Remnants of a Forgotten Life
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that it was her. In flesh and blood. After all these years, after all these long years, these long, painful years. My heart started thumping, the blood rushed to my ears. Memories that I had repressed, pushed into the farthest corners of my mind, they came rushing back. Like a breath of fresh air, the remnants of a forgotten past, breezed past me, in the shape of my ex-girlfriend. When I had gotten up in the morning, I had no idea that my dull, monotonous existence would be shaken by the appearance of a memory, a memory that hovered over my life like a painful reminder, a painful reminder of mistakes, of the mistake of letting her go.
So many questions were running through my mind, so many answers I sought. But my dry lips and shaking hand reminded me of the apology that was due, and I hid from her sight, hoping she hadn’t noticed me. A tumult of emotions was swelling my heart; regret, sadness, pain, surprise, doubt, shame but it was joy that conquered. The happiness of seeing her again, of getting another chance, it lit my eyes as a smile played upon my lips. Questions, so many questions, I didn’t know which one I should ask. I peeked at her through the sparse crowd in the metro. Still so beautiful, in fact, even more, so much more, now that all her girlish curves had transformed into womanly lines. She took my breath away, she always used to. Even the perpetual frown on her face was beautiful. A frown that came from her jaded, unsatisfied outlook on the world, and yet she dreamt of better things, of happier times. I wondered if she was living the happier times, if she had gotten the better things.
She stood alone, her slender shoulders arched back, the determined look in her eyes. So many years had gone by, and I could still recall every little detail. I wondered what she remembers of me, if she even remembers me. Her knuckles stood out sharp as she gripped her bag. I wondered who holds them now, like I used to. I remember kissing her hands, her frown, her sharp chin, her slender shoulders, and every inch of her body. A tingle went down my spine, as those memories resurfaced, a hot blush spread over my face. Who kisses them now? How many lips have touched her since I left? Does she have someone in her life? Is there any chance I could win her back? I asked myself, over and over, as I stared at her, but those questions were for her. Would she give me an answer?
The metro lurched to a stop and she made for the exit, I followed her in the mad rush, still out of her sight. I couldn’t gather the courage, of confronting her, of owning up to the sin I had committed, years ago, when I had left her. I had left without any explanation, without a letter, without a call, without a goodbye. She woke up one day only to find me gone, scooped out of her life like a hollow void inside her chest. I had to, I had to go, but would she understand. Would she even care now, after all these years, for my justification of that horrible act? They made me go, I had wanted to tell her, every day after I left. I couldn’t, couldn’t because my parents wouldn’t let me. They shut me in, their diseased daughter who needed help. They wanted me out of the society, and they took me away from you. There was nothing I could do. Feeble excuses, they were then, they are now. But maybe she would forgive. She used to forgive me with a smile when we were together, but now, after all these years, how much had she changed, I didn’t know. Was she really as jaded as that frown on her face?
I traced silent steps after her poised form as she walked out of the metro station. What would I even say to her? That I was sorry I broke her heart? That because of me she was outcast, rejected by friends who had loved her, ashamed by a community that had appreciated her? That because of me she had to uproot her life and move to a different city? That I hope time had healed her wounds and she would find it in her heart to forgive me? What would I say? What would I say?
The lump in my throat grew bigger with every step that followed her. I needed to know, to say, to just tell her I was sorry. I just needed to know that she still remembered me, needed to know that she would still acknowledge me. What I wanted… was to look her in the eyes, and tell her that I have always loved her. I have loved her, and thought of her, every single day of this sorrowful existence that my life is. She might hate me, she might be hurt, she might not care, but I wanted her to know. I wanted her to know. And I called out her name. I called it out again, and the clicking of her heels stopped. She turned, her face a gooey mess, her features melting away. Her lips opened to say something but out came a ghoulish whisper. A scream shattered my memory. A scream that resounded in my ears as I sat up on my bed. A scream that was my two year old son crying, asking to be tended to.
My husband looked at me and asked me why I looked so disturbed. I couldn’t tell him, I couldn’t, for my family, for my parents, for my own sake. It was the recurring dream. She still haunts me. She still haunts me.
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