She’s asleep in the passenger seat, skin porcelain pale in the choked dawn sun. It’s streaming through the windowpane in flashes that mark time with the gaps in the trees, just a few hundred kilometers more.
Somehow I can’t see how this is a real thing, real like the way hearts breaks, but like floating up above here, just looking down into her beautiful face. I shook myself like it was only a dream, but here she is, right beside me in the next seat.
Concentrate, just for a second, curve around the bend before I return to contemplation. I don't like where we’re going now, because for me she is too perfect for the fate that awaits her there, somewhere out beyond my heart’s reach.
But still I drive on through the puddles of sunlight, hoping that she may not wake up and feel the pain, thinking that this is the best thing to do. I feel them, as those tears start to drip down my cheeks, and one glance to the mirror tells me that they glisten in the sunlight. It’s beauty smothered by agony, and I just can’t seem to appreciate it.
A while later there’s a delicate stirring from the seat at my side, and I rub a hand quickly beneath my eyes, refusing to show her my weakness. But she always knows me so well!
“Sahil,” she whispers softly, “don’t hide from me.”
I don’t respond, but she knows that I heard it ,she can see it in the tightening around my eyes. She knows I really don’t want to go through with this.
There’s a pen sitting in the cup holder between the front seats, a red pen I never use. She picks it up carefully, rolling it over and around in her delicate fingers for a moment before removing the cap. Before I can actually understand what is happening, I feel the cold ballpoint tip on my forearm, but I can’t look away from the road to see what she’s doing. I can only shiver at the contact, how close she is to me.
“It’s the next turn,” I whisper, and I turn my face quickly to avoid seeing the pain in her reaction. I take the turn the green sign says to, NH II. It’s the road I always loved driving in, and the next sign is even worse: Hospital 3 kms away. But still my foot is steady on the accelerator, hands on the wheel at ten and two o’clock, and I reverted to driving classes from nervousness.
We pull into the parking garage, and this black car comes to a halt. I look down at my arm. “Love from Kavya,” is scripted inside a heart, and I almost lose it then, almost!
“Look at me,” she says, bringing her pale hand up under my chin and turning my face towards hers. I do not resist. Her other hand grips one of mine, and I grasp back strongly.
Her eyes are still deep black and impenetrable her hair still wavy, brownish and soft. She’s the most beautiful person I have ever seen; will ever see. I couldn’t take my eyes off her even if I wanted to.
“If there was one thing that you could tell the world,” I begin quietly, “what would it be?”
Her eyes hold steady on mine, and I feel a heartbeat pulse between us, an unworldly connection. All I can do is wait for her to answer.
“Love,” she says, and then her voice breaks. I can tell she’s about to cry, but I have to hear what she has to say. Finally, I feel her squeeze my hand with all the strength she has left. “Love everyone; everything; every second. You never know when they’re going to take it all away.”
I feel her frail frame collapse into mine, dropping my chin and hand. She’s sobbing the way that was inevitable, and I gently lift her chin with one hand, wiping her tears away with my thumb like that could make it all better, like her protector. Though I’m not fooling anyone.
sitting right next to a river
Love never will