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A Prelude To Silence

She sauntered along the sidewalk- a petite girl of indeterminate years. Happily humming to herself, she allowed her beatific smile to bring sunshine into people’s lives. And a little further ahead, dear Helios gracefully swam below the horizon, bidding adieu to yet another day and ushering in yet another night. She sighed inwardly. It had been a tiring but rewarding week and she was looking forward to the next forty-eight hours which, probably since the era of the troglodyte, had the designation of being “off” for the work-weary. She planned to drop in at her parents’ for a surprise visit. Or should it be at her sister’s? Her smile broadened as she thought of her hyperactive nieces and longed to be with them. Deep down within another longing begged for her attention. Maybe it was time for her also to settle down. She blushed crimson as she thought of Anton, and then her expression softened to one of fondness as she remembered his love and care. Truly, a passer by watching her would have been mesmerised by the panorama of wonderful feelings that bejewel an innocent soul.

Nobody ever, even for a moment blamed her for what happened next. The evidence was out and obvious that the truck driver had way too much alcohol in his blood. Compounded by a lack of several nights sleep, he recklessly turned a corner- the same corner from which she was approaching.

Nobody remembered her screams. Many still claim that the silent warrior that she always had been, she had probably just stared in surprise and horror as the truck barged into her. She lay there on the road, limbs akimbo, her groceries and files scattered around her, her cell phone showing “Mom Calling”. Mothers, they say, have been cursed with the burden of premonition. It adds to their worries without ameliorating their problems. And to one side lay her beloved laptop- the one that her parents had given her as a graduation present, the one that she called her darling baby. Her pretty face was caked with blood. An ambulance was called for. She was rushed to the nearest hospital.

The movies would have us believe that it always rains at funerals, but the truth is they are mostly sunny, as if Mother Nature is trying to console us saying that “life goes on”. It was the kind of a day she would have adored- warm and bright. She was a hot weather person, her mood soured by rains and winters. Her beloved family and friends stood sobbing at the brink of the dark gaping hole that was soon to entomb her forever. There was no one who was not stricken by her passing away. Her youth made it all the more unbelievable. The girl who had never hurt a soul in her life was now the cause for so much pain and anguish. It was perhaps the cruellest irony of life.

After the funeral, the distraught onlookers gradually dispersed and went on their way to begin a new life with a cavernous void. One person lingered back, unnoticed. Still unable to let go. Still unwilling to start afresh. He whispered her name. The wind carried it away to the heavens, piercing the bosom of the newly freed spirit. She was as helpless as her inamorato, the one with whom she had woven a thousand dreams and accrued a myriad of shy, sweet memories. Long before they could take their marriage vows, death had done them apart.

With a sigh, Anton turned and walked out of the cemetery. She would never want him to be so heartbroken, he knew this much. And the world expected him to be a man. He did not, even for a second think about going to console her parents. He had just become numb inside, moving as though mechanised. He walked the long distance to his apartment, oblivious to the world around him. He wanted to be alone in this twilight zone between past and future. He wanted to shut out the fact that his soulmate had left him to muddle through life on his own.

It was only a few days later that her parents discovered a compact disk in her bedroom, with a note saying that should anything happen to her, it should be given to Anton. It hurt a lot in so many ways. He wondered if he had ever realised exactly how much she loved him. He wondered if he had ever told her exactly how much he loved her. There would never be any answers. He poured himself a drink and lit a cigarette. He had given it up for her, but now that she was gone, his own life had lost its meaning. He booted his laptop, unwilling to read her last words, yet eager to get the ordeal over with. He switched off his cell phone, dimmed the lights and pulled down the shutters. There would be no intrusion on his grief today.

The disc contained a single word document, very heavy. He swallowed before opening it. He loved her writings. This one would be difficult. He closed his eyes, praying for strength. Then he left-clicked twice and, with tears blurring his vision, he read the first page.

Footprints of a Wandering Spirit

When the soul embarks on a one-way trip…

It was her personal diary. It was her soul, that she had left for him.

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