Of Love Lost

Of Love Lost

10 mins 11.3K 10 mins 11.3K

She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood-stained knife laid next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. That was the logical end to an illogical, somewhat incompatible relationship, she thought. With every sip, she felt better.

How nightmarish the last few hours had been for Stella! Right from the time of her arrival in the airport till her rush into that café, life had been a roller-coaster ride. A case of love’s labour lost too!

As the coffee in the mug was fast emptying, Stella was feeling that her reservoir of courage to surrender before the city police was getting filled to the brim. She did own her crime - the horrible murder of her fiancée! She made him die so that she could live. And he died, so she could live now!

Stella paid the cash to the waiter little caring for the change she must receive and walked straight into the highway. She crossed the road hurriedly and rushed into the police station. ‘Excuse me, I murdered my fiancée and I don’t have any regrets. Arrest me if you should.’ The police inspector stared at Stella with raised eyebrows and was shocked at her audacity.

*** *** *** ***

Raising other’s eyebrows had never been a new thing for Stella. When Sam and Stella used to hang out together – inside the college campus, on the main road, in the cinemas, or even in a city bus – often arm in arm, the onlookers just kept staring at the two love birds flying together. The well-built, tall and handsome hunk in Sam used to complement the charming and fashionable lady in Stella. Boisterous smiles on their faces. Infectious joy on their eyes. A bundle of happiness rolling around!

It was a winter evening at Coaker’s Walk where Stella met Sam for the first time. Stella was on her college picnic, and Sam was on his ‘Awesome Week’ celebration with a group of his office colleagues, a ritual that the group used to celebrate every year.

Coincidentally, the packing-off for both was on the same day. When Stella boarded her bus, she never realized that she had left her lovely old wrist watch – the only memento of her late mother – on a stone near the spring where they were playing water games. The bus almost had crossed 17 of the 19 hair-pin bends on the ghat road when she realized that she had left a part of her heart - that old wrist watch - somewhere near the picnic spot. She wasn’t sure what she could do to get that back, and if she could ever get that back, especially as that was crowded by tourists. How would she convince the entire troupe the real value of an old Titan wrist watch? To think of that was much more scarier than the trouble that the troupe had to take to get that back by returning on those 17 hair-pin bends on the ghat road. Wouldn’t they all laugh her request off? Such thoughts kept her occupied for a while and when she got up to try her luck, she could see the bus taking turn on the 19th hair-pin bend. She sat down, for she didn’t have enough courage to request for a return. Tear drops trickled down her cheeks, as her friend Jenny opened her eyes and thanked God for her safe journey through the hilly terrain, especially the hair-pin bends. Stella kept her sorrow to herself and made a way to stop those tears coming out. As the music volume went up along with the bus touching the state highways, Stella found it tough to be on her own. She had to act and she did that, however bad she might be at that.

All came with happy memory from the trip but Stella. She lost her happiest memory on the trip. How much she wished for a miracle to get her memento back! She whispered many a prayer! She wished she could turn the clock back for a day or two.

Sam was about to slip into the stream after the final bath when he had to jump on to that magic stone to balance himself. He knew not that he took that plunge into someone’s heart straightaway there. When Sam saw the lady’s wrist watch lying there with none around, he thought he might carry that into his safe custody so that if someone would claim he might hand that over later.

Sam’s friends mocked him saying, he could win only a lady’s watch, not a lady. Sam was amused. He sat on their words and drifted into the world of wishful thinking: if only he could gift the watch away to the lady who owned it; if only she would fall in love with him for this gesture; if only the watch would become a bridge between their souls; if only the destined watch would get him the destined lady of his life. Ifs and ifs alone!

Sam’s colleague, Manjit met Stella’s friend Meera on that picnic day. Unlike Sam, Manjit came back with a lady in his heart. Meera and Manjit liked each other and thought they could walk together, without bothering about how long though! They met each other almost every week, and last week, Manjit came to know from Meera about the missing watch of Stella. When Manjit told about that to Sam, Sam insisted on meeting Stella to hand the watch over to her. Manjit and Meera arranged for Sam’s meeting with Stella. Stella wasn’t very curious to meet Sam as she was yet to recover from the trauma of losing her prized possession. But Meera’s continued compulsion made her give in. A cup of coffee in the college cafeteria on a Saturday evening was what Sam can at best have – Stella made it clear.

When the day arrived, Sam was all ready for the love encounter, with so much expectation in return for the lovely watch someone has lost. There is always a satisfaction in helping others get what they either have lost or what they find difficult to reach out to. And a lovesick heart like Sam’s had quite big an expectation from a young lady to whom he was going to do a favour. Sam got inside the cafeteria quietly with Manjit, and on his very first sight of Stella got bowled over by her beauty. Wise that he was, he kept the feeling to himself and handed over the gift-wrapped watch to Stella. Pleasantly surprised by that gift from a stranger, Stella tore that open. Wah! Stella could hardly believe her eyes. What she saw was something so dear to her heart, yet so far: her late mother’s loving memento that she thought of having lost to eternity in the flow of time. She ran her fingers on the watch multiple times to feel it. When she was quite sure that she wasn’t in a dream, she sat down and had a sip of cold water. Then, she got out of the chair and flung her hands around Sam to give him a warm hug in gratitude. In a flit second, she felt about what she did, and blushed too. But it was a surprise for Sam, this time.

That was the grand beginning of a grander end though! What Stella was happier about was the fact that the watch had nothing lucrative for a man, especially a young man like Sam. Yet, he could treasure that so carefully just to ensure that the owner might be happy to receive that back. Someone else, some other reckless chap, Stella felt, might either have thrown that somewhere or gifted that to someone else, little bothering for who the owner was.

Sam was feeling happy that finally she had got a lady in her heart. Sam and Stella! When they met, partied or dined, their friends got to know. People looked at them in plain envy. Many a couple competed with the happening duo but with little success. Those were the Halcyon days of their courtship. They loved each other so much that people around got to know they lived only when they loved.

After a year or two of their courtship, when Stella one day proposed to go ahead, Sam was on cloud nine. Sam’s Dad, a worried man for Sam’s half-serious attitude to life, got happy and met Stella with her family. They fixed the marriage soon after Stella’s college study. By the time Stella would end her college study, Sam had to fly to US on a sudden office trip, and Stella wasn’t allowed.

Two love-struck hearts pined for each other on the two sides of the mighty oceans. It was more troubling for Stella as she was quite an emotional beloved who would die to see her love every day before her eyes. And she was too possessive for the relationship. Many a time, over the long telephone calls, they tried finding alternatives to solve the puzzle, but bloody money came in between. Sam was still struggling to settle down in his career, and Stella was yet to join her first job. Time passed by, yet they continued their thrill in love.

When Sam met Meera for the first time in US, it was a casual ‘hi-hello’ type of meet. Sam got to know from her that she had a breakup with Manjit few months before her US trip. She wanted Sam to give company to her when he was free as she was feeling little lonely. Knowing of her difficult stage, Sam agreed. They started meeting each other initially to share their feelings on a distant land. Sam’s project got extended for a year. By the time Stella could make up her mind and save enough money to make a move to US, Meera was kneck-deep in love with Sam. Poor Sam didn’t have an inkling of what was going on in her mind.

They – Sam, Stella and Meera – partied together, went to movies together; but Stella wasn’t happy. Nor was Sam. But since all of them had spent good times together when Manjit was with Meera, they had no better way to deal with Meera, or so they thought. Meera, as days passed by, got to the evil act, and thought why not win Sam away from Stella. When Stella and Sam were together, Meera couldn’t tolerate Stella being physical with Sam. Stella sensed something brewing; but gave the benefit of doubt to Sam as she was pretty confident about Sam’s love for her.

Sam and Stella flew back to India during the Christmas holidays. Stella had thought of a wonderful wedding plan during those days. But a week after their arrival, one day when Sam and Stella were coming back from a breakfast buffet, they saw Meera waiting at their home with an advocate.

Meera with the help of an advocate had managed to get a fake registered marriage certificate that talked of her marriage with Sam. Stella was shocked. Her initial doubts that she had in US made it to believe the drama Meera orchestrated.

Sam wasn’t a wee bit bothered about Stella’s impression on him; so before explaining anything to Stella, he bought a week’s time to fight the case from his end, and was deeply regretting the moments he had spent with Meera abroad. Had he not been friendly with Meera, it wouldn’t have been so easy for her to forge his signature and get access to his personal documents. Stella on the other hand was so much shocked at the incident that she started distancing herself from Sam. That all, at a time when Sam badly needed her support.

Later that night, when doubts got stronger on Stella’s mind, she started digging into everything that Sam had got with him. As luck would have it, she could find a worn-out hotel bill in the name of ‘Valentine Couple 11 - Meera and Sam’ in his wallet, dated February 14 last year. That was enough to be confirmed of their illicit relationship at her back, she thought. And she went straight into the kitchen and got the knife in hand, rushed inside the room where Sam was fast asleep. The hyper-possessive beloved in Stella got so violent that she slit Sam’s throat by moving the knife multiple times.

Robert Sam, who is Meera’s office colleague, and Meera had a lovely Valentine party last time in New York, but when both of them realized that they have lost their wallets to pickpocket, Meera called Sam to help. Sam came straight from his office and paid the bill, and in a hurry, kept the memo in his wallet. Only if he knew the memo had his murder writ large on it!


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