The ever-present soul-crushing anxiety bubbled up as if it was going to consume her. She began to look for her phone when the sound that has become somewhat of a dirge came blaring out of its speakers. As she listened to the voice from the other end, she felt odd. She should be breaking down crying. But in an outlandish manner, she felt …relieved. Her head was clear. Her heart was not bursting with calamity. She was in fact the calmest she had ever been in her entire lifetime. She could tell the one calling was worried…but for whom? For what? Had they expected something else? A different ending?
She should get ready. People will be here as soon as they get to know. That would have been the real war. Outsiders peeking into her life. Her things. Her business. Before it would have bugged her to no end. But now, it felt weird when no one pried. Discarded scraps of paper on the telephone counter caught her eye. They held oh-so-valuable information which she yearned for before. Barely hanging on with the aid of magnets, the article clippings on the fridge swayed from the wind. The takeaway boxes clattered on the kitchen counter. For 2 years, she lived like this, frozen in time. Now what? Should she finally catch up to others? Or should she continue like this? Imprisoned forever in another time?
Nothing was changed in his room. Not even by an inch. She didn’t want him to complain about a missing pen or a sock when he came home. So, she let everything be just the way he left it. She opened his door and was hit by a thousand memories. It was amazing how one’s life could be portrayed through even the tiniest thing. How someone with so many dreams, and so many aims could be taken out just like that, baffled her mind. Oh, fragile life.
“What do you want to be when you grow up” is a question that almost every child gets asked more than once in their lives. Everyone has dreams for their future. Some are unattainable but some are the simplest. Some are selfish but some are of the purest kind, innocent. She couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that more often than not, like him, they won’t be fortunate enough to achieve these goals. Lost in thought, from the corner of her eye, she noticed a piece of paper peeking out from his favorite novel.
“The weird thing is, out of everything in this world, death is the only thing one can be certain of. But why is it always unexpected? Why is it always shocking? This is the natural order of things. Every beginning is followed by a definite end. Isn’t it funny, how we always forget the curtain call?
Rather than mourning an inevitable end, if we all could learn something from it, then a simple trivial passing would hold a significant meaning. Be kind to everyone. We never know when’s the last time we’re going to see them. It’s good to dream but also remember to live day by day, to the fullest. Because we never know what the ambiguous future holds for us.
When the doctor told me my time, I was devastated at first. But then I realized that in a way, I was lucky. When most people lived on clouds of dreams but not knowing when they’ll have to go, I knew. I was able to plan my life to the fullest. And I did. Mom, if you’re reading this letter, dressed in black, I’m sorry. I lost. But it was time. It was inescapable. It was written in the stars. And who am I against the almighty stars? By the time I would have to go, I would have fulfilled all my wishes except one. So don’t worry, I would have had no regrets. My final wish would be, for you to live your life to the fullest. I would be happy as long as you’ll be. Love you to the moon and back.”
She looked out into the crowd of people, all deep in thought. Standing in front of her son's empty shell, she realised that the sombre ambience had morphed into a strange peacefulness.
She opened the windows, freshly brewed coffee in her hand. Her face bathed in warm sunlight, hinted at a serene smile. It’s a new day.