Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Moving on

Even though she had known her husband of 52 years was slipping away before her eyes, she still couldn't accept he was gone. The bangles jammed on her wrist as she tried to slip them off. She wanted to ask his advice to plan his funeral. Who should she invite? Should they have someone sing his favourite Rabindra sangeet at the ceremony? The young nephews had arrived to take charge. She had called them at the crack of dawn when she raised her head from the hospital bed, where she had fallen asleep next to his long, frail frame. She knew she was alone before she even looked at him. She was just glad she hadn't put him in the ICU, where he would have been alone before her.

Now, a year later, people marvel at how well she has moved on, speaking his name affectionately and casually, criticising him and joking about him as always, as if he is present to dismiss her comments with the wave of a bony hand. They visit her with flowers, with food, with offers of help. And she is gracious, welcoming, warm, attentive. They do not notice the low table next to the chair where he always sat. And if they do, they do not realise what it means - the half-empty glass of water and the Economist open to a new page, as if the owner has just stepped away and will be back any minute - ridiculing politicians and complaining about noise pollution. She's alone, they think. But she isn't. Not entirely. And never will be. 

No comments: