Short Story: A Verse on the Golden Jubilee

Source

A heavy mist hung in the air, coating greyish clouds in a thin layer of dew. It persisted throughout Sunday, leaving a moonless night. Sporadic flashes of an uncanny electric spark discharged in the atmosphere, turning the black sky into a sea of fire. The great many shadows of wind boisterously waltzed across the window, running helter-skelter all over the crystal glass. The haze was so opaque, that it blurred one’s vision, smoldering down the very visual sense.

It was their Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary. A bright sunny day was expected. Unfortunately, the clouds howled at erratic intervals, sometimes pouring as if they were exalting the last breath of the universe and sometimes resuscitating the pulse of life, like a low drizzle.

At 81, her spine was bent like a bow. The flesh that covered her tender bones rose softly when pressed, like socks, and slowly released when untouched. She had a malignant brain haemorrhage a couple of hours ago. The golden time had ceased since then, unwrapping with a kohl-coloured bed sheet. She had taken vows on her wedding day that she would live with him and take her last breath with him. Today, deep in the depths of her heart, she had silently cursed her life for playing a tumultuous spoilsport. She could not speak, yet her eyes spoke in volumes for her undying love towards him. She could not move, yet her silence had already shaken her beloved’s earth. She could not taste, yet she could sense the sweet aroma of his aftershave. She could feel his manly hands running over her tender cheek. She could imagine herself entwined in his arms, like the magical petals of lotus lips. She could sense his pounding heart through the windows of her eyes. Alas! She was helpless like the painting of Mona Lisa, sternly staring at her fate.

“D-darling, where’s your woollen sweater? Please wear it. It’s cold… yea, very cold,” she said, blinking her eyes and squeezing the liquid out of her eyes upon opening. He had tried to speak in a lionhearted tone, yet a heavy gulp perched on his throat. His heart sank when he gently grabbed her palms, allowing his lips to gently stroke her delicate lips. He kissed her amorously like the day he had kissed on her wedding day.

There was a kindest healing melody in his voice when he innocently raised his chin in an affirmative manner to respond. “Sarah, my love, look here. Here, my love. I am wearing the woollen sweater you had knitted over the last winter. Look here, my sweet. See, you see?” he said, swiftly grabbing the woollen sweater on the sofa chair and pulling the cloth down to his waist. “Are you happy now, my sunshine?” he said with a soothing tone while settling down on her bed. A simple curve approached her lips, indicating a satisfied smile.

“D-do you know I had made mushroom cream soup for you in the morning? You like it, eh. Don’t you?” she chuckled like a baby, recollecting her childhood memories she had spent with him. He used to purloin mushrooms from her father’s farm when he was seven. “Aw man. Good times, yeah. Soup was delicious” he smiled, rubbing his hand over her hand. They had giggled like 7-year-olds. Suddenly their childish giggle transformed into a serious hush. They looked into each other’s eyes with a paralyzed gaze, as if their bodies had been frozen. They could visualize the water being separated from its river. They could hear their hearts wailing with pain. They had understood the sharp truth of life, like a knife slicing through the butter. “Hun, it’s our day today. James, wouldn’t you read a verse today?” she whispered, her lips quivering as she spoke. He took a deep breath with an ache in his heart, and abruptly delved his hand into his pants’ pocket, taking out a mini diary. He then adjusted his spectacles below his nose, and slowly flipping the brownish pages of his diary, he began to touch the written words on the page. He advanced towards her muttering softy:

Old woman, with you I have shared
Everything about life
Food, drink, clothes, all that make a home
Sleep, and all our wakeful nights
From the birth of our children, to their settling down,
And finally, moving on,
Every stage of my life
I have shared with you
With you I have shared the grief of parting
Quarrel, reconciliation, solitude, too
All my tricks I shared with you, truths and lies as well
My pain you have borne
And all your pain has passed through my pores
We have lived together
But how is it possible for us to die together?
One of us one day
Will have to leave the other
At the funeral pyre
And return alone. 

There was a pause after the ending, and he returned his gaze back to her face. She had seen a flashback of her entire life in nutshell. She was indebted to James for his unconditional love, and tried to say something to him.

“H-honey, remember the first time when you had fallen head over heels for me? I can still remember how nervous you were with a bouquet of flowers in your hand”, she chuckled while continuing, “Oh! How I long to embrace you like our first date! Would you please bring that time back to me? I want those fresh melodious winds, navy-blue skies, and that childlike heart to cease till I grasp my paintbrush and paint on the canvas of my life,” she said merrily. She was pink-eyed and lachrymose, seeing his head bowed with sorrow. “Aye, I had loved you then. I love you still, and I will always continue loving you… even after my death. Our love is eternal, no? When I am gone, just remember me in your breath. Just touch your heart and you’ll sense me right there. You are my brave heart. You have to take care of yourself. I love you, my prince charming,” she said while sobbing. Her pillow was soaked with tears.

“My darling, how can I forget that happiest day of my life!” he uttered zealously. “Yes, yes, I was quite shy in revealing my pounding heart. I can vividly remember that bright sunny morning when I had received your missive, reminding me that I had put more than half an hour of your time as you were getting late to college. Well, guess what? You were too irresistible. I could not take my eyes off of you when I had first seen you in that red dress. You looked so sensuous. I can still see that ravishing beauty in you,” he said, drawing his eyes all over her face. She had been touched by his romantic milieu. “Oh, dear…” she said, pleasantly blushing.

He could not hold his tears any longer. He could not keep his head bowed any more. He could almost hark to the agonizing utterances of his heart. He could not resist his arms to show his evergreen endearment towards his only love; his childhood love.

“Oh! Sarah, my life… my soul! I love you. I love you so much. Please don’t talk about dying. I can’t even imagine a single day without you. What would I do without you, huh? How can I live without you? You are in every breath of mine” he cried, embracing her passionately. There was something not right when he had hugged her. He could not feel her heart pulsating. She had stopped breathing. His heart palpitated wildly.

“Sarah... Hey... Sarah... Sarah! Saraaaaaaaaaaaah! Please, please, please talk to me. Oh, my sunshine, bon voyage…” he cried, kissing her on forehead, and gently closing her eyes.

Meanwhile, somewhere down the hills, the winds whirled fervently across the navy-blue skies. Slowly comprehension began to dawn on him. He kept on looking at her in silence. A peculiar silence. A harrowing silence. A doting silence. A childlike silence. A bona fide silence. An enlightening silence. A numb silence.


~ Copyright © Surabhi Kaura 2015



P.S. The verse which I have mentioned is by Gulzaar, one of my favourite Indian poets.

More by this Author


Comments 17 comments

shprd74 profile image

shprd74 11 months ago from Bangalore

death can take away the perishable,

the feelings are in the soul,

that can never perish.

Souls never die

they are born again

and again.

-------------------

maut to insaan ko bas le jati hai.

magar uski sabhi yadeen,

dil me yahin rahe ti hain,

hamesha hamesha.

Kahani abhi baaki hai mere dost.

- Hari


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Bro....... you're the second Gulzaar Sahab! So fourtunate to have you in my circle, bhaiya. Yep, this eternal cycle goes on and on. We're all standing in the line to attain Moksha though. We wait to meet with Brahma. One day… one day…

You know it’s like this: We all know that death is the ultimate and bitter Truth of life. Nonetheless, we should aim to weave gratitude into the fabric of our life and smile till the very end. As the ticking of clock moves and the people we know pass away along the journey of life, we’re alarmed of our own ineluctable ends in waiting, and everything is a blip of transience and ephemeral.

There is a very famous story in Buddhism where a woman shows up to Buddha in immense agony, carrying her dead child. She weeps and pleads to Budhha to bring her child back to life. Then Buddha says, “Listen, first bring to me a mustard seed from any household where no one had ever died. Go, lady. I will then fulfill your wish.” She searches each and every household and then she comes back to Buddha, and says, “Oh Master, I had searched everywhere for the seed, but all went in vain.” Obviously there was no such existence of a house where death had never knocked the door. So the woman later understands the universality of death.

Alright, enough said. Thank you, Hari Bhai for dropping by. I appreciate that you went through this short fiction… that is not very short length-wise. (he he). Jai Bhole, pyare bhaiya :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia

Surabhi, this is a touchingly beautiful love story, expertly written. It is always a pleasure to read anything you write. Thank you for this wonderful story.


shprd74 profile image

shprd74 11 months ago from Bangalore

gulzar is my favourite poet. i am still a toddler.

death is still a difficult subject to handle. Kudos for all your effort. You have weaved a great story around loving characters.

- Hari


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Jodah,

I sincerely thank you for the feedback. Coming from a great writer like you, is a blessing and a great reward in itself. Much thanks.

Hari Bhai,

Thank you, bro… thank you for coming back once again :)


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 11 months ago from london

You vocation is beginning to take shape, my Sweet. You are a romantic and perhaps you should write romantic books. Be a Barbara Cartlands. Your ability to understand human psychology; to converse; to dialogue, is very evident.

What a loving and beautiful story! What a strong and powerful ending! I've moved away from this. But it's your thing. Let the Master decides. Hari Om!


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 11 months ago from Hyderabad, India

What a splendid story. So much emotional and moving the heart. You are awesome in describing emotions and nature in all your writings. I can't miss your hubs. So much beautiful and enlightening.

My internet was off for 60 hours due to damage of cables by dozers digging roads in our colony. So, now only could I read this story.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Manatita,

Well… well… well, my dear. Romance is my genre, yes, but so long as it is not vulgar. (he he). I like it when the story relates to human emotions, in a way that it provides a moral at the end or teaches an exemplary lesson. I also like Spirituality. Well, I am beginning to like its grandeur. Actually I haven’t read much Romance, but yeah, I have read ‘Country Brides by Debbie Macomber’ many times, and she stands one of the best Romantic novelists in my mind. Barbara Cartlands? Cool. I will look her up. Gratitude... much Gratitude. Hari Om!

Venkatachari ji,

Pranaam. I am glad that you like it. Aww – it’s such a nice compliment that my writings can’t be left unattended. Thank you, Sir… thank you!

I hope the electricity issue is completely resolved. Om Shanti.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 11 months ago from london

Barbara Cartlands was the queen of romance, and Agatha Christie the queen of thrills and mystery. Barbara lived to be 100 years old! I hope I'm not wrong, but I believe they were both English. Cartlands wrote over 100 books! I was reading her works as a child in the Caribbean.

Perhaps I'll write a romance for you. (naughty boy! slap, slap)

Note: Since we are so close, I'll tell you. My ... you know who, has said that we should not tease women. Wonderful advice!


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Oh!! Awesome! Hmm wasn’t it quite early to read Barbara? he he (tease.. tease)

I am looking forward to read that from your end :)

Om Namah Shivaya!


swalia profile image

swalia 11 months ago

So beautiful and moving! I wonder if love like this exists in real life too!

And I absolutely loved the last lines...fifty shades of silence :)


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you, Shaloo. Yes, it of course exists.


deepaliawasare profile image

deepaliawasare 11 months ago from Vadodara

Intense and Beautiful story ... loved it immensely .. even death becomes beautiful in the presence of love ......


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Hello Deepali! Pleasure to meet you. I thank you for dropping by. Happy New Year!


deepaliawasare profile image

deepaliawasare 11 months ago from Vadodara

Thanks and wish you the same :-)


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 4 months ago from India

In very simple words express the true feeling really very well written. Awesome :)


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 4 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Arey wah. Thank you... thank you, Ashish. Bless you!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working