Today is the first day without her and I just cannot bring myself to accept the fact that she is gone. She’s gone off to a faraway place from where I can neither bring her back nor can I reach her, no matter how many journeys I may take. She’s probably still on her way to that place. A place from where there’s no return even if she wants to. When I close my eyes I see her running off at a distance, her hair flowing behind her and I run after her, but no matter how fast I run, the distance between us only widens until she is just a dot far-far away and then she disappears. When I open my eyes everything else moves as it always did. The rain slashes down on people’s umbrellas as it always did. A lonely stray dog shivers in the corner drenched in the rain, like thousands of other stray dogs I have come across in my seventeen years of life. People walking past me have the same expressions as they always do - that neutral blank look when the facial muscles are slagging, unanimated by any kind of emotion. Their feet pattering on the sidewalk along with the rain.
I already miss her. I miss her so much that I want to stand on top of this bench and cry out to her wherever she is. My arms already ache from not being able to hold her. The memory of the smell of her hair when she rested her head against my chest, sting my eyes and suddenly everything is swimming in my tears. Soon people are going to come after me. Her family. I did something I shouldn’t have but I had to keep my promise to her. One day, she playfully said that if she ever were to die before me, then I should scatter her ashes in a place high up in the mountains from where one could see the sun rising on one side and setting on the other. A place from where one could see the mountain ridges. A place where civilization would never intrude. I had held my hand over her mouth and chided her for having even thought that she and I’d be separated like that.
I clutch the urn sitting on my lap. I haven’t peeked inside it. I can’t. I can’t see her in a heap of ashes. When I took the urn from her family and ran, it was still warm against my belly. I knew that warmth. She had pressed herself against me thousands of times and we had shared our warmth promising each other to always love each other like that. I’m angry at her for leaving me so suddenly like this. I curse her for being so reckless and not thinking that she was as responsible for her life as she was for mine. Please come back and save me, is all I can say at the end of my angry rants because no matter how hard I lash out, the fact that she’s never coming back makes me so desperate that I end up grovelling. I am cracking up and all that I held inside is seeping out. Soon I’ll be broken and I’ll be in pieces and I won’t be able to pull myself together. Before that happens I must make it to the mountaintop. I must make her wish come true. My only goal now, my only purpose in life is to take her to the place she wanted to go to. I will never be able to say goodbye because of all the times I spent with her and those memories hover above me and inside me. I will never say goodbye. I love her too much to even spell the words. I will never forgive her for leaving me like this. I’m that angry at her.
The rain has stopped and the sun peeps from behind the clouds to warm up and to dry everything that the rain has left cold and wet. I walk up to a store and buy a rucksack. Then I ease her gently into the rucksack and walk out of the store with her pressed against my back. I can feel her hands circling my chest from behind. She’s still warm and that warms my heart. Outside, I hail a taxi to the town that lies closest to my destination.
Illustration - Yoshay
Illustration - Yoshay