Mahesh Jamb, Longlist Short Story 2017

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Mahesh Jamb

‘You know ,they say, date someone you want to annoy forever, someone who shares your version of weird, someone who lives in the way you do, someone who promises and never breaks them , someone who will hold you on the edge and never let that ugly truth hurt you only to reveal it when you are ready, someone who has a calming effect on you, someone who is scared of spiders but is prepared to overcome the fear of death for you. Someone who shares an internal connection with you, so deep that, she goes down when you’ve been hit. You girl, are my someone, and I have been stupid enough to let you go once, but not this time, not again, not again. I love you, will you be mine?’

She stood there, with the wet old letter written by her high school love in her hand, wondering, what wrong had she done to bear this.

It was a Saturday night, she had refused to reply to his mails and answer his calls, she didn’t want to talk to anyone about him, she hated him for leaving her alone on her special day, but she also wanted to see him. She opened her mailbox, ‘Forgive me’, he wrote at the end of the email and indeed she had by now.

Eagerly waiting for the love of her life to come back from the land of dreams, cross the seven seas and take her with him, she stood there waiting, at the aisle of the airport, the trolleys passed her on one side and people meeting their long-lost relatives on the other. Suddenly an announcement was heard, which changed the course of the day, ‘Air India flight 812 has crashed near Dubai’. These words sent her into a trance, a state she knew she never would recover from, after all that they had been through all these years, and why now, when things were finally going right, when she was supposed to spend her entire life with the person she loved, who was now presumed dead; She wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t drink, wouldn’t have inhaled if she had an option. All she did for those seven days was self loathe in the regret of not accepting him earlier, of not having the courage to forgive him for what he did, if only she had what it took.

Days passed, she waited for the news, when finally, his name was on the list. Only eight people out of 160 had survived, the tears returned but this time they were to celebrate life, that life which she had believed was lost, that life which was back to her, her life, her love. He was one of them.

She accepted him, the way he was and that was all he ever wanted from her. ‘We need to amputate his leg, he will never be able to walk without his crutches ‘, the doctor said with a straight face; he was aghast thinking how she would react, but all she did was smile and kiss him on his forehead assuring him that now she was here, and everything would be all right, everything was perfect as they had each other.

There were times when he would cry at the fate of the woman who had to spend her life with a man who couldn’t even provide her a shoulder to cry on, who always needed support or he’d fall, who was the anchor pulling her down from flying to the nest of her dreams, but he never realised that when he lost a leg and broke his arm in that crash and survived, physically half a person came back ; but mentally, two souls did.

 

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