‘Avi, don’t forget you had to accompany Rakesh uncle to Delhi tomorrow for the operation of his stone,’ Mom said to me.
‘Yeah mom, I remember. Don’t worry.’
I was born in Rath and working at a multinational company as a Business Analyst.
The next day i.e. 3rd Feb, we left for Delhi in the early morning and reached there by 1 PM. It was a 2-day stay for me at the hospital and after that, someone from my family will come to look after the relative. It was around 2 PM and I was sitting in the corridor when I heard a screaming noise. I curiously followed the noise to find a girl outside the doctor’s cabin, crying and screaming, ‘Why me, god, why me?’
I got to know from the staff that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer which has already reached stage 4 and she just has a couple of months to live. She sat there on a chair and kept crying for I don’t know how long.
I don’t know what kept me glued there and I couldn’t leave my place for even a second. There was no pity in my eyes, as I would have happily exchanged her life with mine, had it not been for my parents. I couldn’t find a reason to live, and her crying clearly shows that she has a lot of them. I later noticed that she was with her parents who had been putting up brave fronts to give strength to her and running around the hospital to fill the countless forms.
By the evening, she was admitted to the hospital. Even at night, I didn’t bother to move from the place from where I could see her inside her room. I was drifted to sleep and it was 2 in the morning when I woke up hearing some sobs of a girl. As I had guessed, it was her. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I just got up and entered her room.
She got scared at the sight of me and her voice came out as mumbles, ‘No! Please! Don’t come close, don’t rape me!’ It was then that I realized what blunder I have done by entering the room. I could be accused of an attempt to rape and whatnot. It was news I had read on social media that a girl was raped inside a hospital. I freaked out.
‘Hey, I’m not here to rape you, don’t worry. If you want me to go out, I’ll go. I heard you sobbing and thought it would be better if you have someone to talk to. I’m sorry to scare you,’ saying that I started walking outside.
‘Hey, wait! Stay, please! And I’m sorry,’ she called.
‘Are you sure? I don’t want people to come on roads and protest to get me hanged for a crime I didn’t even think to do,’ I said calmly.
‘It won’t happen. Don’t worry,’ she said smiling.
I came to the side of her bed and sat down on the stool. We started talking. She told me about herself and I did the same. Well, to be honest, it was way better than what I used to write when my teachers from primary classes asked me to write an essay on “Myself”.
She started telling me about her dreams and slowly drifted off to her desires of finding love. ‘I don’t know why I’m telling this to you, I never talked about this even with my best friends,’ she wondered. But sudden realization took away the smile of her face which her dream of love and her imagined valentine had brought.
‘Oh! I forgot I’m dying in a few months and that people don’t start dating the dying ones. I wish I had found someone before I found about this cancer consuming me.’ I held her hand and said nothing. Maybe she read my what-to-say face and said that it’s okay. To lighten the mood, I asked her about her friends. She happily gave me the details. But then, there came a dreadful question, the one I feared talking about the most.
‘What about your life? Do you have a love story?’ she asked with excitement in her voice.
‘I had one.’ She read the sudden change of expression on the face and told me it’s okay if I don’t want to talk about it.
I don’t know why I continued the story. I just did, without giving it much thought. She listened eagerly and tears started to well up in her eyes.
‘4th Feb, it was the day everything fell apart. I got a letter, the one whose last lines I may never forget,’ I refused to repeat those last lines of the letter. She threw her arms around me and hugged me like I was a long lost friend who had just suffered a break-up. I don’t know why I had to do this, but I checked my phone to see the time.
“4:36, Thursday, 4 February”
I felt my heart skip a beat. I showed her the date and now, it was her turn to hold my hand and say nothing. And I said the same thing, that it’s okay. I asked her to take a rest as she was already very weak. I made her sleep and was about to walk out of the room, when she said, ‘Please come back tomorrow. I don’t want to be alone in this room.’ I nodded.
The next day, I did come back. And we talked and talked for endless hours. She introduced me to her parents. I spent more hours in her room than I spent to check my relative. On 5th Feb, I had to go back. I left in the morning. Her face and her desire to spend Valentine’s Week was on my head all the time.
I had to go back to Delhi on the 7th to bring back my parents and the relative back home. I met her before going to see my parents or the relative. On my way, I bought some yellow roses for her. ‘Will you like to spend this Valentine’s Week with this friend of yours? I know I can’t take the place of that someone special, but I guess we can celebrate this week as friends,’ I said while handing her the roses. She hugged me. We talked for a while. I had to take my parents and that relative. I promised her that I’ll back in Delhi by tomorrow afternoon. As I turned to leave, she held my hand. I looked at her, and she dug into my eyes for god-knows-how-long.
‘Well, I have something to say to you. You need not give any answer to it. Just hear me out. That will be okay,’ she finally spoke.
‘Go on,’ I looked into her eyes with curiosity.
‘You’re a wonderful soul, a kind heart, and a perfect friend. You made me smile when I had nothing except tears. You showered me with happiness when I had zero hope in life. I….I…. oh, fuck it yarr!! It’s my first time and I don’t know how to do it. So dwell with it…. I love you.’
I kept looking into her eyes to figure out what had just happened. When I was about to say something, she started again, ‘No, don’t say anything. If possible, forget that I said it. No need to come back here, if you don’t want to. I will be okay. I had to say it so that I can die peacefully without regrets. Sorry.’
To push aside the awkwardness, we started talking about different things, as if she never proposed to me. Then I left. I took my parents and the relative back home and while we were waiting for the flight to board, I already booked my return tickets to Delhi on the evening flight. I blushed thinking about her proposal. While on my flight back to Delhi, I couldn’t think of anything other than her. But yeah, I have to accept that I had thought of the first love of my life.
Till I reached the hospital, it was already 11:50 PM and almost everyone was asleep. I went straight to her room. She was mumbling to herself, and she was happy. I saw that genuine smile and blush on her face. She hadn’t seen me yet.
‘I can’t believe I said it,’ she kept mumbling.
‘Neither can I,’ I replied. She was startled, but as soon as she saw me she nearly jumped out of the bed. I quickly got hold of her and made her lie down again.
Then, I picked out a rose from my pocket, this time a red one. I wished her a very Happy Rose Day. I went down on my knee and pulled out a ring I had got for her. Just then, my phone started ringing. Don’t worry guys, it was nothing like someone like some calling and ruining the moment. It was an alarm which meant that the clock has struck 12 AM and it’s Propose Day.
‘Will you be my Valentine?’ I asked blushing.
She was in tears. She tried getting up, but I didn’t let her. I pulled her in a hug. She kissed me on the cheeks.
‘You don’t need to do this, please don’t do this,’ she cried.
‘I have to do this or I won’t be able to live. I know this is not my first time, but you know it’s always as difficult to say as the first time. I love you.’
She hugged me more tightly and whispered, ‘Happy Propose Day.’ We both cried for some time.
Then, she asked, ‘But I’m going to die, you shouldn’t fall in love with a dying girl.’
‘Love doesn’t wait for us to decide if we have to fall in it or not. It just happens. And let’s not worry about what will happen later. We have Valentine’s week to celebrate,’ I smiled. She asked me to join her on her bed, and I did. She pulled over the blanket and we kept cuddling till the morning.
The next morning, I woke up before she could. Even though I would have given away my whole life just to hold her in my arms and cuddle for few more moments, but I knew I had a responsibility to make this Valentine’s Week special for her. So reluctantly I got up from the bed, kissed her on her forehead and left the room. I went to a nearby Chocolate store and got a good amount of chocolates for her. To let you know this, during our conversations on the first night we met, she told me about her favourite chocolates.
I got back to the hospital in the afternoon, and she was waiting for me. As soon as I reached by her side, she threw her arms around me.
‘Why the hell did you leave me alone in the morning?’ she said in an angry tone.
‘I had some work to do. Sorry.’
She burst into tears and hugged me very tightly.
‘Hey, hey… What happened?’
‘When I woke up in the morning and didn’t found you beside me, for a moment, I thought I just had a dream about you proposing to me and everything. You know it felt like…..’ she trailed off.
‘Ohh dear, I’m here with you. You have me. Don’t worry. I love you,’ I consoled her.
I had kept the chocolates outside the room so that I can surprise her at night. We sat there with her arms wrapped around me tightly. She said nothing more, neither did I. Maybe the embrace was so soothing that we didn’t want to ruin the calmness we were in. Soon her sobbing stopped and she was in her comfort zone.
After quite some time, which felt like an eternity, I left the room and returned at night with all the chocolates and a chocolate cake, “Our Dream of Love” inscribed on it.
She was delighted. She kissed me on my cheeks in excitement and then blushed unstoppably. I laughed at her embarrassment. We, then, cut the cake and fed each other with the pieces of it. Her parents also gave us privacy realising that their daughter was happy after so many days.
Later we moved on to the chocolates. While finishing the 4th one in a row, she looked at me making a puppy face and said, ‘I want more.’
I picked up one more from the bag kept beside and offered it to her.
‘No, not this one,’ she pushed my hand back.
‘Then, which one?’
‘That one,’ she said blushingly while pointing towards my chocolate covered lips.
Damn. I was dumbfounded for the moment.
‘But kiss day is on the 13th, isn’t it?’ I teased her.
She eyed me as if she’ll kill me the very next second.
‘Who the fuck cares when kiss day is,’ she said and pulled me hard towards her. My lips directly rested on hers and she started sucking on my lower lip. I reciprocated.
We were lost in the ecstasy of the moment. We were engaged in the kiss for a time which was no less than eternity. When we both were out of breath, we finally broke the kiss. She was smiling. A smile I had never seen. Damn, she was so beautiful. We went to sleep on the same bed, obviously not before we exchanging one more passionate kiss.
The next morning, I woke up to find her looking at me. I smiled. She came close and placed her lips on mine. This time it was just a peck. I got up and was ready to leave.
‘Happy Teddy Day,’ she wished me.
‘Same to you.’
‘I want a teddy of my choice today. You don’t get to choose a teddy for me,’ she said in a commanding tone.
‘And which teddy do you want?’
‘The one standing in front of me and asking this question,’ she held my hand.
I was impressed, like, very very very impressed. This girl makes me feel butterflies in my stomach.
After that, I spent the whole day with her, talking, holding her hand, assisting the nurse in her medications and not to forget our frequent passionate kisses.
‘You look like a teddy bear,’ she said laughingly. I made an annoyed look, although I wasn’t annoyed even a bit.
‘And you’re my favourite teddy bear. I love my teddy bear,’ she pulled my cheeks.
After spending the whole day with her on the 10th, we dozed off together in each other’s arms. When I woke up the next morning, I got up from my bed and was ready to leave when I felt something clinging to my hand. I looked back to find that it was her hand. I stared curiously at her.
‘Don’t go,’ she said.
‘But I had to do something special for you.’
‘Don’t you see, how happy I’m when you’re here with me. Doesn’t matter whatsoever you do, there is nothing more special than your presence. I don’t want you to stay away from me even for a moment when I don’t have much time to live,’ she said with a lump in her throat.
I don’t know if she saw it in my eyes or not, but those words just touched me deeply.
‘I’m not going anywhere. I will be next to you from now, till the last breath,’ I promised her.
She hugged me tightly.
‘Well, that was the best promise I could get on Promise Day, Happy Promise day!’ she exclaimed.
The promise day went as usual, with her hand in mine, she clutching on to me and at times kissing me. Also, Hug Day too wasn’t anything different as she never left my arms since the day she first came into them.
I had expected kiss day to be the same too, as we used to caress each other’s lips a lot. But I found something strange in her eyes and look that day as if she was lost in something. Something was worrying about her.
I asked her many times in the day, she brushed aside my questions and said she is alright. At night when everyone was asleep and we too were resting in each other’s arms, she looked into my eyes.
‘Hey listen na, you asked me what’s wrong with me. So, I want to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s just that I want something, from you and I don’t know how to say it to you. I was worried about that thing only,’ she said in one go.
‘What’s that thing you want from me? You can ask me anything, I love you. You know na? Don’t you?’
‘I know, but…. It’s something…. I can’t explain…. Okay, as I’m dying, so I hope you won’t judge me as characterless or something…. I was worried about dying a virgin,’ she sighed.
I looked eagerly at her for a few seconds and then laughed. She looked confused.
‘Why are you laughing?’
‘Why do you think that I’ll think of you as characterless?’
‘Because I’m talking about sex before marriage. You have any idea how big of an issue it is for the society we live in,’ she said with fear in her voice.
‘What is society? It’s us who make society. And if you’re still afraid of being judged, let me say it. Fuck society,’ I laughed. This time, she laughed too.
I leaned forward and slowly took my lips close to her. I could feel her heavy breaths on my lips. I could hear her sighs. Finally, I put my lips on hers. She closed her eyes.
My right hand went down to hold her waist, while my left hand was on the nape of her neck. Gradually I moved my lips on to her neck and started sucking there. She let out a moan. I traced my lips along her collarbone and licked her till her cleavage. I could hear her heartbeats getting fast. She raised her hands signalling me to pull off her patient’s gown. Now my fingers were moving on her bareback. I held at the hook of her pants, and I stopped.
‘Don’t stop, please,’ she said without opening her eyes. Soon after it, we were both wrapped in a single quilt feeling each other’s bodies, expressing our love physically.
The next morning, I woke to find her lying next to me. I moved my lips close to her ears and whispered, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, Love.’
I was resting on her side for the next 2 hours, waiting for her to wake up, but she never did. When a nurse came in to give her medication, she saw her not moving….. not breathing. I felt like someone had pierced my heart with a sword, even that was way too less to describe the pain I felt. My heart was aching. Not only emotionally, but physically too. I passed out and fell on the ground. I tried hard to open my eyes, but they didn’t respond. Nor did the rest of the body, except my ears.
I heard someone asking what had happened to me. The reply from the doctor came, ‘The Broken Heart Syndrome.’ I fell asleep again, this time to never wake up again.
“I’m coming, my love,” this was all I said.