Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Bleeding Heart

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"When you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount"

(You might want to listen to 'Into Dust - Mazzy Star' in the background while reading this)

I was on my knees as I held her head in my arms. I didn't remember how I got there, but I certainly was aware that it all was very strange. The ground was white... sheer white. There was no grain of sand, just absolute  white. And at that one fraction of a second when I raised my head, it hit me, and etched into my mind the vast expanse of whiteness. It seemed to stretch in all directions, and there was nothing apart from the two of us in the middle of what seemed to be a great void. The two of us, wearing layers of white, were in the middle of nothingness.

But it was not this bizarre environment that startled me. It was her. I kept staring at her face. That lifeless countenance. For a fleeting moment, I could see her fair face with the slight blush in her cheek. The rosy hue and the sweet smile that used to play on her lips, that used to make me forget everything in an instant was nowhere to be seen. All I could see now was a face devoid of expressions, a face whose pale skin had been stretched tightly directly over her skull with nothing in between. She seemed very ill. The dark circles around her eyes seemed to indicate that she hadn't slept for days.

But that wasn't what got to me. Her eyes. They seemed like they were made of stone. The whites of her eyes seemed to have small discs of slate at the centre. A tear rolled down my cheek as she slowly turned her eyes to look at me. The teardrop fell on my hand. I looked at the little red globule. A tear of blood. I couldn't bear to see her like that. The eyes that would sparkle with joy as I teased her, the moist eyes that would melt my heart in a fraction of a second, those eyes, those warm brown eyes... I couldn't believe it was still her in my arms. She felt so alien, like a stranger, with those grey eyes.

Her lips quivered and the muscles of her neck tightened as she struggled to speak. I wanted to give her a drink of water, just to moisten her dried lips. But there was nothing around. I tried to utter some words, to console her that things would get better, to convince her even though I wasn't convinced, but even air betrayed me, refusing to leave my lungs. I held my breath, fearing that the slightest movement would hurt her. Her lips gradually formed a smile, her eyes barely reflecting the emotion. "Why that long face?" she asked. My eyes began to moisten as I looked at her. Her hair was strewn all over her face. I raised a finger to move it off her face but as I gradually moved it over her forehead, a chill ran down my spine. Her body was cold. Her eyes stared at me as my breath escaped involuntarily. There seemed to be no expression as she continued to look at me. "You knew this day was coming" she said slowly, pausing after every two words.

I held her cold hand in mine. I couldn't bring myself to move, for, I knew what the result would be. There was no way I could do anything to save her. She was right, I knew this day would come. Did I? I didn't even know how I got there, but deep within I knew this day would come. The day we would part. As I continued to stare into her eyes, I could see her grey eyes becoming lighter. Her head moved slowly as her eyelids came closer to each other. "I am tired and I want to sleep for some time" she said as her eyes closed.

I pulled her closer to myself and hugged her tightly. There was no need to pretend to be macho. There was nobody around to think of me as vulnerable. A stream of tears flowed freely as I clutched on to her cold form. All my memories of her flashed in front of my eyes, the first day I saw her, our first fight, our first make-up, the first time she put that piece of chocolate cake into my mouth on my birthday... When I slowly let her go, I noticed her body was completely lifeless. The eyes had no sparkle - just slate. I began to feel weaker by the minute. My vision was getting hazy as I gently laid her head on the ground. It was then that I saw stains of blood on her clean white dress. I was certain they were not there a minute ago. My vision was coming into and going out of focus rather rapidly as my eyes followed the stains, the trail of blood which found its way to my shirt as well... on my chest around my heart. I was bleeding profusely. She slowly turned again and said "You have to let go of me Adi. A bleeding heart is not going to bring someone dead back to life."

It was then that realisation dawned upon me. She had been dead a long time ago. "Let go, Adi"... she whispered. I held my hand against my chest, I could feel the blood gushing out forcefully. "It's alright, let go of me" she whispered again. I didn't know what to say... I kept staring at her as she began to go out of focus again. No, she wasn't going out of focus... she was fading away. "Goodbye Adi, you will remain forever in my heart. But you should let go. Promise me that you will". My breathing began to get heavier. "It's alright Adi, it's not the end of everything..." I heard. This voice, it wasn't her. It was more baritone. My vision was getting blurry. She had faded out completely by now. My hands were slowly coming back into focus, as the baritone voice reinforced the idea that it wasn't the end of everything, that the world doesn't end. There was no blood on my shirt. I turned to my right and I saw his furrowed brows, his piercing stare trying to reach into my soul. I looked into the eyes of my best friend without betraying my emotions. "I know" I said shortly. We both knew I said it to avoid talking about it further. The loud music of the orchaestra reminded me that it was a wedding hall where we were seated. The dashing young man she ended up marrying was introducing her to his friends. Her smile was radiant. The guy on my left, that ever cheerful gorilla put his large palm on my shoulder and said "Hey hey hey Adi, well that's one more down. One more classmate got married. I heard stories you both were going around, but I know you deserve way better" he grinned. "Let's go and complete our primary assignment, shall we? I heard the Pulav is brilliant!" he said as we got up. "Oh by the way, did you hurt yourself? There's a drop of blood on your hand."

-- This story is pure fiction and is not based on anything. If you have a great imagination, you should see it in front of you. The story is mostly symbolic so don't take things literally... :-)  also,  "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra"

You might also want to read:
Other stories that I have written

Comments from Facebook:

Aditya Kiran: ‎:D

Ashwin Raman: such heart-felt fiction!, nicely written btw :)... if it had a couple of songs, it could hv been a blockbuster ;)

Nikhil Narayan: ‎:) Rakhta kaNneeru... Or hrudaya na para para antha kerdidiya.... Either case hero ge bad luck... :D ... :P ....

Pavithra Chowdappa: WT...! :D

Dolly Singh: Awesome! I was listening to a song while I was reading this and I got lost in the story. Beautifully written.

Prajwal M Sudarshan: Nicely written.. :) Good Job Nik!

Comments from Twitter:
Niranjan Lakshmanan: it's really good. Heart touching Nikhil :-)

Comments elsewhere:
Shubha Murthy: This ws gud!!

Lokesh Acharya: Nicely written, heart touching... I hope Adi is not a real person :-)
[Don't have the exact comment, deleted the SMS... but something to this effect was there]

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