Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Open at the close

He was exhausted but his steps continued to pace down the eerie path. A dense fog suffocated the air. Death reigned here. Life seemed to be a one-night stand. Met, done with and forgotten. While the headstones bore names of people who once were someone to someone, something in this world, today they were together here under the moonless sky, accompanying the stars. As memory-less as they always would be in space-time. United in silence. The silence which he disrupted by crushing dead leaves as he walked. This autumn had been hard on him. He forgot her birthday. Not a big thing, was it? For him, it turned out to be.

She quit after years of pining for one gesture that she could hold onto and say that he reciprocated her love. And with her, walked out his sanity and sanctity. He took to things he wouldn't have done otherwise. He walked down lanes he can never forgive himself for. He took charge of his own destruction. And for everything, each passing day, he blamed her. In the darkest corners that he sat in, he wept for not understanding, for pushing her away with every word he wanted to but never said. And finally, when he found the courage to stand before her beautiful doe eyes and say why he loses the thought of words at one sight of her, why he sometimes just stares at her wondering why would she choose him over the world, why it killed him to see her go and why he is here before her today confessing the very love he swore never to, she was no more. It was acid. It was cyanide. It was a razor. It was a knife. The more people tried contemplating, the list of possible reasons of her death grew.

On her back she laid, a few unopened gifts peeking from the shelf. She wore white. That very ball gown she always wanted to wear but never did until today. At the prom, she was all by herself, looking down from her balcony, aching inside out seeing him take her hand and step in the car and ride off. Sixteen minutes ago, when the door bell rang, she had hair curl clips on. Her dress was on the bed and she was excited to see him all suited up at her door. He asked her how he looked, she winked and smiled in reply. He was too elated to see an ocean rise in her eyes when he euphorically announced he was going out with Izadora. She carefully packed her love-filled heart, threw a quilt of smoke on her tomorrows, planted a kiss on his cheek and said, "You guys are amazing together. I am happy for you." Eight years and twenty-two "amazing togethers" later, she was back again in picture. He was in love again. This time it was her. Could she have asked for anything more? Rather the question is: Would she? It was their wedding tomorrow. She was by her window, racing raindrops. Some say a rainy wedding ain't a good omen but did she care? Her eyes held dreams, her lips concealed promises, her heart had him, the world was theirs come tomorrow. A knock. A note. A tear slid and froze. A wail. A torn veil. A heart, shattered. A dream, smashed. A life, now dead. His one cold-feet impulsiveness crushed her, a cold-blooded murder of the love she nourished, worshiped, lived for. And today, died on the inside with.

Eighteen months passed. No one saw her cry. She never picked the pen again to write. She sat in the dark. Her eyes were cemetery incarnate. Her palms faced the stars. Maybe she implored sometimes but had no voice. She watched him as he said his vows. She was there when he kissed her. He looked at her while he did so. And that gaze mocked her. That night she locked herself up away from the world. He moved somewhere or so she heard. Never contacted yet never gave up. "I'll hear him on my birthday. He promised he'll always wish." Glued by the phone's side all day, she knew his voice would thaw the ice. And maybe in some part of her heart, she might forgive him, forgive herself and maybe tomorrow, restart life. She wore that white ball gown, hoping maybe today things turn out well. But cursed as it was for her, the day passed. And with that she did too. With the world trying all permutations and combinations of foul play, sadness never showed up on the list, grief never made it to the top slot, love never rose up in conversations, his name never showed up on the 'Who to blame' chart. Whose fault was it, stars hold. There are things that went away with her, the ones she never confessed, never told.

And he ran in the biting cold. He clutched his heart and broke. As fury and disbelief finally rained through his eyes, he knew he always loved her. He now knew the name to that feeling, the one that kept screaming at him while he gracefully penned in that note- "Here we end". He was nervous, that was all. He was scared of losing her, the fright alone set him acrawl. And since possessing her would mean the end of the chase, he kept it on. He left. Yet everyday he went back to the very moment, the very place, the very face. The girl he so loved. The puzzle of his heart. The only answer to his self-created maze. He made a terrible mistake, today he knew. And this grief alone wouldn't carry him through. On the third day, he stopped running. The very feet that had covered some 400 kilometers froze, refused to take the last four steps. The sight was unreal. His face was a crime scene. Her name was what his eyes last read on the headstone. He fell to his knees, his heart sank. He breathed in and kissed her name. He finally did open at the close. And life breathed out.

Love does crazy things. It can cozy up your coldest winters for life or it can conflagrate your life to summers that can steam you away, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. They say let the heart decide what it wants, who is wants. They say the mind often crushes love, thanks to the crazy inputs and analysis. What we forget is it ain't in our hands really. Love decides where it flows to, whom to who, when and why. Let it make mistakes, let it survive, let it learn as it drowns, as it swims, let it take over, even hypnotize. For when it resides in you, you know. In each blink and beat, you are born again. You smile at their name, their sight. You unveil yourself a little more with each passing day. Love is fired up insides in a shell of ice. Melting. FOREVER. Glowing in an urnful of hopes and keeping-you-happy day dreams. Carefully enveloped in hugs, planted kisses onto. Never forced. Never held in a grip but on top of your open palm. If they leave, they leave. If they stay, they stay. As for love, it changes forms, it changes shapes. It might hop from a person to another in your lifetime or clinging like a baby to one, it might just stay. It lives. There might be a past tense to it in the form of 'Loved' but in your heart, deep inside you know it is just a word. For love is always love. No D's attached (no pun intended). Saying it often is a preference. Being in and out of it isn't.

So next time when the heart is doing a cartwheel, don't stop it. Don't go promising moon and stars or demanding them. Just stay under them, loving someone, forever.

Written in admiration, resignation and glorification of the most beautiful state to be in, the only bond that binds us all- Love.
© 2012 Neha Choudhry


Rajat Arora said...

I give you this -

Neha Choudhry said...

:) :)

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