“I can’t live without you,” he said. Actually it sounded more like he was insisting. But she was not a person who would listen.
“But don’t you see? I have to go. I have stayed long enough with you. I know you can’t live without me. But that doesn’t mean I dishounour my promise to the instituition. I have a contract with them that stipulates the time that we can spend together. There cannot, and I mean cannot, be any violation of this contract.”
“Don’t give me silly excuses like those,” he said, almost flying into a rage. But then he realised anger was useless. If love didn’t work, then anger definitely had no chance of working. He decided to try another ploy…
“But, what about the days that we spent together? Can’t you stay back as a rememberance for those? We had such fine moments… Remember the time we spent together on that hill station? And those late nights when you’d cuddle up to me for warmth? How can you forget all of those so easily?”
‘Yes, I do remember, but do you remember the time you refused to take me on a vactaion, even though you knew we both needed it? And how about the time, when you almost betrayed me?”
“Almost… But I did not… because I loved you and I love you all the same now, if not more!! Please don’t go!! I’ll die…”
“I would have loved to say, serves you right. But I won’t, because I love you more than you can imagine. I have loved you ever since we’ve been together. I have loved you when you were at your best and I have loved you when you were suffering your worst. I have loved you even when I thought you were doing the most despicable deeds… I have loved you more than you can ever fathom. BUt can yu say with the authority that I assume, that you have loved me no less? Can you say that?
He grew silent. His silence was deafening him. And she must have thought it too, because he could see the sadness in her eyes. The sadness he dreaded… the sadness that told him he was fighting a losing battle… Still, the man that he was he chose to fight… but he did not have any weapons left. He finally mustered up courage to say-
“You can’t go, you have no right to leave me. I brought you here from the instituition and I hold all rights over you. You have no right to leave me…”
She laughed. Her laugh was not one of mockery or derision. It wasn’t the kind of laugh you would give when you saw a fool’s act. It was a laugh you give when you catch a child with his hand stuck in the cookie jar. She laughed at his innocence, the fact that he beileve she’d actually accept that and stay…
“You really think you have a right over me? How did you forget? You have not bought me or brought me here. I have come here on my own accord… You have no right over me except those that I give you. You have leased me from the instituition. And now that the lease period is over, I must go. It is as simple as that. Don’t you understand?”
He looked at her in surprise. He could not believe she’d actually said those words. But now that she had, they hurt him like hell. Hell – so this is what it must feel like. If this is hell I never wanna die, he began to think… For a passing moment, his thoughts were distracted by the mention of Hell. But he pretty soon regained control and said –
“You know what, if you keep up with this, you are gonna end up in hell.”
She stood there stunned. As if someone had hit her with the thing she’d always dreaded. Something she never expected to come, least of all from him. She slowly turned to him, fighting the sea of emotions that was building up in her, fighting the intense desire to burn him to ashes, fighting her desires to leave him at once and let him rot, die, decay whatever…
“Of all the things you could say to me, do you know, that one was the most despicable. You consign me to hell? Think again, if you do that, that’s the place you are going to next? Are you sure you want me to end up in hell?”
He started crying. She knew that was the end of it all. She had to leave now. Any delay on her part would mean a penalty. and she’d alredy suffered it once… She thought about it and decided to leave immediately. She turned to leave, but could not resist having a one last look at the sorry figure she was leaving behind… He was writhing and groveling, but she had already made up her mind to leave… She loved him, but this is how it had to end. And without turning back again, she left…
“Doctor!! Please come quickly. Patient no. 29 is suffering a cardiac arrest.” The nurse boomed into the hallway.Two doctors came running, armed with stethoscopes around their necks. They rushed into the room and one of them began to check the patient’s pulse.
He was already dead.
“We’ve lost him. Seems like the attack was massive. The death must have been peaceful, ” said the first doctor.
“No, I don’t think so. It seems like he wanted to live. Looks like he had a heavy argument with her…” said the second doctor.
“Her?” all of them chorused.
“His soul. He begged her to stay, she couldn’t. He tried to convince her. Looks like she won…”
“I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, ‘Ain’t that the truth?’ ”
–Quincy Jones, Victory of the Spirit
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