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Perishing Yet Prevailing

Perishing Yet Prevailing

11 mins 452 11 mins 452

I stared hard at the stack of bricks and concrete that stood exorbitantly in front of me. They said, this was where life and death stood across one another every day, every minute. They said, this was where all your hopes and dreams were either fulfilled or brutally destroyed. But they never said, that this was where you would get countless moments of short lived bliss, or a lifetime of grief.


The automated transparent door opened, as I walked through the whitewashed corridors. I shouldn't have known every nook of those long corridors by heart but I did, like the back of my palm. A familiar face met my gaze with a warm smile blooming on her wrinkled face, as I whizzed past her towards the stairs. I drummed the tips of my fingers along the frigid banister while my mind dwelled on the memories that we once made outside of this building.


It wasn't the first time I trod these stairs, nor was it going to be the last time, yet the same fervency gripped my insides. With each step of mine, the same claws of anticipation curled around my throat. With every second that passed by, I could hear the thumping of my heart against my ribs. With every breath that I held back, those flutters were enlivening in the pits of my stomach. And, as I got nearer to that familiar room, my eyes stung and burned just like the day when I had first set my foot in there. And just like that, everything felt unfamiliar and impeccably surreal.


I twisted the doorknob, lingering my hold on it as I let the coldness of its metal pierce through my palm. Letting out those held back puffs of air, I opened the door - only to stumble back as the appalling stench of antiseptic hit me hard, splashing a fleeting snippet of the reality that laid still ahead of me.


"Good morning!" - I chirped, walking to the nearby couch and plopping my bag onto it with a soft thud. I could feel the familiar sense of anticipation seeping back into me; twisting the knots tightly in the pit of my stomach, making my heart to beat at an erratic pace, as I awaited for you to greet me back; as I awaited for your arms to go behind me and hold me firmly; as I expected you to plant a soft kiss at the top of my head like you did every morning that we had woke up to with our souls entangled and resounding giggles.


I turned around, expecting you to be waiting with your arms open to embrace me, but there you laid on the white bleached bed; instead of taking me into those arms of yours, there you were laying on that bed with your arms hooked to those large machines that kept beeping away in the background. Instead of wishing me a good morning, there you were sleeping with the oxygen mask at the top of your mouth that helped you to breathe and push air into those collapsed lungs of yours. Instead of engulfing me into the web of your warmth, there you laid static like a statue, absolutely stoic and impassive.


I shook my head, attempting to erase that pang of disappointment that now clouded all of my anticipation. I broke my gaze from your direction, trying to soothe the pang of ache that had now taken over my heart. Perhaps, it was a curse to expect anything now, but that wouldn't stop me from expecting something that my heart yearned for. Perhaps, it was sinful to keep relighting that extinguishing blaze of hope in the depths of my mind, but that wouldn't stop me from hoping something that my soul needed to be alive.


They said, you wouldn't be getting up from that horrible bleached bed. They said, you wouldn't be saying anything out of your mouth anymore. They said, you wouldn't be opening your lids any moment from now. They said, you were letting go of the will to fight and survive with every passing second. But, whatever they said couldn't stop me from loving you; whatever they threw at my face couldn't refrain me from loving what my heart beat for; whatever they uttered with a label of truth along with it, couldn't make me stop from fighting this unwanted battle with you.


I slouched down on the couch, bringing my bag into my lap. My fingers grazed along the shriveled and crinkled letter as I took it out of the bag. I traced the faint outline of my name that you had drawn at the top left corner of it with dark black ink. It's been a year and eight months to be exact, since the day you left this piece of paper at the doorstep; just the night before my birthday - the birthday that we were supposed to spend together, but never got to do so.


A bitter laugh escaped my mouth, as I saw the words that the letter retained perfectly even after so many days. I could find my lips forming a curve as my eyes took in the words that rested on the paper for the hundredth time. It promised an imperishable forever, not this perpetual waiting and longing. It held the vows of love and an abiding companionship, not this relentless yearning to get my share of love back.


The similar feeling of trepidation sank into the empty depths of my soul again, as I waited to hear your footsteps to approach me sneakily; as I waited for you to walk towards me, snatching the letter from my hands and tearing it into several shreds; I anticipated your hands to hold mine and drag me out of this dread filled place called a hospital to create the world that we had dreamt to weave and adorn together. I expected you to wrap your arms around my stiff shoulders, telling me that you were perfectly alright and always mine.


I lifted up my gaze, with a salient hope gnawing at my insides; But all I got was the amplifying silence, a silence that overshadowed every ounce of hope that ever grew in the back of my mind. All I saw, was the unkempt rise and fall of your chest as you laid there with the ventilator wheezing beside your unbudging body. All I heard, was the ear splitting laughter of the white painted walls of the room, mocking at my futile will to wait until those eyes of yours open.


I let out a heavy sigh, letting the fading hope out of my soul as I tried to stop the cracks of my heart from resurfacing, only to wail and ache against my ribs. I walked to your medicine cart, sorting out the medicines that were messily scattered. I removed the used bottles of medicines, disposing them in the trashcan when the sudden creak of the door opening behind me caused me to jump slightly. The bottle slipped out of my hands, falling into the can with an echoing plump.


And there it was again, the trepidation tugging at my heart once again as I longed to hear your laughter rumbling across the room upon seeing me getting scared; the same anticipation back, nagging me as I craved to listen to your deep chuckles upon seeing the startled look on my face. But I never go to hear that soothing voice of yours, all I heard was the clicking of the nurse's shoe on the white floor as she walked towards you with the tray of medicines and injections. I could feel myself wincing, as the needle pierced through your skin providing you with the aids that you needed to live while you remained immobile and motionless.


I sat on the windowsill, looking back at the sky as it stared at me with its vibrant hues of orange and yellow. I hoped for its hues to fill this blank canvas of my life, just like I kept hoping for you to come and stand across me with two warm mugs of coffee in your hands like you always did during those bleak evenings of winter that we had spent in the arms of one another; I hoped for the sky to fill me in with the vivid colors that my soul once used to wear, just like the way my soul ached for you to get out of that bed and reach out to me; just like my heart still beat with your name entrenched on every tendon of it, whereas your heart kept sinking with every passing day.


Closing my eyes, I inhaled the antiseptic air of the hospital as my mind played back the memories of that catastrophic day behind my shut lids. I wished, you hadn't planned that surprise for my birthday; I wished you hadn't rushed to me that day to pick my up. I wished, you hadn't let that car go out of your control that day; I wished you hadn't stayed back inside the car rather had jumped out of it that day as it fell into the ditch. I wished, I never had received that damned call that broke the news of your disastrous accident to me.

 

But now, all I ever wished was to see you living the perfect life that you had planned for yourself with me being a part of it. All I wished now, was to see you live without those tubes and wired plugged to your body and those machines constantly beeping around you every day and night. All I wished now, was to see you alive and continue to live with your own will and not with this life support system clinging to you.


I opened your favorite classic while sipping the tasteless cup of tea that I got from the canteen of the hospital. Somehow, I found myself getting used to this nasty tea just like you were to lay on that bed reeking of nothing but bleach and antiseptic. I read aloud another chapter of the book aware that my voice might reach your ears, and perhaps even for a fraction of second you would just get up because of my ceaseless blabbering. I sat on the wooden stool beside your gurney, as I placed my hand at the top of your cold one - flinching when the usual warmth of it didn't reach me anymore. I brushed the dangling hairs away from your face, as the familiar fragrance of yours struck me.


"Get up, my love.. " - I mumbled, holding your hands to my forehead and just for a fleeting moment, apprehension was back right at the very core of my soul as I wondered what if your fingers curled around mine any moment from now; what if you leaned your forehead onto mine after I let go of your hands; what if your arms came around me this time, pulling me closer to you and imparting the lost warmth of your love back in every fiber of my existence; But there wasn't any movement, any sound or any response from you except the incessant beeping of the machines surrounding you.


The sudden jerk of my head brought me out of my short nap. I glanced at my wrist watch, it was past ten - it was time for me to go as the visiting hours would seen come to an end. I walked to the cupboard, getting a comforter out of it and draped it over you. They said, the summers or the winters wouldn't make any difference to you anymore, but I always knew how you couldn't sleep without a quilt resting at the top of you even if it was the hottest or the coldest hour of the season.


I placed a soft peck on your forehead, this time not awaiting for your arms to drape around me; this time not expecting you to engulf me in your embrace; this time not silently wishing to hear a good night from your mouth; this time not anticipating you to get up and tell me that you still loved me and that everything would be soon alright. I slung my bag over my shoulder, when something flicked behind me - perhaps you just moved your finger, the one that had the silver wedding band residing at the top of it. And just like that, I could feel myself riding a wave of momentary happiness, as hope rekindled itself once again in the depths of my hollow soul.


And just like that, I knew you would get up soon. They said, such abrupt movements were my figment of imagination, were just a way of deluding myself away from the daunting reality of us. But my love, I knew, it was your will to live, to fight and to survive one day to come back to me and leading me towards the life and dreams that we sewn together.


 "See you tomorrow.. " - I whispered, shutting the door behind me as I padded down the stairs, drumming my fingertips along the cold banister before treading past those whitewashed walls of the hospital, only to walk through them again tomorrow with trepidation and flames of hope tugging at the cracks of my heart constantly reminding me that one day this perishing love of ours would certainly prevail over every odd of the world.



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