This Wall Between Us. . .
This Wall Between Us. . .
This Wall Between Us. . .
“We need to go, Sangya. There is nothing left for us here.”
“Go where, Suraj? This is our home; our son is here.”
Suraj came to sit by her side. “It was our home. You know too well that Aditya will never listen to us. We have been doing that for the past six months. It didn’t change a thing . . .” He paused, finding it difficult to give voice to his next words.The realization itself was heart-rending. “He has decided to sell this house, and as it is it’s not our home anymore.”
Sangya was crestfallen as the same realization hit her one more time out of the innumerable times since past six months. She closed her eyes. Studying the patterns of phosphenes, she tried to make up her mind, racing it through the available options to reach a conclusion.
Not the one to give up easily, she shook her head. “I am not leaving. I am sure he will listen to us. We just need to try some more,” she replied, a finality in her voice.
“Aadi . . . Aadi . . .” she called out.
Aditya was leaving for work. He was depressed and angry with himself and with the sudden turn his life has taken recently.
He was about to walk down the stairs to the ground floor and out through the hall door when he heard a faint voice calling his name.
His initial instinct was to ignore and leave.
Somehow it didn’t seem the right thing to do. Frowning, he turned and walked back into the room. His eyes fell on his mother across the room. Smiling at him. His father was also there, right besides her, looking at him; a faint suggestion of smile could be seen in his eyes, too.
Something snapped within him the very moment.
He flinched as the shrill noise of his cell phone filled the otherwise silent house. Letting out a sigh, he picked up the call.
It was the real estate agent. He was calling to confirm the decision one last time before putting out the property into the market.
Aditya’s eyes met her again.
She had not changed her expression or her gaze. She was staring right into his eyes with the same sweet smile on her face.
“Hello . . . Sir . . . Are you there, Sir?” A restless voice squawked into his ears from the cell phone.
It brought him back, rather harshly, to the affair at hand.
“Yes . . . yes, I am sure about my decision. No, it’s not going to change,” Aditya said into the phone, a brief talk later with the real estate agent, confirming his decision and disconnected the call.
He exhaled loudly as he ran his gaze around the room before letting it come to rest on her, once again.
The infant rays from the Monday sun was filtering in through the diaphanous white-mesh drapes on the windows of his first-floor room. The light, however, stopped short just before his parents, slanting away on the tiled floor.
Aditya slowly walked up, through the narrow space between the double-bed and the wall opposite. Stopping in front, he extended his hand towards his mother. His fingertips tingled with the touch.
The air seems to have rippled, ever so slightly.
That familiar feeling came rushing at once. Of her warm hands and soft touch.
The affectionate smile has still not left her face.
An inadvertent weak smile creased Aditya’s lips even though his eyes reflected a sea of pain. Sighing, he pulled himself together and met the eyes of his parents. “Mom . . . Dad . . . I have decided I am not going to sell the house . . .’ he whispered.
His throat got constricted with emotions raging inside as he looked at the photograph of his recently deceased parents. “I cannot part away with the only memory I have left of you. I thought I could . . . but . . . I cannot. I am sorry . . .” The remaining words died inside his mouth as a sob escaped him. He pursed his lips tight.
His fingers grazed the wall once before resting again on the photograph.
Even in this December cold, the wall and the glass on the photo frame felt warm.
His body gave an involuntary shudder.
Sometimes, when he is in the room, reading a book or doing some work on his laptop, he felt that the entire wall had turned transparent, and a couple of familiar faces were watching him from the other side.
Although there would be nothing but the same dense, unyielding wall and the photograph of his parents—smiling at him—as soon as he would look towards it.
“See, I told you he will listen . . .” Sangya mumbled in a hoarse whisper, never taking eyes off her son on the other side.
What was a thick opaque wall in their son’s world is just a transparent veil on their side.
“Yes.” Suraj placed a palm on her shoulder and pressed it. “Let go, my son, let go,” he urged. You never cried. It’s time. Get it out,” he whispered.
Ever since his parents were killed in the terrorists attack on Amarnath pilgrimage, Aditya is at war with himself. It was he who insisted on their going while his parents were reluctant to undertake the journey. He booked their tickets and fulfilled necessary formalities.
The bus taking them to .... was stopped by the terrorists. They opened fire indiscriminately at the pilgrims.
Aditya’s emotions bottled up the moment he saw the bullet-riddled bodies of his mother and father. It was his doing. He did it to them. They were not ready to go yet he pushed them towards it. . .towards death!
He placed his forehead at the foot of the photograph, at their feet, and sobbed. The reserve, at last, crumbled and he cried, miserably.
“It was not your fault, my son. Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Sangya mumbled in a hoarse whisper. “We are at peace here. Now it’s your turn. Be at peace with yourself, son!”
Her fingers, reaching out from the other side of the wall, were trying to wipe his tears away.
Suraj blinked hard to clear his watery gaze. He too extended his hand to feel his son.
The air rippled again . . .
* * *