It all happened within a few minutes…
I was hit by a car, rolling to the front and blood oozed out from… um… I don’t know… from some part of the body as I found my Yellow salwar stained with red color.
I still had some senses left inside me, as I felt the pattering rain on me and someone scoop me up. Then, I was pushed inside somewhere dark, me moaning all the while. Then everything inside me blacked out.
I woke up with a start. I found some tubes inside inserted into my veins and I panicked. A woman dressed in white rushed faster into the room when a machine on my bedside beeped loudly. There was a commotion inside the room I was in and white-dressed woman pulled a mask onto my nose and I struggled to breathe. And I became unconscious.
I opened my eyes gradually, a tear from my right eye slowly flowed through my tight cheek. I blinked my eyes to get a clear vision and I felt a pang of pain as I sensed someone holding my right hand. I groaned and my hand was let free.
I strained to get a glimpse of the person (Yea, I expected it to be Lewis, of course) but no it wasn’t. It was someone I knew, but I couldn’t recognize and my head ached when I tried to guess who it was.
The person came near to me and lowered his head and asked in a husky voice, “Are you feeling good?”
I shook my head lightly as I felt drowsy and he said, “OK, rest now, we’ll speak later.”
I closed my eyes, trying to recognize him but I fell asleep in the process.
I don’t know what time of the day it was, when I woke up again.
My parents, Anu, her husband with Nikila, their daughter and Sid with Sheela (his wife) now occupied my bedside and they were elated when I gained consciousness.
I sat up and it pained a lot.
Mom gave me orange juice and a nurse popped three pills into my mouth to swallow. I felt no pain now, though my leg was fully bandaged and I was imprisoned immobile.
“So, how are feeling now?” Sid asked affectionately.
“Yea, good,” I said, though I wished I was dead.
“We are not gonna pester you why you jumped from the bridge,” Dad began, “but I’m just heart-broken that my daughter whom I thought was hard-hearted to digest anything wanted to end her life.”
I didn’t speak. Anu squeezed my hand. I smiled weakly.
“Aunt, how are you now?” three year-old, Nikila asked innocently.
I pulled her onto my lip and kissed her forehead fondly.
“So, what did my little angel do when I wasn’t with her for a few days?”
“Momma played with me. But, she didn’t know the rules to play the doll house like you do. You’re the best aunt. Momma is a waste.”
“Nikila enough,” Anu said pulling her away from my lap.
“C’mon everyone, let’s not go on talking,” Sid reminded.
“You take rest. We’ll be back soon,” Mom said and everyone silently trooped out before I could ask them to stay longer. I don’t know why I everyone left. I knew the visitor’s time wasn’t over yet in the hospital.
And then the door slowly opened and he stepped inside. He, who was holding my hand the last time I woke up. My stomach fluttered a little inside.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” I said in a husky voice.
He pulled a chair next to me and sat down.
“I’m sorry but I don’t seem to recognize you,” I said.
“No big surprise in that,” he said coolly.
“So you know me?” I asked.
“Yeah, I do.”
Silence. He looked into my eyes fondly. I saw something genuine in it.
“It was my car that you jumped onto,” he said finally.
“Oh,” I said after a minute, “So, you saved me?”
‘Why didn’t you let me die?’ my heart worried.
“Thank you,” I said for formality.
“So, how are you feeling today?” he asked.
“Good. By the way it’s been how many days since the accident?”
“Yes, you were in the ICU for one whole week before you were shifted to the general ward. But still you were unconscious. You’d wake up only once or twice in a day. That too just opened your eyes a bit and dozed off again due to the heavy dose of medicines and injections.”
“Oh,” I said again. A whole week has gone by since Lewis’ marriage
“Umm… I handed over all your belongings to your parents except this,” he said, showing me Lewis’ marriage invitation that was now painted red in color by my blood.
I eyed it with distaste and made no attempt to get it.
“I don’t know if this is the reason you wished to suicide, so I didn’t give it to your parents,” he said tapping the invitation.
I didn’t tell anything.
“By the way, I’m Vishal,” he said.
“Vishal…” I said, still trying to remember where I met him.
“No, Doc. You wouldn’t remember me. How will a doctor remember every patient who visits her?”
So, that’s the reason I couldn’t recognize him but had the remembrance of meeting him.
“It was a month ago when I visited you for persistent head-ache. I never got cured though,” he said.
“Oh, what medicine did I prescribe?”
“Nah, even if any other doctor had prescribed any other medicine, my headache wouldn’t have gone.”
“The pain was something related to my heart rather than to my head.”
“Yes, and I thought I had found the solution. But I didn’t know that the solution that was a wrong choice until I met you.”
“Me? How did I help?” I was utterly confused.
“It’s a long story and I don’t wish to bore you with it. I guess we are sailing in the same boat.”
“We?” I asked puzzled.
“Yes. I’m currently experiencing love failure too. It’s traumatic.”
He placed Lewis’ marriage invitation on my lap and asked, “The boy ditched you?”
“So did my lover.”
Now, I understood why he said we were sailing in the same boat.
“I decided to move on in my life without her, but it was painful. And that’s when I opted to choose the route you chose.”
“But, I chose that stupid decision hastily.”
“Yes, that’s what you taught me. On the same day that you jumped onto my car, I was on my way myself to end my life. I was rash driving so I could hit somewhere and die. But, I realized dying is not a solution.”
“But then, I jumped down and saved you. Is that it?” I asked.
“Yes, so in turn I saved your life. I wished to die alone. I didn’t need company.”
I nodded my head thoughtfully.
“I realized that life is so precious to die soon by seeing you struggle in the ICU. But, you fought bravely and finally, voila! Here you’re,” he made a sweeping gesture.
I gave a fake smile.
“Yes, it is love failure. Though me and him,” I put a finger onto Lewis’ name on the invitation, “we were never in a relationship.”
“Oh!” Vishal exclaimed.
I don’t know why I felt like telling him. I had never opened the chapter of Lewis to any of my family members. But I felt the urge now, and that too to tell to a complete stranger, Vishal.
A good fifteen minutes passed by when I had finished recounting my school days and my wait for Lewis. He listened patiently, nodding his head now and then.
“A love that went untold and a love that never existed,” he said finally.
“Never existed?” I enquired.
“Yes, if it had, he would’ve come for you.”
I nodded my head understandingly.
“Now, my story is not entirely different. I loved Dhivya. Of course you wouldn’t know her. But she never loved me. I insisted that she did. But no, she was so positive that she never had that kind of feeling with me. She was firm that she considered me only as a friend. She was very very sensitive. She didn’t like to hurt anyone. But I’d blame it on myself,” he paused.
“Water?” I asked.
He nodded and I gave him a water bottle that was near my bed.
He took a gulp, inhaled deeply and handed the bottle back to me.
“You needn’t tell me if you don’t wish,” I said.
“No, I feel like opening up to you. None in my family know about her. I just feel something in you that forces me to spill the beans now.”
I was taken aback. Why did we both have the same wave length?
“The fault is on my part. As she was close with me, I mistook it as love. She reminded me very often that just because she shared things with me; it didn’t mean she loved me. But I was adamant. In the end, her parents who were looking for an alliance, found a boy and she consented.”
“Did she tell you this, or did you get to know it through someone?” I interrupted.
“She told me.”
I was aghast. Looking at my shocked face, he spoke.
“She was never in a relationship with me. Why should she hesitate to tell me? And that’s what she exactly told me.”
“Oh yes, I forgot. But still…”
“Yes, it did hurt me a lot. I tried to forget her for over a month. But, in vain. And that’s when I was determined to…” he dragged, fidgeting the bed sheet with his hands.
I painfully lifted my right hand on his hands and he stopped fiddling.
He looked into my eyes and I noticed his eyes blur. The next second, he put his head on the bed and cried hard.
I ruffled his hair affectionately. I’m not the kind of person to touch an outsider. But still, I felt something in him that made me do so.
He lifted his head slowly, pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face.
“Teju, you know the reason why your parents left you alone now?” he questioned.
“I had earlier talked to your parents about this.”
“And what’s that this?”
“Frankly Teju, I wish to marry you. I realized we both have a life after love failure.”
“Vishal, it’s been just an hour I’ve talked with you. Besides, I’m not ready to get involved again,” I argued.
“I’m not gonna force you really. You consider. I find my other half in you. Take your time.”
My energy was draining out and I suffocated.
He saw me asphyxiating and immediately rushed out to bring the doctor.
I blacked out again.
Two years later.
“Hey Teju,” I heard a voice call behind me. I was standing in KFC.
I turned around and there he stood, the person who provided the twist in my life and who is responsible for my joy now – Lewis.
“Hi,” I said, elated.
He was embarrassed though.
“Any help?” he asked, eyeing the two plates that I was toggling in my hand.
“Thank you,” I said handing one over to him.
“Got any friend along with you?” he asked.
I moved forward.
“Where’s your wife?” I asked him.
“As usual busy. Never finds time to spend with me. Though that’s not her fault. I guess she’s married to work rather than to me,” he said laughing.
“Lewis, meet my fiancé, Vishal,” I said placing the plate on the table.
He stood still.
“Any help?” Vishal asked, taking away the plate from Lewis’ hand and laying it down, “Pleased to meet you.” He held out his hand.
Lewis shook it stiffly.
“Take a seat,” Vishal offered.
“Sorry, but I’ve got work,” Lewis said, trying to escape.
“No, just a few minutes. I need to thank you profusely for uniting me and Teju,” Vishal insisted.
Lewis sat down on the chair promptly.
The incidents were narrated by Vishal over the dish and me interrupting him when he’d leave out some tidbits.
“So, thank you,” Vishal concluded finally and he put an arm around my shoulder, hugging me into him. I blushed.
Lewis could see it no more. But he was polite.
“Good to see that you’ve moved on in your life. Congrats. If you’d really excuse me I’ve some work.”
“Sure, but before that please come to our marriage,” I said, handing over the wedding invitation.
The Coke that we had ordered arrived and we saw Lewis slinking away, out through the door and onto the road, reading the invitation, which says,
‘The journey to find true love ends,
The journey to cherish true love begins.
We, Vishal and Tejashwini cordially invite you
To bless us on August,25th, 2016
As we joyfully tie the knot, saying, “I love you”’…
“Did we upset him?” Vishal asked me worried.
“I guess so. But now he’d know the pain I underwent when he had showed the invitation to me.”
“But I feel grateful. It’s really because of him, I found my perfect half,” he said, brushing my cheek fondly.
I rested my head on his shoulder and he squeezed me.
I closed my eyes. I thought of the dream that I had when I was in school, where Lewis had scooped me up, but now Lewis is replaced by the person who is now the bliss of my life – Vishal…