I am posting a short story I wrote 2 years back. My first short story on the blog. Need feedbacks.
The Darkest Hour
The electric beeper in the clock softly beeped indicating the time. Any other night I wouldn’t even have noticed. The sound of the beeper isn’t enough to even stir the soft and cozy blanket of dreams.
But not today…no..not tonight. Not tonight because the dark thickened with every change in the beep of the beeper. Not scary dark, no it never scared me but just the engulfing dark which ate each and every tear that I shed. The embracing dark which hid all the turmoils that would have crossed my face…& oddly the reflecting dark..which was reflecting the love and hurt I felt. The only funny thing was that even I didn’t know what was darker- the love or the hurt.
My eyes felt so puffy by now that even the dark felt powdery as if it wasn’t one, it wasn’t thick. As if small particles of darkness conspired and came together to kill the light…to kill the hope. The small particles conspired and came together in my life killing the light of my happiness. My bright life which emancipated the beauty of it just a few hours ago. Just a few hours ago when we held each other’s hands, so firmly, so knowingly at her wedding. Our friend’s wedding. When she took her vows with the one she loved, we held each other’s hands. He kissed the back of my hand and said,” There will be nothing in it without you”. I could feel the sweet burning in my cheeks and the blood rushing to them.
Another tear appeared at the corner of the eye rolled down in the pillow making it wetter and colder. It was a chilly night and the wet pillow felt very cold against my cheek which was so different than the warmth of his hand. With his hand on my cheek, he was gazing into my eyes deeper and deeper baring his soul in his own. I saw his full lips parted ever so slightly like he wanted to say something and suddenly he just smiled. He didn’t even have to say anything. His smile was so glorious, so victorious it appeared as if it said it all. Only if it could have. Only if it would have.
There were so many tears again in my eyes. Black tears washing away my mascara disappearing into the black darkness. The pink dress I wore to the wedding was still on. Not even bothered of spoiling it I just dumped my body onto the bed and hurled in the blanket. I had my hands around my legs which were folded close to my heart all night to save all the strength left in me.
Each and every breath I was taking was so cold that my lungs felt suffocated. each breath felt like it was piercing my lungs with a shard of ice. All the air that come and went felt just like it was feeling when I was barfing the sweet and spongy cake down my throat with the ice-cold champagne. What could have I done? I was the best friend of the bride. The whole day of running around- with her jewelry and mine, her dress and mine, calling the makeup girl, packing the honeymoon suitcase, arranging the speech. God! even holding her dress while she peed- I forgot to put even a slice in my mouth. At the end of the night, even barfing cold steel knives felt like a good option.
I coldly snorted as I remembered how I felt hungry enough to eat steel blades and now feel like plunging them into my body.
My barfing would have gone on if he wouldn’t have come and asked,” What are you doing?”
“You wanna see me alive, right?”
“At least have the decency of pushing that down your throat with something subtle like water or orange juice. We’ll run out of champagne this way.” He said fun-heartedly.
“I am cold.”
“Here take my coat.” He wore me his coat as the photographer felt his moment came to take a click. He held my hand, placed his chin on my shoulder and smiled. So did I. The beautiful moment was captured in the 8 inches by 5 inches camera to haunt me forever.
“I’ll bring you some ice-less orange juice.” He winked and continued,” Easy on the champagne.”
“It’s just my first glass. But orange juice does sound good.” He went to bring me a glass and I rolled back his coat sleeves to dig in again. Feeling cold I let my right hand made the sacrifice for the empty growling stomach while slid the left hand into the pocket. I felt something sharp-edged hard paper and pulled it out.
The sharp-edged hard paper that I thought was trying to slice my hand is now slicing my happiness, my feelings, and my emotions and I don’t know how to undo it.
The picture that I took out was him with a girl. His hands around her waist, his chin in her hair. She was a foot shorter than him. She wore a blue camisole top and looked happy and contended with him.
He came back with the orange juice and food, looked into my eyes, confused. I showed him the picture, threw it in his face and ran off.
The past three and a half months with him were like a dream. And he cheated on me. It was like my love was crisscrossed with his lie and everything around felt graying and crumbling with the poison he induced.
The time kept on passing and the beeper-beeping. Life was going on. It just didn’t feel like it was.
‘Ting…Ti..ng’ The doorbell rang. It could be him. I had to be strong and I had to be brave. I had to ask him ‘why?”
I opened the door to my house.
“My parents are sleeping.”
“You are not taking my call.”
I checked my phone. It was on silent. It read 52 missed calls.
“It’s on silent.”
“You have got to let me explain.”
“You broke my heart. You cheated on me and you lied to me. Now you want to explain. Well, go ahead. Do that too.”
“She was just a friend-my best friend. She is not what you think. She was just a friend. We were really very close.”
“You were not recovering from her when we met? You said you never wanna talk about it.”
“Yes. But she was never my girlfriend. I told you she was my best friend.”
“The picture doesn’t say so. Why was it in your pocket today, anyway?”
“She was my friend. She died four months ago. Just ten hours after this picture was taken. I had this coat on that night too. it was a party. While going back home she crashed and died after
“You shouldn’t have worn this coat then.”
“She laid hands on it. It has her friendship, her love, and blessings. And to be true, I did love her. Just not the way I love you.”
I looked in his eyes.
“You’d be cold.” He took off his coat again and wore me, second-time that day.
I looked at him.
” I did this then and I did it now. What I wanted was to you to put your right hand in the right pocket.”
I stared at him and he encouragingly nodded. Personally, I was not sure of the next surprise I might get but pushed my hand into the right pocket. Not too deep I found a small box. I took it out and opened it. There rested a beautiful ring with a jade mounted on top and one small diamond each side. I looked at him.
“I know you love jade. I know you love me and you make me.sooo..happy. You are my best friend now and you are the most beautiful thing happened to me. You are my love and I want to make you my life. Marry me please.”
I looked into those eyes..those eyes were filled with tears. those eyes were reflecting the first rays of the sun coming through the window behind my back.
I ran the steps between us and hugged him…hugged him tight. Once again my eyes were full of tears. They were black again. I guess that I depended on the darkness too much. The darkness felt too reassuring and embracing. But now the sunlight was here with him. It was the light that was dusting the powdery darkness away showing me the life that’s gonna be…A life that meant him and me.
Copyright Lipi Gupta 8/24/2017, 6:30 PM IST