He sits in the patio alone, watching the sun preparing to bid adieu for the day… white clouds swirling above match the whiteness of his hair… flocks of birds fly across the pink and orange horizon, heading home after a day’s work. A gentle autumn breeze caresses a lone leaf that still holds on to the branch, not willing to let go reminding him of his loneliness and his tenacity to hold on to his hope. People have come and gone but the emptiness in him never left him. For years now this has been a ritual for him, he never misses a sunset.
The years spent show on the lines of his craggy face. He was always a man of few words, reticent and reserved. He never believed in indulging in emotions, longings for a foregone past or worries of a future. He kept such indulges in a tight leash. Always a man of now…but today is a different day. Today, his mind like the clouds above, float to another time, to another life. He thinks of her, his one love.
Years roll away and he is transported to that time, that day when she came into his life. Life was good then; he thought life couldn’t be better, a good job, a beautiful house and a loving family. But unknowing to him there was this unfathomable void in his life, he wasn’t even aware of, till her. And when he did his life turned around, he felt complete. She fascinated him. She was all that he was not, lively, cheerful, open and full of life. While it was difficult for him to open up, she laid bare her soul to him, never hesitating to show her feelings to him. With her he slowly learned to express his innermost thoughts kept hidden all these years. They connected in so many levels, so tuned to each other. They often wondered… What was destiny up to? Was it to let them meet and then rip them apart? There had to be a reason why they met. It could not be just these brief stolen moments they had.
He hoped and believed that someday they would spend their life together. He had never felt love like the way he felt love for her. He was happy. He wanted nothing more than to live life with her and yet he couldn’t. He had commitments, responsibilities towards his loved ones. He could not abandon them. So he made the choice for them. He set her free…
She was shattered but like him there was somewhere in her heart hope and belief that someday he would come and get her. Days became months and soon months became years. Worlds separated them. She tried to run away from the pain of waiting and longing but kept returning. Something about him left no room to sever all ties. She slipped in and out of his life. The first time she did that, he was lost and afraid. He thought she was gone from him for always. He couldn’t hold her because he had no right. He had to let her go. But she came back. Soon he became quite used to her escapades, knowing in his heart she would come back to him. And she did till one day….
It was one of those days when she tells him that she needs to go away from him. He no longer panics and he says that he understands. In the earlier days he would always ask her “For how long honey?” and she would always answer “I don’t know baby, till I feel I am strong enough to do so” or to his question “How will I know you are ok?”… “Don’t worry, if something happens to me you will be notified”. He is always restless when she disappears like this but being a patient man he waits…
Days roll into weeks. His uneasiness grows. Replies to his mails are left unanswered. Her phone remains switched off. Being a man of reason he keeps telling himself that she needs more time and she will come back to him. He also thinks perhaps she has met someone, someone who can fulfill her in every way and she needs time to tell him. Mixed emotions stir in his heart. He loves her so much that he wants her happiness and yet the thought of losing her to someone is something he is not prepared to deal with. He feels her pain, her longing, her desire to be with him which seems futile to her and sometimes even to him and yet he is not willing to give up on them. Days seem endless with no news of her and he immerses himself in his work to keep his sanity. More than a month later the call comes…It was quick the caller said. She died instantly as the truck swerved and hit her car but it took hours to pull her mangled body out of the wreckage. They found his phone number and a picture of him and her in her bag.
The blood drained off from his face, it was like lightening had struck him. He couldn’t move or speak for awhile. He doesn’t even remember what he told the person on the phone. He sat still for hours incapable of anything but as he slowly came back to his senses, he knew something of him died that day with her passing away. His pain and his loss was never noticed by anyone not even his close ones because he was never one to express or show much of his feelings. But since that fateful day he took to watching the sunset, as if searching for her there somewhere in that orange glow. That was his time with her.
A clock chimes in the house and his reverie is broken. A lone tear slides down his face. He still misses her. But his faith is unfailing. He still believes that he will be with her in another lifetime, to complete what they had begun. Their love story, their tale of a lifetime is yet to end….