The rains lashed out their fury. She watched from her bed, tiny rivulets of water sliding down the window panes. The clock straight above stood still at seven. Was it evening or morning, she was not sure. The green gown of the hospital smelt of disinfectant and medicines, her head reeling at the heady scents of life and death. Where is he now, she thought absently, drifting in thoughts. She vividly remembered the color of his eyes, the laugh lines along the ends of his eyes, the long drooping eye lashes, the shock of dark curly hair and the smile- the smile that shook her very being, the smile that has been haunting her for a long time. She reminisced their last meeting, rain drenching every bit of her, remorse washing every ounce of her soul. He had sought answers- answers why she was running away from him and a future with him. All she could do was stand silently rooted under the banyan tree, with raindrops and tears running down her cheeks...
The night duty nurse Sheela picked up a magazine and flipped through the pages absently. The patient on the bed was resting, she presumed. It is rather tiresome to be taking care of the same patient for a long time, she thought to herself. It has been three months since she was assigned to patient 1243. Dutifully, she had checked the pulse, temperature, pressure, eyes and slowly rolled over the socks over the chill and numb toes. Hair plaited, eyes closed with a tiny band aid fixed to the lids and the ventilator humming, the patient was sleeping peacefully. Sheela's thoughts went back to her ailing father at home. His cough had gone from bad to worse and all she wanted was him to pass away peacefully in sleep. Lung cancer in advanced stage was almost eating him away and she was a mute spectator. Her long nights in hospital away from him had made him more melancholic and lonely, yet she needed this salary to keep him ticking. She had proper rest in the hospital after she was assigned to bed number 1243.
1243? How she hated numbers...He was not so, he was a super computer and an awesome programmer. An intellectual, she smiled to herself. Rain was a messenger between them. She was always struck with awe whenever they met and in the company of rain. The long conversations in the empty classrooms, the short walks to the bus terminus, the small parties with friends where they sent searing glances at each other, the long train journey they had once traveled together...rain had walked hand in hand with them. Memories flooded her mind. She remembered the empty envelopes he handed to her, asking her to write to him when they parted ways. They had always remained empty and untouched, underneath all paraphernalia in her cupboard. She had always wanted to write to him, but held herself back. Now there were two families involved and she did not want to hurt anyone, ever- him, the most.
When would he ever see her? He had vivid dreams of her these days. The shortly cropped hair, the ringing laughter, dancing eyes and chirpy voice- the memories locked away somewhere in the subconscious came rushing back. His life with his wife Rama had been a quiet and uneventful one, peaceful and serene. Yet he longed to see his childhood sweetheart, feel her and touch her- that chirpy bouncing girl of his younger days. The long lost love, for whom he had waited with bated breath. That woman who left him for someone else. That woman who never uttered those three words. If only he could ever meet her once before he died...he coughed out aloud and wiped away the blood trickling down his nose. The pain came suddenly, all he could feel was her soft touch on his arm, the warm breath of her fanning his fevered cheeks and her cool lips on his forehead. Not a dream, this was for real...he smiled. His last breath was painless and peaceful.
Sheela woke up with a start when she heard peculiar sounds from the patient. The patient was almost breathless, eye balls rolling but no movement in her limp limbs. Sheela had seen so many comatose patients and she knew exactly what was happening. She held the thin fingers lovingly and caressed the hollow cheeks. Her lips were uttering silent prayers. The ventilator ceased its function with a violent thud and a tiny drop of final tear rolled down the closed eyes. Patient 1243 was dead. Sheela felt a lump in her throat as she picked up the hospital phone to call the duty doctor. The relatives had to be informed. Her mobile had been ringing incessantly for a while now and she picked it up after informing the office of the death.
It was her little brother Vimal who sounded out of breath. " Dad passed away. I noticed just now, Sheela". His voice breaking down, he sobbed silently. Sheela glanced at the dead patient, whose face looked composed and angelic in death. The raindrops fell pitter patter on the window sill in their own gleeful dance, kissing the glass panes...
Oh my God.. after reading the title I thought it must be a romantic tale but you surprised me with your write-up.. It is touching, beautiful and very beautifully written.. Hats off to youReplyDelete
Someone is Special
Oh dear, you are one hell of a story teller. Fiction is your forte.ReplyDelete
One tiny typo "carrassed" in this beautiful piece - correct it please?
Brilliant narration... I am speechless, it was so touching! I loved the oscillation in the story, very well weaved. Your words have soul... I am a big fan of your writings.. Keep going :)ReplyDelete
How did you come up with such a poetic storyline!ReplyDelete
The connection between two people,,,,far from each other.!
Beautifully written. Do we get to read more stories from you?ReplyDelete
1. WHAT is conn bet patient 1234 and sheela the nurse?ReplyDelete
2.If sheela character is a take -off from Manadhil urudhi vendum?
3.the story did nt portray why did they part -off although both of them liked each other?
4.i think we read ur same story as a poem in ORKUT n name of "ANDRU ORU MAZHAI NAALIL".. am i rite/...??if u dnt rem go thru... IT IS!!!!...
5.what is the portion or role of EMPTY ENVELOPES to b writtn on occassion of PART- OFF has got to do with the story???QQ!!
@ SiS- thank you. Glad that you liked the tale:)ReplyDelete
@ Purba- Yes, i've finally found out fiction is my area:) And thanks for pointing out, have corrected the typo:)
@ Api- thanks for the comment. Hope to see you more often here!ReplyDelete
@ Arti- Feeling honored! Thanks a ton for the kind compliment. Hoping to write more:)
@ Redhanded- Thank you so much dear. Happy that you liked it:)ReplyDelete
@ Rama- Thanks fro stopping by. Hoping to put in more fiction. Glad you liked it:)
@ Anonymous- 1. Sheela is the daughter of the man who dies of cancer, thinking of his childhood sweetheart- patient 1243. I thought it was obvious!ReplyDelete
2. Nope, i don't think so..
3. The story did not touch that part...that is left to the reader to guess...There is a line that says patient 1243 never wants to hurt both the families. Read between the lines!
4. Hahaha...is it so? May be i love rain and romance;)
5. Empty envelopes is symbolic of their blank life without each other.
Lovely...! I like the way you have interwoven three people's narratives into one! More stories please!ReplyDelete
@ Meera- thanks a ton for the encouragement. Shall try to write more fiction:)))ReplyDelete
You are good at fiction..you had my attention throughout.ReplyDelete
I agree,,you are an amazing story teller...even mistook it for a romantic story @ the beginning!!ReplyDelete
@ Alka- Thanks a ton, glad you liked the story:)ReplyDelete
@ Madrasi- Thank you dear:)
I am mesmerized by your writing..So creative.Keep posting:)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much Aynzan:)ReplyDelete