Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Brighter Side Of Darkness


Fiction

Bidisha Sinha

It had been a long day; long enough to be mistaken for two days and yet it was just one really long day. I had woken up to a deceitfully beautiful morning expecting nothing extraordinary. No chance meeting with a handsome stranger, no sudden inheritance of wealth from a distant relative, no empty space in a parking lot, no discount on a gorgeous dress, no lunch date and no dinner invitation. The usual morning kappa followed by the usual breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast seemed perfect to kick-start my day. I got down from the bed to the instant comfort of my slippers. those slippers were a gift from my mother. She claimed that the countless bumps on it of varying shapes and sizes were meant for 'good blood circulation'. Aah...she had always been a health freak and it only did us good. the slippers felt like a dream on my sleep-numbed feet. I reached for my cell phone on the bed-side table and checked if somebody considered me important enough to call or at least leave a message. I did have calls. Twelve calls from an unknown number! Somebody was desperately trying to reach me and i had no idea why! I dialled the number and a female voice answered.

'Hello'
'Umm...hello. Somebody tried to reach me from this number... I have twelve calls from this number.'
'Oh! Just hold on.'
'...'
'Hello'

I could recognize that 'hello' even if I heard it after a hundred years.

'Umm..hello. You called?'
'Yeah. How are you?'
'I am fine...you?'
'Well...I feel fine too'
'Are you alright?'
'Yeah. Can you come meet me today? There is something I want you to see.'
'Today?'
'Is that a problem?'
'No! No. When should I come?'
'Around noon'
'Ok'
'Dont take too long'
'Ok'

With that he hung up. I did not say 'goodbye' because saying 'goodbye' to Ryan was a sin. He had forbidden me to use that word ever. Meeting Ryan was a carefully laid out plan of destiny. It was love at first sight for me. The first thing I noticed were those mesmerizing brown eyes with tiny golden flecks in them. They were the most beautiful pair of eyes to look into mine. I was smitten by the honesty and the innocence in those eyes. His smile was  genuine and like soft sunshine; warm and bright.

I had to meet him at noon and I did not want to keep him waiting. Unpunctuality made him really cross. I decided on a soft pink dress that Ryan said looked 'cool' on me. Personally pink wasn't my color but since Ryan liked it on me, I was only too happy to oblige. A quick glance at my watch told me it was time to get going. I knew my destination and the path leading to it so well that i could reach it even with my eyes closed. Within half an hour I reached the familiar building that had been Ryan's home since I have known him. It has been a long time since I first met him here. Nothing had changed about that place. The walls, the rooms and even the smell was just as it had been then. I knew exactly where Ryan would be waiting and my steps were unexpectedly hurried. I opened the door and saw him looking out of the window with those brown and golden eyes. I stopped in my tracks and stared at him feeling the rush of my overpowering love for him.

I called out his name and he turned to look at me. I could see the golden flecks dancing in his brown eyes. He came running towards me and hugged me hard. Then he looked at me with a scowl on his face.

'Ray-aan, not Ry-an! Can't you pronounce it right!'
'Ok "Ray-aan", am sorry...so what's the big surprise?'
'This'

It was a piece of paper. It was his masterpiece. He had drawn a girl with a circle for a face, two dots for eyes, a line for the nose and a curve for a smile. She had a pink frock on so I guessed it was me. Below the drawing of the girl Ryan had carefully written in all capitals-
I LOEV YOU.

'Did you like it? Its you. Did I spell that right? It says "I love you".'
'Its beautiful. Ray-aan you made me so beautiful.'
I was touched...I had tears welling up in my eyes and wrongly spelt 'LOEV' didn't matter at all.
'You know the nurse helped me with the spelling but I already knew it! She even let me use her phone to call you. I told her I would not take my meds till you come.'
'I am here now'
'Yeah. Mom and Dad are with the Doc. You know I will be going to heaven soon. Do you have a message for God? I can  give it to him if you want.'

I didn't know what to say. I didn't have a message for God; I just had a complaint.

I had met Ryan at the children's ward of St. Agnes Medical Centre three summers ago. I had volunteered to work as a care-taker at the ward. On my first day, Ryan had come up to ask me what was wrong with me and would I be going to heaven with him. He had no idea what going to heaven was all about. He didn't know that I had no way to confirm if my message ever reached God. He made it all sound so wonderful. We talked for hours and talked some more. It was past visiting hours and I was asked to leave. Ryan frowned at the nurse as she came in to give him his dose for a little extra time on Earth. Ryan was living on borrowed time. After a hurried kiss on the cheeks, his sedatives took action and he felt drowsy. I kissed his forehead and slowly came out.

Ryan had leukemia. Though there was no possible treatment left, the sedatives eased the pain and helped him sleep. I drove back all the time thinking of Ryan. I got back home only to be greeted by loneliness and darkness. There was no electricity. I had always been afraid of the dark...but today for the first time I felt at ease with the darkness. Life is not always sunshine. I sat down on the floor and realized that I was still holding Ryan's drawing. I was glad that it was dark and in the darkness, unseen and unheard, I let my tears flow.

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