It was around seven in the evening and the sun had just about vanished from the orange horizon.Even though winter had started, it had been an uncharacteristically warm, cloudy and humid day. Meera ascended the stairs to the Harrisfield station talking excitedly on her phone. Harrisfield was a suburb far from the city and the station nearest to the sprawling university campus where Meera had just successfully given her viva exams for a doctorate.
“Yes Amma, the dean told me personally. They were impressed with my performance and I cleared the evaluation with flying colors”, said Meera into her phone. “No, I’m just reaching the station. I’ll call you when I reach home, ok? Let me call Kiran and tell him the good news. Love you.” She dialed Kiran on her phone. The call went to voicemail. She had reached the platform. The next city-bound train was 20 minutes away. The platform was deserted but for someone who looked like he was the janitor. Meera didn’t like the way he was looking at her lasciviously. She slowly made her way
towards one end of the small platform. The branches of a seemingly ancient oak tree protruded above the picket fence threatening to dislodge a neon lamp post.
Meera was feeling extremely happy and was afraid her heart would explode. Her success today was the culmination of nearly 5 years of hard-work and sacrifice. She could finally be able to get a good job and provide the much needed support to Kiran, her husband, who was a doctor at the local
hospital. Times had been tough these last 5 years and savings were slim due to a heavy mortgage. More importantly, she felt she had been neglecting Kiran (Kiran would never admit to it and had never once complained) for a long time and now she wanted to focus more on him, shower him with
love and support him. He had been her rock all this while…and now she wanted to return the favour.
Meera dialed Kiran only for the call to go to voicemail yet again. She immediately opened her WhatsApp messaging app to check whether Kiran had sent any messages. The app told her that he was last seen 4 hours ago. She let out a sigh and started toying with her phone. She was suddenly
feeling rather cold and she pulled the collar of her shirt close to her and pulled her sleeves down.She glanced at the weather app on her phone. Funny! It says 28 degrees but I feel really cold. And what’s this heaviness on the back of my neck? Am I coming down with a fever? She checked her phone again. Still no sign of Kiran. Where is he?? He told me he wasn’t busy today. Why don’t you check what Neha is up to? Meera immediately dialled her good friend and Kiran’s colleague, Neha. Voicemail again. A quick glance at WhatsApp told her Neha was also last seen 4 hours back. Nothing but a coincidence. Coincidence is it? Or did you forget that both Kiran and Neha were once in love…before you decided to come between them. That’s not true…they were just good friends. Didn’t your precious Kiran propose to Neha?? He was planning to…but then he realised I was the one meant for him. They are just good friends now. The weight on Meera’s shoulder was growing heavier and becoming quiet uncomfortable. Silly girl!!! A man never forgets his first love…not ever!!! Didn’t you see how they were flirting shamelessly in front of you at John’s party last week? They weren’t flirting…they…they were just discussing an interesting medical case. You are naive as well as stupid for not seeing what’s happening right in front of you!!! They are doctors…they have common interests and they work together…spending hours on end together while you slouch over books in libraries trying to complete a doctorate that no one needs!!!
No…that’s not true…Kiran loves me. Hahaha…you fool!!! Kiran and Neha might be at it right now…doing it on in your own bed while you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. NO…Kiran will never do that to me!!! Silence, girl!!! You just wait….he will leave you soon…just like how your father left you. Achan (Father)…achan didn’t leave because of me…he and Amma decided a divorce would be best. Yes…but don’t tell me you don’t know the REAL reason why they separated. They were happy and the problems started only after you were born! You, with your health problems!!! It…it wasn’t my…my fault. Then was it their fault?? It was YOU…always crying and unhealthy, needy YOU!!!Your parents lost their happiness because of you…your father felt he had had enough and left you!!! Tears had started streaming down Meera’s face.
The weight on her shoulder bared down on her and she was having difficulty breathing. She felt terribly cold. And you cannot even bear Kiran a child!!! We have been trying for a long time. Kiran still loves me. Kiran HATES you!!! He wants to be a father and you cannot even grant him his wish. And you call yourself a woman!!! Meera was vaguely aware of the sound of the approaching train in the distance. She felt numb…depleted. What will you have me do? DIE!!! Rid every one of your pathetic existence. Kiran can live happily with Neha and she can bear him children. Jump in front of the train!!!
The train was approaching and Meera had started taking a few steps towards the edge of the platform. JUMP!!! JUMP!!! Meera felt her muscles clench, preparing for the final plunge. She closed her eyes. Suddenly her phone rang loud…freeing herself from her reverie. She gasped and started coughing. She felt as if she had been underwater for a long time. Her heart was going berserk. The weight on her shoulder had been lifted and she was no longer feeling cold. She took a deep breath and raised her phone with trembling hands. It was an unlisted number. She answered. A beautifully warm, glowing sensation filled her when she realised it was Kiran at the other end. His mobile had charged out and he had to attend an unplanned emergency. He was now calling from a colleague's phone to let her know that he was alright and would be reaching home soon. Meera was elated as she cut the call and boarded the train. As the doors shut and the train slowly started its sojourn towards the distant city lights, she glanced back at the spot she had just stood. It looked ominous and the neon light was flickering. She sat down gratefully onto a vacant seat.
What just happened to me?
It was the morning of the next day and Meera was helping Kiran prepare breakfast. She was still thinking about what had transpired the previous evening. It was as if all my happiness and optimism was sucked away, laying bear my innermost fears and insecurities. What would have happened had Kiran’s call not come at that precise moment. She felt a cold shiver move down her spine.
“That’s that…breakfast ready”, said Kiran jovially. He kissed Meera on the cheek, sat down on the table and proceeded to have a look at the news on his tablet. Meera started to take a few plates out so that they could start eating
“A suicide!!!” exclaimed Kiran. “Meera, someone jumped in front of a city-bound train at Harrisfield station around eight yesterday evening.” Kiran continued reading from the news article, “The yet-to-be unidentified woman was pronounced dead on the spot. Harrisfield is slowly gaining notoriety as a suicide spot with this being the third suicide in six months…” He was interrupted by the sound of a plate crashing on the floor. He looked back.
Meera was looking at him with horrified eyes.