This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
Rekha is sitting at the balcony alone. What is new about it? She sits every evening there. But the only difference today is that she cannot see Amith who resides in the front building. Very often, Rekha and Amith used to sit in their individual balconies and stared, smiled, and waved their hands at each other. Many a times they have exchanged flying kisses too.
But how they came so close to each other? Well, last year Rekha shifted to this new apartment along with her parents. She was preparing for her B.A. Examination during that time. While Amith was living in the opposite apartment since his birth. He was a tall, fair complexioned young man who was in his 24th year. He lost his father in his childhood and was brought up by his mother. He is now well placed in a corporate job. First time, when Amith saw Rekha, he fell in love with her. Yes, it was a love at first sight for Amith. She was so beautiful and attractive that Amith could not control his emotions and was looking for an opportunity to meet her. One fine day, while Amith was on his way to office, he found Rekha standing at a crowded bus stop. It was raining cats and dogs that day with stormy winds and thunder shower. He was driving his Maruti Swift and stopped his car nearby Rekha and introduced himself to her. He told her that he is her neighbor nextdoor and would be glad to drop her to her house if only she agrees. Rekha has seen Amith many a times before, from her balcony, and she liked him too. She agreed and moved inside the car without any hesitation. They spoke to each other about their families and suddenly they developed and intense interest towards each other. In the mean time, Amith asked Rekha, if she would mind if he drops her to her home everyday. Rekha, replied that she would not mind it if he had the time to do so. At least, she would be saved from the overcrowded bus and the long queue of passengers. Time rolled on and they became best of friends and even when they were in their homes they used to talk with each other in their cell phones. In fact, they used to see each other regularly from their balcony when they are at home. In the night, they used to remain busy talking with each other over the mobile phone.
Things went on like this for some time. Their relation developed and bloomed like the beautiful flowers in the peak seasons and now they cannot live without looking at each other or talking over the mobile phone. But now, it has been three days that Amith did not ring Rekha for once. Rekha used to go to the balcony but could not find Amith on the opposite balcony. She felt very insulted about it and thought that Amith is trying to avoid her. She got angry over it and stopped going to the balcony anymore. She thought to ring her but stopped, thinking, why she would ring someone who does not care for her? Time moved on at a rapid pace and it is almost a week that Amith neither rung her nor met her. Rekha could not bear this separation anymore. Finally, she picked up the mobile phone and started pinching the keypads furiously to type those ten digit numbers of Amith. Soon someone picked up the phone on the other side but it was not a familiar voice. It was a creaky voice of an old woman. Rekha inquired about Amith but the voice on the other side told something which shook the floor under her feet.
It was the voice of Amith’s mother and she said that Amith passed away to another world few days back. She further explained that he was affected by pox to the point beyond recovery and thus succumbed to death. The mobile fell from Rekha’s hand and she broke into tears. For Rekha, it was like the phantasmagoria of a fevered dream. She could not believe her ears and she was almost awake throughout the night. Finally, for a moment her eyes closed and she had a dream about Amith. In her dream, She saw Amith in a white wardrobe and he was smiling as he usually did. He asked Rekha not to cry and said that since God asked him to come to His service, he had to listen to Him. Now, that he is not there anymore she should continue with her life the way she used to do normally. He further asked her to promise him that she will continue to live her life happily and cheerfully ever after. Rekha placed her hand over Amith’s hand and promised him to do so. Then he smiled and bade a final good-bye to her as he usually did from her balcony. When Rekha woke up she found that it was morning and there is no one around her.. She wiped her tears and decided to continue with the promise she made to her beloved friend Amith. Many years passed, there after, but still Amith have a very special place in her heart.