She wiped the date on the stone and covered it with a wreath of white lilies, all the while her tears drenching the sleeves of her shirt.

It was late summer, about to give way to autumn, and the chills had taken up the breeze. The maple trees were beginning to shed the leaves that were already dead, the rest losing their green lushness and turning a deep crimson, swaying in the breeze: almost lifeless, as lifeless as she was. The clouded early morning sky was mirroring her clouded mind, fogged up by distant images and resounding voices.

They were on the phone, as she was away working on one end of the longest stretch of the horizon and he on the other, waiting.. waiting for her essence.

‘Moonbeam,’ he said in a state of hypochondria. ‘Do you believe in the notion of people passing away?’

‘We all are just a form of energy and as the law of thermodynamics states, my dearest sunshine, energy changes forms but never passes away’ she said in a pretence, unaware of his disarray, half believing her own words.

He feigned a laugh and softly spoke as if whispering in her ear, ‘You, my beautiful little girl, stay this way forever and let no one take away your innocence… Moonbeam, remember me as long as it will help you to live your life happily even when I wouldn’t be around. Okay?’

Then there was silence. His question agitated her tranquil oasis as she couldn’t imagine a world without talking to him, fighting with him, sending him a selfie now and then and asking him about her dresses and the way she looked in them. He was her critique. She knew the truth, too. Her shroud and his veracity of life. She knew it all. And in her long silence he could feel her frenzied paroxysm. He could imagine her pallid face with his intuition.

Finally she broke her silence with a trembling voice, ‘Why are you talking like that? You are making me nervous.’

‘I want to hold your hand, I want to hug you tight, I want to have your scent, I want to inhale the atmosphere you exhale, for once Moonbeam,’ he said, almost in desperation.

For the first time in his voice she could feel vulnerability, she could feel asphyxia. The sangfroid turned into desperation.

‘What’s going on? Talk to me please, tell me, tell me all about it, Sunshine. Are you okay?’ She said in total despair and regret of being unable to reach out to his stretched palm, sobbing and trying to control the tears cascading from her eyes.

He almost yelled, Can’t you see, can’t you see, dammit, I don’t have time. Cant you see me dying!’

And she broke down in a trail of never-ending tears.

Mustering the strength from ever single fibre of his body, he said, ‘Moonbeam, would you write me a eulogy?’

‘NO, don’t say so!’ she almost yelled through tears.

‘I wish you to read it to me, Moonbeam. My lovely Moonbeam… you are mad but you are magic. Do you know this?’ he said in a voice that seemed to be in halcyon and on the brink of a world of eternal peace.

She just sobbed and sobbed and kept pleading, Please, don’t die. Don’t leave me here alone. Please… just don’t die.

And her memories dissolved and echoes faded and she came alive to her living void. She was wrapped in silence. Silence. How long did it last– she couldn’t tell. Time wasn’t fixed. But she wavered, stretched and shrank in this time. The lagoon of sorrow was full now by the saline water flowing down her cheeks to the rigidity of harsh reality, and her heart was filled with rage of having to lose someone she so dearly loved, her aura culminating in a waxen feeling of unsaid emotion. Which was pain. The pain which baltering inside her from the past one year. He was gone and some part of her was gone too. She deleted his photos, the long conversations and even his phone number. But she cannot delete his voice that has been stuck in her head, the presence that became a part of her and the memories that will forever be in her heart.

-Shilpi Sharma

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