Thinking of him was too painful. I contemplated drowning myself in the liquor bottle that was lying in the cupboard. There must be some relief in that intoxicating little bottle that made failures less stabbing. It was too much of an effort to even get up from the couch and I gave up on that idea. After all, what good was half an hour of numbness anyway. It would all end in some time. I was, after all, going to end my life.
Getting over the temporary discomfort, I actually made myself a drink. The first sip was horrible. I had been a teetotaler all these years but what was the harm in trying it just before death. Who would judge me anyway? Even if they did, they had much to question than just this drink. Like how he left me despite my futile attempts to keep the relation working. I trained my mind to stop going further in that track.
11.45, I felt the drink get to me. This was what it was all about. A head reeling with myriad images, a plethora of emotions that found no logic, a chest that warmed for battle.. This was what I needed.
I heard the knock on the door. I peeped through the door to see Mrs Gomes. I opened the door. She stared at me in shock or disgust, I couldn't know. I hadn't changed my pyjamas since morning, I hadn't brushed my hair that was tied in a shabby knot, I had two dark pits for eyes and my cheeks had disappeared. She swallowed her initial reaction and smiled.
"Dear, this came for you in morning. I forgot to give you" she said, handing me the parcel.
I thanked her and shut the door.
I had thought several times about my death but I did not think I would give Mrs Gomes the horror of seeing me last. Maybe the parcel came when I was staring listlessly out of the window and decided against jumping from it. I switched on the light of the room. I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it.
It did not have any other address. Who was this? None of my friends had ever sent me a parcel and none of them could actually plant it here. Who was I kidding, no one had talked to me in months. They have all conveniently moved on and forgotten me. Yes, the same person who they called and asked for every little thing, from last minute notes to what to wear on their dates! Could it be him? My heart skipped a beat. You fool he never did anything romantic while he was with you, what makes you think he will give you a surprise parcel? The inner voice mocked me. Yes, what did I expect? Him sending me a gift after our break up? He had left me a few months before we had planned to get married. He was probably married by now.
I slowly opened the parcel. It had a letter inside the box. Fancy sending a box with a letter in it!
" I know you will end your life tonight. Just meet me once. Tomorrow sharp at 7 am.. National Park."
Who was this person who knew what I would do? Why should I even listen to anyone. It is my life and I will decide the course of action. I did not come out of my own wish but I can go as I will! Why should I even wait to meet this person.
What had this life given me anyway? Rejection, failure and hatred.
7 am, is this person insane? Why national park? The decided time had already passed. It was 00:10 hr and I was already into my 24th birthday.
That night, as I pulled the sheets over me, I wondered what I should wear to go to national park.
I did not dare to check my mobile phone. I did not know what it would be. What if no one remembered to wish me? More than that I did not want family to wish me and make me weak. I was doing it as much for their sake as for mine.
I dressed in a light blue jeans and black T-shirt, combed my thin hair and dabbed a little talcum. It looked human, the figure that stared back from the mirror. I did not know if I should wish myself Happy Birthday or cry over my misery.
I paid the auto fare and walked to the main gate. It was still dark, winter nights were unusually darker this year. The guards looked at me uninterested. I took the entry ticket and strolled inside. I did not know what I expected but what I saw was unexpected.
An elderly man with snowy white beard approached me. This hair was as white as his beard. He had soft eyes, the same colour as mine. His features were noble and there was an aura of peace around him. Dressed in a black suit, with two cups of warm coffee he smiled at me. He handed me a cup and gestured me to sit beside him on the bench.
"You sent me the letter?" I asked, astounded.
" You guessed it right." He sipped his coffee.
I cupped mine and let the warmth comfort my frozen fingers. The first gulp of coffee made my insides feel better.
" I gave you that." He remarked.
"I know" I said awkwardly. Was I supposed to pay for it? I wondered to myself.
"Not the coffee. That feeling."
"You see that flower there?" He asked me pointing at the red rose that was swaying in the wind. The park was meticulously maintained and the gardener had begun to clean the wastes.
"Yes.. It is beautiful."
"What would happen if it just decided to fall?"
"Umm... wouldn't matter much."
"What if it was the only flower in the entire park?"
" The park would be less beautiful."
"But the rose decides anyway that it wants to fall. What would the gardener feel?"
"Sad. He tended to that flower..It was unique" I stop mid way. Thinking of Mom.
He stood up and walked. I followed him, even though he didn't ask me to.
We reached the entrance of the bird park.
"Stretch your hands on your sides and breathe" He said, doing the same.
I stretched my hands and exhaled. The cold wind embraced me.
"I gave you that."
"See the birds flying above? I gave them wings. I gave you no wings but still you can fly."
" Huh" I said, dumbfounded.
" I gave you a mind that can soar higher than these birds."
" I m a failure. I did nothing. No one wants me. He left me."
He did not answer me. He walked away. I followed.
He kept walking till the end of the road where the boating point was. He entered the boat and waited. I stepped in.
The green water was still. The fish came in groups and fed on the plants. I was engrossed in their act.
" Wouldn't it be ridiculous if they all tried to study your books and cry that they failed?"
"They can't study!" I say, laughing at the comparison.
" Because I didn't make them to study. Just like I didn't make you to study the subject you tried and failed."
"Then why didn't you stop me?"
"Do you see me stopping these fish?"
" You could have sent me a signal. They say destiny takes you where you are meant to."
"Did you listen to the signals I sent. The universe sent you messages but alas you were too busy with what others had to say. Do you remember the gut feel you had while choosing your subjects? Do you remember the times your love messages wouldn't get delivered to him and yet you tried so diligently?
"You should not have sent him in my life! After you did, you should have made him stay."
"You are such a kid. My wayward kid. You do as you please and then want me to set everything right."
"What is the point of living anyway. I m to die someday. Let me die now when I m tired of it." I m convinced that no one can help me.
I felt my body drifting off from the boat and I m atop the mountain. The caves surround me in all directions. My pulse is quickening and my ears are buzzing.
"You feel this pulse? You live to feel it."
I felt getting pushed and frantically try to find a support to prevent the fall. He held me right when I was on the verge of falling.
"You see the fight? You live to keep that fight alive."
I was faint from this activity. I leaned on the rocks.
"Feel the muscles ache? That's life within you. Millions of cells and each cell having life within you."
I was panting.
" I gave you the warmth that surrounds you on cold nights
I gave you the cold respites after sweltering summer
I gave you the the spirit to fly and joy to swim
I gave you the courage to fight and strength to last
I gave you the butterflies of first love
I gave you the long comforts of friendship
I gave you the wisdom of books
I gave you the company of noble family
I gave you the legs that take you on long walks
I gave you the heart that pumps relentlessly
I gave you the eyes that see my beautiful world
I gave lesser to many but I gave you all
so that you might live, my fallen angel.
I gave you the gift of life."
I had tears in my eyes. It was not like I loved myself. I could just see myself through his eyes. Through my mother's eyes. Through my father's eyes. Death was not the choice..
"Who are you?" I asked him, knowing within the answer.
" I m the gardener that tended a rose that wanted to kill itself yesterday. I m life that you wanted to end yesterday. I m you that was to be finished yesterday. I m the force that didn't want to die."
I found myself walking towards home, happier and lighter. The woman selling flowers on the sidewalks was shouting out the price. I bought a bunch of roses. My first gift to myself. She smiled as I gave her the change.
"The roses look so alive again." She said. I heard the message this time. She had the same soft eyes.
My parents had returned back from a wedding they had gone to. I was happy to see them back.
"Did you get the parcel?" Mom asked.
"The one we sent yesterday. We didn't want to miss your birthday but weren't sure of the tickets so we sent you a gift." Dad explained.
I saw the opened gift box. I had taken out the letter last night. Did it have something else too?
A small silver idol of Lord Ganesha. It was too big to miss yesterday!!
I adored it. So this was whom I met. There was no hint of the letter.
"You look better now. The anti depressants are working." My mother lovingly brushed her hand on my head.
I noticed my parents had the same kind of eyes.
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.