Sunday, March 18, 2012

The closure - II

Even nightmares are a blessing in this difficult world. They hold a promise of unimaginable relief when they end with awakening.

It seemed like a monster had walked through our street, wreaking havoc, whether in mad fury or drunken frenzy I couldn't say. Trees were uprooted or bent or broken, leaves and twigs and mud were strewn all over, and the streetlights were all out, looking forlorn and dripping rain water like tears. I eased my breathing and inhaled slowly taking in the smells of wet earth, wood and ozone. I had slept through the cold and a storm. I bridled my mind. It was just a storm. It didn't change the necessity to find him. Storms were common. He was not. I walked into the wreck and the rain, barefoot and unmindful of the pebbles and twigs and other sharp debris. If not uncomfortable, the pain under my feet made me alert and aware of my surroundings. It was as if I had walked into a life sized greyscale picture. Past the lop sided iron gate, I walked on the cobblestone street. Cobblestone? I stopped and stared wide eyed at the grey stones at my feet and then slowly looked around taking in the stretch of cobblestone spread far till the eyes could see through the grey haze of rain that still fell lightly, relentlessly. Fear crept over me and I turned around and saw the same expanse of grey stones tightly packed into the ground, haphazard, bumpy and endless. The house was gone. My heart threatened to burst out of my chest as I slowly turned a full circle. All the houses were gone. The trees remained, the streetlights still stood, even the iron gate and the gates of other houses and their gardens and fences in various stages of damage. I broke into a run then, along what once was our street. The rain drops hit me and soaked my clothes and seeped into my hair. The cold seeped further into my skin and flesh and bones. I ran through the murky greyness and after a while a wall loomed suddenly in front of me. It was low, barely reaching my waist and made of stones that were, yet again stubbornly grey. And beyond the wall was a sudden drop of a couple of dozen feet ending with the same cobbled ground. That too stretched in every direction, strewn with destroyed vegetation and loose earth. There, at a distance just before my vision was limited by the grey haze, I saw something that stood out starkly against the monotony of destruction. The only bit of colour in the greyscale picture. Hope flared in me and I clung to it like a drowning person. I looked down, over the wall and my heart sank. It was quite a drop. I glanced to my right and saw that the wall stretch for quite a distance before disappearing behind the veils of falling rain. I turned left and to my amazement saw stairs leading down along the wall. I took the stairs without another thought and found myself plunged into a fog after a few steps. It faltered me a bit but I kept going hoping it would clear away at the end. It did thankfully as I reached the bottom. From there I couldn't see the coloured figure but I now had a sense of its location and bolted to my right. I ran hard and fast looking in every direction hoping to catch a glimpse of colour. I was almost out of breath and thinking of slowing down when I saw a flash of blue in front of me. All rest forgotten, I covered the last few feet and stopped dead when I realized that the blue belonged to a pair of jeans. A painfully familiar pair of jeans. One step closer, and I saw a white shirt, soaked yet somehow pristine. Another step, and I saw the face of the person whom the clothes belonged to. I hadn't noticed the feet since had blended so well with the grey stones; just like the face so pale and ashen and so familiar; just like the eyes so dark and vacant and dead staring sightlessly into the stormy sky, into the world that felt just as dead to me in that infinite moment.
 I gently touched her cheek hoping it would wake her up. The slight frown on her face troubled me and I debated whether to rouse her or not. The chill of the previous night had dissipated and apart from a few stray clouds, the day held a sunny promise. Her frown deepened and I became more worried. I was about to call her name to wake her up when tears suddenly sprung up at the corners of her closed eyes. Now my worry was bordering around panic. Just when I held her shoulders to shake her gently to wakefulness, her eyes flew open. At first I was startled and then shocked to see sheer terror on her face. For a moment that seemed to stretch endlessly she looked at me with those brown, terrified eyes and then, in the next, she was up and crashing into me, throwing her arms around my chest in a tight embrace that knocked my breath away and almost pushed me off my seat. When I could breathe again a beat later, I noticed that my hands had fallen off her shoulders and the front of my shirt was slowly getting drenched. Her tears were like tempest and she was weeping like a burst dam. But I just circled my arms around her protectively and didn't let that worry me. I knew she had forgiven me and, more importantly, forgiven herself and that was enough. For once, I didn't ask what had transpired beyond the frown and the tears. For once, I just held her close and let her cry.

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