Purple Wait

Purple Wait

I don’t remember the number of times I would have visited the division office in the last 24 years. But the day I walked out of it smiling is the day that’s vivid in my 3-day old memory.

Indeed, I have smiled all these years but that day, I heard my heart thunder a treble in my ears; my eyes lit up to brighten my way. I may have switched on the flashlight of my phone, that evening, to find my trail, though I don’t recall looking at my feet being dragged back home. You know how it is — the springing feet?

3 days!

He’ll be back today and I still have so much to prepare, even though I’ve been waiting for this day for over two decades. My greying hair, wrinkled hands, the crow’s feet at the corner of my eyes, the worry-lines on my forehead, all seem pointless now. I need to poise myself to welcome him.

I hope he recollects my face.

I, of course, reminisce each day of my 2-year wedded life with him. I have been holding on to it forever. For his homecoming.

Every contour of his face is lucid in my memory even today. His eyes would narrow to a min when he’d smile, he had long hair that I may have braided many times, his hands were sturdy, sometimes bruised, from handling walnut tree log piles that he’d use to craft exquisite carved furniture from.

His belongings that I had stowed in a trunk, after he went missing, now needed to be aired. I’m glad it is sunny today, for me to have them laid out. Do you know how I have stored his belongings?

This is the zarbaf threaded louing, he gave me, that I tied over my pheran on my wedding day. Look! his Gordstar is as good as new too. I wonder if he still remembers it, or recalls me in this Taranga. My mother stitched this with her own hands; it still retains its gleam. This is the sweater that I knitted for him when our first winter, together, arrived. It was a perfect fit for his broad shoulders. His Khan suits stored in muslin will at last adorn his frame again.

Is that a knock on the door already? Isn’t it too early for him to be here? They said, I’d have to go to the division office to sign the papers in the evening before his return. A call out from the door breaks my reverie.

“Did you know Zainab’s husband is returning today?” she says.

Zainab? I am Zainab!

“Arrey…Zainab Attari, whose husband went missing a few months ago.”

Ah! The beautiful young girl, who prayed day and night for him to return.

“Seems like he was shot and incapacitated for a while. Now he is fine and returning. We’re all going to meet her. Come along?”

“Oh, I wish…but you see, I have all these clothes in the sun I have to pack away.”

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Author note- 
All the names of piece of clothing mentioned in the regional language are a part of the Kashmiri wedding trousseau. Google for more info.
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One thought on “Purple Wait

  1. This story touched my heart. The last line brought tears to my eyes. I got a little inkling that the lady won’t be able to meet the guy she is waiting for. May be because I connected the color “purple” with the fact that the fallen soldiers’ spouses in the U.S are allowed to have the vehicle registration plate with the sign of “Purple Heart” on it.

    Hope is so powerful and you have penned it so beautifully Kajal.
    Please keep writing.

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