Unfinished Business

April 1, 2011 Off By Manjil P. Saikia

He has heard various interpretations about what it felt like just before you die. Some say you’re your whole life flashes by you in that instant. Some say that you remember the one person whose existence means more than anything else for you. Some say that you just think about all your hidden desires and the bad stuff that you have done. But then they were all second hand accounts, as they have never really died. He was slightly afraid, but he had no other alternative. He could never live the rest of his life knowing that he had failed to get the one thing that he always wanted‒love.

He sat down in the red armchair, and couldn’t help but notice that he had too many red things in his apartment. The chairs, the sofa covers, the book cases, the pillow covers, everything seemed reddish to him. And now, it was time to wet the floor too with red fluid. He shuddered to think what his family would think about his deed. His sister was just coming of age, and he was sad that he could no longer look after her. But he had saved enough money to last his aging parents and sister long enough, until she could herself earn money. He knew he was acting like a coward. He also knew the repercussions of his deed, but then he was mad‒madly in love with her.

It all began a decade ago, when he realized that he was deeply in love with the one girl in the whole world whom he had never expected this to happen. It took courage for him to convince himself that it was all cock and bull, and that he in fact loved his eight years older senior. But then the truth doesn’t remain invisible. Gradually he sensed that his hormonal activities were always fired up at the slight mention of her. It took his genius about three more months to figure out that he indeed loved her lots. Then one fine evening he decided it was time to tell her. Little did he know that he was late – late for eternity?

It all went honey-sweet for a few weeks, and then the first bombshell fell upon him. He was powerless to what she said and could find no reason for her actions. Didn’t everyone say that any girl would be lucky to be with him? He desperately wanted to believe that it was not all lost, but somehow his tiny heart couldn’t restrain itself too long. For the first time in his life, he cried over a girl. Not once but three days in a row. Even his parents and sister noticed that something was wrong with him. Somehow by a miracle he survived that moment, after contemplating taking away his life then.

Gradually he sensed that all was not lost and that maybe somewhere down the line, there was a sliver of hope to which he clung like a drowning man. Again he tried to go back to her, again she thwarted his advances; sometimes by lies and sometimes by force. But he was adamant and didn’t give away easily. Slowly, they became something which defied the conventional norms of friendship between a boy and a girl. It was certainly love but was there any future? He thought he had a shot, she had other plans.

The memory of that fateful winter night was still fresh in his mind, of that cold night which brought his life to a standstill. At times, it’s better to hear a lie continuously than to hear a single truth. He took the blow like a gallant knight, but his armour was rusty. It pierced him right through the heart and left it in dithers. It was all too much for him, and he would have gladly gone mad had it not been for his friends who looked after him then. They never knew the truth as he didn’t want to ruin the happy memories with her. He did forgive her for what she did, but it didn’t matter anymore. He told her he was ready to wait. Wait as long as it takes, but just that he wasn’t ready to call it quits already. She made a face and left him to his fate.

Looking back at all that and his long wait, today he sat staring at her picture. How beautiful she looked in her wedding dress. Clearly there was a thing called ‘blinded by beauty’. The only thing he didn’t like about the wedding was that he wasn’t the groom. It was exactly what they had talked about, even to the miniscule of details. The platinum ring on her finger shone like a beacon of light calling him towards his fate.

Just before he shot himself, there was just one question he badly wanted an answer to: If any girl would have been lucky to be with him, then why wasn’t he lucky enough to have the one girl he wanted to be with?

The shot reverberated the whole building. People from all walks of life came to his funeral. Just an imprint remained- of what he did, why he did?

(Note: Fictionalization of certain real life incidents.)

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