“……… With the flapping of wings, the bird flew away into the wintery morrow. The End ” he closed his diary. A hardbound brownish one, having his stories written and his memories stored. Slipping his diary into his cloth satchel, he hopefully looked at his audience, from the far end of the room. A woman in her early thirties, who just stared at the ceiling wall. Laying on the bed, the periodic beep of the respirator spoke for her. Being in coma for five years now, would she remember any story, at all? He wondered. Had she even heard anything. No one knew. Not that he cared for it. His stories were meant for her. That’s all that mattered. Even the poems he wrote, hopefully she would…tick..tick… The quarter past five alarm on his watch went off. He hurriedly packed everything into his satchel. Plastic handheld juicer, a couple of pens, and everything that could make him want to stay longer. He carefully picked up the chair and placed it beside the bed. He never touched her. Rather He couldn’t. Next time, he whispered under his breath. And left……
” Amma, I’ll be late today, I need to meet a friend ”
” When will you come back? Should I cook something for you? ”
” No, no, amma! I’ll have my lunch outside, don’t worry ” he lied for the hundredth time. A new friend. A new reason. The purpose remaining the same. Kleptomania obviously could be cultivated.
“…………. The melancholy of little things, was always beautiful. He could take that. Rather, they could take that. The End”
Her stare hadn’t shifted. Only the diary had turned a few pages older. And he a bit thinner. One used to having three meals a day, had found a compelling reason to stick to just one. The respirator beeped. Moments remained the same, as they were for the past five years. The diary went into the satchel. His wonderment about her soul gasping at the same questions. Did she ever listen to his stories? How did she end up here after-all?Did she made any sense of the insanity he was? Would she ever see what he was…… tick..tick.... The chair got placed, by the bed. And he left.
” One biscuit packet please ” the man pushing thirties asked. He couldn’t afford more than one packet per day, let alone a proper meal. He checked his wallet. The last five hundred note in it, had to serve purposes way beyond it’s reach. Hunger sadly, being one of them. One year of no office, no coding, and no meal coupons, seemed questionable this afar. One year of pretending, seemed far fetched, much like the biscuit packet.
” ……… The result of-course meant that there was hope. At least still. That was where the humanity headed ” he suppressed a cough with his sleeve “Err,The End” he finished the story. He placed the diary back, but this time felt something in his satchel. A photograph of Amma. It had been an year. She had cooked something for him for the last time. His mind had stopped questioning the whys. Or the whens. All that mattered was the lady existing a few feet away. And nothing else. Tick…tick. Quarter past five. He left.
” Sir, I don’t want your money ” the ward boy declined the thousand note for the first time. A price to stay beside her before the official visiting hours. The ward boy had seen enough over the past seven years to know that this story bested every other.
” Is her husband coming yet ?” The man asked as he had a thousand times earlier
” He is paying for her, Sir ”
” His world was always filled with darkness. He never saw. She couldn’t either. Only the stars looked at them. The End ” He closed the diary. Packed up everything that was his. After placing the chair beside her bed, he followed her stare on to the ceiling wall. Something had changed. Instead of leaving, he sat on the chair. And touched her. Her motionless hands, which showed no hint of warmth. He sat there looking at her, despite the time. He tried valiantly to remember every little question that he wanted to ask her, over the years. But all he could conjure was a smile on his tired and beaten face. Life had many questions. Sadly, only a few answers.
……And then she waited for him. The day’s story never came. Quarter past five and the tick ticks never came. And she never felt alive again. The respirator beeped. The End.