Funeral Flowers

“Is it okay to die a little when there is so much to live for?” She asked me. I couldn’t decipher it, so I just nodded in agreement. 
We asked questions to each other which we couldn’t ask other people and finished our coffees and walk back home separately. Some rituals are never said out loud and we understood it.
The other day, I asked her if she would choose lifeless dreams over dreamless life. I think she is still confused which is lesser evil among those two.
She dressed as heartbreaks personified and I couldn’t help but wonder why she always looked like funeral flowers done right.
The day we ran out of questions, coffees became stale, less aromatic and the silence was deafening and more chaotic then it could ever be. A thousand colors concealed themselves to become white and we broke the ritual. “Let’s walk together,” she said and it drizzled in middle of the day. We kissed under a chilly winter shower. She asked me if I would scratch out and bleed on her memories or just peel them off nonchalantly. I preferred to stay silent.
The day before she moved away, I asked her what’s sadder; a teary-eyed goodbye or hopeless smiles made of the unspoken idea that we will never meet again? 
She smiled, hopelessly.
I kept watching her smiling, unable to reciprocate, and unable to decide if it had been with or without hope. I sensed something convoluting inside me.
Is that all?
Without unlocking our gaze, she set herself in motion, turned and kept walking. I saw a part of me going away her, something she wouldn’t give back, I knew.
“Why is it so hard? It doesn’t always have to end this way. Why aren’t you taking a step further?” My heart blabbered like a child, not willing to accept the math of probability. Probably, this would be the last time I am seeing her. With a step back, I started walking towards the other end of that straight line.
“Wait, let me etch her face on some of my cells. Till the end I should be able to remember what she looked like.” My brain had found a never ending task, of preserving these memories. Meanwhile it started calculating the speed at which we were parting. Alas, the direction of our walks made us distant only, with a relatively faster pace!
“No. Stop. Turn and get back to her. What is meant to be has to happen. Make it happen. Let’s go back.” The heart keeps on tugging at me.
“Were we even meant to be together?” Interrupts the brain with a nonchalant thought.
In response, the heart wavers, and gets busy thinking whether our worlds were supposed to intersect again or remain mutually exclusive. The heart doesn’t like the calculation, or I believe it is the result of those calculations that it dislikes. Shrugging the reality off, the heart goes back to fantasising. I keep walking.
I struggled with finding the keys. My brain seemed too focused on pulling me out of this heartache. While the heart happily indulged experiencing Shakespearean romance finally. “One of my firsts.”
Upon entering, the house seemed colder than usual. I kept thinking, what made me so attached to her. I had been merely a consultant to her after all, trying to help her get rid of those hurtful memories. Did I succeed, I asked myself. “No”, the answer reverberated, recalling the hopeless smile.
I wished nothing but a deepest of sleep, a dreamless one, amnesia too maybe. I wish it rains heavily tonight, that drowns the all these mushrooming emotions. It didn’t, of course. Nature knows best how to get things on right course.
The absence of light was pushing my brain to a slumber. I never realised when my yelling heart lost its audience.
Doorbell rings. I force myself to get and open the door.
For once I couldn’t believe I wasn’t dreaming. The reality stood in front of me. A freshly scarred but resolute face, messy hair; however my gaze was intently captured by her dilated pupils.
“You aren’t dreaming, boy. She is here for real.” Exclaimed my heart and it started a happy dance under the confettis flurrying from the ceiling. The brain seemed still cautious.
She handed me a paper firmly. The signatures were the evidence of how she had freed herself for that unasked forceful alliance. She had made the call and chosen lifeless dream over dreamless life. Maybe she wanted me to add life to her dream. That’s why she was here.
I had questions to ask, and she, stories to tell. Though we preferred a soothing silence.
“I couldn’t have let the blossom wilt again.” She furnished minimally apt words.
“Coffee?” I reciprocated.
She just smiled.
And the monosyllable duly commenced a new ritual.
This time, my heart didn’t bother calculating the aftermath. It was busy singing.
“Nobody knows it, but you’ve got a secret smile, and you use it only for me.”  

PS: This is co-authored with Aparna Desai.

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