Pain, even at a time of devastation, is fugitive. It is bound to be, for if it weren’t, hope would lose all its meaning.
With each step Sam took towards the terrace, his legs became more and more still, heavy. He kept looking over his shoulder frequently to make sure no one had seen him. His eyes were strangely unfocused, his mind bursting with a conflict of its own. His life, it seemed had taken such a drastic turn, that it was almost impossible to comprehend. And yet he had been happy a week ago. It felt like another lifetime.
‘Is it cowardice? Is it Bravery? Maybe it’s not always possible to group things into good and evil. Maybe people are more than just strong or weak…’ he thought as he climbed more stairs.
At last, panting slightly, he managed to reach the terrace, 12 flights of stairs above, where he was greeted with a cool autumn breeze. His hands and feet felt numb. His elder sister, Pooja, was about to get married in another month. How she had dreamed about it all her life! How she would always annoy him with her wedding fantasies! But that was all gone now. It was entirely his fault, he thought.
He thought about the girl he had loved, Nidhi, and his spine chilled at the very thought of her. She, he had found out about a week ago, had more than one suitor. When confronted about it, unable to find a way out, she turned it all on him positively screaming at him for infringing her personal space. As it transpired, she filed a report against him, accusing him of molestation. When everyone came to know that he had been arrested by the police, people started darting disgusted looks at his entire family and the groom’s parents revoked their decision to let their son marry into a rapist’s family.
He walked to the very edge of the terrace, and looked down onto the roads. Cars and buses were moving ceaselessly and hustling noises were coming from every direction. His head started to spin and he felt sick. His legs were shaking uncontrollably.
‘Don’t do it’ said a small voice inside his head.
‘What else do I have left?’ he thought.
‘Dying will only make things worse. Think about mum, think about Pooja. They’d be shattered’ it said again.
Tears poured down his face, as he closed his eyes, hoping that it would make the voice stop. He couldn’t face a change of heart now. He had come this far after all. Returning back to his miserable life was not an option. The prospect of death, resigning his life, would have almost been laughable to him. But not today. The force was unbearable, the loneliness agonizing. It was too much to take.
And he leaned forward, his eyes still closed, and his feet left the terrace. Wind rushed past his face and he whizzed down. He felt free, liberated. He took it all in, not thinking about what was just about to happen.
A strange obscurity grabbed him, like someone had tied a polythene bag around his face. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t feel anything, although he was certain that if he could, it would definitely be excruciating pain. Sudden hazed images formed in his head, voices echoed in his mind.
He was learning how to ride a bicycle, his dad jogging behind him. His mum was feeding him when he had broken his arm after getting hit by a bike. His sister and best friend, Pooja cracked a joke about girls, making him laugh when he was rejected by his first crush. Boards, college, graduation. Memories zoomed past his eyes like a movie. The voices of his mum, dad and sister kept playing inside his head like a broken record player.
His head felt so heavy that he could hardly lift it. His eyes opened slightly. The world was red, like the vivid description of warfare and despair in the novels. And yet he had never felt more peaceful, not in his life. Everything seemed to slow down; become shadowy. He could see motion through his partly open eyes. People were rushing towards him, though he couldn’t hear anything other than a droning buzz. Abruptly it became too dark to see, like an eclipse, and all he could see was a faint light, a long distance away. He was running towards it, his hand outstretched. His eyes closed.
Story Written and shared by Saurav Sen