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The Last Letters

The Last Letters

11 mins 21.7K 11 mins 21.7K

The Last Letters

It was cold outside. The air was thin. The view appeared bleak, and the land barren. The snowfall that night was heavy. As it settled in, it became arduous to walk on the sturdy roads.

Meanwhile, she was happy. A different kind of glow on her face, she had that day. And why not? It was a Friday. That day of the week for which she waited with such eagerness. She couldn’t wait to read his letter. The impatience was vivid that week because it had been two since he posted the last one. This was ambiguous on his part. Seven years it had been, and he didn't miss a single letter in any of those weeks. 

She enquired at the post office over the delay. 

“Ma’am, the weather has been really harsh. Snowfall and windstorms have blocked most of the roads. The vehicles are having a hard time to move.”

The staff had replied. Well, it sounded a good enough reason. Though, somehow she wasn’t entirely satisfied with the same. Her intuition agreed to disagree. 

Soon she shoved apart her thoughts and collected his letter. As usual, it was posted in a red envelope. It was her favorite color. Her lips curved into an unconscious, shy smile. This had been her happiest hour of every week for seven years. Only, he didn't know. And now, he wouldn’t ever.

She thanked the staff and moved out of the post office. The chill in the air was intense. Her woolen scarf provided some respite from the cold. She started to walk briskly towards home. She liked to read his letters all by her herself, in an empty room. She thought of those letters as something which were extremely intimate to herself and anyone else around while reading them made her feel uneasy. She tore the envelope with care. The constant gleaming smile gave away her zeal.

His letter read-

 

“If you’re reading this, I assure you. This is the last time you’ll have to go through the annoyance of reading one of my painfully long letters. Yes, I know you have always been the amiable one, trying to bring a smile on my face every time you replied with that little nice handwriting of yours. But, that has to stop now. It will. This is the last one. This is our last one.

Death has finally done us apart. Whatever we had between us, the little things that filled up the void have come to an end now. Finally for good this time. Maybe this is what should have happened, years from now. Oblivion started to engulf me, and my scurvy life became a slave of this harsh haunting reality. The trauma of war took a toll on me. You seemed worried each time I left for one, and I knew that you cared. You were bothered. But then I never got to know that you loved.

Did you, ever?

Did you ever embrace me tight and ask me not to leave? 
My frail arms pleaded for your shoulders.

Did you ever hold onto my hand and ask me not to leave? 
My furrowed knuckles ached for the touch of your hands.

Did you ever just ruffle up my grating hair and ask me not to leave?
My spine yearned for the warmth of your breath.

Did you ever try to pull me close and ask me not to leave?
My ears wished for the hush of your whispers.

Did you ever feel the gruffness of my beard and ask me not to leave?
My beard begged for the teasing linger of your fingers.

Did you, ever?

It's too late now to confess anything but in this last letter I have to. Yes, that's how much I loved you. That's how much I love you and that's how much I will keep loving. My body has turned into ashes and while I am being flown away in some bouldery stream nearby as you read this, I am really skeptical that my usage of the present and future tense is even relevant now. But they say love never dies, does it? It is said that the soul, the psyche of a being can never be mutilated or destroyed. The soul lives on. And so will my love I suppose because that's what all it knows. My love for you is infinite. I wish you knew.

Isn't it oddly bizarre that even now, that my brain is dead and my soul has escaped this ailing body, it still seeks the answer to these questions? Was love ever between us? Did you ever love me? Did you ever think of me with whom you could spend your life and not just a close friend? Well, I guess the time has gone the past for me to find an answer. An answer different from the one that I already knew. You didn't.

But did you ever try? Was my friendship special to you? Was I even worth it? All these questions you know used to swirl around inside my head like a wooden log in a whirlpool. I mean seriously, look at me for one instance. I hardly looked decent. As such, I didn't have any extra talents to go with. I couldn't have sung for you if you ever asked me to. I wasn't particularly rich either and maybe I couldn't have promised anything you wanted. All I had were words to take your heart away. Or maybe I could read to you on some nights. On those nights when sleep abandoned you. But then somewhere deep down, the insides of me knew that these weren't enough.

Love alone isn’t enough.
But then when has the human heart in love understood reason and logic? 

And look at you on the other hand. I never did find such an arrangement of words that could contemplate you. Your aura, your beauty, your existence. The damn brilliance of it. You glisten like the shimmering light on a full moon day, only just more. The glint in your eyes, that transparent iris of yours, brought about tides beneath my bosom and how I drowned in depths of it every time, peacefully. The mere sight of you was mesmerizing to my vision. One look and all this pain, this anguish, all of it used to gasify like drops of spirit on my wrinkled skin into tranquility. I was away, most of my last days but every time I looked at you, I found myself a little closer to home. Have you ever gazed at hope?  If you haven't, my dear, then you should look at the mirror more often. You were my hope. You were my eventual solace.

So what? So what if you didn't love me. Love is never defined that way. The true kind isn't supposed to be. It is never about what you'll get in return. It is always about how much you can give more. It is never about that person loving you back. It is always about the unconditional clause that comes with the bond called love. 

I am happy for you, though. Yes, I know you have found someone. You thought I didn't watch the two of you together. I did, every day at home when the last time I returned. He is a good guy. I know it. I have seen you two together sitting on that corner bench in the park and talking for hours. I have watched how he makes you smile. I have watched how he looks at you. He is falling for you. And you too like him, don't you? You like the way how he nudges your arms and suddenly bursts out laughing. He loves the way how you touch him ever so softly on the side of his torso when she tries to show you something rather than saying it out loud. You two look good together. So go on. Don't fear. It will be worth it. Things will finally fall in place for you. It never could for me, but it will for you. And you know what? He has already got a ring for you! Yes! I have seen it. It looked expensive. I could never get something like that for you. He tried to take it out in front of you a few times, though he couldn't gather up the courage. And I thought you only made me nervous around you. He is eventually going to propose you. Say yes. He loves you.

Whether more than me, I still wonder.

So if you're reading this, we never happened. We never could. Call it outright foolishness of my heart, or an illusive figment of my imagination, or a beautiful manifestation of my mind, or whatever you may. A lie that I was living. Love made me blind. And after all these wars I had fought, the bloodshed I have seen, the rifles I fired, the bullets I shot, this is all I had. This is all I came back to every night. It is painful but the hope kept me going. I was dead years ago. You, your love made me think that somehow, this life was worth living, whatever remained of it.

So don’t cry for me. Don’t visit my grave either. And please, please don’t put those stupid flowers on it for god’s sake. I’m finally done. This abysmally woebegone life of mine has come to an end. I’m gone now and you must be relieved.

Though I’ll ask you this. Can you do one thing for me now? Can you keep me in your memories? Once in a while, can you remember me as a time of day?

Your arms felt like home darling.
Only this time, I couldn’t return.

I loved you.

Yours, forever now.”

 

She couldn’t believe her eyes. She couldn’t believe what she just read. She couldn’t understand what sense to make out of that letter. Was this true? Was he dead? Did her biggest nightmare finally turn into this shocking reality? The world came down on her. He was her world. He was her everything.

She was reading the letter leaning on the closed doors as she always did. Tears streamed down her face but she couldn’t feel them roll down her cheeks. She was numb. Her head started to feel light and dizzy. Shock, anger, anguish, remorse, and most of them all, truth haunted her now. She started to bang her fists on the door with brute force. Now they were wrapped in blood. She cried and screamed and howled. Not even a dog at the streets bothered to hear her wails.

It had been hours. She sat there, at the corner of her room, crying her heart out. Only in vain this time. Blood and tears engrossed her in a pit full of sorrow.

This time she had also written a letter which she was going to post to him while he was away. Usually, she replied, this time she decided to eventually tell him about how she felt in a letter to him. The letter laid on her desk. She saw it. With wrath and pain in her heart, she threw it into the hearth. Her letter incinerated in seconds. The fire was merciless.  And her cries inaudible.

Her letter read-

"Yeah, yeah I know you'll be smiling away sheepishly when you get this. Yes, I am finally writing to you first. God! I have lost count on how many times you had asked me to write to you but I didn't. I was never a writer. You were the one with words. They never came to me easily. Words were hard for me but I guess they are coming now. I promise, though, this won't be long.

It's been seven years now since I have known you. And I couldn't remember a day that you didn't make me smile. Whether be it you, your stupid jokes or your beautiful letters. All of them and all of you. So I'm going cut out the formalities here and say it clean and clear.

I love you. Yes, I do. I have been in love with you for years now but never really could muster up the courage to say it first. You know how it is here. But then I was stuck with a fool like you. You shy decent fool. Maybe you were in love with me since the second you saw me. All this time and you couldn't you say it for once. All this while it was you dear. No one else you fool! You are a very big one. I know you know that. And no need to start blushing because I know that's what you're doing right now. I just wish you'd get to know this earlier, but as they say, better late than never.

And also I knew how you flinched whenever he was with me. I am talking about my friend here. You met him briefly the last time you were back. You said he was a nice person but I could sense your uneasiness and envy whenever you spotted me with him. Every time you had some silly excuse whenever he was around me just so that you could walk from an awkward conversation. And guess what? He proposed! Can you believe that? Well, all I could say was a no. it was kind of heart-breaking but then what else could have I done? You are the only one I have ever fallen in love with. Yes, yes, he is a great friend and will always be. Among a very few whom I have here, and trust too. But he understood. He was always skeptical about my feelings for you but then he understood how much we were in love with each other in our own unspoken ways.

See, I told you I’m a bad writer.

You leave for so long every time and this time you aren’t returning soon enough. Period. 

Come back soon love. Home is waiting. I’m waiting.

I love you.

Yours, forever now.”

 

-Tuhin

 

 


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