INSIDE MY HEAD
“Yes, I would love to” the words still ringed in her ears. It still felt like yesterday when he went down on his knees and proposed. But it was a long time back, time flew by, they had been married for almost five years now. She never expected it to come to an end like this. It was then she realized how much she had taken for granted. She never considered the possibility that one day she would have to live without him, they had so much in their lives that she believed that everything is going to work out fine. She wondered if it would have been anything different had she said no; but she was glad she had said yes. It was because of the yes that it happened; he happened……..
She didn’t know how she was feeling. She didn’t know if she was feeling angry at Ben for dying or at herself for letting it happen to him, or was she feeling sorry for herself.
It was a hot day; sweat was dripping of her brows as the service was done. Alice was of course too occupied to think of the heat. Everything that had happened seemed unreal, one moment he was going out to his office and the next moment a call said that he was no more. All of this was happening too fast. Her whole life had revolved around Ben and now when he was dead she wasn’t sure if there was any meaning left to life. She had loved him deeply and his death crippled her heart.
A tear rolled down her cheek as a fresh memory of his hit her. She stifled a sob and quickly rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. She looked around and was relived to find that no one was staring at her. For the whole last week she was sick of people saying that they were sorry for her, sick that they get to enjoy when she had just lost everything.
She had kept the funeral as small as possible, but even then she was having problems dealing with all that was going around her. It took a great effort to do things that people think normal. She wanted to be alone more than anything else and think of Ben. It’s not that she didn’t like the people who came to the funeral; it’s just that she didn’t have the energy to keep up the strong face that she had been putting up all afternoon.
Ben was kind and easy-going, and their friend’s circle was very big. She always liked their company; she and Ben had spent countless evenings with them drinking and enjoying life. But today even their company didn’t seem enough, she wondered if she would ever go out with them again. But to her there seemed to be no tomorrow, even imagining her life without Ben seemed vague.
People filed out one after another muttering consolations and telling her to be brave, telling her that they would be there for her if she needed. Whenever someone would say sorry she wanted to scream at them that she wanted none of that, that she just wanted her Ben and now nothing could bring him back to her, ever. But she said nothing; she just stood there and nodded hearing their words because she knew that they meant well, occasionally she would say a word or two whenever she thought an answer was necessary. As the ceremony came to a close she felt a part of her, deep inside going numb. The crowd was thinning out and after an hour or so she found that she was alone standing there besides his grave. Ben’s sister, Aggie too had to leave as she had flight to catch a couple of hours later. Finally, she sat down besides the grave.
A part of her is certainly angry with herself. She wished she had gone out with him that day, she somehow felt that if she would have been there she could have saved him. No matter how far from truth it was she felt had she been there he would have been alive and the guilt wouldn’t just go away.
She sat there for a long time, doing nothing but staring at the grave of her lover. It was at sunset when she finally got up from that place. She didn’t know what people thought when they saw her there all afternoon, but she really didn’t care anymore.
She walked out of the cemetery and in no time she was surrounded by the hush of the city. The feeling that life had been going on normal for everyone else made her sad even more, but she showed nothing. She just walked on.
By the side of the road she saw a couple walking down the road, laughing and merrily talking with each other and she wondered if they knew that one day one of them have to live alone, just like her. She wondered if they knew that it was going to hurt like hell. She averted her gaze from them, not wanting to see anymore.
It had gone quite cool now that the sun was down and a light breeze was blowing. And she walked, with a blank mind, she walked. It was almost eight in the night that she hailed a cab when she realized that she could go on no more. There was a lot of traffic in the road and it was an hour later that she finally reached her home. She paid the driver and went into her house.
The moment she walked in she felt his absence as a physical force, she didn’t feel at place. It wasn’t the same house without him. Every part it was filled with his memories, and she expected that any moment he would come out of the door and take her in his strong arms where she felt so safe. But even she had accepted the truth, that it wasn’t possible, not anymore.
She walked into the kitchen. She had not eaten anything for the past two days. Not that she felt like eating anything but she had promised Aggie that she would eat and take care of herself, and she didn’t want to disappoint her. Aggie was all she had now. She put a coffee on the burner and then a sandwich in the oven. She knew that she couldn’t eat anything more; it would be a miracle even if she could scoop the contents that she had prepared.
The dinner was ready in ten minutes. She took it to the living room. She drank the coffee but the food went untouched; she just couldn’t bear to gulp it own. She put the dishes on the basin; she was too tired and emotionally drained to do the dishes that night.
She came and sat on the sofa when she was done, she stared ahead. She had nothing to do; she had taken a leave from office for the week. Her boss was very supportive, but she wondered if she will be there back to her office.
She chose an old home video and turned on the television. The camera seemed to lose focus at first but then the scene came into view. She remembered it pretty well; it was after a week they moved into the house. It was about three years back. She had joined office just some days back to that and the new apartment was very close to both of their offices.
She remembered it perfectly. She was working in the office. It was Friday and she had completely forgotten that it was their anniversary. It was in afternoon that she remembered it while she was writing the date on an application. She had called Ben in his office to know if he would wish her, but he seemed to have forgotten too. She didn’t give any indication to him and kept the phone down. She was disappointed that he didn’t remember it, but she realized that she barely remembered it herself.
At four in the evening he came to pick her up in the evening at her office, telling her that there was some party of a friend. She felt angry that they were going to attend some other’s party when it should have been theirs. But she moved.
She drove the car. He told her that they had to make a halt in a store to pick up a wonderful dress as a gift. She gritted her teeth when he said that, she couldn’t believe it that he couldn’t remember it even now.
When they entered the party was in full force and all of their friends were there. She didn’t recognize the place; and when she asked him he had avoided the question in the car.
When she felt that nobody was watching, she cornered Ben.
“Will you me at whose place I am? And whose anniversary are we attending? Because I don’t seem to know whom I should wish” she asked urgently.
“Happy Anniversary, Darling” he smiled as he said that.
She didn’t say anything at first; she thought she should say something but nothing came out. “Thanks, I thought you forgot” she finally said kissing him on the cheek.
“But whose place is this?”
“A gift for the anniversary”
It was the second time in the night that she thought she would die out of happiness. She looked around the house admiring how beautiful all of it was.
She hugged him tightly. Ben smiled, “I have got no problem but guests are going to have some problem if we make out in front of them” she gave him a kiss before letting him go.
She remembered all of it perfectly. It was one of the happiest nights of her life.
Her eyes again focused on the video that was running in front of her. She was behind the camera, while he was plating a sapling in the garden. She laughed as she saw Ben digging the ground awkwardly with the spade and in no time the laugh turned to sobs. All the memories that she had been trying to avoid came whirling back to her, the sadness that she had been trying to bottle up now came out in violent sobs. It seemed after a lifetime that she stopped crying, the movie had stopped a long time ago.
She got up lazily from the sofa and went into the bedroom. She opened the wardrobe to take a night-dress. She had not taken Ben’s dresses out of the wardrobe fearing that it would make the feeling more real that he wouldn’t be around. She wondered how much long she would be able to take it, the feeling of nothingness. Every minute of her life seemed like a lifetime to her. She looked at the bed that they had occupied for so many years, and at the bedside lay the photograph.
She was staring hard at it when suddenly it hit her. The answer was right there along with her all along and when she found the answer there was peace in her mind. Peace like she had never known before.
She went to the table and took a chair. She took out a clean paper from the stack that lay at the side of the table and on she wrote.
I would be long dead when you receive the letter. Please forgive me, if you ever could for leaving you alone. It may seem selfish but I just can’t go on living.
I don’t have any purpose to live for. Without him, the whole world means nothing to me.
I am sorry!
She carefully kept the paper on the table to make sure that Aggie gets it. She went to the bathroom and opened the tap of the bathtub. She retrieved a sharp knife from the kitchen. She was just confused why she had taken so much time to figure out the answer. There was no fear in her heart now, just impatience to meet him again. She laid her eyes on the water and smiled. She wasn’t sad, she didn’t need to be.
She slipped the robe off her and moved one finger over the sharp edge of the dagger. She stepped inside the water and lay down there. There water was up to her chest. She went down a bit more so that her mouth and nose was under water, and before she could change her mind she cut her wrist. She flinched at first but then there was no pain. She stared at the ceiling; she could have sworn that she saw him smiling at her. It was the last thing she ever saw, as her vision blurred and she let out her last breath.