‘Don’t leave me’, I say, leaving out the part that I am incomplete without you, I love you; so that it doesn’t make any harder for you to go. You hold my hand and pull me a bit closer.
‘I don’t want to leave too, but you know… I have to.’
I sigh and look away to hide the sparkling water in my eyes.
‘Look at me’, you plead.
I force a smile on my lips and face you again with naïve eyes.
At once you know I am about to break down. You are also aware that if you say anything now, I will cry, rather sob uncontrollably.
You just give me a penetrating look. After about five minutes without a single word and your continuous stare which together makes a deadly combination to make me lose my sanity and now suppressed emotions, and knowing that I don’t have much time left with you, I volunteer;
You reply after studying me for a while.
‘Nothing. It’s just I wish we could stay together forever… And the last words unintentionally rhymed’, you smirk.
I laugh to please you but then it diminishes as soon as it came.
‘And I wish, our lives could rhyme.’ I say thoughtfully.
You sigh and drop your head. I take your face in my palms, look straight in your eyes, and continue;
‘I wish, we could die together and forever remain on the same page.’
‘I wish, you never…’
You put a finger on my lips and pull me a little more towards yourself.
‘You have to accept my death, baby. Promise me, you won’t mourn for me’, you asseverate.
‘Don’t you think that’s far too much to ask for?’ I shot back.
‘We can always meet in heaven’, you assert in a rather morose tone.
‘Umm, I don’t think so, perhaps hell it is for us.’ I wink.
You are amused and I lean on you on the hospital bed. You kiss me softly on the lips, but it goes on till tears flow in my eyes and reach our lips.
Tasting the salt of my emotions, you lay numb, breathless.
I continue kissing, knowing you are dead, just in the hope of a fairy story like Snow-white with a happy end. But, reality knocks the door soon. I realise you are not responding to my lips, and I stop and look into your face.
‘You will forever stay in my heart baby, and I am sorry I will mourn your death… Forever’, I whisper in your ear.
‘In love, it’s always comparatively difficult for the person who stays back and not the one who embraces death, ’cause he has to live on life with all the memories, live with the other person in their mind always. Their absence is present all around, felt all around.’ As I say these last lines remembering the night my wife died, the audience in front of me applauds my short speech on love.
‘I haven’t concluded yet. I guess you guys want to shoo me away’ I tease the people opposite me. Laughter surrounds the air. They do not generally expect a sixty year old writer to crack jokes in the middle of some deep lecture.
After a moment, I continue;
‘You know what, the only thing the other person waits for, is death. And the thing you desperately wait for always takes the longest time to arrive.’ I add and leave the stage without another word.
The image is a Rembrandt painting called Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem(1630)