Hope (1)

'Hope' was written for a short story contest. Do let me know your views about 'Hope'

The warmth of the morning sun spilled into the room when he opened the curtains and Sudha opened her eyes as the sun’s rays kissed her face. She smiled, thinking about the happenings of the previous night. Life was beautiful. She looked around, searching for him and smiled when she found him standing near the window. He was staring at her, his deep blue eyes taking in her beauty. She felt beautiful. She thanked God for sending this man in her life, the man who loved her so much.

Good morning” he said.
Good Morning” she said raising her hands over her head, stretching and then all of a sudden she felt for the bed-sheet, which had slipped down almost to her waist. She covered herself up to the chin, suddenly realizing that she was still wrapped only by bed-sheet.

Amused, he raised an eyebrow. The room turned pink as smiling shyly she pulled a pillow over her face. He laughed aloud. He sat on the bed next to her and lifted the pillow from over her face. She opened her eyes and looked deep into his. He held her hand and brought it close to his lips. She smiled. He left her hand all of a sudden and walked to the window. Perplexed, she stared at him. How had she offended him? The moment he moved to close the curtains, she realized his intentions and smiled again. As he slid inside the bed-sheet next to her and his warm body touched hers, she felt blessed. But, something was not right. Despite the fact that he had closed the curtains she could feel the light on her closed eyelids. Further, she found it strange to not feel his warm body next to hers.

She opened her eyes. The curtains were not closed, the room was bright. The realization struck hard that she was alone in the bed, alone in the room, in the entire house and sadly, in life. He had left her, forever. She pulled the pillow over her face with frustration. She was tired of having this recurring dream and waking up with an empty feeling. People were tired of telling her that he was never coming back. Only she knew that they had almost succeeded. She had almost believed that he was not coming back ever. But, these dreams did not allow her to believe it completely. Somewhere, deep down inside she still hoped that he would return. Only this could explain the dreams, her mother had told her when she mentioned the dreams to her. Her mother was of the opinion that Sudha was having these dreams because she wanted Raj to return. For a long time she believed that he would come back, but her belief in her own faith was wavering now that it was almost three years to the day he had gone.

I will come back soon” he had said as he had kissed her good-bye three years ago.
He had to go, he had no choice. He had made it very clear to himself and to her as well that love for the country would always come first. She respected that. Now, she was angry. She wanted to vent out. How could they let it happen? How could they let him die? She wanted to scream, wanted to punch someone. At the same time she told herself that Raj was not the only person who was killed in the war. There were many men who had sacrificed their lives. She felt bad for all of them. Why did they have wars? Why they could not live in peace, she thought. She had always known Raj as someone who kept his promise. No matter what! For some stupid reason she believed that Raj would overcome death to keep his promise. She could, however, not tell this to anyone. Anyone, accept Aakash. Aakash was Raj’s friend. That is how she knew him all these years but now, he was more than that. Her parents and Raj’s parents were hell-bent on getting these two married. Sudha did not believe it when she heard it for the first time. She had laughed out loud at the suggestion. But, later on when Aakash proposed, she lost her temper and slapped him and walked to her bedroom. She did not really know why she had hit him. Was it really because he had proposed or was it because he had denied Raj would return, or was it because even she had started to lose hope? Aakash waited outside her room for more than an hour before walking away. Waited for what? She did not know. Was it to convince her again or to apologize? She did not care. She did not want to think. After that incident everyone behaved as if the topic of marriage had never arisen in first place. She was tempted to apologize to Aakash but she did not do it. She did not want to allow herself to get close to Aakash. Even little close would be dangerously close, she was sure about that. Like the others, she did try to forget the incident, but she could not. Something always kept bothering her. What was it? Was it the look in Aakash’s eyes when he had proposed? Was it the words? What was it? As a result of thinking she got frustrated whenever she saw Aakash. He was to be partly blamed for it but most of it was because of her thoughts. She erected an invisible barrier between two of them to keep herself at safe distance. She often argued with him for no reason but he never complained and this embarrassed Sudha. She tried to maintain calm composure whenever he was around, but the wall never came down. It was still there, keeping her safe from Aakash and from something inside of her she did not recognize, did not want to recognize, but it was very much there. Teasing her all the while! She set some rules for herself –stay away from Aakash, talk to him only when necessary, never look into his eyes while conversing. She feared looking in those eyes. The dark brown eyes were nothing like Raj’s eyes but they had something similar in them but she did not want to admit that she knew what it was; she was scared that someday it would ruin her.