My car moved slowly into the garage as I pushed the breaks and waited for a thought to give its way. Sighed, I thought deeply, one more night with her. I waited yet again. My right foot seemed ponderously reluctant to move. But still, I stepped out. I had to be with her. I rotated the key in the keyhole to lock the car. I walked ten steps away from the vehicle and I realised that I forgot to shut the window. Thereafter, I went back, unlocked the car, swiped up the window, locked it again and started walking towards the front door of our house.
I reached the door, which was going to open a world of great disdain for me. I rang the bell and waited for her to come. In the meanwhile, I looked down and tried to control my tears, but I waited for her with a smile. I rang the doorbell again.
The door opened. She came and hushed me as usual, "I have asked you 'n' number of times to not ring the doorbell more than once. Can't you understand as petty a thing as it is? He is sleeping at this time every day, and you know if he wakes up he'll create a whole mess crying and howling. Anyway, take this glass of water and give me your suitcase." She hugged me and I smiled at her.
She went to the kitchen to serve the dinner. We had our food. I was looking at her. "WHAT?" she asked me. I pulled her cheeks and dropped the fork by mistake. "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, NEHUL? Don't you know he is sleeping? See, he woke up! Now you eat! I am going to look after him," she yelled at me.
With choked food pipe, I gulped the food. I looked down at the plate and the rice was no less than venom. I dared not to look at her again.
So I chose to head towards our bedroom. She kept my night dress neatly tied on the left front corner of our bed. She never failed to be a good wife until I picked it up and undressed. She came silently into the room.
"Hey handsome! Are you free tonight?" she tried to caress me.
"Night and day are never busy if the company is as beautiful as you." She blushed and I relived how we met for the first time.
I remember, the first day of my final year at our college, it was the first day of her first year. She wore a black coloured suit and looked immensely beautiful. My chums passed comments on her and she started crying like a baby. That was the first time I felt sorry for what I had been doing to other girls for a great deal of time. My mother used to tell me when I was a kid, "Son, do anything, but never a deed that brings tears to someone's eyes." A transformation she got to me, and a decision from my heart travelled straight to my mind, "NO MATTER WHAT, MARRY HER!" Of course, it was a land of topsy-turvy. And it was difficult to leave our parents for each other. Somehow, love made us strong.
There she went to the bed, trying her beautiful locks with that little hair clip between her teeth. Ah, only a girl can look so beautiful with that pose. I captured her as she looked at me. A perfect click!
She lied there and called me to sleep beside her. I looked at the wall clock, it was 11:45 in the dark. "There is still time!" I thought. I started walking toward my side of the bed and she started playing with my fingers like my little kid.
"Oh! Can you hear that? He must be hungry. He can sense when I am about to sleep," she said feeling the cries of our little one.
"Wait, I'll go and check," I said as my heart sank.
"You can't feed him, you see. You ain't no...," she said laughing and ran to check the cradle in the front room.
I was there on the bed alone, waiting for her to come. "I don't know what's happening. I can't see her like this, God. Please give her back to me." My mind started praying to the power that never seemed to listen to me.
In the meanwhile, I went to the kitchen, took out the boiler containing milk and kept it on dim fire. I checked if she was coming. I could hear her sing those late night lullabies she was habitual of singing to our baby every night.
I poured the milk into the glass, added sugar to it, and her daily ointments. I carried the glass to the bedroom and waited for her arrival.
She came and I asked her if the little life slept. She nodded in approval and gestured me to sleep. I passed her the glass of milk and she denied to drink.
"If you won't have your dose, what would you feed our baby with? You see, I can't feed him, I ain't no..." I smiled and she threw her soft fist into my stomach that could never ever hurt me. The empty glass of milk gave me some relief.
It was now around 12:30 am, and she was lying on my shoulder.
"You know, today he gave me a smile and I felt like I was the luckiest mother in this world. Try and come a little earlier tomorrow, so you can also see his lovely smile. He is your son too." She started narrating our baby's moves at every hour of the day. "And I am waiting for the day when he would hold your finger and try to walk. We'll provide him with everything okay."
I could not say a word so I chose to sigh. I wanted to cry. I wanted her back. But to my bad luck, I had no assistance.
She slept while speaking and I was still awake, sensing the tick-tock of the needles of the clock. It was fifteen minutes to two. I waited for her, again.
5,4,3,2,1... The clock struck 2:00, and I closed my eyes. And, she got up, with sweat all over her face, frightened, upset, dead, as if it was a nightmare. To my bad luck, this was my real world. She started shaking me. She held my shirt, "Wake up! Wake up Nehul! Our baby! He's no more!" She cried and howled like every other night. I got up.
"Calm down Neha." I embraced her.
"No, our baby! I want him back! I can't live without him!" She kept on crying and pushing me away, running towards the balcony, to reach the world where our dead child might abode. I kept pulling her. It was difficult. At this time, she had all the strength. "Get him back! I want to die! Get him, just get him!"
I could not help trans any way. She suddenly fell on the bed and, finally, slept. The shock period ended. I slept there beside her.
I had become habitual of this side of her now. I know it was difficult for her to bear the neonatal death of our child. So was for me, but I had to be strong for her.
The Next Day:
"How long will it take?" I asked him.
"I can't say anything. She is not ready to accept the reality. Her mind is living every other day, in the day before the new born's death, as if she doesn't want to forget that day. As if there was nothing as happier as that! But at night, after the sleep conquers her, she enters the real world and starts letting her grief out. If she stops crying, she'll die of silence," the Doctor said and I walked out of the clinic.
The sad part was, she didn't even know she was sick. I had better realised now that, science cannot explain the warmth of a lot of things, and the function of this heart is not just to pump blood. It fears, it thinks, it decides, it orders, it cries and it BREAKS. Some moments in life, are more than life itself!