How could I tell her for she had just lightened her heart. A part of me urged to let her know what I was up for in my coming transfer. The other, wasn’t ready to see her in any kind of pain. As I drove her back to her home that evening I gave her a long hug, not knowing if I would ever see her again. As we parted for a brief moment, she asked “ Dev, everything ok?” That moment I kissed her forehead and told her that I had always loved her and forever would and no matter whatever happened she being my powerpuff girl would always find a reason to smile and pursue her dreams.
“ Sure, I will, together we will sweetheart. Don’t be afraid, okay? We are forever together, never to part. I love you too my brave boy.” With this she kissed my lips and bid a bye.
Cover my eyes
Cover my ears
Tell me these words are a lie
It cant be true
That I'm losing you
The sun cannot fall from the sky
Stop every clock
Stars are in shock
The river will flow to the sea
I wont let you fly
I wont say goodbye
I wont let you slip away from me………..
P.S.: The title of this short story has been taken from Kazuo Ishiguro’s book "Never Let Me Go" by the same name, which I recently finished. The opening lines are from the same book.
P.P.S: I marvel at the feeling that words leave us, for you live out in your own mind every felt emotion, every gust of wind, only to blow you away from ‘reality’ even as your feet are stuck to it!