Holding Onto His Hands
It was a warm February morning. Thankfully, it wasn't that hot. Somewhere in the city a cafè was coming to life. Its proud owner, a energetic and bubbly 36 year old woman was busy checking the inventory and supervising the morning breakfast service. She was busy as a bee. And why not. The dream that she had seen 3 years ago with open eyes was finally taking shape. Her cafè was slowly but surely turning into a cultural melting pot. She wanted her cafè to be more than just a place where people come, eat and then leave. She wanted it to be a part of their daily routine. Her hard work was finally paying off. She was finally getting the feeling that starting this place was the best decision of her life.
Just then the phone rang to interrupt her morning frenzy. She took the call and suddenly started speaking in a muffled voice. She had a blank look on her face. As if whatever she heard could not have happened. The call was short. For a moment, she wasn't able to say anything. She sat down at one of tables. She had to. It took her a few minutes to get her bearings back. She went to the cafè's manager, spoke with him, and then hurriedly left for home. At home, she was frantically searching for something in her wardrobe. Her neatly folded laundry was all over the bed. She finally found it. She put it her purse and rushed out of her home.
She stopped the car at the entrance of a lane and somehow managed to park her car. Her hands were trembling. She walked the short distance to a two-storey house and nervously made her way through the crowd that had gathered outside. She started searching for familiar faces. She didn't have to wait for too long. A young boy recognized her and took her inside. She could smell the strong fragrance of the incense sticks that was kept besides a body that was wrapped in a white sheet.
There, under all the white that had engulfed him, was someone whom she knew all too well. Or so she thought. But the man she knew was dying a slow death every single day. The situational depression that he was diagnosed with three years ago had taken a turn for the worse. In his last check-up, the psychiatrist diagnosed him with Persistent Depressive Disorder.
Persistent he was. And nobody knew this better than her. He was the other man in her life. Yes, he was that. And a whole lot more to her. He was her friend, her confidant, her go-to guy, her lover and her work partner. He couldn't have had any reason to not fall in love with her. They were in love and how. And he loved her more than any man ever could. They would often talk about why it took them so long to find each other. But the heart takes its time to find the right one for you.
And here he was, the love of her life. Cold and lifeless. She walked up to him and sat next to him. She could see a few familiar faces. She felt as if everyone was looking at her and wondering if she was responsible for his death. But that was not entirely true. He had died the day she had refused to be with him. He didn't ask any questions. Nor did he protest. He bid her a tearful goodbye and walked away. He didn't even turn around and look back. He just kept walking. This was little over a year ago. They hadn't met since then.
She couldn't sum up the courage to walk out of her marriage. She had thought it was best if she stayed back in it for everyone's emotional stability and the security that came with this relationship. Nobody would get hurt, she had thought. Eventually he would forget her and move on. But that was not how he had imagined their life together. And certainly not without her. She feared the reaction of the society. She was scared of the reaction of her husband. She feared that her family would never forgive her if she did it.
But today there was no fear. Today, she could hold his hands and weep for as long as she wanted. There was no shame. Nor the fear of consequences. She fondly recalled how she would hold him and kiss his hands whenever she got an opportunity. His soft touch and his caressing her with his tiny fingers. How she would joke about his small hands. Those hands had once wiped her tears and comforted her when nothing else could. And whenever possible, those hands had embraced her tightly while she slept like a child. She knew she was safe there.
She took out a gold ring from her purse, looked at it for a moment and then put it in his ring finger. She had bought it for him thinking that one day they would get a chance to exchange rings. She knew he would be the happiest man on earth when that happened. She held on those beautiful hands. She didn't want to let go of them. Not now.
She couldn't be a part of the life he had dreamt for them. But today, she desperately wished she had been. Someone was trying to comfort her. But a part of her had died with him.