By Merryl Fernandes, SYBM, Sophia College
In a moment it was over. The thing was done. She did not look back but kept on walking. All she wanted now was to move on. All the anger and helplessness that had built up with every fight of theirs, every hurtful thing she had kept from him previously, everything that she had stored inside her from a long time was all out. She knew she had hurt him severely. But instead of feeling guilty, she felt peace, the kind of peace one experiences when they finally are all alone. She knew the guilt would come soon. But right now, the feeling of not caring about anyone in the world over ruled all the other feelings.
She had pushed away the one person who meant the most to her. But despite the relief and peace she had finally achieved, she felt blank and empty. She handled her daily chores and responsibilities with an aloofness and indifference. She did not feel the need of being around anyone but herself. She kept playing back the scenes of the happy times that they had spent together, laughing, joking and caring for each other. These memories were always at the back of her mind. They seemed like incidents from someone else’s life. It was like she was just an audience, watching something perfect turn to dust right before her very eyes. She knew he had hurt her a lot more than she could have ever imagined, but there was no possible thing he could ever do that would make her hate him. She knew that to be a fact. And she hoped it was the same for him despite of how she had chosen to end things.
Richa had just returned back to Mumbai, the city she had hated until now, for it had always separated her from the ones she loved. She had come here to pursue her dream of becoming a Journalist. The city therefore had nothing to offer her more than a degree and a few people who pretended to care. Coming from a small city where everyone cared about one another, and life was simpler, she just found it impossible to cope with the fast paced life of the metro. Now that she was back, she was determined to concentrate on her work and make her life easier to deal with. She had decided to complete all her work on time and keep herself so busy that she wouldn’t have the time or energy to let the reality of what she had done get to her. Escapism was her favourite way of dealing with the things she did not want to associate herself with and this was the time when she needed it the most.
It was her first night back and the thought of going to college the next morning for once made her excited. So far her attempts to keep her mind from going back to some of the sweetest memories of her life had been successful and she was pretty confident that once she would start her classes, her life would feel all normal once again. She slept peacefully throughout the night and woke up fresh and excited for college. She hurriedly got ready and walked to the bus stop. Within ten minutes, she was on the bus and happily listening to songs when suddenly the lyrics of ‘fall for you’ blasted on her headphones. The memories of the summer holidays that had begun like a fairy tale all came crashing down on her..
She remembered the happiness and joy she had felt as she was going back home, back to him and all those close to her. As she had packed her bags and boarded her train, eyes sparkling with anticipation, all she could think about, was the surprise that he would get when he would see her in front of him when he was least expecting it. She had kept the whole thing a surprise from all her friends, a surprise they had absolutely loved. She imagined being with him after he would get done with college and all the places that they would go to and all the people they would meet. She just couldn’t wait to see him and smell the air that had fragranced her childhood days. Finally she would be back to the city she loved for three whole amazing months.
But then he had gone and ruined everything. He had let her come in between when it had been the last thing that she had ever expected. Let the stranger make him vulnerable, in a way that only she could. That had just been the death of her and their relationship. How could he have expected to replace her with someone he had just met? When she had told him about her insecurities, he had just laughed it off as if it meant nothing to him. As if he had never cared. As if everything they had, had never mattered to him in the face of this new entry into his life. He assured her that things between them would never change and they would remain best friends no matter what. But it was all the sweetest of lies. She had tried her best to accept it, tried to ignore the changes in his behaviour. Every time he spoke about this stranger, this good-for nothing tramp that had entered their lives, she had just wanted to harm things, maybe even herself. It had hurt her slowly to the point that she hadn’t been able to take it anymore, till she decided that she had to end it.
She still remembered clearly all the sleepless nights she had spent to make sure she could end her pain in the best way possible. She could recall all those memories as if they had happened yesterday. Like drops in the pouring rain, they reminded her of how she meticulously planned and plotted. It had to be done and it had to be done perfectly. That was her main aim and sole goal. Her happiness depended solely on it, and she saw no other way out. Her escape routes had but shrunk to one. She had spent hours planning and convincing herself that he deserved it. She told herself over and over again that she would be doing him a favour by ending it. Letting it go into the black oblivion that was nothingness. He wouldn’t be stuck with the painful job of making a choice. She knew that he was never very good with picking a side and sticking with it. She just knew her ending it would be the best for everyone involved. Sure they would hurt now, but later they would just thank her for what she had done.
Finally the morning of 9th of March, 2012, had arrived. She still remembered dressing up with extra care and double checking to see if she had all the items she needed with her. Finally, the day when she would win her mental peace back had arrived. She could feel the anticipation of the hunt thrumming under her skin, and the whisper of battle in the marrow of her bones. She knew it was going to be tough, but it was something she had to do. She couldn’t let him hurt her anymore. She didn’t deserve it. And now she would make sure he would pay for all the hurt and helplessness he had made her go through. She remembered getting into the car and driving all the way outside town to meet him. She had asked him to meet her at the place that had been their favourite place to go to whenever they needed to talk things out.
As she took the last turn that would lead to the quiet serene spot halfway up the hill, she steeled herself once again. The car moved on slowly and steadily as she rounded the corner of the last turn before the clearing. In a few minutes she would be with him, probably for the last time if things went the way she had masterfully planned them. She parked the car at the end of the road and picked up her bag from the back seat. Her right hand clutched the object that would bring her the mental peace she deserved inside her bag. She then had just stood there, taking it all in. The green trees had looked fresher than ever, dancing and swaying to the music like noise created by the winds as they hurried off to faraway lands. It was almost like they knew she was going to be freed soon and were hence rejoicing for her. She felt like dancing with them too. The more she looked at the dancing leaves, the more determined she was to be carefree and happy like them once again. She stood there smiling to herself when he crept up from behind and hugged her. She returned the hug and pulled him to their spot under the banyan tree. He light heartedly commented on a few things not knowing what was coming next. She stood there, next to him, holding on to the dagger with all the strength she had. He went on blabbering about his day and anything and everything remotely. With every word he had said, she wished he had been good to her. She wished for them that things could be like before. But this time she knew she had to be strong for herself.
Her eyes threatened to reveal her weakness as the sky turned a darker shade of blue. She knew the time had arrived and as the seconds passed, she was unsure of whether she could go ahead with it. She decided to count to three in her head and then she would just do the needful.
One.. Two.. Three..
She remotely remembered him slapping her playfully towards the end, right before she took out the knife and stabbed him right in the chest. His eyes were full of shock as he had looked into her eyes. She then had looked into his eyes and told him that she would always love him and by killing him she was killing a part of herself too. But she had done what she had felt was the best for them. She had then dragged him over to the edge of the hill and pushed him over, away from her, away from the world for good. She remembered standing there for an hour after, just staring into thin air, considering killing herself too. But then she realised that he would have never wanted her to harm herself and would want her to live happily.
She had turned away from the edge with all the will power she had left. Just as she reached over to pick up her bag from the spot she had dropped it earlier, she noticed a blue envelope with a heart on it lying right next to where he had been sitting. She picked it up, afraid of what she would see inside. With trembling fingers she had hurriedly opened the envelope. She had found a pretty stone ring attached to a sheet of paper. She had unfolded the letter..
I know things between us have not been going great recently. You seem all the more distant and in your own world every time we meet and talk. This has been confusing me a great deal in the past few weeks and since I couldn’t guess what exactly was upsetting you so much, I decided to write you this letter. I want you to know that I’ll always love you, no matter what, till I die. No one can ever replace you, because no one can know me the way you know me. And that is never going to change. I promise to be there for you whenever you need me. You know you can come to me with whatever is hurting you and I swear I’ll try my best to make it all right. You will always be my best friend and my first love, and I want you to remember this at all times. I hope you’ll tell me soon what is going on with you so we can make you feel better. Call me when you’re ready to talk about it. I’ll be waiting.