In my love for him, I'd regained everything that I'd lost. Yet, I somehow feel like I have nothing left anymore. What had been is priceless, what is now is worthless.
I was asked, "Did you think it'd go on forever?" It took me no time to reply, "Of course not!"
Sometimes I wonder what a skilful liar I am! And a convincing one at that. I hadn't, in fact, thought of that question or an answer to it but at that moment it was as though my answer would end all the doubts and queries that people had. For all I know, it did! I didn't hear anyone speak on the topic again.
Yet, as I relaxed and thought about the entire affair, I realized that, frankly speaking, I really didn't know if I'd expected it to carry on forever or not. If I had, then I was plain stupid. But I hadn't really, so I wasn't. However, if I hadn't, then why this enormous pain…?
I'm reminded of another peculiar incident. This is when I was still at ISB. More like, when Fatima was still at ISB. I'd gone to her place with Ashima after school and Fatima was to drop the two of us back home later. I don't remember how exactly the conversation had started or why it had begun in the first place, but from where I remember it, we were talking about joint families. And I'd adored mine. However, the family had split by then and had given birth to three nuclear families. Since the time the family had broken up, I'd somehow felt incomplete, more so after my grandpa passed away. He had been the one holding our fragile family together. Lord, how I loved him. And how I miss him. I regret not having spent enough time with him.
As I told Fatima and Ashima all this and more about him, I don’t know why or from where the sudden storm of emotions took over me and I started weeping. Both of them were as perplexed as I at my outburst of emotions. When it actually dawned upon them what was happening, they started to console me.
"It's okay," Ashima consoled.
Fatima was dragging me into the bathroom to wash my face. "Often people we love tend to leave us forever and go. But they leave behind pleasant memories for us to recall and remember them by. You have to accept some truths in life, and death is the most important one," she explained.
That night when I was back home lying in my bed, I wondered where those tears had come from. Ever since grandpa's demise, I hadn't cried. I'd thought of him but never of the good times we'd had. Maybe I'd purposely done so, so that I wouldn’t feel vulnerable and weak inside. I missed him, yes, but there had never been tears. Yet, today there had.
It was that night that I realized how much I still loved him. And I wondered: if I didn't really feel the emptiness around me, if those memories that we'd shared were mere instances, then why the tears? Why this enormous pain…?