LLC01 :Letters from the past

Excerpt: She observed him the whole day. Nothing had changed. He spoke the same – in monosyllables. He spent the day watching the birds and the trees. (Reads: 1,398)

 

This story is selected as Editor’s Choice

love-letter-wife-husband

LLC01: Love Letter to Husband/ Wife
Creative Writing – Love Letter Contest 2013
© YourStoryClub.com

“Where are you going?” she asked him, knowing very well where he was headed. He did not answer immediately. He usually never did. A blank, dazed expression had made room in his eyes for some years now. They saw everything but reflected nothing. “Posts…,” he said, trailing towards the door.

He was gone for a few minutes but Lata wasn’t worried. This is a drill he will follow for a while now, she thought. He came back with the second envelope, addressed to him. He sat on the living room couch and leafed through the pages. She watched him read for some time and walked away.

“Dearest Sunil,

This is my second letter to you.

Do you know you have the most beautiful eyes? It’s just the right shade of light brown. I loved looking into your eyes, they reassured me. Today was our second meeting. I was still shy but you seemed composed. Of course I knew it was just an act, your hands betrayed you. Never before did I ever find it so endearing to shake a sweaty hand. I loved the way you spoke. Every moment swept me towards our future together. You spoke of your travels, I thought of our unborn children. While you told me about your insignificant past relationships, I imagined us aging together. It pained me to say goodbye to you that evening. The more I knew you, the more I was convinced that we were meant to be. Many prospects had come my way but I rejected all of them. But you, you were different. While the elders spoke about our union, my heart, I knew, had already married your soul. Every meeting made me think of the next. I was getting addicted to you.

As you got up to leave, we didn’t shake hands. This time, you just held mine.

You have a scar on your left foot, did you know? It’s a birth mark. I think it’s beautiful.

I love you,

Lata
——————-

She observed him the whole day.  Nothing had changed. He spoke the same – in monosyllables. He spent the day watching the birds and the trees. He never emoted. He had his lunch when she gave it to him, his tea when she laid the table, his medicines when she said it was time.

The third letter he opened with a slight hurry the next day.

Dearest Sunil,

My love and admiration for you grew the day you put your foot down in front of my father and said, “Lata will study as much as she likes. After she graduates, we will tie the knot. Not before.” You waited while I drowned myself in notes and books. On the night of my graduation, you bought me a beautiful yellow silk sari. I got your name embroidered on the blouse sleeves. So silly of me! I still have that sari. It reminds me of our youth.

You got your wisdom tooth during our courtship days. But it was extremely painful. You had to get it extracted.  With a swollen mouth, you went mute for two days. Those two days, time stood still. During that time when conversations were the foundation of our relationship, silence didn’t do us any good.

 

I love you,

Lata.

————————————–
He walked around the house, today a little more dazed. He sipped his coffee while looking at Bindu, the sparrow, his beautiful evening companion. Today she was building a nest. Something that intrigued him. Minutes went by silently. Finally Lata asked him, “Isn’t it fascinating?” He looked at Bindu and whispered in his frail voice, “Bindu is a big girl.”

He walked the next day outside the house. Many minutes went by. He came back with an envelope in his hands. He walked towards the dining room. Pulled up a chair and read.

 

Dearest Sunil,
We danced the whole night away. The entire universe was celebrating. One night before our wedding, our families put up endless performances. While waltzing across the floor, we whispered sweet nothings to each other. I buried my face in your coat. You smelled so good, I still remember it. I wasn’t nervous about the next day. Getting married to you was why I was born. Being yours was a dream I yearned to make a waking reality. From the day I first met you, I knew one thing – this fits. As I smiled to myself, you whispered in my ear.”We will have a daughter. Her name will be Bindu.”

You burnt your wrist that night when you insisted on cooking. That was my first day in the kitchen. You still have a mark on your wirst.

I love you,

Lata.
————————–

When she walked into the living room after her bath, she knew immediately that something was new today. He was bent over, looking inside the fridge. He looked around but it did not seem he wanted anything. She walked over towards him and asked him, “What do you want?” He didn’t answer as usual. She said, “You want water?” He shook his head.

“Fruit?”

He shook his head.

“Chocolate?”

He shook his head.

“Corn?”

He shook his head.

She saw the old unused ice pack kept in the fridge.

“Ice pack?”

He stood quietly. He didn’t answer. He didn’t shake his head. He looked over at the ice pack. Then slowly, he closed the fridge.

The next day the letter read.

 

Dearest Sunil,
You were made the Vice President of your company. A big position with multiple perks. Your parents were extremely pleased and I was beside myself. You were the pride of your family. In almost every family gathering, most conversations started with, “Sunil this…Sunil that.” I was the wife, the better half of that shining man, I always felt. Your success was my victory. We were the star couple.

Good days continued but then came the grey ones. You became busy, I saw you less. You travelled more and you stressed a lot. Normal food was replaced by medicines. You started losing weight, you became careless about yourself. Things changed slowly but surely.  But I mostly never complained. You mother always told me, “A good wife only supports, she doesn’t question.” But you still gave me answers. You were always guilty.

Your hard work did pay off eventually. Your company gave us a penthouse. A house that came right out of our dreams. The first day we entered the doll house, it seemed almost as the first day of our marriage. We laughed, we ran around the house, we sang. The world had suddenly brightened up. You and I were newly weds again.

As a young man, you had a problem of nose bleeds. Every summer your nose bled at least twice. Your mother and mine spent most of their time advising me about various concoctions and natural medicines that would heal your condition. You just smiled and waved them off. “I’ll be fine,” you said. So every evening you came home looking for the ice pack kept in the fridge. I laughed seeing the same drill every day. You would sit in front of your files, with an ice pack on your head, diligently doing your work. You said this was the best solution. You made me laugh.

I love you,

Lata

————————————–

She saw him walk towards his room. He carried the three envelopes in his hand. She walked behind him, curious. He looked around the room, confused but slightly certain of something. She wanted to help, to go in and ask him. But she knew this was not the time. He was in the process of discovering something significant.

He walked towards a suitcase kept next to the window sill, camouflaged with her shawls, bed sheets and packets of incense sticks. He opened it and dropped those letters in them.

The next morning, he slowly tore the new letter.

Dearest Sunil,
You remember that amazing trip we took together to Rome? Bindu was 10 that time. You bought a beautiful suitcase from there, I remember. You said, “This will be my dear diary. You will remember me by the contents of this bag.” Years passed by and you kept many souvenirs, letters and Bindu’s broken toys here. This bag is truly a reflection of you.

You started losing your hair during your mid thirties. I always thought you looked handsome even with scanty hair.

I love you,

Lata.
———————–

“Chinki,” he said in his frail voice. She came running out of the kitchen. “What!…What did you just call me?” He looked blank, his eyes were vacant. Minutes passed by, they became painful. She cleared the table and walked away.

Dearest Sunil,
We lost our son before he came into the world. We were heartbroken but you hid it, as you always did. A year went by and I remembered our still son every day. You got me out of the depression. You kept reminding me, “But Chinki, we still have Bindu.” You always called me by my pet name when you counselled me. “Chinki” reminded me of home, my mother and my beautiful childhood. You knew that with me, it worked like medicine.

You have mole on your palm and a mole under your left foot. Both signs of prosperity, the pundit always said.

I love you,

Lata
————-

He sits in the veranda everyday these days. He sits and watches nothing.
Today, he cried. She didn’t go outside to wipe his tears. She let him heal. He opened the new letter the next day.

Dearest Sunil,
Our daughter got married today. You were a picture of calm while I cried like a child. You held me while I bade her goodbye. A lifetime of happiness awaits her, you said. Smile, don’t cry, you said. I buried my face deep onto your coat. I smelled the same cologne you wore on the night before our wedding. I felt reassured.

A month after Bindu’s wedding, we got into a car crash. We were saved but your spirit was crushed. It was then that you realised that death was always very close. At all times. Roles were reversed. I became your emotional anchor.

You have a problem squatting, did you know? We always had to choose WC’s for our bathroom!

I love you,

Lata.
————————-
They sat together in the veranda the whole evening that day. A year had passed, some letters were hidden inside his suitcase, some others forgotten on the veranda table. Their 50 years were captured in words, but did they find their source, she didn’t know.

The evening they sat in the veranda. Something was different today or was it all the same. She couldn’t tell. She sat with him, watching the trees, the birds and the bees. She too, today, looked at nothing. The evening wrapped its wings and left the two alone in the dark. She kept dozing off in between. He never once closed his eyes. Somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, she felt a tingling sensation in her hand. She felt she was still dreaming. Slowly as she opened her eyes. The movement was gentle but not confused. He slid his shaking, wrinkled hand inside hers. Their fingers intertwined. For the first time, he wasn’t looking towards the vast nothingness in front of him. He was looking into her eyes, she was sure. She wanted to see those brown eyes looking back at her, but it was all dark.

A few moments passed. And then, the sun rose.
————————————————————

Dearest Sunil,

This is my first letter to you.

Happy birthday my love. Today is your 80th birthday. As your wife I have no more worldly gifts to give you. I have nothing beautiful to offer. I do, however, have a lifetime of memories that I would like to gift you today.

The slate of your mind has been wiped blank. You have forgotten me and the world. But for me, you are my world.

The day you walked inside my house with your parents, I was too shy to look up. I saw your hands. That was the first thing I fell in love with. Your hands. We spoke inside my room while our parents outside exchanged prolonged pleasantries. You spoke and I just listened. Everything you said made me respect you, made me admire you. When you got up, you shook my hand. I knew I wanted to never let go. This was our first meeting.

I miss us. God has willed differently, I know, but my belief in our love is unshakable. I know one day you will come back. You are lost in your own mind, but your heart still belongs to me.

I love you,

Lata.

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