Closer the van got, heavier the raindrops splattered on the windshields. Like every night the Van carrying me passed by her house. But, unlike other nights the feeling was empty. I knew, even if I knocked on the door, she won't be there.
She had said her goodbyes.
The realization hit me hard. It knocked me out of my breath. Tears wailed up. I couldn’t see properly. I wanted the driver to stop driving and let me out of it. I wanted rain to totally drench me.
I wanted to let my tears fall as free as they were trying to be...
That day, still shaken from the news, I was trying to come to terms with her decision. Shutting my eyes I tried remembering our days, those smiles, comfortable vibes and short sweet talks. But those memories were not clear.
They were just fragments!
Then, I had the usual reaction. Hair on my neck gave me the signal. I felt her presence. She sat right next to me on the cold slate.
"Of all people, it has to be you."
She said with her usual trademark teasing tone. It was not difficult for me to recognize that slight-husky voice of hers.
That tone, that voice was what had made me turn my head. It was our first day at college and that voice had instinctively made me look at her direction. Fair looking, with cool and playful attitude, from first glance I had liked her.
But, now things had changed to the level that it would never be the same. I got angry at her nearness; her casualness.
"Yeah, you took exact words out of my mind." I replied. I could feel the bitterness on my own tone. Not to my surprise, she gave hers' that famous loud laugh again.
"Why?" I asked. "The 'You' I knew was not like that!"
"But, you were not that much surprised!" she declared and turned the table, "Why is it? I wonder, is it because we share the similar secret? "
I knew what she was talking about. And I also knew that she was deliberately trying to change the subject. But, by now, I mean after spending more than 5 years in same classroom, she knows how stubborn I am. So, before I asked again, she shifted her weight and spoke.
"It was a moment's decision."
I said nothing.
I couldn't say anything, anyway.
My mind was blank.
She spoke again. This time, louder, "I have nothing more to say! Don't ask me anything, anymore about it."
If I wouldn't, who else could?
My anger vanished in thin air. Just like that. I didn't know what to say. For the first time, she had made me loss at words. But, I had to speak something. I didn't know how much time we had. So, I just blurted out what came first in my mind.
"Did you know, I always found you cool and really loved seeing you? You used to make my day!"
'Oh, I didn't say that! So embarrassing!' my head talked back. But, surprisingly my heart felt some relief.
"Yeah, from the time we spent talking in bus. I remember," She said, "I think we understood each other since then."
She was silent, for sometime.
Then, there was a slight chuckle. After sometime, she took a deep breath and said, "Those were good days, good memories."
"Though subjects were usually stupid and scattered, talking with you was like therapy. That is why it was such a pleasant surprise when we ended up in same college again,' Shed added.
"But, I was not there when you actually needed me," I felt the stabbing pain in my chest, "Sorry!" I said.
"Not your fault."
"I am worried about you." I blurted again.
"Are you scared?" she asked
"Are you?" I barely managed to ask her back.
To which she replied, "A lil bit!"
Her voice didn't quiver like mine.
"I can't remember your face. Its all blur," I choked. Tears started falling freely.
"…I didn’t know you were such a cry-baby!" Then she was silent again. I bet if I could see her I would have seen tears falling from her eyes as well. In her every breath, I could hear her silent cry.
We stayed like that for how long, I have no idea. But, after my eyes were swollen and tears stopped she broke the silence.
"You know, we are somehow same," with composed and thoughtful voice she said, "It was fate! We were to meet, have this discussion."
"What you mean?" I didn't understand her.
"You know, it's like two-way therapy," she said with light tone.
"You are just a hallucination!" I declared.
"Yeah, you wish!" she laughed.
She was still laughing loud when all of a sudden, I heard her say, "My time is up!"
I could not feel her by my side.
With passing nanoseconds she was going further and further away from me. Her voice got more and more difficult to hear.
"Don't call me anymore, not that strongly," she was shouting now, "It will attract you too. With more force than you had experienced and ever imagined."
I didn't have time to reply nor think. I just started running towards her voice. My hands stretched.
"For me, some memories are too painful, I don't want to ever go through them again. So, don't call me or think of me so much that will drag me here again," by then, her voice was just a whisper.
"Goodbye!" her lingering voice had left me cold in there, staring at the sky with empty stretched hands.
Before I could answer her, she was already gone.
Her presence, I couldn’t feel it anymore…
Though I couldn't feel her presence, how could I not think about her? Every moment, my heart misses her and my mind starts searching for her.
Her decision has left the never-healing scar and has opened those old wounds. Those wounds mixed with her memories hunt me. And with that my nightmares come closer.
It's hard to escape; the urge is too strong for me to handle again.
The warning was too late!