I had never seen him. Just had a word with him once when he wanted me to visit him.

But I didn’t go. I had something more important to do. Also, I found it weird. Weird that a person, who personified loneliness, was calling me in the middle of the night. He had mentioned that he had heard about me and wanted to know me better.

But I did not understand his request. All I heard was his weirdness.

The first time we met, he was about to turn into ashes. We couldn’t talk. Rather, he couldn’t respond in the language I could understand. Or maybe I couldn’t really hear him.

I asked him how he was feeling. I asked him if he was angry with me for never calling him back. He didn’t say a word.

Everything around him was gloomy and dark. The night had arrived for him.

We all were still in the day. We could see him but not really.

There was too much light that day. I wanted to see and enter darkness. I wanted to know what it was like, travelling to a place where you couldn’t see anyone, a journey that would take you nowhere.

And I wanted to believe that he was happy, pleased to be part of the night that was going to last forever.

They carried him to the fire, the fire that would finally end all his sufferings. The fire had a distinct glow, which was telling him, whispering into his ears,

“Come here, let me offer you solace,

Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,

It won’t hurt, I promise.”

And then, I saw him turn crimson, full of life again, for one last time.

I wanted to say goodbye. But my throat was choked. You are overwhelmed, I told myself. And suddenly, the goodbye started pouring through my eyes.

I saw him fly too. I saw him painting the blue sky with his black and grey hues.

And here I was, standing in the middle of suffering as he flew away, to a better place. ‘Heaven’ is what some of them call it here on Earth.

I could smell him, or maybe his soul. But soul doesn’t die. It remains, it is said. So maybe, from somewhere up, he could still see me and was calling out,

“We shall talk. We shall talk soon. Come visit me someday dear.”

This is part of my short story (fiction) collection that I wrote years back. Each story is intertwined with a personal experience with love, desperation, death and so on.

To read the first one, click here

The second one is available here.

Let’s talk at anoushkabhartia@gmail.com

Writer. Buddhist. Feminist. Looking for freelance projects.

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