The gush of wind that blew through the balcony and into the dark room, made the wind chime hung on the ceiling, sway and tinkle with force. She sighed deep and looked out of the balcony to the open night sky. The moon seemed rare and exotic that night. It was a full moon, which was bigger and elegant than the usual. It was not white with gray patches; instead, it was in the shade of pale yellow – bright, beautiful, and unmatched.
She looked at the moon and smirked as she sat on the balcony floor. She remembered a story from her childhood that her grandmother used to recite.
‘Do you see the shape of a tiny hut on the moon?’ Grandma used to say.
‘I do.’ She would reply.
‘And there, do you see an old lady walking with her goat?’ Grandma would say, pointing at the corner of moon.
‘Yes yes! I do!’ She would be excited. ‘So that old lady lives on the moon with her goat. How did she go up there?’
‘Well that’s quite a story.’ Grandma would snuggle her in her arms, making her feel warm and secure. ‘Once upon a time…’
The wind blew again, with more intensity. She crossed her arms around her chest, feeling cold. This time, she had no one who could snuggle her up in arms making her feel warm and no one who could tell her stories of joy and magic to regain her faith in life. She felt lonely and abandoned.
At twenty four, she felt her life falling apart. Her parents were splitting and breaking their twenty six years of marriage. Her friends were miles away, and here she was in an unknown distant city trying to build her dreams which too weren’t working well for her. Even amidst these hassles, she kept herself high and going until she got the final blow of her life. The love of her life, the man of her dreams, and her perfect partner had betrayed her leaving her empty and hollow. She had loved him with every bit of her soul for years until a day before when he chose to walk away, crushing her ultimate forever dreams.
‘Beautiful girls don’t get cheated upon.’ She once read in some relationship advice column.
Every time she looked in the mirror, she found herself beautiful enough for the world. But for the world, she was more beautiful than what she thought. But soon she knew that the columnist was wrong. Being beautiful is not the parameter to not get cheated upon in a relationship. Everyone and anyone can get cheated, lest the sparkle of love fades away.
‘Why did he do this me?’ She asked to herself, getting nothing in reply but silence.
In past three days she had eaten only twice, and that too when her best friend Aditya had stuffed food in her mouth forcefully. And now, she looked starved and gauche. She rested her head on the wall behind and began crying. Again!
Negative thoughts began clouding her senses. She felt useless and waste. So much so that she was getting inclined towards ending her own life. Before the destructive thought could grow more, her cell phone rang for a call. It lied somewhere in her living room from where she could hear it ring but she didn’t bother to get up and walk to attend the call.
The phone kept ringing again and again intruding her restless peace until it eventually stopped fifteen minutes later. Few seconds of sheer silence and the doorbell screamed for a visitor. She ignored the bell until it became too annoying to resist. On the sixth bell, she dragged herself to the door.
She slid the lock and pulled the door open. What she saw through her puffy eyes was a man in his early twenties dressed in pale blue shirt with his deep blue tie hanging like a noose around his neck and grey Nike shorts that hung loose from his hips. As she looked down at his feet, she found black socks on his left feet and no socks on his right. He wasn’t even wearing his shoe.
‘What the hell are you doing here?’ She said as she looked at him from head to toe in disbelief. ‘Wearing half formals, half night wear, and half naked? Are you out of your mind?’
‘No.’ He nodded, ‘I just got home from office a couple of minutes back and called you up just check if you were alive. You didn’t receive so I assumed you were dead. Didn’t want to miss the sight and hence rushed to your place while I was actually changing into my sleep wear.’
‘I am alive.’ She shot, ‘Leave me alone now.’
‘Yeah, sure.’ He said as he titled his six feet frame and slipped into the apartment.
‘Aditya!’ She shrieked. ‘I said leave me alone.’
‘It’s so dark out here.’ He said, finding his way to the couch. ‘Are you so broke that you could not afford to pay your electricity bills?’
She clenched her teeth and turned on the ceiling lights.
‘So you’re not broke yet.’ He relaxed on the couch and threw his bike keys on the table. ‘Why are you still standing at the door? Make yourself at home. Come sit.’
She crossed her arms around her chest as she sat on the couch across from him.
‘Hi! What’s up?’ He waved excitedly.
‘You’re the most shameless creature I have ever known.’ She cursed under her breath.
‘I absolutely am.’ He nodded, ‘But let’s not talk me. You say. You wanted to die in the evening. Why are you still alive?’
‘I was just thinking if it’s right to die.’
‘Of course it is. You are so screwed up. Your life has ended. Your career is sucking, your family is splitting, and over the top, you BROKE up! How can someone live after breaking up? Tsk tsk! Such a poor little girl!’
‘Was this sarcastic?’
‘No no! I don’t hit sarcasm for dying people.’ He made a serious face, ‘You must die. Let me help you with it. I would have a story to tell my future girlfriends. I fucking killed my best friend. What a pride!’
She looked at him blank faced. ‘How should we do it?’
‘Jump off your balcony? You have good chances to die if you fall from the seventh floor.’
‘I am scared of heights.’
‘Then drown in the sea.’
‘I can swim so I won’t drown.’
‘Cut your veins and bleed to death.’
‘That’s slow and painful.’
‘Tie a noose around your neck and hang from the fan.’
‘That would make my face look ugly after I die.’
‘So you want to die but you want to die beautiful?’
He slapped his forehead with his palm. ‘What are you made up of? You fucking lame dumb head bitch! Let me throw you from the balcony itself.’
He hurried towards her, picked her up in his arms and walked towards the living room balcony.
‘Put me down you moron.’ She shrieked. ‘I don’t want to die falling from heights.’
‘You anyways are dying. Doesn’t matter how.’ He held her on the edge of the iron railing. One push and she would be down the seventh floor. ‘Any last wishes?’
‘Tell my parents that I love them and that I don’t want them to split.’ She sobbed looking at the ground. ‘Tell my boss that he is an asshole and an idiot. I chose to take his shit just because I could bear it. Once out of my mind, I could have kicked his job and get a better one in no time. And lastly, tell Ayush that he is a bastard. It’s his loss if he chose to end things and that moron is going to regret it big time. I don’t give a fuck about him anymore.’
‘Okay. Problems solved. Should I throw you now?’ Aditya adjusted the fifty five kg of weight in his arms.
‘Problems solved?’ She asked, still crying.
‘Yeah, solved.’ He said casually. ‘But sorry, none of your wishes are happening after you die. Your parents would split for sure because they would have no reason to be together. Your boss, well, he doesn’t care. He would get another you in thirty or forty thousand rupees. And Ayush! He would just know that you gave so much fuck to him that you gave up your life because of him. Ah! I wish some girl died for me.’
‘Why you have to be brutally honest every single time?’
‘That’s what I am. I don’t change in shit. I get myself out of the shit. I am not a loser like you.’
‘I am not a loser.’
‘You are. You are dying.’
‘I am depressed.’
‘Because you broke up? That is the lamest reason to die.’ He said, firmly. ‘There are millions of human out there who dream of the kind of life you have. What is that you don’t have? And you want to end this life just because your relationship didn’t work out.’
‘No!’ She objected, ‘Because I gave away my soul and he didn’t bother to acknowledge it.’
‘It’s your soul. It belongs to you. You would find it back inside you with time.’ He looked right into her eyes. ‘People like you and me give away our soul when we love truly but not everyone does that. World is selfish. You have seen me lost two years back. And here I am today, strong and content. I have my soul back in me and this time I would give it away only to the one who would be ready to give me hers.’
‘Do you still love Neha?’ She whispered.
‘Of course. You can never un-love someone. You can just accept that they are gone and that those times with them are gone, and move ahead. That’s how it works. You cannot afford to be stuck. The clock is ticking even when you choose to make your life dull. It is ticking even when you choose to live every moment of it. How do you choose to spend this running time is what matters.’
‘I was so lame to think about dying.’
‘You always are.’ He touched his forehead on hers, ‘If you’re done with the dying drama, can I put you down? My arms have gone numb you fatso.’
She laughed through her tears, ‘I don’t want to die. I want to live. Put me down.’
‘Aah! What a relief.’ He said putting her down the floor. ‘What’s in for dinner? I am so hungry.’
She smiled, ‘I didn’t cook anything. I have some chips and biscuits.’
‘Bring it on.’ He dropped himself on the couch again.
She looked at him and smiled with teary eyes. ‘You care for me. Don’t you?’
‘Absolutely no. Why would I care for a lame head like you?’
‘It’s been five years that we are friends Aditya, you can’t lie to me.’ She nudged, ‘You got scared when I didn’t receive the call.’
He looked at her blank faced. ‘Yes. I got scared. You are very important to me. I can’t afford to lose the only true friend I have.’
She smiled and wiped the tears off her cheek.
‘You need to learn to live. And I would teach you how.’ He said.
‘You? I thought…’
‘Yes. Still, I would teach you to live.’ He cut her short knowing what she would say.
‘But I don’t want to depend on you for my happiness or strength.’
‘You won’t. I would make you reach that place in you where you would need no one to hold yourself. You would be strong enough to look at life right in the eye.’
‘And why would you do that?’
‘Because you matter to me.’ He forwarded his hand towards her, ‘Eternities are calling us, let’s dwell there. For every breath counts, let’s begin in this very air.’
She stood there, wondering. Not knowing what she was to learn in coming times which would hold an eminent place in her life dairy.
That night, she picked up her diary and penned these words.
Tonight I realized that you are a beautiful and an adventurous journey. You’re worth if only I choose to travel till the end. This is the first rule and the first lesson of your diary. You are meant to live. You are meant to be appreciated. You are meant to celebrate. I promise, I won’t leave you until you choose to leave me. I promise to be more loyal to you than you would be to me.