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Editors note:¬†Till we meet again (Part 1) is the first of a 2 part series of letters written by a lover to the love of her life who she misses. She tries to recount events from the past, and wonders if she can roll back time..if she can only relive those moments again and do anything differently.
The moon is a smile in the sky tonight. I am here on the beach at our favorite spot, sitting down on the rocks and looking down into the water at the jagged smile. My heart hurts.
Last night, I had a dream. In it, we are here on these very rocks. I am dipping my feet into the shallow puddles left in the hollows by the sea and you are stretched out beside me on the warm rock. It’s night and there is a full moon, big and bright right across the horizon. It looks like a portal, a doorway to another world, another dimension. Like you can slip behind it into an alternative universe. The sky is jewelled with stars. There is the smell of salt in the air, and it is very quiet. The only sounds I hear are your even breathing and the untamed waves crashing upon the rocks before erupting into spray.
You tilt your head and look at me and I run my hands through your hair, brush back those stubborn strands that always flop down over your fore-head. You smile, stretch lazily and sit up. You slide your feet into the pool alongside mine, your toes grazing the arch of my foot. I rest my head against your chest, I can feel your heart beat and can feel mine thrumming to the same rhythms. You wrap your arms around me, and instantly, I feel safe, secure, comforted, at peace. Your arms are strong, there is the lullaby of the wind, the smell of the sea, and time and space are alight with magic. It is the sort of night that fairy tales are born; where legend and myth become real, and unicorns fly over sand.
I hear your deep low voice in my ear as you ask, “If you have one wish you could make right now and have it come true, what would it be?”
I look up to you, surprised. You have that intense look on your face. The one you wear when your curiosity piques up, that look that makes it seem as though you have a million burning questions in your head; the look you wear when there is something you absolutely have to know. I find myself unable to answer your question – you are here, I am here, we are both together and I am content. What can I wish for?
“I can’t think of anything”, I say softly, after a while. Then I ask you, “What would you wish for?”
Your eyes never leave mine as your arms tighten around me…as you slowly tuck a stray strand of my hair behind my ear and trace the outline of my cheek with your thumb as though trying to commit my features to your memory. And your face is a puzzle of myriad expressions which I am unable to fathom.
There is a sudden fear rising in me. You know something that I don’t, something bad, and your secret frightens me.
I sense your urgency and sense your sadness as you reply, “I’d wish for time to stop here. This moment to never end.” The moment you say those words, the air goes cold and a mist starts creeping in. I am frightened, so very frightened and I reach out for you, but the mist forms an impermeable curtain. It enveloped me, cutting me off and I totally lose my bearings…I don’t know how long the fog lasts, a few seconds or infinite hours. But when I clears, I find myself alone in these rocks. And there is no moon now.
At this point, I wake up from one nightmare into another. There is terrible primitive pain inside me that doesn’t seem to heal and tearing me apart. I am an empty shell without you, my heart is a coffin sitting in our empty house on our bed without you beside me. I lower my head into my hands as I cry and cry and ache for someone who can make a wish come true. Because I know now what I could wish for…
Its been raining since morning. I am sitting on the window sill, looking at the downpour. I am trying to search for a rainbow. Do you remember that evening? It was pouring then like it is pouring now. You had just come home from work and you couldn’t find me anywhere. There was a power outage, the phone lines were not working and you saw, my mobile on the table.
So naturally, you set out on foot to search the neighbourhood for me, armed with only your battered umbrella. You returned a half hour later minus the umbrella drenched and shivering in the hall trying to make frantic phone calls. And then I walked down from the terrace and both of us shouted simultaneously “Where the hell have you been?” I won’t forget the expression on your face when I told you that I had been on the terrace to take down the washing when it started raining.
We spent the rest of the evening in front of the fire nursing hot chocolate and laughing insanely.
“I can’t believe you went out in this downpour on foot to look out for me!”
“If I had taken the car, I would have been stuck in traffic.”
“Where is the umbrella?”
“Next time, start your search from home!”
“There won’t be a next time, because I shall be tying you to me..Tamar?”
“Don’t scare me like this again”
“I had gone up to the terrace. Give me some credit, I would have sense enough not to go out in such insane weather. Which is more than what I can say for you.”
“Hush! There just might be a time where you lose your senses trying to search for me…come…”
“It’s stopped raining. Let’s look for a rainbow!”
I am trying very hard to see one. There are no rainbows in my sky now. Or if there are I can’t see them without you…\You were right.. a time has come where I have lost my senses searching for you. In early days fishermen went to sea and hunters went into forests and their wives waited at home for them. My life now is an endless wait. Why have you gone where I can’t follow? There aren’t any rainbows. There aren’t. There is just the grey sky and the endless relentless rain drowning me and I am alone amidst it all without you.
I saw a clam on the beach today. I sat next to it on the sand for ages watching it open and close, open and close.
I cannot ever forget that day. It is branded into my memory, a handprint in my heart.
It is dusk..we are walking side by side on the beach, on the wet sand. We are holding our shoes in our hands, leaving behind footprints for the sea to wipe away. I notice for the nth time now how small my footprints are next to yours! You are dressed in a white shirt with the button open the neck and blue jeans that you have rolled up. I wear a dark green dress, The constant wind is music in my ears.
We are talking and then there is a lull in the conversation and you suddenly say, “Whats that?” I turn to see but you have already dropped your shoes and are walking towards the sea. You step into the lapping waves and bend to pick up something that I can’t see. Or, present o pick up as I later realise.
You walk back towards me clutching it in your fist. When you unfold your hand, I see a complete clam shell. It is a beautiful shell-pearly white t o delicate purple, its wavy lips tinted with blue. I take it from you and run my fingers lightly over it.
“It feels light” Is ay. you not “Little guy inside must be dead”.
“Shall I put it back?”
I am looking at the shell at that time, so I don’t see the expression on your face, but I hear it in your voice when you hurriedly say “No!”
I look up startled. Very softly you say, “Open it”.
I can feel something is going to happen, but my brain refuses to catch up. Looking back though, I felt my heart already knew what my mind didn’t understand. It started beating fast. I slowly look down and the clam opens easily. I almost drop it! My eyes see the ring nestled inside and my senses go haywire. All of a sudden, the wind seems louder. The waves seem heavier.
Time stands still! I am not breathing.\I snap my head back and see you. I see your face and that intense, searching look. I see your eyes and see the question that lingers in them. You step closer, gently touch your forehead to mine and ask very softly and simply, “Will you?” And then it feels as though we are sucked into a vacuum there is no noise, just a gentle lull and the whispers of the answers in my heart.
“Of course! Of course!”
It’s so simple. We both know the answer to that question. Haven’t we always known it? It was written long before we were even born. This is our destiny.
Its beautiful, the smile that slowly spreads across your face. It gives way to your infectious laugh and I find I am laughing along with you. And then, I am in your arms. My face pressed against your chest and I am giddy with an overwhelming joy. My whole purpose of life, my very existence is so clear now. I am here to care for you. I am here to love you. I am here because this is the only place to be.
You withdraw slightly, take the ring from the clam I still hold, and slip it onto my finger.
Then you dip your face down an kiss my hand. You hold my hand in yours and with your other hand reach down and brush away a tear from my eye.
That was the happiest day of my life! The clam shell still sits on our bedside table. Today, at work, Gwen asked me why I still wear the ring!
Why do I STILL wear the ring?? How can I¬†not? The ring says that I belong to you. That I am yours forever. And nothing can ever change that.
(Read on the concluding part of these letters – part 2)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Arundhati Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation started by Dr Shubhangi Sanjay Tambwekar and Mr Sanjay Achyut Tambwekar in the memory of their daughter Dr. Arundhati Sanjay Tambwekar who passed away in a gruesome road-traffic accident in Vellore on the morning of the 9th September 2014. Arundhati was on the way to CMC Vellore where she was Post Graduate Registrar pursuing her Diploma in Clinical Pathology. She was riding pillion wearing a helmet. Vellore roads are extremely bad and possibly this is the main factor which took away the life of a brilliant, talented, hard-working girl and a gem of a human being.
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