A clock in her room ticked, its sound magnified to ten times. The wind outside howled. The leaves rustled against her window. She lay on her bed, immobile, staring at the ceiling, her blank eyes brimming with tears. She looked sideways at her phone, waiting for the telltale ring of it. Wishing for a reason to touch it, a reason to swipe the screen and look at the face she’s come to miss so much. The reason never arrived. Her screen didn’t light up, his name didn’t get displayed brightly on it neither the PING of the messenger was heard. She heaved a cold sigh and pulled the blanket over her face, so the walls wouldn’t see her cry.
He took a drag from his tenth cigarette and crushed the smoldering corner of the deathly cylinder in his hand, burning the very hand he first held her hand in. With every cigarette that he burned, he thought of calling her. But he didn’t. It was over. He didn’t want her anymore. It meant nothing to him anymore. Frustrated, he ran his hand through his hair. Cursing, he sank to the floor, hiding his face in his hands, so the walls wouldn’t see him cry.
The clock struck 3:00 am. She looked at her phone. Maybe he’d want to meet again. Just them in the dark street. Not even a bird to flap by. The walls, their secret keepers. The screen remained dark, just like her world. As she closed her eyes, it all came rushing back to her. His laughter filled the silent corners of her room, washing her like holy water. She could see his sparkling eyes, his beautiful smile. The smile that made her heart skip not one, but two beats. She could see mischief playing on his face, like it always did. She reached out to touch that beautiful face but found herself falling in a void. Dark and never ending. She jerked awake and looked around. Nothing but her and her lonely, miserable little world. He wasn’t coming back.
The smoke curled around him and evaporated. What didn’t evaporate was the sense of betrayal. The feeling of having a broken heart. That feeling of being let down. How long will this go on for? For a week, two? Or maybe a month. Yeah, that’s it. One month and he’ll be over it. Over her. She’d mean nothing then. Nothing at all. New people, new world. A new life. He’d live happily without her. Without even the idea of her. He navigated to his gallery and located a picture of them holding hands. His finger hovered over the option of “Delete”. A moment and then two passed. Laters, he thought and switched his phone off. The cigarette had died down. Just like his feeling for her were dying. He lighted another cigarette and inhaled the welcoming sense of relief.
What had she done? Why would she do that? Sometimes, intentions don’t matter, she should have known. But maybe it was poison that has been accumulating since a long time. Maybe she just widened the already widening wound. Trapped between love and her lust to achieve and grow, she lost both. Everything seemed worthless. Goddamn, it. She wanted him. She knew it. But she knew he didn’t. He never would. Not again. He’d never risk that mistake again. She was a mistake he’d regret till his last breath. But what was she to do now? She couldn’t even breath without him now. But he could, and he was.
He tried to breath. His throat constricted and his heart felt like it was being torn to pieces. Her vision blurred, the colours all dying to a bleary grey. He punched the wall, she kicked the door shut. He cursed, she called out his name. He called out her name, but it died down on his tongue. She felt the tug, he felt the repulsion. He had loved her unconditionally. She had loved him more than she thought was possible for her. He gave her all he had. She took it all but never returned. She knew her fault. She saw her fault but it was over, wasn’t it? She ran to her closet and pulled out a blue box with all the roses she had secured. He rummaged through his empty diary. A dried leaf crumbled and she cringed. No, that’s not right. Carefully, as if handling a porcelain doll, she laid the dry plants back in their safe haven. If only she had kept his heart safe. He smoked another cigarette then another. She scribbled his name on the walls. He looked at her pictures, the memories coming back. His heart ached. He ached to hold her. She ached to be held by him. Maybe once. Just this once.
He turned the key in the ignition. She unlocked all the doors and went out into the night. He drove to the same place he always wanted to be; with her. She paused outside, wanting to step into the narrow street that would forever tell the stories of their love. Short lived but so beautiful, maybe someday someone would write a book on it. He stopped his car in front of the gate and imagined her stepping out of it, in her mismatched dress and wild hair. He inhaled from his cigarette and exhaled. As she stepped outside her house and looked to her right, she saw a car leaving. Maybe just a passerby. Not him. Can’t be him. He saw a shadow. Her shadow. No, he doesn’t want her, not even her shadow. Holding her head in her hand, she wept. She cried amidst the smoke that told a million stories about his presence. She cried with such emotions, so the willows wept with her. A tear rolled down his cheek. He never cried. She hated herself for being the reason for his grief. He hated her for making him cry. He hated her for what she had done to him. She hated herself for what she had done to them. He typed his final words to her. She saw the screen light up, his face grinning at her. Her heart stopped beating. She swiped the screen. “It’s over.” It said. “It’s over.” He whispered. “It’s over?” she questioned. In dead silence, the question hung like death sentence.