It was a cold cloudy afternoon, on a Sunday. Life was taking its course, Amonita was gazing out of the window at the street below, filled with a very few cars, and fewer pedestrians. She could see heads covered under caps and hoodies. The temperature had dropped to about -4 degrees and dipping.
She wondered what next, the Christmas season was upon them, so the store was always filled with shoppers. Her life had turned a full circle? No, there were a lot things she had on her bucket list, she wasn't going to give in without a fight! Yeah right! She thought to her self and smiled wryly.
She sighed, once more as she thought of new ideas to engage her team before they closed for Christmas and New Year.
It had been six months since she returned from India, that summer, happy in the knowledge that all was well with her loved ones at home. She was delighted to find she was promoted to the Bespoke department and was to lead it. There was no looking back.
Amonita had a team of 10 working with her. Everyone in her team respected her and would go out of their way to make sure they delivered.
Every Saturday, before shutting shop, they took stock, of not only the orders but also invited everyone to speak their minds once the formalities were done. They would chat and exchange ideas about work and more.The Bespoke department was the best performing department just the team enjoyed working with each other.
She suddenly has a wonderful idea, it is still a week or two more till Christmas, why not urge her affluent clientele to donate old clothes, jackets, woolens, which they have not used in a couple of years? Hmm, Great Idea!
She'd share the idea tomorrow morning to her team, they could work a couple of hours extra to refurbish the clothes, and then go to the old age home to donate the clothes. This would be a great idea to involve her team in the season of giving. They could use their skills for a good cause.
Happy, that she had hit upon a solution to celebrate with her team she turned her attention, to her own self. Avi had not yet called her, he had gone down to the store to pick the weekly groceries. She was a bit tired, but there was so much left to do before the day was done. Tomorrow was the start of another busy week at work.
Amonita looked down at her phone, she was stumped to see so many missed calls from Avi. Oh, Lord!!! She thought, he must be super mad at me for not answering his calls. She quickly hit the call button, and she heard his phone ringing in the other room. Avi had returned, and she had not even heard the key turn...
Avi looked very irritated, and she realized, he had come back empty-handed. She went and sat next to him on the couch. He was so chaffed he even brushed off her arm. Amonita just got up from the couch, grabbed her coat and keys and went down to the store herself.
Just as she was checking out, she realized she had left her credit card near the laptop, as she was browsing options to order a present for Avi. She kicked herself mentally, for leaving her browser open. She scolded herself for being so absent-minded. She did have some difficulty remembering things these days.
She was about to leave her basket at the counter to tell the lady at the checkout, that she would have to go up to get the card, & found herself with Avi!
Amonita was surprised, and he just picked up the bags and said playfully, after you Ma’am. Amonita turned that shade of deep red, which he loved. Avi almost always threw her off guard! She was supposed to be mad at him, but she couldn't help smiling.
As they entered the apartment together, Avi looked at her with a lot of concern. Amie, as he liked calling her, was always so absent-minded and mysterious these days every so often, but she looked beautiful as ever, although a little drawn and bit haggard.
Avi did not know, he was losing Amonita to a monster called lymphoma. Last week, she had to be rushed to the hospital, because of a seizure she had suffered. Aman and Bijou had rushed her to the hospital.
Once she had come to, she sent them back to the store, because it was such a busy time of the year, assuring them she would let them know, if she needed anything. The doctors conducted a few tests and it took them a few hours, by which time it was time to go home.she didn't call anyone, she needed time to process this on her own.
The doctors found three nodes in her brain and informed her about the advanced stage of her disease, and that she had only till New Year's at the most. She was numb, she just sat there in front of her doctor, for a few minutes.
The doctor prescribed a few SOS meds and let her go home, telling her to check back, next week, they had to monitor her condition. He told her to tie up all loose ends quickly, as her health might not support her. Yeah right! Wind it all up!...she had tears streaming down her face, which kept freezing by the time they rolled down her dark cheeks.
She walked into her favorite cafe, just around the corner, found a nice nice hot mug of tea, and steeled herself. Amonita quickly set about her task, and the first thing the next day informed her employer, that she was suffering from an incurable disease and they would have to find a replacement in a week or two.
The store manager, Jeffery Anderson was most helpful and even offered to take over some of her responsibilities, without cutting her pay. Amonita declined, saying she wanted to do her job efficiently, and for as long as she could. Jeff said, ok but wasn't very happy.
Amonita bequeathed all her savings to her sister and began winding down her accounts. She wondered, if, she would be able to convey it to Mom, Dad, and Avi. She made Avi the joint holder of all her records, nominated Avi as the executor of her will. He knew what she'd want.
Over the next couple of days, he had asked her about all the notifications he was getting, she just shrugged her shoulders and smiled. later that week, he was was quite irritated, and pressed her for an answer, she responded to him with a passionate kiss and made love to him like she never had before. Avi understood that she wanted him by her side always and accepted. He didn't ask any more questions.
Since it was Christmas and New Year's she bought and shipped off everyone's presents back home. Avi's gift was pending...she just couldn't decide!
While Amonita went about the kitchen setting up the purchases in each of the cabinets, fridge...she was standing with the wine bottles in her arms when it hit her again. The bottles slipped from her arms and the noise brought Avi running to the kitchen. The scene that met his eyes left him frozen.
Avi quickly rushed to Amonita, and took her in his arms, he called out her name and desperately wanted her to hear him, but her eyes were dilated, her teeth chattering, and her whole body was shaking as if it was being electrified. The feet were a pulp because the wine bottles had fallen on her feet. When it was over, Amonita was all wasted and was very thirsty. She begged him for water, but he wasn't sure, of anything.
Frantically, he whipped out his phone from his pocket and called 911. They soon arrived, quickly rushed her to the hospital. She was taken in through emergency, because of the wounds on her feet.
Avi was shattered...he dialed her parents’ home and between sobs explained the events to them. They immediately offered to come down to Denver. Avi was grateful and immediately booked them on the first flight out of Mumbai.
Avi met the doctor, who shared Amonita's condition. Dr. Fisher mentioned during the last few minutes, that the countdown had begun.
Amonita would have to be here for a while...and maybe she wouldn't ever leave the hospital alive!! Avi waited in the reception, for her parents to arrive.
His head was spinning, he was to propose to Amonita on Christmas Eve, which was in five days, and had planned to have a lovely homecoming for her on New Year's Eve...
All those plans had to be tanked...Will he ever get to pop that question to her?
Khans burst into reception two days later, disrupting the peaceful atmosphere of the hospital. Amonita kept slipping in and out of consciousness. In the meanwhile, Avi had made up his mind to marry her, here and now.
The Khans met her, and Amonita was surprised to see her parents, and the next time she saw them she refused to even acknowledge them. It left Mrs. Khan shattered to see her child in this state. Avi consoled her, briefly explained to the Khans that he would be organising a quick wedding, before Amonita's condition deteriorated any further.
Three days later, on Christmas Eve, Amonita was dressed as a bride, her parents stood weeping tears of joy, their beautiful baby had finally found love, but alas, only too late. The minister conducted the ceremony, and everyone who loved Amonita was present for the occasion .Her collegues, her friends, even the handyman, Mr. Jones showed up. Amonita was a beautiful human being, tears welled up in everyone's eyes as the ceremony ended.
Amonita recognized Avi and thanked him, and drifted off in one of her long slumbers. Later that evening, she lost touch with reality. She was even angry to be in a bridal outfit. What were the doctors thinking!
They had to calm her down with an injection, which put her into a state of delirium. Her mother could not bear the sight of it any longer, and broke down sobbing.
Mr. Khan bore it a little more stoically, and stood strong next to Avi. Proud to have a son in law, who loved his daughter so much.Amonita woke up for the last time, and met everyone from her family. She even spoke to her little sister on a video call.
Amonita told Avi, how much she loved him...later that evening, still in her bridal finery, she told Avi " love is timeless they say, and a parting gift is a must if you want it lasting an eternity! Thank you!" He was speechless, but smiled through his tears.
Happy in the knowledge, that she was loved as much as she loved him, Amonita passed away, leaving behind the timeless gift of love...The best parting gift ever...