His memory followed me even when he moved on
It was after me even though I had pushed him away
It was tracing my footsteps through the barren lands
It was sneaking up on me from behind trees and rocks in those forests
It was lurking out at the most ungodly hours in the snow-capped mountain peaks
It was chasing me to the sand dunes; it waited near the oasis to quench his thirst
He was hunting me down like a deer caught in headlights
He was pursuing me through the deep dark caves under the Earth
He was tracking me down to the waterfalls of Niagara
He was walking down to my trail and reaching out to me as I break down, not letting me rise
He wanted me to be back, his memory not letting me find a hideaway
He wanted me somehow, his reminiscence making me trip every time I move on
His words coming back from the past to haunt me
His touch still spreading its arms, ambushing me unawares
I sat there and cried, wailed, shouted, threw stones at him, asking him to leave me alone. The wind blowing hard on my face, chilling me to the bone. My hair was scattered all around me as I gathered some loose strands and tucked them behind my ear. I Heard him then. His voice howled with the wind right in my ear as I closed my eyes. It was like he is sitting next to me, startled I opened my eyes and saw him, he was sitting right in front of me.
He just smiled, held my hand, looked into my eyes, and told me “I won’t leave you, I am here for life. You have left me, but I won’t leave you. My memory will chase you to the ends of this Earth. I will live inside you till the end of Time. You can’t hide from me; I will never let go. You know why? Because I live in each breath you take, I survive in your thoughts; I feed on your soul, I drink the blood of your heart, I get stronger with each tear you shed. I am here for a lifetime, remember the promise” he said with an ashen face as I looked transfixed into those mystical eyes.
“Yes”, I told him. I remember it; I remember the promise “we will live in each other, we will never be apart, nothing separates us but death”….. I said that to his memory as he smiled and vanished into a puff of smoke, drifting with fog. I buried my face in my knees, wrapping my hands around me, wanting to feel safe and secure, and repeated those words “nothing separates us but death, nothing separates us but death, nothing separates us but death”.
I removed the blades I wore in around my neck and held one to my wrist. My hands trembled, my breath caught in my throat, my heart beating hard like a drum, my mouth went dry and throat parched. His voice came in my ear “Do it”. I closed my eyes, steeled my heart, stopped breathing and drew the blade across my wrist. The blood splashed across the floor. The pain seared through me, scourging my being. And I saw you, your face in the blood that pooled around me. With every drop that flowed you drained from my body. It was getting quieter, peaceful, sleepy. What a relief to have exorcised you from my soul. I smiled in contentment before all thoughts left me and I slept in the lap of my free soul. Unburdened of the promise we made, I kept it, baby, I kept my promise love. Nothing separates us but Death.
The canopy of the Yellow Be Still Tree flowers was spread out over her as she lay under it with a book in her hand and a straw hat on her face. Her shoes were lying in a heap next to her, and the Yellow five petal flowers from the tree were strewn around her on the lush grass as she removed the hat and squinted her eyes to check the time on her wristwatch. It was a breezy afternoon, and the tree swayed in the wind like a lone dancer moving to a favourite rhythm. Frowning to see the time she sat up and looked up at the sunlight that filtered through the leaves and made a latticework pattern over her. Picking up a fallen bloom she sniffed it, no smell whatsoever. She twisted it between her thumb and forefinger like a Pinwheel, watching it’s petals blur as they spiralled. A smile played on her lips.
Her eyes were fixed on the book, she bent and picked it up. Flipping the pages of the Khaled Hosseini novel, she retrieved a small envelope from its leaves. She removed a folded letter from the envelope and opened it with care. The paper was delicate and seemed like it had been smoothed back after being crushed hard. She placed the letter on her knees and smoothened it out once more, lovingly she did it. The handwriting was slanting and curvy. The T’s and F’s were made exquisitely, and written with a fountain pen. She ran her hand on the paper and kissed the paper as if it were a Bible. Her fingers trembled as she held it up close to her eyes, she wanted to read it one more time, but her eyes, damn her eyes, why were they all blurry. She closed her eyes in desperation, and two fat tear drops fell on the letter, where the sender’s name was signed, making the ink run.
I Love you and will keep doing so. You will be a part of my soul, but you can’t be a part of my life. You know why You know I am not Infidel, you see I am bound. Of all the letters I have ever written you, this is toughest one. Never thought one day I will be writing it. Time has rusted our once Perfect relationship. You know how manyTiffs we had, how may reconciliations. When you find this letter, I would be gone, my bags are packed as I write this, I have emptied the drawers as well. I packed it all.
What I haven’t packed are all the rainy days with you, the nights wrapped with you. Some more stuff is there as well. One Autumn, some dried leaves from our garden. Get rid of them for me. One umbrella, with us two under it, I am taking half rain with me, but a damp shirt is still with you, send that. 16 full moon nights and few fake promises, some mock teasing, pack all. Just bury them all, cremate them all for me, I couldn’t muster that much courage.
My last goodbye for you. I Love You……
She was blinded with tears by the time she read his name, it was wet with her tears. She folded the letter and placed it back in the envelope and kept the envelope in the book before shutting the book close. While standing up she bent down to gather some Yellow Lucky Nut flowers, the tree had many names. They had both spent countless evenings under it. A smile played on her lips as she thought about the time she had told him she will eat its flowers and he had promised her that it will never be needed as he would never leave her. Walking up to the house she picked each flower one by one and ate its petals, one by one she ate them and by the time she was back inside her cottage all the flowers were gone. All the stuff he left behind needed to be buried, just like he told her to. It can go to the grave with her. After all, the tree had one more name, Suicide Tree.
Missing is not a timely thing; it’s a full-time job. A 24/7/365 thing. You are never done missing someone. It becomes second nature, just like breathing, paining a little with every heartbeat. Morning you will wake up and feel blissfully ignorant for few blessed moments and then the missing part will hit you hard in the guts, and you know a perfect day just turned imperfectly bittersweet. You will be bathing and find yourself just sitting in the tub or standing in the shower, letting the water soothe your senses, in retrospection on life, a knock on the door will jerk you back to present, and you will give yourself a small mental tap “get it together, just go through the day”‘
Getting dressed and making a scavenger hunt through your cupboard and you found the old sweater he so loved on you, and you pick it and feel it in your hands, feel its texture, try to relive that moment in time. You rub the sleeves on your cheeks and then sigh as you keep it back in the corner so that it won’t come back in your hands anytime soon. Sitting at the breakfast table and you are just served a toast that’s a bit burnt, and without any prefix you see him sitting in the chair opposite you, grimacing as he looks at the burnt toast and making a face like attempting to eat it. You laugh, and suddenly you realise you are alone in the kitchen, no one is here. You finish your breakfast in automation as food is needed to live. You lock your home thinking you locked his memory in there as well, but as soon as you bring your car to a stop on that red signal, you realise he has followed you and is sitting in the passenger seat next to you, his hand on the gear over yours, smiling at you in that quirky way with the corner of his lips curled up in a smile. The cars lined behind you honk, your stupor is broken, the signal has turned green, and you are still immobile, you shrug him away and get on with it.
You pull over in front of your workplace, and his favourite song plays on the radio, you switch it off, but he holds your hands and pulls you closer for one goodbye kiss, and you know it can keep you warm all day long, a colleague comes and taps your window, you are snapped from that alternate reality and give one longing look at the radio as you close it and move on. The work consumes you all, completely and it’s such a relief, you got no time, and he got no time to get you to himself. He sits back waiting for his chance to pounce you again. Lunch break it is, and your phone rings and your heart leaps that it’s him before you realise it can’t be him and you let the phone ring as you hear his voice in your ear as he whispers sweet nothings, telling you all things good and bad about his day. The caller disconnected, the silence broke your reverie, and you called back.
You are back home and at your doorstep, and you unlock the door, and the house is so silent, so quiet, you fall back on the couch, and take off your shoes, and there he is again, bringing you a cup of coffee he made for you, just like the way you like it. You trance broken as you see the coffee machine blink and you head back to change, taking off the 9-5 minimalist jewelry, and you open the drawer, but he was already waiting for you in there, making you yearn for him as you see the ring he forgot sitting in the drawer, you pick it up, wear it, feel how it snuggled around your finger and place it back in the drawer and shut it close with a bang, annoyed at him, annoyed at yourself.
In the kitchen you are making yourself a dinner when he sneaks on you and hugs you from behind, you close your eyes as he rests his chin on your shoulder and kisses the nape of your neck. You tell his memory to leave you alone, but it won’t, he was always so resilient. Like a robot you go through the whole dinner making and eating ritual as he smiles at you from the kitchen counter, sitting on it, making sexy, funny, sad faces, trying to get your attention. Time for bed and your close your bedroom door shut, and snuggle into your bedding, patting your back that you went through one more day. But he won’t let you be, he is under your blanket, scooting close to you at once, embracing you and entwining his fingers in yours, kissing your lips softly, running his fingers through your hair. But now you are so exhausted by ignoring him all day long that you allow his memory to make love to you as silent tears fall from your eyes and wet your pillow.
Finally, comes sleep and you are happy that its oblivion, unconsciousness. NO, you were wrong, he isn’t done with you yet, he is there in your dreams, beckoning you, singing, dancing, picking you up and spinning you around till you feel giddy. You laugh, you laugh hysterically till you cry, hard body rocking sobs and you get up startled, heart beating hard, soaked in sweat, tears in your eyes. You bury your face in your knees as you know that he won’t leave you.HE LOVES YOU TOO MUCH TOO LEAVE YOU ALONE; YOU LOVE HIM TOO MUCH TO LET HIM GO. You place your head on his lap and close your eyes as he rocks you to sleep, just to wake up next day and go through the same routine.