its been a lifetime…

 

He sat on the bench, under the shade of the tree. The morning sunlight filtered through the leaves. The shadows and little sunlight let out a warm and cool glow at the same time.

The memories flooded through. It sounded like a gushing wind was released which was not meant to. The little boy besides him held his finger. The morning had its own warmth. He looked at the boy beside him. He looked cute as the sunlight kissed his cheek. The boy looked sleepy. He would come every day just because he liked to spend time with the old man. The little boy had expectantly asked him a question. A question unexpected but yet well-known.

He remembered his days when he never seemed to have the strength to move on. The first time when he had failed in an important exam that would have decided his career. The time when he was working hard but did not seem to be getting the results. The day his best friend had moved to a different city or when he had to give up his art to pursue a career. The day when his parents had to move to another house and leave behind the neighborhood where he had grown up. The day he had an accident and there were few chances of recovery, few chances that he would be able to walk again. And that day when he lost his mother all of a sudden.

The day when his the girl he had loved , left him. A certain period of days when he knew he did not have money even for food. He had seen his father cry at the kitchen table, unknown to him. The day when another job added to the list he had failed to get. The day when he had an idea but not the money. The time when the boys around him made fun and girls looked down with disgust at his clothes. The day when the roof was leaking during a heavy pour but there was nothing he could do about it and he had slept with wet blankets. The day when he had first met her but did not have the courage to confess his feelings. The day when his business was not doing well. The nights he had been awake worrying about his future. The nights he had been awake working hard to make his idea a success. A few years later, when his business had lost money and he was back at level zero, when he couldn’t look at his wife as she served dinner.The day they had lost their baby due to miscarriage.The day his father passed after a long term of suffering. The day when his life did not seem to go anywhere. He remembered the time when he wanted to suicide.

There were times when he did not know what to do, he felt lost, he felt he could go no where, he was a loser. He smiled as he came out of his memory world. The little boy had asked him,

”Grandpa, what is life?”.

He smiled because he knew the exact answer to his question. After a lifetime of wandering through shadows and sunlight , he knew the answer. Today , as he sat with his grand child, he then went back in time. He had found the courage to ask the girl he loved, they were married. He had a business that was well recognized. He had two children after they lost their first baby. He had a house with a roof that did not leak. He had money , he could eat a few delicacies now and then. He had what he wanted. Maybe not all as well as he still wished for. But definitely, a huge difference between his past and present. A good difference.

He looked at the little boy. “My little one, life is all about patience. About hope. About not giving up.It is about the ability to wait , the realization that you have to be patient for every big and little change. The sun takes time to rise and to set. You cannot be sad in the evening about wanting to see a sun rise. You have to wait for it. Patience, my dear, for every moment. And the belief, the hope, that times change. That you will , someday, find your destiny, even if at this very moment, you are lost.”

I feel glad to have waited,he thought as they walked back.

I feel good I never gave up.

Its been a lifetime , but its always worth in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lost innocence.

 

 

The silence prevailed for a long time. It should not have lasted that long. Or at least it felt unfamiliar to have lasted that long. The silence had been forced upon him in an instant. It was surprising though since a minute ago it seemed that the place could never rest in peace. The regular activity had been occuring since a long time. Since the time he was under the open sky. He had not remembered the place to be this silent in a long time.

His mother lay still beside him. The wind blew her fair across her face. She lay there looking tired. Her eyes had dark circles around them. A couple of bangles were broken from her beautiful set. He remembered his father having brought them for her a few months ago. She had shown them to him with such fondness. Her dress was a bit torn. But it did not stand out since it was so dirty. A baby he did not know, just a few months old, lay beside his mother all bundled up. He was staring at him, his little arms trying to uncover himself.

His father was nowhere to be seen. He had not been home since the past few days. Mother had told him that he would be away for a long time. Where exactly was he gone he had not understood but she had cried so often that he had stopped asking. He missed him too. He would wish he was with them. He always cuddled him whenever the cold breeze blew along.

He stared at his mother. He wished she would wake up. She had promised she was taking them to a new place. She had been scared to live here. He wished she would wake up. The colour had faded from her face and she looked weak.

A sudden shriek cut through the silence. The firing could be heard again. The war had not ended. His mother lay beside him in a pool of blood. A bullet had hit her hard in her chest. She lay motionless as he tried to call out to her. He now understood where his father must have been. The baby was crying. Maybe he understood the truth too. He looked down the road, all it had to show him was different pools of dried or wet, blackened or red blood  and bodies. The disfigured, misshapen figures were once people. Another explosion shook the remaining piece of land. Amid all the noise, he never understood war , but he understood he had to run for his life. He had nowhere to go, he had no one to go to. As he heard the clunk of metal boots, a new round of bullets being fired and new screams, he picked up the bundled life. He slipped on the road, it was difficult to run through the red puddle, the smell and smoke. His little legs carried him as fast as he could, leaving behind his tenderness as fast as they could. The war had served him no purpose except perhaps rendering him all to himself. He looked around one last time. Another bullet had hit its target.

the midnight dawn…

 

 

The chill of the winter was enough to last a lifetime. The platform was almost deserted except for a  few stray dogs. One man came walking around the platform at his usual time. The ragged clothes and dust bathed face was enough to repel anybody. He walked down the length  at his own pace , the stray dogs behind him. He seemed to be a regular. He found a corner and made himself as comfortable as he could which was the only option. A couple of the dogs sniffed lovingly.

“Sorry dear, nothing to spare today. We both are going to have a hungry night.” He ran his fingers through their fur as they tried to lick hi face. The moonlight was particularly intense today. They all snuggled together for warmth and for they were the only ones they had. An occasional rustle was the only sound . The night had its own silence that could be heard without even trying to . Used to the circumstances, the man fell asleep.

Somebody was walking with a quick pace and a heavy heart. Well covered from head to foot , no one could tell who the person really was. Maybe it was someone who had lost the way or was trying to find a shelter or some other reason. The moon lit the path. The person had a tiny bundle held close to its chest. As the wind blew, It pulled the bundle closer. Wishing nobody to be around , the person kept walking turning around often. It was difficult to keep going knowing what destination he was about reach. It was hard to keep going knowing the reason he had chosen this particular track for. Suddenly , he felt this had to be it. No one was around. He looked at the bundle in his arms. With one longing look, he placed it down and left. The midnight had ended.

Somewhere , a child bauled. The dogs barked.The man was wide awake. He had never woken up so scared. It took a few seconds to realize the sharp sound was a cry. The shrill was such that it might have well been heard at the next station. He calmed the dogs.He walked towards the edge of the platform. He wished the cry would at some point turn mute. It seemed to pierce everything that got in its way. He looked around and decided he would have to go down the path.A little reluctant as he was,  he did start walking. The dogs followed, thankfully quiet.He neared the spot. The moon seemed to have focused a little more of its light on what seemed to be a bundle.He picked it up. It was a baby not so well wrapped.He looked around. A new born could not have landed all by itself in the middle of a deserted place at such an odd hour. No one was to be seen around. Well, he thought , somebody seemed to have had a purpose to abandon this one. He looked back at the tiny face that screamed in effort. It seemed not to have realized that it was back in someone’s arms. Still crying for the ones that left behind , I suppose , he murmured.What do I do with you little one he thought as he walked back. As he reached back to his corner, the child had stopped crying. It looked frail. The man pulled the bundle closer towards himself. If not hunger, at least I can satisfy your comfort he thought. The child looked at him. As he rocked it to sleep, it suddenly smiled. You trust too easily, little one , I am only going to comfort you for the night, not for life. I don’t have anything to give you.He placed the child beside him. The dogs had already fallen asleep.All of a sudden, just before he could close his eyes, he felt something warm on his finger. The child had its fist closed around his finger. Maybe my dawn has arrived with you, he smiled and pulled it closer. They both did find a family.

The moon slowly faded its light. The midnight had found its dawn.

 

thankyou…

 

The day was a usual one. She was walking down the streets. The weather was just beautiful. The exact reason she had decided to walk and had asked the driver not to pick her up. The foreign land in the early days of her visit had seemed a little unfamiliar but now she felt like she knew every corner. Her job was great, the apartment was beautiful with a view, her friends had a job in the same city. They got together every weekend. Her parents had a visit every couple of weeks. She could not have been more happy in life. The best was that she had a loving husband. They had been married for five years now. Every moment that she could think of him, she felt as fond as it could ever be.
She stopped by a café. It was one of the regular places she visited. The owner waved at her as usual. She smiled and walked towards the counter. The yellow lights gave away a faded glow. That and the special smell made her always seem to stay. She chose her cosy seat by the window. It always seemed to be available whenever she visited the cafe which was always loved. She opened up one of the newspapers and read. The music was at the volume she liked, faded.
“Your coffee miss.”, he smiled.
“Thank you Jack. The place is not crowded as usual today.”
“Yeah. Just one of the days. It seems the snow is going to be rough this year.” He pointed to the weather report being displayed on the TV screen.
“Yes. But I am not complaining.”
“Wouldn’t expect you to. You have always loved it. I’ll leave you to your latte. Oh and before I forget, I got the album you were looking for.” She felt a sudden glow in her heart as she touched the cover. She had been hunting it for weeks now. She made for her purse, but he waved away.
“Just keep coming back. It feels good to have the regulars. People who I know personally and not as customers.” He turned to wipe a table. She went back to her latte. She did not see a man enter the café. Maybe she would have recognized him from back somewhere, maybe not. It had been a decade since they had last known each other. He walked to the counter and asked for a coffee. He paid the money and looked around for a comfortable corner. Besides a couple, an old man, a father with his child and a lady, it was only the owner and him. He was about to walk away when something made him look at her again and he recognized her. He could not believe his eyes. He almost decided to walk past her but something made him stay. She still hadn’t looked up from the paper. Well, its been a long time, he thought. He walked towards her as she looked up. An awkward silence followed as she stared at him. It took a few seconds to recognize him. He dared to sit down.
“Hey.”
“Hello. Quite an unexpected surprise.”
“How are you?”
“I am good. And you? ”
“I am fine. ”
A silence followed as she stared at him and he stared all over the table. He seemed to be working on the conversation when she decided to interrupt.
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh I am here on a visit. I am staying at the hotel just around the corner. I was just grabbing a coffee around here.”
She wanted to say “I got that since you visited the café.” But she kept that to herself. She noticed he had given her a lot of details compared to his secretive nature years ago.
“No, not that. Why are you here, all of a sudden. Sitting in front of me.”
He felt lost in his words. He knew what she was referring to. The past few years he had been hoping to run into her somewhere. He had a certain realization with him that had never let his heart get rid of some feeling that made him uneasy. He had run around years , planning the conversation in his head, the scene about how it would go, what he would say, what she would say. Now, the rehearsals left him the way he had left her years ago.
He had been the one to ask her after a long time crush and pursuance. When she had agreed , he had promised to keep her happy. The start was all about love. Then over the next few months, she noticed a change in him but her trust kept her going . Then all of a sudden, after a few months , she had a letter handed to her through a common friend. She thought it was so sweet. Only till she opened it. The long heartless paragraphs were about how he thought she did care and love him, but he could not continue with her and how she was different than him and he no more felt the same way.
She had called him but he had not answered. She tried for a couple of days but to no avail. She decided to be brave about it. The next week she had her answer. He had left her for another girl. As he sat with his arms around her, she had silently walked past the scene unknown to him.
He avoided her. She had thought of him as a brave person. He was a coward. A pathetic coward. She did not feel angry. She felt sorry for him. After all the struggle, trying to meet him and talk to him, he had not considered her, turning a deaf ear to her feelings. She did not feel angry. She felt sorry for him. Him being considerate and his patience was all she had asked for, despite all other ups and downs to his side. The pretence had hurt her, the cowardice had been unexpected. She sometimes felt during days that followed when he had left, if she should have fought for him more than she tried. The day the truth was revealed, she felt good her intuitions had prevented her. That was the day she had left him forever for she realized, he wasn’t someone worth holding on to.
After all these years, he was here , sitting in front of her.
“I am sorry. I really am. I shouldn’t have left you…..”
She interrupted “ You have the girl you wanted. I knew. I did not confront you on the spot because I did not want to spoil her life, she would never have trusted you. You did not deserve but she loved you. I left because I knew she would love you. I let go because you were naïve. All I asked was for you to understand ‘ us ’ with time, but you are a selfish man. You gave me a load of convincing about the reasons for us not being able to stay together but I knew if you wanted to stay every reason would have faded. I let go that easy because you only fight for something that is yours. You never have to force it to stay,to be yours.”She was silent for a few minutes.
“Now, I assume this expression of guilt may have a price. ”
He welled up. “I was wrong. I thought you did not have an understanding. But no one cared like you did. Her love passed by. Your’s would have stayed and I let go for momentary pleasure.”
She suddenly stood up.
“I actually thank you. I had looked for a man who knew how to take care of his woman, not her needs. You were a boy. I have my freedom, I have my husband’s comfort. He has me. I know have what I really wanted. ”
She stood up.”And if you ever happen to be in the same place as me and see me, just avoid me the way you have all these years. As a parting gift, I let you go for someone else. This would be mine.”
She walked out of the café. She felt good.
He did not have the strength to move. He felt hollow.

together forever….

 

The apartment lights were still on. She was working late into the night. She typed furiously as the clock ticked. The coffee had turned cold. A few pages ruffled as the wind blew in through the open window. The music was played at a volume that was barely audible. The screen seemed to burn her eyes. After a long hour of typing and editing, she felt she heard someone stir in her bedroom. He must just be turning over in his sleep, she thought. She removed her spectacles and rubbed her eyes. She reached for the glass of water that seemed to have been emptied hours ago. She got up. She felt stiff. She filled the glass  and removed the dish from the oven. She walked back to her laptop. Leaning back , she stretched herself. It had been a long day. All of a sudden, the bedroom door opened and he walked out. He seemed surprised she was still awake.

“Why are you still awake?”

“Oh honey don’t worry ,I am almost done. Why are you awake?”

“Can’t sleep when you are not there beside me.”

He curled up on the sofa and placed his head in her lap. She kissed him. After a few moments, he fell asleep holding her hand. She ran her fingers through his hair. She always liked the way it felt. Soft and silky. She looked at him for a long time.

They were on a visit to this orphanage when she had first met him. She took a liking for him at first sight. He was a handsome boy who had been very shy then. He had followed her around the orphanage but had run away at every attempt of conversation. During lunch break, she had made him sit beside him. They did hit the comfort zone. It was the most pleasant conversation she ever had. When they were about to leave, he had made sure no one was seeing them and then, lightly kissed her. She had kissed him back. She had promised to meet him every weekend at the orphanage.

And she did. They sometimes had an occasional visit to the park or the zoo or the ice cream parlor. They were his favorite places. They walked hand in hand and talked about everything. It felt lovely watching his expressions as he chattered. Day by day she realized she wanted him in his life. She had grown so fond of him that she couldn’t live without him. She remembered the day she told her parents about it. They were shocked to their very core. They did not want her to, but they finally gave in.About the rest, she did not care.

And then, the most beautiful day of her life arrived.

She signed the papers .

She signed the papers for adoption.

Against raised eyebrows, he was finally hers. He had run into her arms and laughed and cried at the same time when he knew she would be his mother. She had savored the moments when they had first walked into their home for the first time. It was real. They could not have been so happy ever before.

As her son slept peacefully in her lap, she kissed him. They were together. He was with her, she was with him. She felt peace herself.