The Goodbye

She turned towards him, with her eyes brimming with tears, trying hard to hold them back. Dressed in an elegant, beige flowing skirt one could make out that she had dressed with care. Now, though, clothes were probably the last thing on her mind.

Trying hard to smile, she reached out for his hand. She couldn’t read his face. Never had been able to. He never expressed like others. Had his own ingenious style which was a different story, but, she knew him. Knew him well enough to know he was feeling the same. Somewhere behind those cold eyes and rigid face, was a boy, with whom she had fallen in love.

She embraced him. Neither said a word. But then, nothing was left to be said, nothing left to be done. It had been decided. Decided by everyone, except them. God has always been cruel… Still, somewhere in the back of her mind, she said a silent prayer. A plea to the god, she had grown up to dislike. An appeal to let this be a bad dream.

Oh! How many times had Momma warned her!!! “No future baby. He’ll leave you out in the cold.” She knew momma was wrong. Always had been. She never regretted her decision. Not even now.

She touched his face slowly, afraid to hurt him. She knew it was time and this was the last touch. She didn’t want to let go. Sighing, she turned to leave. As if on cue, they came forward, with a mere glance of sympathy. Or was it pity? They passed her and reached out for him, those officers in uniform. She couldn’t look anymore, but hadn’t he prepared her for this? It was as if she had been waiting for this day in apprehension all her life.

The men bend down to pick up his body. She stared hard to get one last look.

Yes. From now she was a widow. Widow of a man, thousands hated. A rebel for some and a terrorist for others.

And she finally let go of the tears she had been holding back.

Shruti Choudhury

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