Till Death Frees Us

He stood by the window watching her. Each breath was a struggle. Each breath was precious. Every time, she breathed in, there was a strange rattling sound, which unnerved everyone present there. Every time, she breathed out, it was a slow, long whistle. 

The prognosis hadn’t been favourable. Lung cancer, it was. And the deterioration had been fast. 

There was not much he could do, except be a permanent fixture beside her. He would stand and look at her lovingly, thinking of all those days that they had left behind. He remembered the pretty teenager who had caught his eyes in a fair, how he had followed her back home and since then kept following her everyday. There came a day, when he was discovered by the girl’s grandmother and called home. What followed was a three-hour gruelling interview. He was sent back home that day with clear orders to stay away for the ensuing ten days and await the results of his test. He did stay away from her house and from her but; he lost his sleep and appetite. The long wait ended with a phone call from the grandmother. Both the families met each other and a date was decided. He thought of their bittersweet courtship days. There were days when they would argue over a trivial issue. The next day they would kiss and make up. Each day was beautiful, when he was with her. His thoughts came back to the day he saw his shy, beautiful bride standing on the altar. Years went by and they built their cottage. The twins followed soon after. And then came that ill-fated day.

He shut his eyes tight, in a desperate bid to rub it off his mind. No, he wouldn’t think of that day, he reminded himself. 

He sat down beside her, smoothened her eye brows, wiped away the sweat from her forehead and massaged her limbs. He whispered in her ears all that she had loved to hear. ‘My lovely penguin, it’s almost over. Bear it a bit longer and then you will be free’. Free at last, he thought to himself. It was torturous to watch her suffer. He prayed for a painless and fast end. 

As her breathing grew heavier that night, he knew it was almost time. He kissed her one last time on her forehead, drew the sheets closer to her and took his space beside the window he had always loved. The night outside was serene and beautiful. 

The end came fast. She was at last, free!

A shadow rose up from the bed, danced its way towards the window where he stood. By then he had also turned around. Two pairs of arms went around each other and locked each other in ecstasy and happiness.

They were finally together after that ill-fated accident that took his life and left his wife, a widow and bedridden for years to come.
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Sreemati Sen

Sreemati Sen Karmakar is a development professional and a mother of two kids. Travelling and writing are her passion. When she finds the time, she writes. Writing is catharsis.

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