We sat on our favorite spot at the beach; an old wooden stray log, covered with moss, damp as always, no matter how dry the weather was, big enough to seat four people at once. It was a secluded location, which mostly people never came by.
My eyes were on the horizon, where the blues of the sky and the raging water of the sea weaved together. Sometimes, they wandered off to the gray sea gulls, diving in the water empty beaked and coming out with a fish dangling in it. Or sometimes, my eyes found the nature in the sand, the crabs, the sea-shells, the sea-weeds, the jellyfish and what not. Sometimes I looked at the bare footed camel-men and horse-men, asking the people to ride their animals and to make their day by handing them some money to feed their families.
To others, it might have seemed like we were drinking in the beauty of the sea. As if we had this once in a lifetime chance, to observe the sea life, before we trudge back to the burdens of the city life. To others, we might have been just another couple, spending their day together, away from the crowded streets and talking about our future plans. Only, if they knew…
Her slender fingers were playing along the sand. She was unusually quiet, waiting for me to break the silence. She smelled of flowers, like always, a soft fragrance she carried, where ever she went. She wore a lilac colored dress, blending with the sea environment. She wore a hat to shield her face from sun and sand. At last, which seemed like an eternity, she sighed slowly and looked at me.
“Talk to me.” Her melodious voice entered my ears and made me smile, internally.
She was waiting for my answer. All this time, I had been processing the words to say to her. How best to say the worst, which would, finally, break her, break me and destroy everything for us. The world we had designed in our imagination, would be shattered to innumerable pieces, which could never ever be glued together, again. I couldn’t find the strength to say it. I couldn’t struggle with the words anymore, not any longer.
“We’re leaving.” Eyes, I kept on the horizon, distancing myself from her, from everything. I couldn’t bear to look at her when I said those two words. How would I ever forgive myself?
Her hand found my face. Slowly, her fingers started stroking me, tracing a path from my temple to the jaw. I could feel every pore of my body tingling. She cradled my face and made me face her. I gained the strength, from her touch, to look at her face and finally, into her soulful, deep, umber eyes.
No tears, was the first thing I saw, and a heartwarming smile, playing on her lips.
“So, my dear,” she began, “do you want to spend these last moments in our about-to-shatter-world, weeping, moaning, cursing and despairingly watching the horizon?” Her hands clutched mine, inducing her usual aura of love and care inside me.
“I can’t help it.” I said shortly.
“You can.” She was probably unaware of the situation.
“I’ll be at the other side of this world, at an other end, unable to see you, unable to talk to you, unable to escape for these short-notice meet-ups, unable to breathe in your fragrance-’’ I caught myself. “It will all be very difficult and I don’t understand how you can be so calm.”
“I don’t want to waste my time moping. I knew this would happen the moment you told me a week back that your dad has decided and it was final. I knew you’d fight. I knew you’d argue, but I also knew there would be no change in his decision.” She replied, while caressing the palms of my hands. “I don’t want to you to be dripping with silence, at least not now. I wasn’t us to talk, I want us to make the most of our time. It will be difficult, don’t you think I know? It would be disastrous, it would be agonizing, but why to discuss our despairs now? This is the time to remember our happy moments, the memories we’ll cherish forever. The times of laughter, the times we thought our life was complete. I want you to remember those moments and keep them alive in your thoughts. Carpe diem, is what I believe in.”
“They’ll always be alive in my thoughts, you know that. But right now, I feel hollow. I can’t bear this emptiness. You’re here with me right now, and you won’t be, two days later. I can’t stop thinking about it and I don’t know how I’ll survive. After sometime, I’ll get busy; we’ll have to start over. It’d be a whole new life. What if I forget you, your smile, your cheerfulness, your whole existence? I don’t want that to happen.” I felt helpless; I was at a loss for words to express what I was going through.
“Remember one thing then,” her voice dripped with forced strength, it had always been her best quality and I adored her for her courage to face the hard times, “if you don’t want to forget me, you won’t forget me. It is as simple as that. What you want is all that matters.”
I knew she could tell I wasn’t satisfied. She knew I was troubled. My whole face was a mess. I knew I looked terrible. But what I felt like inside, was no match for this. Inside, was post-war scene. Heart, mind, soul, breathing, sleeping, no matter what it was before, now it was a picture of massive destruction and chaos.
“What do you want me to do? I can’t see you like this. I want you to be happy; I want you to be strong. I want us to laugh today and think about our last moments together in the times to come. Let these moments be our light and warmth in the dark & cold times. Let our smiles be the guidance to a new life whenever we feel lost. So then, my dear, tell me what should I do to make you cheer up?”
“You could at least quit being strong and stop fighting the immense pain you’re shielding behind your smile, shed a few tears and give me a reason to hug you close and murmur in your ear that it would all be okay.” I ran my fingers through her hair and felt their softness, probably for the last time ever, I thought.
At this, she laughed, my favorite laugh. Like many bells tinkling together, breaking a cold silence and warming every soul around it, with their perfect sounds.
“The thing is, my sweetheart,” she looked into my eyes, smiling broadly, “I can never cry when I’m with you.”
Like she wanted, she made the last moments perfect.
I remember her sweet breath, fanning my face,
I remember her auburn hair, shielding everything else,
I remember her coming closer to me, and closer still,
And I vividly remember, never wanting to let her go.