As I was looking at those last drops of espresso dipping down in that jar when the barista took it out from the machine to make that perfect blend of joe I used to have a few months back, this is the very spot where I used to sit with my wife. My wife is no more. We used to come here everyday. The café was just a few blocks away from our house at this beautiful city, Raipur. Well I used to walk there every evening at 5, the time when prachi always used to reach, actually I used to reach a little early just to make sure that when she sits at that table her coffee be sitting right in front of her. Well the things you do for love!
It was a Friday evening of September 2019, as usual I walked into the café and ordered our usual blend of coffee. Prachi was late today. She had a rough day, it was all written on her face you know.
I asked her, “you still angry at me for the last day?”, in a funny way.
“No, Abhi! Shut up yaar!”
“What? So, you liked that position? Eh.. eh.. eh..!”
Every time she smiles, I love her more. For all these year I am married to her, I never saw a smile on her face that beautiful, A deep curve on her lips makes the world stop around her. A smile that brings back a million memories in a split second. The precious dimple (Just like mine) that crinkles skips a beat. She has a smile that makes you feel happy about being alive just a bit more human.
“I had a really bad day today, I have a big pile of unfinished work and my boss wants them to be done within a week”
Umm okay. I can help you with that, let me take a few days off.”
“Yes, darling you can, and you will, that’s what husbands are for, nai!”
We laughed, continued to talk for a little while.
“babe, it’s 6:30, let’s head home”
We paid our bill and started walking toward home. I wrapped my arms around her, pulling her a little closer to me while we walk. A hug, it’s a simple enough gesture of affection, perhaps the fragile beginnings of love. Both our arms holding each other were soft, yet strong. The feel of her body so close to me soothed me more than expected. Not that it’s our first time but for no reason, her smile today, made me fell for her yet again, just like that night of December breeze, 10 years back. I had a whole setup of fairy lights and the balloons and her favourite food with red wine that night. That night our journey began, with no idea of the fact that we would actually make it this far, 10 freaking years!
As we were crossing the road, we were so unconscious in each other’s arms that we didn’t see that red range rover coming at the speed of 120.
I woke up in a hospital a week later. As I opened my eyes to all the bright light, my pupils were all dilated, my back and head hurt. I couldn’t move my legs. Still trying to adjust my eyes, I asked the nurse, “Wh.. Wh.. Where is prachi?” “ Please call her! Is she ok?”. The nurse didn’t say a word. She called the doctor.
“Hi, Abhilash! How do you feel?”
Can you hear me?
I was all drained, I had no energy to speak. But I tried. “Do..Doctor, Where is prachi?”
“Doctor! I can not feel my legs!”
“I can not feel my legs, Doctor!”
In a gentle voice he said, “ Mr. Abhilash, I am sorry to say but we had to ampulate your legs for they could have caused more damage to you”. At that very moment I didn’t realise the magnitude of the situation and I ignored about the fact that my legs are no more there. All I had in my mind was prachi. I asked the doctor again about her. The doctor was hesitant. At that moment I knew that something isn’t right. “Please, doctor let me see her” forgetting the fact that I no longer had my legs I tried to jump out of that bed to just run to her, see her, hold her. All 3 nurses grabbed me and pushed me back to my bed. One of those nurses shouted at me, “SHE IS DEAD”.
Suddenly I was not struggling anymore. I was quiet. For the first time I experienced a heartbreak.
I had to be in the hospital for yet another month or so. Everyday I thought about her smile, that strange new smile she had on her face that Friday night as if she knew somehow that this is going to be her last day. I will never forget that smile. I could see her sitting in front of me with that same smile, with that same shine in her eyes.
“Sir… Sir… Sir…”
“Sir, your coffee for two”
“Yaa just keep it”
“where’s your wife today? Is she still running late?”
“She is here”, I said with a smile, as I sit there on my wheelchair looking at her smiling holding her cup of joe.