The Kiss of Redemption
~ 4th Feb, 2012 ~
I staggered my way through the broken window panes and the shattered wind screen. It’d been a bad accident, but call it sheer luck, or an abstract case of divine intervention, I managed to survive virtually unscathed. My car had bumped into a large tree. The only thing was that my head was aching woefully, as if I’d bumped my head against a large boulder. It took me a moment to recall my own name-Marcus, Marcus North. As I stumbled out of my car, I realized that the weather was dreadfully fierce. Cold winds were ravishing with malevolent ferocity, as if prophesying the onset of a horrendous calamity. As I made my way through Trafalgar Square, I gaped clumsily at the stillness which had enveloped one of London’s prime tourist attractions. I’ve always been extremely fond of London due to its primarily gothic and urban outlook. As compared to its counterparts such as Manchester, Northampton and Bristol, London has been able to successfully preserve its age old traditions, lores and antiquity, which enhance the aura of the city.
The ancient tower of the church, with its guff old wing struck the hours and quarters in the cloud, with trembling vibrations.
The events unfolded over the past few hours were simmering in my mind. I reached my home and headed straightaway for my bedroom, plonking myself onto my bed in an inverted position, arms and legs spread wide apart. I love sleeping. My life has the tendency to fall apart, when I am awake.
Once you wake up to the sweet scented aroma of coffee it’s pretty hard to go back to sleep. A cup of coffee more or less sets up the day for me, infusing the drug of subsistence into the streaks of my clasped vivacity. I like it black and sweet- Black as night, sweet as sin. In stark contrast to the commonly established ethics of drinking tea at official meetings and public events, the Londoners are a streaky bunch of coffee freaks.
I hastily skipped downstairs to join my family on the coffee table. An eerie wave of pin drop silence had encased the whole ambience, as if the home had been belted by a cataclysmic event. My sister, Emily was silently sipping in her coffee, which was quite peculiar of her. Normally, she’d this uncanny and annoying habit of creating a babbling sound while drinking her coffee. Of course, she did so, just to infuriate me. “Em, you mind passing me a cup?” I said to her. I sat next to Mom. I perceived that, there was something really unusual about her behavior. Suddenly, it struck me. It was about Elena, my girlfriend.
She wasn’t the most beautiful girl in the world. She was unapologetically herself, so perfect with her imperfections; she was the paradigm of genuineness and simplicity in a world clouted with the euphoric zeal to impersonate others, thereby losing their own exclusivity in the whole process. There was something so alluring about her, which could tempt any guy to the caverns of sin. I suppose, there is something exceedingly fascinating about simplicity, something which puts the charms of the biggest fashionistas to shame. We were neighbors, which meant we could more or less spend the whole day together. The only time we’d fight, was when our favorite teams were clashing against each other in the English Premier League. I supported the red devils, whereas she was a diehard Chelsea fan.
I’d always wanted to kiss her lips, not that I was a libertine pervert, but the plush of her lips could wreck havoc on saints and dervishes, let alone a normal human being. My love story was perfect. Perfect and Love story-these two words do not get along side by side in the same sentence. You must be wondering, there’s got to be a catch somewhere. God has this uncanny habit of complicating matters. Perhaps, Voltaire was right when he said- “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”
I can recount the subtlest details of that day. I was nervously flipping through the pages of “The Telegraph”. The front page was studded with headlines of political summersaults. The subsequent pages were highlighted with reports of random ghosts appearing in some parts of London. Finally, I mustered some courage and told my mom about Elena. She was bizarrely exasperated at my choice. The reason for her aversion to Elena was equally befogging. Elena was a Protestant Christian, whereas we were Catholics. The same hullabaloo was repeated over at Elena’s home.
We parted ways, both of us surrendering to the desires of our family members. I remember Elena’s final words. She’d said: “Love is neither selfish nor self conceited. It does not delight in the agony of others, but rather strengthens the resolve of a person to make unparalleled sacrifices for his loved ones. I promise, I shall hold your hand and match your steps in some other time and space. That’s a promise.”
“Haunted, driverless car spotted on Hampstead road” I smirked after reading the excerpt. Yet another instance of over glorifying the whole ghost theory. Infact, the Telegraph had dedicated a whole page to dead people and their paranormal activities. It was pouring in torrents. The thunderbolts in the sky were petrifying enough to intimidate Zeus. Suddenly, Emily rushed downstairs in a helter-skelter, scouting for Mom. “Mom! Elena’s met with an accident. She was driving her way through Hampstead road and unexpectedly lost control over her wheels”.
Hampstead road, Haunted Cars, The Telegraph, everything began swirling in my mind. I hastily sped towards my car, earnestly hoping, that Emily’s words were mere figments of her imagination. Girls have this habit of unnecessarily exaggerating matters. I realized that I still loved her. Love is a never-ending phenomenon which goes through metamorphosis, changes its form and existence into a totally new one but never dies.
I reached the accident spot. I saw her, blood splattered all over her face. They were carrying her away. This cannot be, I said to myself. This must be a dream. Any moment the sweet scented aroma of coffee will wake me up and it’ll be over. She was gone. I was completely drenched, but my heart was blazing with a ravenous flame. Life can be strange. It can be an absolute rollercoaster one day and yet fate can intervene in eccentric ways to set forth in motion a sequence of events, whose outcome we could never have foreseen. Probably for the first time in a very long time, I cried.
“How long have I been sitting here?” I asked myself. I got up to leave. I saw someone approaching me, from a distance. The tension between us hovered in the air -unseen, unheard, but lurking in the darkness like a stranger. I must be hallucinating. This is not possible. Elena was standing right in front of me. “You are dead; this is a dream” I said to her. “This is a dream which you’ve lived far too long Marcus. It’s time to wake up” she replied. “Come with me” she said. I followed her.
We were in the Brampton graveyard. I kept following Elena without a word. I was too dumbfounded to ask a question. She was moving towards a particular grave.
She pointed towards the grave. I kneeled down to read the inscription on the epitaph. It read “So you have pain now; but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you”. I’d read these words somewhere.
I was flabbergasted after reading the name on the grave. It read “Marcus North; died- 4th Feb, 2012″. I was completely bewildered by the revelation. “Marcus, you are dead” said Elena. She tilted her head, towards the left, thereby lacing her lips with mine’s. I felt different, as if I had just woken up after an eternity. I felt as If I had landed in a totally different realm. I realized, why Em or Mom never bothered to respond to my queries. I realized, why I was feeling the urge to enter Westminster abbey. Few people know that Westminster’s abbey has traditionally been the burial site for English, and later, British monarchs. I recalled the excerpt I’d read in The Telegraph, this morning.
“An earthbound spirit is a soul that does not pass to the other realm in peace, after death. They stay behind, here on earth and hence, are responsible for various ghost sightings. For some reasons they are stuck between this plane of existence and the next. Such earth bound spirits aren’t aware of the fact that they are dead. They may be here, because of some unfulfilled wishes or due to some unfinished business.”
Her kiss redeemed me of the shackles of this worldly existence. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve died. Elena kept her promise. She was with me, holding my hand and matching my steps, in a totally parallel realm. For once, Hampstead road would be reprieved of its haunted and driverless car. I recalled the inscription on my epitaph- “So you have pain now; but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” I realized that it was a verse from the bible-Gospel of John. The pain was gone. I met her again. My heart was rejoicing at our reunion. Death was bliss.
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