Misconceptions9 mins 252 9 mins 252
She said she would come. Yes, she said so herself. Reassuring him that all his fears were false, a fickle of his imagination, something irrelevant conjured up by his mind.
His Mind. That mind of his could do wonders. He could conjure up vividly anything under the sun. Sometimes good and sweet, sometimes nasty and heartbreaking. But vivid all the same. As if he was simply relating what was happening in front of his eyes. He was a genius in that. No, actually his mind was a genius of its own. Sitting on his bed with his phone to his ear, he used to show her all sorts of dreams about their future, their lives together. He could narrate each day’s incidents as if they were actually happening to them right then. For hours at end he would tell her what they would do in their Sundays, their weekdays, their marriage et al. And she would listen. She was always left speechless at his narrations. He always could make her see the happy days ahead through his words. And he had a magical voice too. Or so she always said. She used to be enthralled at his depiction, captivated by his imagination. And the time that they talked (which was almost every time) she would live those moments that he prepared for her.
Now that same mind of his troubled him to no end. He could conjure vividly that she was leaving him. Images of her leaving used to spring up from nowhere and disturb him.
But she had reassured him that all those were not at all true. She was not leaving. She still loved him. And he scolded his mind for leading him astray.
And he was happy. Very happy indeed. He had not taken a shower from three days. A nasty beard had accumulated due to his own ignorance and his worries. He seemed to be in a trance, seemed to be among the dead. All these days, he was living mechanically not knowing what he was doing. Anyone who saw him would have undeniably taken him for a zombie.
What had he made himself to? Thinking about her only and completely ignoring himself. Those last words she said before she hung up that fateful night. “I’m not sure about you. You have habits that will not allow us to be happy.” Those words had rung in his ears all these days. He wanted to shout and scream at her that no habit could ever be bigger than her. He would forego of his own self for her. That she was his life.
But words seemed to fail him. All he could do was stare blankly at the space before him. Little drops of tear trickled down his cheeks long after she had hung up and he was still holding the cell phone to his ear. At long last, his grip loosened. He seemed to lose the strength in his fingers and the phone dropped off. The sound of the phone crashing on the floor brought him back to his senses. Realising that he was weeping, he wiped off the tears. But how could he wipe off her memories from his heart? How could he let go of her imprint in his life? He was helpless and utterly alone.
It has been a week since. God knows how many times he had tried her number, only to find a taped voice saying the number is switched off. He had gone completely out of his mind. Insecurity had crept in him like a pungent odor. His mind did not help too. It created horrendous imaginations, images of her going away. He could not live. Could not die either. Coz quite frankly, he didn’t have the guts to kill himself, though he earnestly prayed his death to come.
His prayers were not answered. All he could do now was somehow make himself not think of her. It was hard. He went back to his drinking habit, only now it was way too much. Each waking moment was spent drowned in the sea of intoxication. Cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana made up his life. He stank continuously of stale smoke and alcohol. He feared to come out of that state least he had to encounter her memories again. Not to say he was relieved of her memories when intoxicated. No, she disturbed him even then. All alone in his flat, he would always cry her name and drink more. A constant feeling of hopelessness, of despair, of nothingness engulfed him. An emptiness reigned supreme in his heart.
He used to fall asleep drinking and puking and get up in the wee hours of the morning. In his sane state, he would always look around as if trying to recollect where he was. Then suddenly it would strike him. Her words would come back. Her memories haunted him. And all he could do was grope for the bottle. His hands had started shaking, dark circled adorned his eyes and his bones had started coming out showing the malnutrition that he was subjecting himself to. But of course he never felt like eating anything. Whenever he tried eating, he would end up puking. That was the state he had reached.
How much he missed her. Her sweet voice, her good mornings. How he loved waking up to her good mornings. She always knew he would be late if she didn’t wake him up. And so it had become an unsaid deal between them that she would always wake him up in the morning. Even if he woke up before her call, he didn’t ever get up from the bed till her good morning. Now all he woke up to were nightmares – of her leaving. Sweating profusely, screaming and crying, he wakes up to find the nightmares have now become his life. Every morning he tries to cry, but tears had forsaken him too.
But all that has changed now. Today she called. She said her phone was not working and so she had been out of contact. She admonished him for thinking that she was leaving and said she had never thought he would bring himself to such bad shape. Even her scolding sounded sweet to his ears.
When her call had come, he didn’t know what to do. He was asleep. Taking out his ringing phone from under the quilt, he was just about to cut the call thinking it was his mom when he saw her name flash on the screen. He stared at the screen dumbfounded for many seconds before pressing the answer key and putting the phone to his ear with shaking hands. He did not know what to expect and had closed his eyes.
He thought it was some dream and did not want to let it end. Her voice breezing in from the other side made him realize that it was real. She was actually calling. It was time for her good morning. In her sweet voice, she wished him good morning. He could not respond. He was completely mute. For one whole minute, she kept repeating his name but no word came out of his mouth. Then suddenly he started crying. He cried like he had never cried before. Those were tears of joy and relief. She was afraid. She kept asking him what the matter was. But all he could do was cry and cry. At long last, he stopped, but only after she had started weeping too.
Questions poured out of his mouth. Where had she gone? Why didn’t she call? Why was her phone switched off? Oh, how many questions. He did not let her answer them though. The pain of separation that he had been feeling all these days overwhelmed him and came out in frantic words. He told her how much he missed her, how much he loved her, what had happened to him all these days and everything. She was petrified. She couldn’t believe her ears. She started scolding him. She said she never told him that she was leaving. Only circumstances prevented her from calling and she had missed him terribly too.
She assured him that all his worries were for naught and ordered him to get up, clean up, get dressed and come to meet her. She couldn’t wait to meet him. She was feeling very guilty about his state and said so to him. She wanted to see him and hold him and feel him. She said she would come in an hour and urged him to be there.
Did he needed to be asked? He jumped out of bed in joy but fell down immediately for his head was spinning. She hadn’t cut the call yet and hearing the commotion asked him what it was. When he told her he had fallen down, she could take it no more. She asked him what he had eaten. Apologetically, he told her. The scream she gave had to be heard to be believed. Asking him to be in bed and not get up, she cut the call.
He didn’t know what was going on. He couldn’t get up. Not because she had asked him not to, but for the simple reason that neither his legs nor his head supported him. He lay there staring at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity to him. In actuality, it was just more than an hour.
He heard his phone ring. Hands shaking, he picked it up and found out that she was at the door. She had crossed all of her own boundaries of society, family et al and had come to his door. Somehow he got up to the door and opened it. He could not stand for long and was about to fall when she caught him.
Her state was just unimaginable. Hair all open and disorderly, wearing whatever she got her hands on and carrying a tiffin in her hands, she looked like she had not come to meet her boyfriend but some sick relative in a hospital. Sick indeed he was. She helped him to the bed and made him lie down. Looking at his state for a long time, she started weeping and cursing herself.
But of course, she never guessed something like what was in front of her eyes. Holding him tightly, she said a hundred ‘sorry’ and swore to him that nothing like that would ever happen even in their wildest dreams. She kissed him all over his face and reassuringly told him that if he was not right for her, then no one was. She was his and his forever, till death do them part.
Feeding him from the tiffin she brought, she vowed never to let him out of her sight ever and promised to always take care of him. Hugging, they went off to sleep in each other’s arms. Nothing could ever separate them.