I sat on the edge of the cliff and gazed down at the jagged rocks below me, watching the water noisily beating upon them. I shuddered. It would take courage to do that. But that was not the reason why I didn’t jump. There were other reasons. For starters, I was already dead.
I reached out for the hundredth and sixteenth time. A sense of panic overwhelmed my mind.. No one seemed to be able to see me or hear me. They did not even respond to my touch. I waved my hands, seeking another passerby’s attention as he jogged past me. But as I had feared, he did not see me.
I remember when it happened. I was talking a walk through the streets when suddenly a blinding light blasted onto me. I Think it hurt me for a moment before I passed out. Blood spilled everywhere from where I stood, staining my white, silk salwar suit. Snapped out of my daze, I looked around. A big car was a few meters away, its driver frantically staggering out with a drunken look on his face. A girl about my age was lying on the ground, lifeless as a statue. There were several similarities between us. Black curly hair, thin body and the tensed look I wore that day. I felt a chill running down my spine as I realized the truth. I fell to my knees. It…it was me.
I was dead.
“Girl’s Tragic Death in Accident,” the headlines in the papers read.
My parents obviously suspected I had intentionally run infront of the car to avoid being married to the person they were forcing me to marry. I wish I could tell them I had indeed thought of committing suicide but not the way it happened.
I paced the streets alone.. When I felt tired, I rested at the local railway station, watching people living their lives.
One time, a young man came and sat down next to me. I looked at him. “Hello,” he seemed nervous.It was, in fact, the simplest choice of words one can pick while starting a conversation. I was shell shocked. He was talking to me; he could see me.For the first time in so many days, a wave of hope crept up on me.I even felt confused, feeling weird now that someone could actually see me.What an irony!! For the last five days I had been attempting to seek attention everywhere, but now, I didn’t know what to do.
The boy who had noticed me, was now a partial nuisance. He would follow me everywhere, asking me questions, telling me stories.Was he a ghost too? I didn’t care. But I could not deny it. I had accepted myself for what I had become: a ghost. But The idea of walking the earth for eternity scared me. My mother used to say that people who had unfinished business usually stayed. Especially, dejected lovers.
About him,I didn’t know what to think.I found myself blushing when he complimented my eyes. He seemed rather intrigued by me. But I was dead. How could I love him, a living person?
I went home to see my parents. Mother looked lifeless, staring at my wedding lehenga all day. Father feigned ignorance infront of mother, still upset that I had protested against my forced marriage but it broke my heart to see him going through my childhood photo albums.
One day Rahul took me to the riverside and confessed his feelings for me. My heart pounded uncontrollably and I started to feel butterflies in my stomach. But I knew my answer would be no. I led him to the town’s graveyard. The fastest way to explain my rejection was to show him my grave, as I could not bear to say the cutting words.We found the gravestone with my name carved on it: SANJANA SHARMA. I signalled to Rahul that my dress was streaked with dried blood, hoping that he would just turn around and go away.Yet, Rahul remained.
He grabbed my hand and pulled me.
It read: RAHUL SINGH .
My mouth fell open. Teardrops continued their journey to the ground.“Didn’t you notice a hole at the back of my shirt?” . His lover’s father had him killed six months ago. He had bled to death.
I pulled him close to me. I had finally found the peace I was looking for.