2nd August 2014
11:41 AM – My hands were shivering. The envelope I held in my bare hands had a fate I wasn’t sure if I was ready for. The doctor looked at me, grinning. He had news too dear to break to me. “Your husband didn’t come along?” He asked. I didn’t have an answer. I simply shook my head. His smile faded by a centimeter. “I am assuming you’re married, sweetheart. The ‘good news’ won’t be good otherwise.” My face paled again. “I am. Thank you.” I faked a smile at him.
12:27 PM – I was smiling, at first, running towards my apartment. Sure of Samar not being there, I still hoped to see him open the door for me. My feet paced faster with each passing minute. ‘Walk slowly, honey. You’re holding something too dear in your body.’ I told myself reminded of how pregnant girls are advised to walk. Two years to marriage, good news might change the room, I thought. I recalled the last time Samar held me in his arms a month ago or maybe a little earlier like it was the last. ‘Not last anymore, darling, not last anymore.’ I kept reassuring myself.
12:40 PM – I bought a few orchids on the way. The fragrance reminded me of the day he proposed to me, the day he took me to the beach at five in the morning. My eyes barely open and he was driving with sheer enthusiasm. He didn’t listen to a plea of mine, a plea of letting me sleep, just for a little while. He kissed my forehead while I rubbed my eyes open. “Just a little while,” he told me. I remember how he held my hand and pulled me to an empty beach. Four seconds later, he was on his knee, that’s when I really woke up. My brain couldn’t process whatever was going around. “Woah, Woah, Woah. What’s going on?” I asked. “Shhh. Listen to me,” he silenced me and put forth the white orchids; I’m not sure where he managed those from at that hour. “I’m done with just imagining spending days with you. And I’m done with just wanting to be with you. My wants have turned into needs, Mishty. I need you in my life, forever. However long my forever lasts, I need you by my side. Every morning when I wake up, I am done with just wanting to see you sleep next to me. I want to make it happen. I couldn’t sleep all night. I couldn’t keep myself for the sunsets that are too dear to you. Like the sunrises and spreads shine, shine for me, today, tomorrow and always. Marry me, Mishty Desai?” His breath was heavy. And he had this nervous smile I’m not sure you see often, except I saw it a few days ago. And when I held his hands, they were cold. “You’re asking Mishty in pajamas.” I gave a blank look. His face went from the nervous smile to disbelief in a second. He smirked, “seriously?” “Yes seriously. I’m actually giving you time to tell something you missed out on.” I looked at him, my lower lip bit between my teeth hiding a smile. “Oh, Mishty,” he said, getting up and pulling me into his arms, “you’re awesome!” He smiled and kissed me.
1:00 PM – Unaware that I was standing at the same place, blankly looking at the flowers I bought for the special news since 20 minutes, I moved passed and reached home in a few minutes. With the keys in hand, I chose to take my chances, rang the bell. Four minutes later, I smiled at my innocence, opened the door anyway. I was smiling, irrespective of what I knew, irrespective of the recent times where Samar and I haven’t had a decent conversation in months. Sometimes I used to wonder if he really loved me. And there were times when he would open an envelope and back of my heart I used to feel those were the papers he’d want me to sign for leaving him. Thankfully, I never made it to those papers. But I always loved him. With words, without words, with hugs, without hugs, he just made my life beautiful. He just made it easier for me to breathe with him being around. And now we’d have a baby together. Things could get back to better. I put the flowers in the vase, drank a little water and picked up the newspaper. Aware that he wasn’t anywhere close to being back home, I still hoped, he’d be early, just for today. I hugged the cushion on the sofa, smiled a little wider. I don’t know what I was feeling. I don’t know if I was happy, apprehensive, nervous, dejected, unprepared or all of it together. I was still smiling, hoping for the best to come.
6:46 PM – I fell asleep. I haven’t slept so much in so long. Samar! I went around in the house, then dark, he wasn’t anywhere. I tried calling him, all in vain. I washed my face but the nervous yet apprehensive smile didn’t go. My hands rubbed my tummy. It was only two weeks old but I wanted to feel it. I wanted it to touch me. I tried calling Samar, again; all in vain.
7:52 PM – Samar hadn’t returned yet. Usually he’s home by 6. And exceptions with him were never. His phone had been off since I’m not sure when. My worry was changing to panic with every passing minute. I called one of his colleagues to enquire; he had left at 11 itself for a meeting. ‘Maybe his meeting is still on,’ I reassured myself.
9:03 PM – The bell rang. The bell finally rang! I sprung up to open the door for him. ‘Slow.’ I repeated to myself. My smile widened to break the news to him. It wasn’t him. “Yes?” “Miss?” The man asked. I didn’t like what he was wearing. Those clothes always brought a chill down my spine. I cleared my throat, “Mrs. Agnihotri.” “Are you related to Samar?” he asked. “Yes, I’m his wife. Has he done something he shouldn’t have?” He was testing my patience. The man in khaki maintained silence till I probed him. “Did you catch him with drugs or something?” I asked. “I’m sorry, ma’am, he’s no more.” He said. “What? Is this some kind of joke? Get out!” I laughed and screamed at the same time. He didn’t listen. He stayed. He was lying, right? I still had to tell him, he is supposed to have this baby with me. He’s definitely lying. “I’m sure this is hard for you, ma’am but…” “Can you just get out? I am not up for any jokes” “This is no prank; I am here so that you can identify his body and carry the further rituals you wish to,” he held my hand. “You want me to trust you? How are you sure it’s Samar and not someone else? What proof do you have?” “This,” he handed over a wallet that I had seen, inside a transparent plastic bag. My brain was done with the information. Samar was dead. That’s what they kept telling me. “How, again?” my voice quivered. I don’t know if I was listening to them. All I knew was, if they were to be believed, Samar was dead. Samar was dead! “Take me to him.”
9:23 PM – He was in front of me, laying on a stretcher, white sheet over him. I didn’t want to see any further. I kept pacing backwards, and then running. I didn’t know where to run. I didn’t know what to do. I ran back towards him. He is dead. Are you hearing me? He is dead! My family, his family, I don’t know who all were called, how they were called, they were there within minutes. I couldn’t look up. All I stared at was his fingers that slipped out of the white sheet. They can’t hold me again, can they?
3rd August 2014
1:23 AM – People were in my house. A tiny house I liked to call home. Not everyone fit well, but who would complain, or who would they say to? They were around, forcing me to eat, sleep and do what not. I just couldn’t move. I just couldn’t look at them. I just couldn’t say a word. And what about the baby, I didn’t know who I should tell, if I should tell? I just kept looking at Samar’s face, pale dead face. The face that used to have this smile I told you about; just the reassuring and ‘I-am-there-for-you’ kind of smile. Next morning everyone ruthlessly took him away. As if he wasn’t a part of me anymore. “There’s no more soul in the body, honey.” “He’s right there with you.” “Bodies don’t belong around without soul.” And many more sentences. As if I belonged around anymore. But they didn’t take me with him. They left me there, in the house which I once called home, without him.
5th August 2014
3:04 PM – Three days ago, the man of my dreams walked away from me. I rubbed my stomach, I just couldn’t smile anymore. And when I was going through Samar’s stuff, I saw a letter addressed to me. The envelope shook me even more. I didn’t know if I should open it. What if what I thought about every envelope was this? I opened it, took out the paper and without reading it, put it back. It didn’t matter, or did it? I took a deep breath and pulled it out again. It read,
I love you. I know we don’t communicate and life a robotic life. But the truth is, I love you. And will always love you. Remember the day I woke you up at five and said things I am not sure you remember? I meant and still mean every word I uttered. And the first time you came bare before me, you held my hand nervously. You told me that that was the most frightening night you’ve ever had. I am privileged to be capable of being trusted of your fears. I don’t know how to thank you enough for being a part of me.
To all the moons we brought home and to all the smiles you gave me. I love you. Today and always.
I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t smile. I tried to take deep breaths but I don’t know, my body hated me for every emotion.
6th August 2014
2:03 AM – I don’t know if I slept after the day Samar died. All I did all day was ignoring my mother’s pleas to me to eat and reread the letter he wrote to me. There comes a time in your life you don’t know if your life is at a stop or a pause and then you run around looking for the play button. Here, I wasn’t concerned about the play, I just wanted it to rewind, I am not sure where. So I picked a pen and paper and began writing what came to my mind.
“Dear, umm… I don’t know what to call you yet. We didn’t discuss this. That day never came. We didn’t know you were going to come at all. I am sorry, maybe we should have. But, for now, maybe you’re just Junior? I am sorry, Junior. I am just not ready to love you. The man I loved, your father, simply zoomed away as if you never existed. He didn’t stay a day to know about you. Honestly, if he knew, he wouldn’t have gone. We once discussed having dogs. I love dogs, you know? But he didn’t. We never had that conversation again. When I got to know about you, I knew we’d have a lot to talk about. But now, I don’t know what to do. I couldn’t even manage to tell mom about you. I am sorry, Junior. Maybe I just need some time.
I erased ‘Mishty’, twice and wrote ‘mom’. I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure at all. I didn’t know what he or she would like to call me. I just left it. That’s the day I slept for long. No one woke me up. I kept sleeping till my back was tired of it.
14th August 2014
11:21 AM It had been over ten days since Samar left me. I looked at the clock; one hour later, the doctor had forced me to see him. I didn’t want to, you know. But then you know how doctors are. So I went for a regular check-up. The doctor kept looking at me every time he saw something on the screen. It was a blank look, I didn’t know what to decipher. Not that I was an expert to understand it anyway. “So, Mishty,” he said sitting in his chair while I sat opposite him. “how are you doing now?” he asked me. “Let’s just skip that?’ I asked. He smiled and nodded. “There is news I am not sure you’re ready for.” “I’m not sure what can be worse. Shoot.” I smirked. “Your baby…” he paused. “Com’on doc, this is not the first time you’re breaking this kind of news, tell me.” Maybe he was surprised with the bluntness I portrayed. But then, I thought I could take in anything. He looked into my eyes at first, paused and took a breath. “Okay. You miscarried.” He said and waited for my reaction. “It’s the stress and trauma you’ve been enduring, Mishty. You’ve seen a lot in these days.” He kept jabbering I didn’t want to hear. I got up and walked and ran to my apartment. The letter! I reread the letter. ‘I am not ready to love you.’ I reread. ‘I am not ready to love you.’ I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop. I shouldn’t have written the letter. I shouldn’t have let Junior down. I didn’t know how to undo it. Could I? All I wanted them to do was to stay.