Ten Hours To Live

“Wait for my text”, he had told her and she obeyed; may be because she had no other option. There is always an option; we are all familiar to this cliche. Yet sometimes, despite all the possibilities and choices presenting them to us, we choose the one that is the most difficult and exigent. That is the one that holds the key to changing our lives forever too.

She met him at the coffee-house. She had noticed him on the very first day he entered there; there was something about him that made her keep looking at him. Probably your eyes, she later admitted to him about how impressed she was of him at the first sight. He would always smile and teasingly comment, “Do you X-Ray all the strangers in a similar manner?” leaving her just scowling at him. Little did she know then that first impression was going to beset her entirely.

It was one hour since she had been instructed to wait. If only he had chosen another punishment, she reflected to herself. Dangling on the rope of wait was something she despised and yet had to endure frequently. He had not meant to punish her; making her wait was just a way to let off some steam caused by certain heated arguments exchanged between them. Nevertheless, it was a punishment for her. Sometimes things seem to be perfectly in your grasp but in reality it is a mirage; what you consider to be held tightly in your fist is slowly falling off, leaving you empty-handed at the end of the day. She checked her cell phone, another hour has gone by, she thought and heaved a deep sigh.

The clock seemed to have stuck or had its arms glued so that they would travel slowly. She bore every passing second as a heavy burden inflicted upon her fragile being. Each moment took ages to pass. Her eyes continuously flicked over her cell phone’s screen hoping that it might blink with his name, but deep down her heart she knew it was not going to blink. Not so soon anyway. The little light of the phone’s screen could have been enough to brighten her day, to lighten up her smile but she must suffer. She must writhe with pain for it is what a smile costs. With one lingering glance, she placed the phone over her dressing table and began to get ready for the evening.

“What a waste!” she exclaimed under her breath as she stepped into the brightly lit house that hosted the evening’s party. As she checked her phone and made her way slowly into the main hall, she could not feel but a little exasperated. It had been seven long hours since he had last heard from him. Nonetheless, she composed herself and managed a smile as she spotted her friend in the far corner of the hall, seated on the overly decorated stage. Her childhood bestie was getting engaged that night. She hugged her, praised her elegant attire for the event and tried cracking a joke or two to tease her before securing a seat at the end of the hall. She did not want to mingle; the reason being his absence. He was supposed to accompany her tonight.

How lame and useless it seems to participate in someone else’s happiness when you yourself are dying inside? It appears to be quite silly to congratulate someone when you are in the state of mourning and longing. The fake smile, that she had to pass to people to convince them that she was enjoying herself, required utmost and paramount effort. Nine hours gone, she noticed sadly as her wrist watch struck nine p.m. The unending wait continues.

As she stepped out of the car and walked towards the door, she was shocked to notice that it was already unlocked. Burglars? She was horrified by the thought. Or him? This thought was not less terrifying. After the entire wait and the yearning, she was slightly dreading to face him. What if all the fighting and accusing starts again? The mere thought of it was agonizing. Mustering up her courage, she took short, uneasy steps towards the lounge. No one here, she observed and went straight towards her room. The clock struck ten as she opened the door to her haven.

He was standing there, waiting for her. His eyes met hers and as their gazes locked into each other’s, it was as if the time and everything that moved with it, stopped. She looked at him, first angrily, then dejectedly and lastly complainingly. “You look beautiful”, he remarked as he paced slowly towards her. She crouched towards the corner away from him, avoiding him. He acknowledged her complain and held her firmly in his arms. As she succumbed to his strong yet comforting hold, she murmured, “These ten hours were the hardest to live. Yet they seemed too crucial, too vital to be lived, for at the end of them, YOU were waiting for me.” “I’m sorry I put you through such an arduous task of waiting, it won’t happen again I promise,” he reassured her soothingly. Her lips curved into a lively, charming and precious smile. She had survived the long hours and was HOME finally.

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