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Grey

January 27, 2011 1 comment

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I suck at naming the things I write 😛 Its been more than a year since I’ve really written anything, but parts of this story have actually been sitting in my head for much longer. A bit of it was inspired 4 years ago, some parts 3 years ago, a bit a week ago and it finally all came together in my head yesterday. Anyway, here it is. Comments are as always appreciated 🙂

Grey

It was an early January morning. It was cold for Mumbai, and the sense of tragedy looming around her made her feel colder still.

She reached the train station by about 7 am and boarded a train going downtown. The compartment was almost empty, only two other women shared in her solitude. She stood near the doorway, leaning out into the early morning air. Its freshness cleared her head, but the coldness pierced her skin and deepened the wounds already in her heart. The reality of her current state seeped in through the holes left behind and tears began to stream down her cheeks. She didn’t stop them, she didn’t even really seem to notice them, or anything else for that matter. One of the women tried to speak to her, to calm her and console her, but she wouldn’t respond. Eventually the sobs stopped and the tears dried up along with her co-passenger’s sympathy. By the time she finally got out of the train, she was perfectly composed.
Nothing much about her stood out in the crowd that swept her out of the station. She was dressed in a simple black shirt and jeans, carried a brown bag and black shoes. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, revealing the only distinctive thing about her, her blood red eyes and tear stained face.

As she walked on and on, the platform seemed never-ending to her. She felt the crowd around her was like a fog, it seemed thick at a distance but the closer she got, the less people were near her, the more she tried to reach out to someone, the more easily they slipped away. It was just like her life had become the past few days, there were so many people around, but she was still all alone.

She walked on, out of the station and up a slope, straight for a while and then down the other side of the slope and finally reached a set of intricate, black wrought iron gates. As she walked in, angels perched on the headstones of people who had long since departed our world greeted her, and seemed to guide her along her way. Before long, she arrived at her destination.

The priest stood there waiting for her, his hands clasped demurely together in front of him. He gave her a sad smile as she came nearer, and gestured towards the coffin behind him.

Her tears were by then exhausted and so was she. Her last goodbye was just a simple kiss and a silent prayer. She brushed the hair off the forehead of the man she had so much loved, as she had done many times in his life. She could not believe this was the last time she would be doing it. She stepped away slowly and the priest closed the coffin lid. After looking around and ascertaining that no one else was coming, he began his service. It was a short service that the deceased’s wife and a few stray birds listened to inattentively. A single rose was thrown onto the coffin as it was lowered into the ground. As she watched the petals disappear under the mud, she couldn’t help but notice that they were as red as the blood that had flowed from the wound that had killed her husband.

The sun was halfway up in the sky when the priest left her. It was then in that deserted cemetery that she truly realized how alone she was. He was all that she had had; he was her love, her life. The sun was fully up in the sky before she moved again. She began to walk away slowly and turned back to say one final goodbye. That was when she finally saw him. He was standing a few rows beyond his grave and staring intently at an old, collapsing gravestone. Before she even knew what she was doing, her legs had automatically begun moving towards him.

She stopped under a tree, a few feet away from him. It was bare of leaves having shed them the previous autumn, but it was covered in the most beautiful and delicate little white flowers that she had ever seen. It looked exactly like her husband standing in front of her then, so alive and yet so dead all at the same time.

He walked towards her and she froze. He tried to touch her but she didn’t feel him. He spoke to her, but she couldn’t hear a word he said. Finally he went back to the gravestone he had been staring at, ran his finger over a line on it. Then he looked back at her, smiled and slowly walked away, disappearing into the distance. She went to the headstone and read it and she immediately understood.

A month later a new headstone was put up over a combined gravesite. ‘Mr. and Mrs. ‘ it read, ‘January 1st 2011 and January 15th 2011. He died in a tragic accident and she died a few weeks later of a broken heart.’ It was similar to an epitaph that was written on a crumbling gravestone a few rows away.

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