Don't Leave!

                                      That paper 'Don't leave' is still with me.   Those two words barely occupy a tiny space of that note Prem had written to me.  Yet, they ring out like a soulful song.   That sheet nestles now like my own beloved pressed flower within my precious book of love poems.  I remember that day when Prem wrote those words in his doodle pad while he said to me, “Lata, it's almost time for our wedding.  I've already printed the invitations, but we need to work on this together.  Please don't run off now of all times to one of your singing performances!” “Darling of course I understand, but remember also that my show will bring us money.  God knows we need it!”  “We certainly do, but your flying all that distance also makes me a bit worried,” he said.  “Prem, I'll be back before you know it.”  His hazel eyes melted into mine like smoky quartz in an ocean of fire opal.  How deeply connected our souls were.   Ours was certainly meant to be a classic love marriage.   We weren't too concerned about future financial stability. Prem worked as a barista in Starbucks.  I freelanced as a singer, scraping a living from various paid shows in different cities.  We somehow had faith that it would all work out.  I also knew Prem's parents, the Murthys, weren't happy with his decision to marry me, considering also that I was an orphan with no family backing.  They were interested instead, to consider a young lady by name Sushila as their future daughter-in-law, tempted also by the handsome dowry offered by her parents plus the promise of a future position for Prem in their family business.  However, he refused! “I don't know why Sushila's so interested,” he said. “It must be those smoky eyes of yours,” I replied. “But it's my Lata with those limpid opal eyes I desire.” So, we didn't delay our marriage plans.  Prem surprised me with a vermillion and gold silk sari and a velvet box of lavish wedding jewels.  He practically had my trousseau for me in the absence of my parents.  I knew he had worked hard, saving all this money for me, the love of his life. When I flew out of town, I counted hours and minutes to be back with him.  That's when I got an urgent phone call from a stranger.   “Is this Lata?” “Yes.”  “I'm Ram, Prem's friend.   I've unfortunate news for you.  Prem's just been murdered.” “What?”  “Yes, the murderer's in police custody.  She and her brother were captured on camera.  They even stole a red silk sari and a box of jewels.” Obviously, Sushila and her brother had killed my Prem in brutal vengeance at having been rejected.  I realize it's been a while since all this happened.  Yet, the anguish still grips my heart as I often caress my beloved's note.  I should've paid heed to his words, “Don't leave!” Author's Notes: Author credit for the first line of my story:     Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!