The clock struck 2. The sky was painted in dark purple color. There was something eerie about the sky because stars and moon hid in the folds of the sky. The only light filling the room was of table lamp left lit on.
There was a slight elevation in the heartbeat every time I touch the sleeping pills bottle. I was so hurt I could physically feel the pain. I wanted to end it. I hated to feel it. But I wanted to end the suffering. My head was hurting and everything was dizzy. It was all darkness. I could hear the pain kept ringing in my ears. And then that sound, that familiar sound interrupted those pain ringing bells. I opened my eyes and that sound was coming from my phone. It showed a text message. That was new. I contemplated between reading the text and swallowing the whole bottle of sleeping pills.
“Hi”, it said. It was a private number. But who would text me? I left sleeping pills bottle open and replied to it, “Hey”
Rehaan, you’re from V S Academy, right??
Yes, but how do you know?
What’s your name?
Well, I’m also in V S Academy…
Really, but I never noticed you.
But I did
Oh okay!! So are you from science?
So how do you know me??
I have seen you on campus with
this big book in one hand. Always. Alone!!:D
Well, How come did I never see you then??
Maybe you pay more attention to your books than around
So how are you doing?
Nothing, just struggling with some issues.
(And I regretted clicking send!!)
Do you mind asking you about them?
I totally forgot about an assignment which
I have to submit tomorrow. So, got to go.
Talk to you later.
Ohh, no problem. Good night, TAKE CARE
Those two words, ‘take care’ stopped me from taking sleeping pills. I tossed the bottle and it went back to the drawer (maybe forever). It had been a while since someone had said those words to me. That night, the guilt of cutting her off disturbed me. So the first thing I did, in the morning was to text her.
(Within a second, she replied.)
Hi!! Good morning! 🙂
Done with breakfast. What about you?
Okay. I need to apologize to you for yesterday.
Yesterday I lied to you about assignments,
to avoid answering your question.
I’m sorry. But I was uncomfortable to share such personal issues as you know,
we have just started talking.
So.. I hope you understand.
I do. And that’s really okay.
But whenever you find yourself in mess remember,
there is a girl to whom you can come to, to untangle it.
And again, those words have also come to me after a while and it felt like I was having that donut, I was craving for, since a long time. I badly needed those words to find my way out of what I was going through. Somehow, those words were really kind. I know it was strange to feel such sense of happiness with a person you barely know. This was weird. Really weird!
I reached home in the evening. My father was wasted and the front door was left open. Sometimes, I think how careless can he be? Closing the door softly, I tiptoed towards my room when I heard a glass shattering into a hundred of pieces. My gaze was fixed on those glass pieces when his voice rattled me. “YOU, MY DAMN SON. Do you know, it’s you because of whom your mother committed suicide?”
I could not bear to hear it all day. I couldn’t help it. My legs froze and I could not move every time he accused me. He needed to understand mamma’s death impactful on me as it was for him. His sobbing had stopped affecting me now. I let him sob until he passed out. Putting the blanket on him, I picked that piece of glass and thought of hurting myself with it. But, out of blue, I remembered the two words, “TAKE CARE.” I didn’t harm myself. I had food which was left in the refrigerator. I went to sleep but I could not sleep. This wasn’t about today or yesterday, it had become the ritual since my mother died. My father being wasted, accusing me of my mother’s death and passing out while sobbing. He had two sides. One for me and one for the society. Sometimes I pity him, I know I shouldn’t have but I did. Maybe it was his way of grieving.
I wanted to take the sleeping pills so I could sleep, then I remembered her last text. I couldn’t then I texted her. We talked for hours. She told me about the running exercises she did every morning. She was good at sports, I guess. Because all she talked about was different sports passionately. I spent my time reading books, staring blankly out of my window and more of time thinking how useless is my existence. We were opposite poles. But from the day we started talking, ‘Who was she?’, ‘Why was she even texting me?’, ‘How did she get my number?’, ‘Why was she showing concern, when my own father isn’t bothered about me?’ were unanswered and bothering me.
I didn’t remember sleeping last night. The surprise was, I slept for more than two hours that also without popping any sleeping pills. What was happening to me?
I went for a walk. I don’t know why? I wanted to do things she did.
In college, I spent most of the time looking for her. I didn’t even know how did she look like? I didn’t want to turn a talk of college, I am relatively shy person. She had seen me already, she knew me. How? Disappointed with my search results, I headed over to home. I didn’t want to go home to again to find my father in that condition.
“Searching for me?”, the phone chimed. I was enthralled, did she see me looking for her? I didn’t look anywhere, I went home straightway.
My father was wearing an apron when he opened the door, he was cooking food. He didn’t say anything. We ate in silence, nobody spoke. After dinner, I suggested cleaning up the dishes but he insisted on doing it by himself. He wasn’t drunk today and he certainly looked in a better mood. I wanted to ask but I didn’t. I went to my room and did assignments. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to but I did. Because I wanted to text her back but she insisted me on completing my college work first. She was lie detector so I had to stick to promises.
It had been a month and this had become my new routine. I was talking to her. I chatted with her daily. There was some unexplainable comfort and my craving for it was increasing. Her words were kind yet gave strong and genuine teachings. I had started imagining her, how does she look. Her shoulder length deep black hair loose and falls back every time she laughs. Her brown eyes gleam when she sees her favorite food. Whenever I didn’t want to eat, those brown eyes gleamed at me. No matter, how much I tried to push that sight away, it would stay there and somehow, I did surrender. I had started eating regularly. Her lower lips nudged slightly the upper lips every time she smiled. She must be impeccable beauty with untainted heart.
She suggested me to keep journal. And her suggestion was order to me so I started maintaining one but I wrote occasionally. I wanted to her for life. I didn’t want to burden her with my problems and lose her. But somehow every time I was upset she knew it and optimistically she used to just wave her magic wand and take away my sadness.
“Are you still not sure about what makes you really happy?”, read the text. I replied with a plain no. She suggested me to visit this orphanage/old age home, she knew. I didn’t give her a nod but somehow, I felt she was right. Yes, I was doing lot of odd things.
I went there. The orphanage and old age home were two big buildings with fainted colors on their wall. I decided to spend some time in orphanage then would go to the old age home. I should’ve interacted with them but I did not. I found a corner and sat there. I was afraid what they might tell me. How painful it would be. I was not ready to absorb more pain. How their parents left them? Or how they did never see their parents? I spent an hour thinking how painful it could be for me. I texted her, “I don’t think I can do this. I am not ready to encounter more pain.”
She suggested, “I want to cover some distance. If I won’t start walking, how will I reach to my destination?”
I joked, “Someone will carry you around. :P”
I clicked send then I realized I am cracking lame jokes. She laughed and asked me to carry myself.
While I was about to reply her, one kid came to me and dragged me to play with them. I hesitated but I had no other option. Hours passed by. I couldn’t even remember when was the last time I felt so happy and contentedly. I didn’t remember when was the last time I felt selfless love. Despite living without their parents, they lived every moment without complaining.
Sometimes I felt, talking to her was like attending human value class though I was fond of this teacher than real one.
I went to the old age home and spent two hours there. I was struck by the sudden realization; my home was old age home and orphanage. My father was living on his own and me living on my own. After spending these many hours outside with strangers, I think I had gathered the courage to talk to my father. I thought let’s face him, whatever may be the consequences but let’s face it. What could be the worst thing? I would be hurt. But all right I guess, I can cope up with it.
I was content. The front door was left open and my father was sitting in the rocking chair. He was moving the chair and tapping the finger on the arm of the chair. I knew he was tensed but why? Workload or something else? When his eyes were fixed on me, I knew it had something to do with me.
“Your results are out.” I heard him speak and his tone had no emotion.
I knew what was going to happen next. He would shout at me and the same happened. I was listening initially because it seemed fair, I did perform poorly in exam. But when he started accusing me of mother’s death. I couldn’t hold it anymore. I replied to him with the uttermost desperation in my voice, “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. Please stop!!”
He was staring at me with shock. That was the first time I had been the first time when spoke my heart out to him, since the death of my mother. “This is both of us. Not just me. It’s just you don’t have the nerve to confront this fact. You don’t have the courage to accept it. Our ignorance had killed her long back. It didn’t have anything to do with her bankrupt issue. She could have tackled it if we were less ignorant and more supportive.”
I left the living area, leaving my father in shock. I let pain to get absorbed completely. I couldn’t breathe. Tears haven’t stopped.
Next day, in college it was the horrible day. Students fail all the time but when a topper fails? It’s a nightmare. I thought teachers would understand me and my classmates who claimed to be my friends, would talk to me. But there is no one I could talk to, I texted her. All I heard today, were taunts and how I was disgrace to them. I didn’t have strength to retort back. I felt exhausted after what happened yesterday at home, mentally and physically. She had already texted, “Prove it with action and not with words.” sometimes I wondered was telepathy such a strong power?
I’ll try maybe, I said to myself.
After two months, I had examination again. I wasn’t sure when I started this journey, I would reach the destination when nobody believed in me except her. Simultaneously, I had started to build my relationship with dad, on the new and better note, deciding to put behind all the misunderstanding. No matter how much he pushed me away, I was determined to get my old dad back. My ignorance took away my mom. I couldn’t repeat my mistake again and see my dad meeting the same fate. I couldn’t. He was reluctant but with time he started talking. Things were getting better.
I was holding hands with her and was staring into those gleaming eyes for the first time. I knew it was because of the food in front of her. I spent hours looking at her perfect face. I noticed her hands move while talking and how they formed waves. She had told me about her obsession with oceans and forests. I was fond of her. Well, no, I was falling for her. In college, I imagined us spending time at different spots in our college. In canteen deciding over the menu, in library debating over our favorite author, on campus, listening to her childhood stories. My cheeks used to radiate heat when her thought crossed my mind.
This evening when I reached home, my father was having alcohol. In spite, of alcohol, he seemed sober to talk. He asked me to freshen up so then we would enjoy the cricket match together. This was something new. I told her this. She sent “:)” and I could imagine her smiling.
When we were done with dinner, he insisted me on sitting next to him. He wanted to talk. I wasn’t sure if I was in situation to talk to him. But he didn’t sound angry or annoyed. He just wanted to talk about everything. We both sobbed while talking, it was painful to talk about mother’s death. But it took load off our minds, we were carrying, after talking. My father dozed off on sofa and I didn’t leave his side, this night. Life had started getting better. And she was the reason.
A few weeks later, my results were announced and surprisingly, I had topped my class. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I had the urge to hug her so tightly that our bone would make a clattering sound. It was dark inside the house when I entered. I called my father but he didn’t respond. Usually, he would be at home at this hour. I could smell food, I called again and no response. Suddenly Lights turned on, blinding me for several seconds. I saw my father dressed in Santa Claus dress. Christmas was nowhere near. But as my results were already sent to my home, he organized a small party that included tasty food and beautiful decoration. I imagined him doing all this for me. I was having the time of my life.
In night, I told her about my entire happening day and she was more excited than me. it felt as if my fingers were typing everything on its own. I opened up involuntarily. I told her about how my mother committed suicide and how I was still trying to forgive myself. I knew my father was doing more or less the same. I was improving academically, physically and mentally, overcoming the tangles. She listened to me and learned every truth of my life. At that time, I thought of pouring my heart out to her but it would be better if I would tell her in person. I was already dying to meet her. It had been months. I suggested on meeting.
“We shouldn’t talk anymore. I think it is the right time to get over me.” and I was shocked. I tried replying to that text but they were not getting delivered
I couldn’t understand what was happening. I wanted to scream my love for her and express my gratitude for whatever she had been doing for past few months. I went numb. This behavior was strange. It confused me. It frustrated me. I was tossing from one side to another side of the bed, thinking was it a dream? Was it even possible to forget her and get over her ever? How could she??
A girl was standing on a cliff. Her face had no expression. The sky was gloomy and there was no sun. The wind was fierce. Her hair was long, left loose, wind was tangling it into knots. That face was familiar as if I have always known her. She was about to jump but something cross her mind and she took the step back. And when she was about turn her foot slipped. She fell down leaving echo of “Save me” in the air.
Some villagers found dead body of the girl, her face was bruised badly. There were many bruises on her body. It was a small village. They told police about the girl. Days passed but no one came to claim her body. Police suggested villagers cremate her body and keep the ashes if someday, somebody might come to claim.
A transparent, female human figure spoke to me, “I am the girl to whom you have been talking for months. My name is Shae Rahane. I was an optimistic person until my parents died in car accident and I was molested in name of people helping me. I had no other choice but to commit suicide. The moment when I was about to jump off the cliff, all my life came rushing back to me, like a slideshow. I realized I wanted to live. But fate had different plans, my foot slipped and I died. Then I saw you with those sleeping pills bottle in your hand and rest you know. Can I ask for one last favor? Please scatter my ashes in the river nearby the village Kimiti.”
I woke up from dream and can’t believe what I saw. I searched her everywhere on social accounts, she was there. I clicked on her profile picture and I saw those gleaming brown eyes staring at me. I tried texting her. All I saw were my texts in our chats. There was no trace of her existence in my life.
I went to the village and asked for the ashes. After necessary police procedure, they handed me the ashes. I scattered her ashes into the river and sat there for hours grieving. That was for the last time I grieved for her. Grieving for someone I never had, someone who had died months ago and I didn’t know. Sometimes death gives birth to new life.
When I left for home I knew what did I have to do. I decided not to get depressed. I decided to walk the path she had made for me. I started an awareness campaign for depression in my college and people were acknowledging it.
It has been 10 years since then. Now the campaign is working on national level.
Sometimes when I find hard to smile I text to that number though I don’t get any reply, I find solution to my haunting queries. It soothes me. I know she is still here, sitting next to me with those gleaming eyes staring me with a smile.
She is vastness of ocean
I am depth of the ocean
Her waves play in the ocean
My calmness is mere illusion
Co-writer: Mithila Mahatre