He was hallucinated and dazed. It felt like ages since he last met her in that dusky gloomy evening. His mind drifted thinking about her and a pensive smile crossed his lips as he murmured in ambivalence, “Only she can make me feel the presence of her absence.”
The loud shrill of the train whistle shook him out of his reverie. The lone bulb in the coach was fighting hard to cast the yellow dim shadows in the ghostly darkness. He rubbed his eyes to get a clearer vision, stretched his senses and tried hard to read the dials on his wristwatch. It was twenty minutes past one in the morning. Two more hours to Newport! Two more hours before the possibility of any confrontations and two more excruciating long hours to spend in agony and anxiousness. Nothing was clear, neither the present nor what the future beholds.
Somewhere deep in his heart, he knew he dreaded to be back in Newport again. After all, this was the place where he found his love, cherished his dreams and then lost everything including his peace. He had left the city with the hope of starting all over again but never succeeded. She was omnipresent! In his repose, between his pensive smiles, over dejected moments and in the hollow vacuum fixated firmly in his vision like an image frozen in time.
His implacable quandary found some respite as the early morning hue scattered on the vast canvas of wilderness. The shimmering lights on the windowsill made him inquisitive. He looked through the shades of the murky window and a sense of calamity gradually embraced his soul. The moment was magical! And all his apprehensions slowly started to diminish.
It was the epitome of serenity and the breaking of a new dawn. Nothing mattered, not even the unruly time, which had clamped him down all this while. He pulled open the window. The coach was filled with the freshness of the morning mist. He threw his head out and the gush of cold wind lashed against him, piercing every inch of his face. He felt liberated. He was never sure like this before. All he wanted was to be in Newport. The perturbations he was running away from the most, was returning with an urge of vengeance.
“God must have a plan, otherwise why am I here?” he whispered in certainty. For good or for the worse he was seeking answers. Answers that would either bring renewed hope or might doom him for a lifetime.
The occasional soft pounding sound woke Amanda from her sleep. It appeared that someone was knocking the door in incongruity. She kept lying on the bed with forced extra vigilant senses, and sure the infrequent slow tap on the door was incredibly distinct in the otherwise quiet setup. With blurry eyes, Amanda looked at the table clock. It was four in the morning.
“Who could that be?” she murmured with confusion. With some denial, she dragged her out of the bed and she traipsed lazily sauntering towards the door. Her feet froze when she saw the image of the time-forgotten person on the other side of the keyhole. His vivid shadow looked disgruntled in the wild wintery night. But despite all the hazy appearance, she knew who it was.
A Thousand hues of emotions went past her as she opened the door almost subconsciously. Her heart skipped many beats, as his shadow appeared basking in the doorway light. Sure, It was Alex!!
She stood there oscillating between joy, hope, pain, and despair, all converging at once bellowing like a raging gale. She remembered how, despite their intense bonding, they had parted, as destiny would have done. She had died several deaths since then. And here he was again, unearthing all those suppressed emotions with vigor. “Who says time heals everything!!” was all she could comprehend.
She was stirred out of her thinking spree by a deep voice, “Amanda can I come in”. As the reality sunk in, a sudden sign of helplessness engulfed her, and all she wanted to do was to embrace him. With great difficulty, she curtailed her emotions and without much deliberation, she made way to let him in.
Alex looked different. He was dressed in a blue pair of dilapidated jeans. The rugged overcoat was almost shielding every possible part of his torso. He donned an unkempt beard. His eyes looked swollen and his lips appeared dry probably displaying yearning for unfulfilled desires. Shades of grey were all over his hair. Hidden somewhere, Amanda could see a loving heart still longing for her.
Alex quietly grabbed the corner of the sofa in her living room. His look was piercing through her making her quiver. Her heart was beating so loud that she felt it would explode on her.
Half lost in her thoughts, she took her eyes off him and said “coffee?” And before he could respond, she dashed to the kitchen.
As she was putting the brewer on she felt his presence behind her. She almost froze and before she could comprehend the situation Alex whispered. “I am sorry to barge into your life again. I am dying and I have to see you once before I leave this world”.
Amanda’s world started crashing in front of her eyes. Tears started rolling down, and she looked at him in despair.
“Was it worth the separation?” she contemplated in a confused conjuncture. But they had taken the decision together to ensure they do justice to their loved ones. “But have they?” The only time he had disappeared from her thoughts was when her mind was occupied; otherwise, he never failed to disappear.
She lunged for him and embraced him in her arms, melting away with the trail of few mystified words, “I will keep you safe in my arms and will find a reason of our existence for the world.”
Copyright © Shantanu Baruah