Trapped Within Myself
Some fragments of life find themselves so deeply rooted into the crannies of your mind, that when they leave you, they tend to make their presence felt a lot more than before. But someday you will realize how all of it will eventually fade out. Silently. Like an old piece of painting.
She lies there in a state of oblivion, a web of translucent tubes bypassing each other to penetrate her body; her lips slightly apart, rather, unnaturally apart, swallowing a thick-skinned tube that plunges into her throat because she is capable of breathing no more. My eyes wander from the array of blinking lights- red and yellow, to the green line on the screen rising and plunging impatiently, and back to her, as she lies there bereft of her own existence. I realize, as always, I had been holding my breath for a while.
“She remembers everything. Her memories are intact,” the nurse says, resting her hand on my shoulder. I nod, as I keep my eyes perched on the pulse oximeter clipped to her finger. It has been eight months since I have been waiting for the slightest hint of flicker. But here she lies, still. Like a fallen twig on a summer noon.
I see you, Bhai. Not with my eyes, but through this intangible distance between us. Through the words that you speak to me when you sit by my side. Every night. I feel your palm against my forehead every time you check on me. But what I cannot perceive, is the warmth of your touch. So your palm feels like a comfortable weight on my forehead, slowly brushing up and down. Up and down.
Sometimes when you hold my hand through the nights, I feel a light tap on my hand. Then another tap. And another. And then that same touch of your palm, sweeping over my hand. It took me some time to figure out that those are your tears. It is just that I cannot feel what is wet, and what feels dry; what feels warm and what cold. Have I lost my ability to feel, Bhai? If yes, why do I crave to cry, every time I hear you sobbing by my side? I try hard to vent it out; to weep the tears that have for months poisoned my insides with anger and illusion. But I fail. I am trapped within myself. I have questions to ask about the whereabouts of Ma and Papa. The last time I saw them, Ma was driving the car, and Papa, teaching her how to. Can Ma drive now? Will she drive me home when I wake up?
My biggest ambition is to be able to move my finger. I try with all my might, to lift the tip of my index, as I try even harder to recall which part of my hand should I nudge from within, that could cause the slightest of flicker you have been waiting to see. I dream of dreams which tell me how false reality is. But amidst those dreams, I again fall asleep, hoping that they were wrong. I wake up, and I stare at this cavernous darkness called reality. I try to close my eyes and prevent the darkness from reaching my insides, but I realize I don’t know where my eyes are.
Bhai, don’t switch me off. Till then, let me work on myself and try to move my finger for you. When I will, my next ambition will be to hold your hands and learn to walk again. I want to see the light beyond this darkness; the light of my life. And when I do, the memories of this ordeal shall fade out of our minds. Because, long after some fragments of life find themselves deeply rooted into the crannies of your mind, you will begin to realize how all of it will eventually fade out. Silently. Like an old piece of painting.
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