I am sorry
I stare at the text message for the umpteenth time. It has been two weeks and yet the guilt fails to leave my mind. Each time I look at it I am reminded how much of a failure I really am. I could have saved her. I could have spent more time with her, got to share her pain a little more. I should have sensed the change. I should have known that she had learnt to fake an actual smile. I should have known that she had decided to cease her battle.
Each time I close my eyes I see her lying in a pool of blood.
I could have bloody saved her!!
I collect myself and get up and turn towards the closed room. Placing my hand on the knob I slowly turn it afraid that even the slightest disturbance would somehow pollute the room. Her desk has accumulated dust. Gracing my finger on the table I move towards her closet. I touch the green silk dress which she had worn last month on her birthday. It had looked beautiful on her. The way it flowed across her legs swiftly with her each move, how her skin felt against the dress beneath my fingers as she mumbled a thank you into my ear. Everything was so…her. Feminine yet daunting.
I take a deep breath to calm myself but her smell engulfs me and again after all these years I forget my existence. It was the smell of fresh lily mixed vanilla that had captivated me. It was exotic. She was exotic.
I remember the first time I saw her; she was sitting on the bench outside the campus tea stall holding her tea within her dupatta. She was wearing an orange salwar and red kameez engulfed in the morning fog. The road was still wet with the previous night’s rain and she was a bottle of sunshine, simply present there, existing through the havoc, calmly enjoying her tea. It felt like I was hit by the first ray of sunshine after months of storm. She was simply serene.
It had taken me months to decipher her. At first, she was this puzzle which I was trying to solve. I wanted to know the reason behind each of her smile because I wanted to know what made her happy and I wanted to feel the same. I was perplexed at how a person can keep a smile throughout the day. I finally befriend her and I realised that she was not the sunshine and rainbows that I had thought her to be. But surprisingly as clichéd as it sounds, it only made me fall deeper.
She showed me her scars and let me trace it with my fingers. Each touch was something chilling and altogether different. I was scared and excited at the same time. It was the first time I admired something flawed. I wanted to fix the cracks and fill every broken piece with everything that I could find and give. I was frightened to hold the fragile yet most human being I was ever bound to witness, but at the same time I wanted to hold her close to ward off the constant nightmares she was fighting beneath that layer of smile.
Now as I stand in our bedroom facing the wall which contains our framed picture I find that she was never healing. I thought she was, but she wasn’t. I never got through her veil. Maybe I did see through her better than others, but not enough. I was scrambling through our lives trying to fix her when what she needed was not fixing, but a person who understood her need to heal. I was holding her raw broken pieces trying to glue her together like a precious china without knowing what goes where, all the while damaging her further.
As any other torn man, now all I can think of is a second chance. An impossibility which will haunt me till my last breath.