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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter VII

I was escorted to her room, by a sympathetic elderly nurse, who wanted to know what my relation to the patient was.

 

“She’s my … everything,” I replied as I stepped into the room. I couldn’t help thinking of her as a little doll in an oversized dollhouse as she lay there, tiny and frail, on that huge bed, surrounded by those gigantic machines.

 

The nurse glanced sadly at us, and left – leaving me sitting there with her little hands held in mine. The hands that had nurtured many sapling to plants, and tended many an injured sparrow lay cold, and somewhat devoid of life.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, though my rational side had always had a sense of foreboding – a clammy premonition. I had locked it away in some hidden cupboard, and now it had come back to spite me.

 

She looked at me, eyes wide, frowning, “It’s not like I didn’t try to tell you.” She tried to sit up, “I tried again and again, over the last two years.”

 

“Shh… don’t exert yourself,” I patted her cheek lovingly. She looked forlorn and out-of-place in the room that reeked of disinfectant, with white tiles and monstrous machines. “When did you get here?”

 

She played with my hair. The she-devil knew that it irked me no end to have my hair ruffled. But today, I let her do it. “It was last night. I felt a bit woozy, so I called Dr. Brooks and he promised to check in on me. But, by the time he came, I had collapsed on the rug by the fireplace. That’s when I was rushed here.”

 

She smiled one of her beautiful smiles. I sat silent, waiting for her to go on.

 

“I’m very sick, and the doctors are not really sure what it is,” she smiled again, without mirth, “and my immune system is giving up… it is only a matter of time before I… die…”

 

I grabbed her frail wrists, “You will not die! I won’t let you. You’ll live to be eighty. We’ll have a little house by the lake, where we will grow old together. We’ll have grandchildren, you can’t leave me,” I shouted, angry at the futility of it all.

 

She looked at me pityingly, as if I were the one in hospital, “I never meant it to happen. I never wanted you to love me. I never meant to fall back in love with you. And I don’t want to leave you, ever. I’d love to be with you… for as long as I live.”

 

She tried to smile at me, but it took too much effort. A tear slid down my cheek. She wrapped her arms around my neck, holding me tight. I hugged her close, savouring her touch.

 

“There! You’ve ruined it. I was trying to be brave, and you made me cry,” she wailed, grabbing little fistfuls of my shirt, and wetting it with her tears. Then, her voice dropped to an almost inaudible whisper, “Tell me that the world is still lovely. Tell me that spring is here, and the magnolias will still bloom. Tell me that happiness lives on, and pain is just an illusion.”

 

She started to sob, clutching at me, clinging to me.

 

She sobbed into my shoulder, and for the first time, I saw what she had held back for so long. I saw the emotions she had hidden from me – all her fears, all her insecurities. She knew I loved her. She knew I needed her. She knew that she wanted to spend every minute of her life with me. So, I held her, and told her that the world was beautiful, and I silently wept. I wept at the cruelty of fate, I wept at my helplessness and I wept because…

 

… I needed to. I wept because I had no words left to express anything. I wept with rage and frustration. And I wept because I had lied to her – the world was not beautiful. The world was dark, the world was dying, and so was she, for she was my world.

 

And I wept because I couldn’t stop.

 

This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home.

12 comments:

Saurabh said...

I know I kinda sound dumb, but is this the final chapter?

KUSH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KUSH said...

this post is full of emotions..
nicely done sumit.

A journey called Life said...

awesome!

guitzkrieg said...

By a fantastic coincidence, I was listening to Eva Cassidy's version of 'What a wonderful world' while reading. There couldn't be a more appropriate song. In her final public performance (before she died of Melanoma), she closed her set with the song.

Sudarshan said...

I chanced upon your blog and found it very informative. The event blogs are striking enough to have a feel of the event, so, I would like to have a little chit-chat on your blogging interests. And even we are coming up with an event on startups on June 6th in Bangalore. So, can I have your contact details? Looking forward to hear from you.

Sumit said...

@Saurabh... not dumb at all! It is written like it's the last chapter, but it's not... :D

@Kush... thanks!

@Journey... *bow*

@Ankit... wonderful song, and yeah it does sound wonderfully appropriate. Thanks!

@Sudarshan... thanks for stopping by. I'm emailing you my contact info. Let's talk. :)

Anu said...

So u did kill er(or will, eventually) :(

Next. Quickly, please :)

Sumit said...

Anu, guilty as charged. :(

Freya said...

ok. i know it! she has HIV, right? I started having doubts right from the time they got intimate.

Nice. I read all seven today. Keep writing. I always envy people who can write stories.

Kaddu said...

Tch! You ruined it! You made me cry too! And I'll take hours now to get out of this! :)

It's just that I have a tendency to get 'involved' with the story of the book/movie, and this one has been written so beautifully, it sucks you right into the plot!

You really portrayed the emotions very well Sumit -- the pain, the anger & frustration... in fact, the entire scene! It's just PERFECT! Don't wanna add anything to it... don't wanna remove anything from it!

Sumit said...

Thank you, Kaddu! I'm sorry I made you cry, but I'm glad you liked the story. :)