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Let You Go

Rushali is the author of two short story collections called Unexpected Encounters and Until We Meet Again.

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"...it has been two weeks since the accident; she doesn't seem to remember..."

"...temporary traumatic amnesia is common. It shouldn't be long before she regains those memories..."

The smell of disinfectants and humidifiers. She stared at the quaint blue ceiling for a while, adjusting to the dim lights that the nurse had just switched on. She lowered her gaze to the man sitting beside her. His smile was assuring and the warmth of his hands wrapped around hers, her gaze locked in his, she simply stared for a while before managing to put on a smile.

It's the same everyday since I woke up. You are always here, holding my hands, a beaming smile on your face. I want to believe that I am safe here, that you will always be there for me.

She turned to her right; the window was open, and the leaves on the trees outside danced in the wind. Yet, the curtains in the room stay still. Untouched by the wind or by the warmth of the sun.

Yesterday as I sat by the window looking at the sea of lights and the concrete reaching out to the sky, you walked in, smelling of fresh bread from my favorite cafe. You must have gone back there, guilty and regretful; you must have wished that you had done things differently. That's when I remembered...that day...

She held on to his sleeves as he turned to the door and looked out the window. He smiled and nodded.

That day, I had looked back, one last time, hoping you wouldn't leave. As I crossed the street and as I lay hounded by the eyes of the onlookers, while I should be seeing my life flash before me, all that I could think of was you. The most valuable moments of my life, apparently, were all spent with you.

He walked her through the path in between the bushes outside the hospital. She looked up, the sun rays brightened up her face. She looked to her side at the children in the playground and back at him. The mole below his lips stood out as his fair complexion glistened in the sunlight. The wind brought hair into his eye. She held onto his forearm with a hand, raising the other to his forehead. She gently moved the hair to the side of his face. Stopping and looking for a while, she turned away, facing the playground.

Fifteen years is a long time to know someone. A long time and too many memories to forget and let go.

"...it's a better opportunity. I need to leave next month, let's stop here", he had said that day at the cafe. She didn't say much. She nodded and got up, tears in her eyes, heading out. She had just turned to look forward and stepped into the road when the car's headlight flashed in her face.

I still remember the day I asked you to tell me if ever felt like walking away. I had so easily promised to let you go, not knowing how miserable I would feel; not knowing I wouldn't be able to handle it. You had so easily promised it would never happen; that we are to remain happy forever.

Yet, as you walked away, I wished to hold on even for a moment; even for a minute. Maybe why even for a day, I wanted to forget what you had said. But now that I remember...

They stopped near the steps beside the lake; his hands wrapped around her shoulders. The leaves of the oak stretched above the water, the falling leaves dropped into the water one by one; weighed down by a drop of water, then another, and another until it drowned.

If I hold on any longer, I would be no different. Hence, for all the good times we have spent together, I will stop holding you back.

"You can let go now", she said, keeping her gaze fixed forward. Much wasn't said, but he seemed to have understood. She had an unusual smile on her face. His eyes got teary. He looked ahead for a minute before taking his hands off her shoulders. She held on to the crutches.

"Be well. Bye", he said and trudged away from her; she turned the opposite way, waddling along the path and stopping after a few steps.

I turned back; dozens of people and yet I was alone. You were gone. How do I stop myself.....from loving you?


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