The Story

In continuation of The Conversation

As if knowing exactly what was going through her mind, Ajay continued the conversation telling her that he would explain everything if she promised to meet him in the hospital the next day! Sneha agreed. To avoid the awkward silence that was bound to follow, Sneha decided to leave. They walked out of the park together. She had not expected it would be so, but the silence between them was not awkward but peaceful. They shared an understanding, which was surprising, since both of them were strangers to one another.

When Ajay returned to the I.C.U. he sat on the chair and closed his eyes. Seeing the girl again was a pleasant surprise and the prompt decision he had made to talk to her had gone well. He had not expected it to be the way it went. Everything seemed so smooth and calm around that girl. That girl, Ajay realized he did not know her name. She had not told him her name and even he had not bothered to ask. The short conversation he had with the girl made him realize that similarity between Smriti and the girl did not end with the physical appearance. It went much beyond that. He did not really know what made him conclude that but it was true. The girl, simply by being with him had filled him with positivity and calm.

He got up from the chair and walked towards Smriti. Eyes closed, amidst the tubes and the machinery, her face was calm. As if, finally, she was at peace. Suddenly, Ajay’s vision blurred and before he could press his fingers to the bridge of the nose to stop the emotions from flowing, his tears flowed down his cheeks and the next moment he collapsed on the bed next to Smriti. Despite the warnings from the doctor to not disturb the patient and the setup, he snuggled close to Smriti. Placing his head on her chest, trying his best not to disturb the tubes and the wires, he continued crying.

Sneha reached home, still not able to recover from the conversation. She opened the door and entered the dark and empty house. She lived alone. She collapsed on the couch and closed her eyes. She felt emotionally drained. So much had happened in just one day. Her attraction – her weird attraction for a man had brought her to an important junction on the road of her life, where her decision would change her life forever. Though, in the park, in that particular moment, affected by the closeness of the man, she had almost made up her mind to help him, now – she was scared. True, she did not have anyone to answer to. She was the one who would have to face the consequences of the choices she made. At the same time, deep down, she also knew that her decision would make a huge difference to someone else’s life. And, that is what scared her the most.

She wanted the conversation to be more than what it had been. She wanted him to reveal what he expected from her and why. She was also surprised that he had not asked her anything about herself.
She got up from the couch and walked to the bedroom. After washing herself clean she changed into her night suit and walked to the kitchen to check the refrigerator for leftover food but found none. She decided to skip dinner and walked back to the bedroom. Sitting at her desk she opened her diary and started writing. She re-lived the moments as she made a note of them in the diary. She remembered and visualized each and every minute details of his face. She continued writing, her hand stimulated by her brain, her thoughts concentrated on Ajay and words forming at their will. Then, she stopped writing to read what she had just written. She did not want to admit it, but the words in her own diary proved that it was true – she loved him.

The next day she got ready to go the hospital, wondering what the day had in store for her. The whole night she had been restless and unable to sleep. In the morning, however, she felt at peace when she had finally accepted the fact and had made up her mind to take the chance and see where it would lead her.
At the hospital, instead of going to the cafeteria she walked straight to the I.C.U. Since she had managed to grab the staff badge she was not stopped at the desk. When she entered the room, she found Ajay asleep in the chair. The dark circles under his eyes reflected the mental trauma and the stress that he was under. Without making any noise, careful not to wake him up she walked towards the bed. She knew that she was trespassing into their life, visiting the woman without Ajay’s knowledge but she was curious. She gasped when she saw the woman lying in bed. She thought she was ready for what she was about to see as Ajay had already told her that she looked like her wife but coming face to face with the woman was too much to handle. Sneha saw herself lying in bed, surrounded by tubes, head covered in bandage. She blinked but she could not separate herself from the scene. Standing next to the bed she felt like a ghost watching over her own lifeless body.

She did not realize that her gasp had awakened Ajay and he was now standing behind her. It was only after he cleared his throat did she turn around to look at him. She wanted to apologize for her insane behavior but when she looked at him she could not speak. He looked tired, examining his face she concluded that he had not slept at night just like her but apart from that he had spent the entire night crying. Once again, the urge to hold him in her arms gripped her mind and she turned towards the woman to stop herself from behaving irrationally. “What happened?” she asked.

Ajay knew he would have to tell her everything, yet when she asked him the question he did not want to get into it. He did not want to re-live the moments that had ruined his life. Looking at the woman he loved the most, he cleared his throat and started telling the girl about the accident. It was his fault and he would never forgive himself for that and so he told her. The thought of losing his wife was scary and painful but the guilt consumed him. He knew if it was possible for him to change what had happened he would have happily exchanged places with his wife. But, that was not going to happen and he had to live with it. He told the girl how Smriti had been in and out of consciousness a few days after the accident before going into coma. The doctors had not been able to bring her back and now, they suggested that he pull the plug. Smriti had already suffered enough brain damage that even if she did come out of coma, she would lead her future life as a vegetable confined to the bed. He was not sure whether he was ready for that. Not that he minded the hard work taking care of her but he could not catch her like that. He also knew that Smriti would not want to live that life. And, most importantly, even if he did decide to keep her alive, even if she would have wanted to lead such a bedridden life, the fact was that they both would not want to hurt the person they both loved more than their lives, their daughter Shreya who knew nothing about the accident.

.. The Decision