There was fire in the wind that night when the time had brought upon us an abrupt closure. My heart paced upon the idea of falling apart with the one thing that seemed so dear to me. It was going to take time and thought I knew I hadn’t any I could do nothing but wait. It was the first in many years. Helpless and anxious. Selfish. Colored in the tones of blue and grey I stood. She was a fighter. Fierce. I had that in me too, but that day I wasn’t. Because her fight was with death, my was with my guilt. Strange thing it is, guilt. It lies there in our subconscious mind, patiently awaiting the right hour to strike when the iron is hot. Our crimes stay with us. And while it slowly withers our soul, testing our ground and vacating our energies, we stand forbidden from a life that we had envisaged. The nature of crime could be logically justified and I may have been capable of fooling my heart to believe the same. But then we can’t keep fooling oursleves, can we? Maybe yes. Can we live with it? Maybe yes. Can we forgive oursleves? Maybe yes. Can we ever forget what was forgiven and forgive our heart who was entrusted to forget? Definitely no.
I hadn’t seen her so feeble. Her voice dying out like an crisp echo at the edge of the night. She could have dealt with it only she didn’t seem willing to. Maa had been the superwoman in disguise and this time I need her without the veil. I was always her favorite. Even as a kid. Despite all the trouble I had caused. I was. My little brother would try to compare and while she always consoled him by saying that she loved him more, in that lie I could hear her truth. I didn’t know bad times lay ahead and I couldn’t have done anything about it, for time has never been a comforting friend and destiny never a promising possibility. For reasons unclear I was admitted to a boarding school. Slowly the definition of home started changing and distances that couldn’t be measured became impossible to cover. I did wait for the vacations. But I always returned school a week or two ahead. She hated it. And I hated that she didn’t ask me to stay. I didn’t ask her before I decided to move to Zürich for further studies. It was over lunch that I sneaked it in our conversation. She didn’t say anything. I thought she would, but she didn’t. Best of luck she said as she got up. She didn’t look back. I never did either. In all the 7 years, I yearned to see her. I did write to her a couple of time. I got the same half hearted reply. I stopped. My younger brother had grown a strong dislike for me for he thought I was to blame. But I was clear about that part until recently. I was not to blame for something I didn’t know.
I decided to come back. To see her. My anger hadn’t died but neither had my love. I was forced out of the family and I may never be a part of it again, but as I stand here, I know that somethings you can never let go of. I was never hers. I was a part of her heart, but I was a token of betrayal. She loved me more than she could ever allow herself, but she hated me more than she thought she would. And then it all came in front of me. The loose ends were tied and I shied away from acknowledging the knots. She called me in. With all those pipes in and out of her body, she could barely speak. She lifted her hands and reached out to me. Tears trickled down her wrinkles as they followed a path aged with sorrow. They may have taken that course a million times, but this was the last. Life had come to a full circle and it was time to rebegin. I kissed her forehead and smiled. She was reassured of my position. And though I had a long way before the guilt could be drowned, I saw her drown in her content. She had paid the price of something she never wanted in her life and still she had the courage to admit to me that in her half hearted love towards me, she didn’t compromise. Whatever little affection I was shown over the years was pure and untainted.
I decided to take a walk back to my house. Flashes. Memories. They kept coming back to me. And then I realized that I never was her favorite. That truth that I heard when she said to my younger brother that she loved him more was the belief I had carried with me for too long. I have no complains. It was time for me to bid goodbye to all. I wasn’t coming back. I don’t have anything to come back to. I am glad that she buried her guilt before she was lost to the universe. I hope my guilt will find liberation too. And maybe guilt, it isn’t such a strange thing after all!