Life doesn’t often give you a chance to say goodbye. No, it doesn’t. I know. I have lost quite a bit and quite a few. You see, I’d know.
And so I have relived that scene a million times in my head. Played it, again and again, on repeat. To look for answers, to find inspiration, to get angry, to feel sad, to get inspired, to find reason, to find a mistake, to find – closure. And I haven’t. Found any of it.
All I have found is the reality. The reality that he is gone. That he chose to go. That he chose to end. That he chose to give up.
And how apt, that he was wearing black. A black that matched his deep dark eyes. A black that showed his glorious eye-lashes. A black that covered his strong arms and wide chest. A black that perfectly contrasted his fair skin. A black that I loved to snuggle in and feel protected.
I was a mess. A tear strained cheeks and dark circles mess. An unkempt hair and sniffy nose mess. A shabby t-shirt and a shorts donning mess. I felt what I looked like. A hopeless mess.
And he knew it was going to be this way. And he still came. I give him that. I always gave him that. That needed courage. I have often wondered where he found that strength. Probably because he needed the goodbye as much as I did. Or that is at least what I told myself.
He had texted that he was coming. I had asked him what the point was. Last few weeks had been hazy. That fateful afternoon when he texted that he had decided to end things. Since that unforgettable afternoon life had been a blurry teary dark and depressing haze. I didn’t know when days began and ended. What I did at office. How I kept going, breathing, living. Now that I talk of it, it sounds so melodramatic. But it actually hurt. An indescribable pain rose from the pit of the stomach and gripped every nerve within seconds and clenched. An irrational pain. A meaningless pain. A seemingly unending pain.
The bell rang. I opened the door. He was there. He mirrored my despair. Or atleast I thought he did.
I tried to hug him. Our usual greeting. Over the years and years that he had walked into a door. That is what we did. I didn’t know how else to greet him.
He pulled away. Politely. But sternly. And my whole body reacted. It rebelled. It shrieked. It sank. As the finality of it hit. He had left. Physically he was there. But his mind and heart had quit.
I sat on the sofa. He sat next to me. He said he was sorry. I asked him why. Why now? Why after so long. What had changed. Didn’t he regret it. Didn’t he feel anything. How could he not feel anything. Was I wrong in thinking it was a good relationship? Was I a fool waiting for so many years? Was it something from society? Was it something in me? Was there someone else? I kept asking. He kept answering. He kept apologizing. The tears kept rolling down my face.
And finally he looked up and he wiped a tear away from my cheek and he kissed my forehead and he turned his eyes away. It was then that I saw, he was broken too.
Maybe it was momentary. Maybe it wasn’t. I would never know.
His phone rang. He got up.
I got up.
I picked up his chocolates and thrust them in his hands. With anger. Deep anger. And resentment. I was blaming him for the pain.
He once again said “This is better for both of us in the long run”
I again repeated “It may be for you but it has broken me”
He opened the door. I knew it was the last time I was seeing him. There are moments in life when you invoke death. Because not existing seems to be the only painkiller that would work. The only sound that would quieten the terrible noise within. The only salvation.
Death didn’t come. Not then. But he left.
I stood there in the doorframe. Like a hundred times before. Seeing his back receding. Seeing him descend the stairs. He turned once and waved, from the staircase. Shoulders hunched, lips drooping, eyelids holding back tears. I stood there, seeing him slowly disappear. Till the last black of his head ceased to exist in the scene. I stood there. Staring into the empty corridor. The blaring white lights making his absence more visible. More real.
It has been years now. But the grief has a way of rebooting and refreshing with new energy every time the mind replays the scene. And the mind replays the scene. Less often now. But it does. Specially when it sees a black t-shirt.
*Written as part of Writeclub Bangalore’s session on “Separation”