The old woman sat outside the ICU, waiting…..waiting for the inevitable, for the news that she knew would come…..the news that she didn’t want to hear. She sat surrounded by two men, with one of them supporting her slouching, delicate frame. She sat with her head bent, her eyes almost closed, as if praying. The men, her son-in-laws, had kind faces and they looked at her with love and concern, but she was oblivious of them…..immersed in her own thoughts. She thought of what was going on inside the room….
The man she had loved, and married, and spent her life with, lay on a bed inside the room. It was the end of days for him, she knew, but she was happy they were all together when this was happening. Her daughters, HIS daughters, were inside with him, with their Papu, holding his hands she knew, and she was happy for this. She also knew that the departure would break them more than it would break her. No one wanted it, except maybe the man lying inside the room.
She had seen it in his eyes. He was ready, he wanted it. He had been suffering for some time now, and wanted it to end. He was ready to make the transition, this world held nothing more for him. She had peered into his eyes, and seen nothing but peace, and a hope that she would understand…….
She closed her eyes, a single drop of tear trickling down from her right eye and down her cheeks, and let her thoughts wander back to the days when it had all started, when they were young, when they had met in college, and what had followed then. The heady romance, and the cruel twists and turns of life thereafter. But they had braved everything together, for they were TOGETHER, weren’t they? Together they could do anything…..and she smiled…..
Suddenly, she heard some movement, and looked up, and he was there, exiting the room. Hadn’t the others seen him, for no one seemed to stir? But yes, there he was, and he looked much better and, in fact, much younger too. No, no, he looked like the way he was when they had met back in college….and her heart jumped….she was in love once more…..how great he looked, how bright, how handsome, cheerful….
He walked towards the exit, passing her by as if he had not seen her, but then he stopped, right near the exit, and he turned and motioned to her to follow him…..she almost died from happiness as she jumped up and followed him out, out into the light…….
Later, the people who knew, wondered how the couple had died almost together, down to the second, one inside the room, and the other outside it…..the daughters cremated them together…..they were the most lovestruck couple the girls had ever known…….
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