Hema Lokhande, Longlist Short Story 2017

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Hema Lokhande

Joy came early as he promised to Mary. There was no sign of tiredness in his face and Mary greeted him with even bigger smile. 

“So, how  was the day?” asked Mary. 
“Mary, you look wonderful, Did anyone come from the office?” Joy asked. 
“Joy, let me see the report”. Mary asked him. 
“You can see the report when we are back from the dinner,” Joy replied. 
Joy and Mary were happily married for last three years and now they were trying to move on to the family. 

They both had an appointment with the doctor and doctor wanted to check the reason of stomach ache of Joy which arises suddenly and used to disappear suddenly as it arises. The report was supposed to be collected today and Mary called Joy’s office to remind about it, but she came to know that Joy had already  left for the hospital. 

They both had a nice time in their favourite restaurant. Both wisely turning the subject of report to other area of interest.  Deep inside they both were concerned but apparently they were happy in an attempt to keep their partner happy. They both were deceiving each other. 

Joy was thinking as how to disclose the report to Mary. The report which tells that Joy was having a cancer. Joy was not sad that he is having very less time with him, but he was worried for his love Mary who was with him for past three years and never turned back to her parents. They were in love for past five years and married for three years. They were happily enjoying all the life’s outcome holding each other’s hand and now fate is compelling them to get separated. 

Joy never had a faintest idea about Mary calling the doctor and getting the report verbally. The doctor had informed Mary about some tests to be done and about his time slipping  from his hand like sand. 

Mary cried bitterly when she was alone  but managed somehow to wear a gleaming smile before Joy. 
An hour later, joy and Mary were in their room. Mary! Joy whispered in her ear. “I love you too much, and I  will never leave you alone”. 

Joy, I  love you too. She dwelt her head inside his wide chest and she started crying bitterly. Now joy understood that Mary knows about the report. 
They both started crying and when they stopped, Mary’s face was as if she had decided  something. 
“Mary, I’m a liar, I could not keep my promise of living with you, I  think I am going earlier than you. Please take care of yourself when I  am not here beside you”. 

“Joy, please don’t say this, whatever time we are having in our hand, we will live the every moment of it. It doesn’t matter to us how long we lived, only matters is how worth we live. I m always there for you Joy. Let’s leave aside all the worries and live the life lively instead of whining and complaining. Leave everything to me, I  will take care of you and mine. “

Mary planted a kiss on his forehead and tried to smile. The rejuvenated love story it seemed; both of them trying to keep each other happy, as it becomes the only aim in this universe. The bond between them strengthening after every love they made. The relation which grew so  very close again, as if destiny has favoured them by foretelling the time and to arrange for their newly love life, both thinking that the thirst of gathering each other would do some miracle. Suddenly both somewhat became very precious for each other. They have only one aim :to cherish each part of life and everything else to be forgotten. 

Joy, let’s forget everything. Let’s not believe in tomorrow, and let’s enjoy now, this moment. I love you and I want to have you, I need you and your love.”

Mary, I  love you too, and I will always be  there for your every wish and desire till my last breath. 

And they ignited the desire of love. Joy  seemed relax too. Mary was too impatient to wait for anything and she kissed him with such an emotion that joy forgot everything and there was a deluge of emotions which followed. He fed off her mouth like a man who had been starved for too long. His lips greedy, ravenous and relentless. Mary kissed him back with the same grasping desperate hunger. Her lips swelling beneath the pressure of his and they surrendered before love. They both allowed themselves to get carried along with the tidal wave of it. There were no tensions, no carcinoma and no reports coming between them. They felt each and every throb of their body and a great wave of overwhelming emotions coursed through them. 

She loved this man and He was a world to her. She felt the rising waves go over the head, crashing all around her, fragmenting her consciousness until she was mindless, the melting pool of nothingness…

And they both didn’t remember anything. 
But one thing was certain love certainly have a healing power which makes one forget everything. The only thing to be remembered was to love one another, trying to be one, mixing both the bodies and melting themselves under a hot furnace of breath. 
Why the time doesn’t stop here? 
But, as soon as the stillness regained, Mary thought as how long will there be such a beautiful night. 

Mary then made every effort to keep Joy  the happiest person. They would both enjoy talking about their childhood days, with utmost care that they don’t take out the word of the illness. Both were, as if settled to an agreement with almighty that “lets see how you can defeat us”. Instead, it seemed as if they were least bothered about it and cherished each beautiful moments and in trying to keep each other happy  the dreadful cancer too could not haunt them. They were living each day.
Mary used to lie by joy’s  side during his final days and listened to the sound of breathing. She had been terrified to leave him, even to answer the door bell, to fix him some food or to go to the toilet, just in case that was the time he chose to leave her. When she would return to his bedside she would sit frozen in a terrified silence while she listened for his breathing and watched his chest for any movement. 

But he would always manage to hang on. He had baffled the doctors with his strength and determination to live. Joy was not prepared to go without a fight. He kept his good humour right up until the end. He had gone too weak and his voice too vague , but Mary had learned to understand his new vague language as a mother does her babbling child who is just learning to talk. They would still giggle together late into the night and some other night they would hold each other’s hand and cry . Mary remained strong throughout.

On the 21st of October at 8 o’ clock in the morning, doctor called Mary and she understood that this is the time of separation. Mary held Joy’s hand tightly and smiled at him courageously as he took his last breath and closed his eyes. She didn’t want him to be afraid and she didn’t want him  to feel that she was afraid, because at that moment she wasn’t. She felt relief- Relief that his pain was gone and relief that she had been there with him to witness the peace of his face. She felt relieved to have shared with him all the moments of love and sorrow and the last thing he saw was her face smiling down at him. 

Relief that she has lived a six decades in this six months. They lived entirely a new life for each other and in these six months they had known each other so much that without a word they could understand each other deeply. 

She  felt relieved, that she has taken a part of him in her womb. She had not surrendered before destiny . She was adamant to keep his love for herself and she did it without letting Joy know, that his part is with her . His fresh new part ready to make her laugh, ready to give her the plethora of love once again within six months. 

Life will be easily difficult for her with little Joy. 

 

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