It had been a pleasant day till then. The people I met had been hospitable. The day’s climate had soaked my skin, lulling away my state of fatigue and weariness. As the day dropped down to a still, silent winter night, with the numbness of air established in the ambience of my room, I laid on my bed, wrapped up inside a thick blanket that reached up to my shoulders. A cupful of caffeine had proved efficacious in drawing my consciousness out of some much needed sleep.
As I turned my head to my right, I breathed out some air that froze to visible fog. It retreated unto my face after rummaging the silky surface of the cover of the cushion that lied adjacent to my head. Startled by the abrupt, momentary cold of my own breath, my eyes opened with a meek flutter of my lashes. I felt an old and odd vacuum stepping back sneakily into the vicinity of my blurred vision. Stepping out gradually from my blank thoughts stained with unwanted reverie, I realized the smidgen of winter winds entering my room through the casement had a rasping influence on the Brahms lullaby that I had played to assist myself in sleeping.
Irked by the grating of the sound, I sat up, though with utmost disinterest in getting out of bed. I splayed my arms in the empty air around, shifting on the bed-sheet that had gotten dragged a little to my side.
I stepped down on the wooden floor, bare-foot, and began to move towards the casement. It unexpectedly seemed totally different as I reached there. The air. It was a baffling mixture of awe and serenity, laced with a few whiffs of forgotten love. The whispers of my steps, moulded into unheard voids, had already whidded into thin air. Varying ebbs of the peculiar aura overwhelmed my calm. It was one of those times when you feel something tickling your mind, sending you into spasms of weird pleasure, the reason of which you’re unsure of, or maybe you know; something compelling, something ethereal, something unimaginably real.
I shut the window. The wind was gone now. Its chilling claws were rendered half-dead. But, the wind had left its traces. I could still smell the ambrosial aroma of the odourless wind that wafted through the air around me. I was doubtful, though, regarding my assumption that they were the traces of wind.
It wasn’t the wind; I was sure now. A moment I couldn’t decipher in the simplicity of words. I didn’t see it occurring. Nor did I hear any creak. I walked in haste to find out. I hurriedly stepped out of my room. For almost a minute, I fumbled in the murk of my house.
It was in the dining space. My feet were still bare against the cold pulses the wooden floor offered. All the eeriness racked my spine, creeping over my nerves at a steady pace. My gaze was fixed at a settee that had its front left leg cracked. It provided to me an uncanny mélange of tranquility and delirium that cocooned the compass of my thoughts. It radiated familiar ripples of memories; memories that I had vowed to bury, but was always eager to embrace. She loved sitting on that settee, reading a book, or just losing herself to a slumber, with her left hand resting on the rough patina of the settee’s right arm as her left foot rested lightly on her right upper-thigh. The very remembrance held me frozen, my mind befogged from all other imaginative constructs.
I was adeptly hauled back from the reminiscence by an uncanny creak as someone walked behind me. It left me addled and wondering. It sounded like a dagger chiming against a metallic bangle dangling on a woman’s wrist before cutting and piercing, slowly, grotesquely, but painlessly, into her wrist. It sounded much like a cacophony disguised as a melody. I turned back to realize it was a silhouette of a lady. I couldn’t see anything except the beautiful outline of it that certainly appeared categorically intimate to my eyes. I hadn’t seen a scene as such before. It appeared like a beautiful diadem made of prosaic, crushed crystals, or maybe like a flickering candle. A flickering, black candle: disgusting, and treacherous, burning off fumes of irrational apprehension. A few moments of rambling through the possibilities inside my head and I knew it was her. There wasn’t even an iota of suspicion regarding this. It was a labyrinth, paradoxically both pleasant and ghastly. I had turned cold and numb. But, proximity to her aura solaced my senses down to warm, visceral sensations of love that swirled inside each of my organs. Her mere presence caressed subtly the contour of my face like her angelic, sorcerous hands used to.
I was supposed to be struck with astonishment, with jitters crushing my conscience to nothingness, and my skin turning to shades of pastel. But instead, I was transfixed, with eccentric idyll churning inside my guts, and my eyes evaded the fear, looking at her with the old, dormant love.
But, this time, it was different. I didn’t want to get inside the confines of her breath, grasp her wrist, knead her hair with my shuddering right hand, or massage her arched back gently. All I yearned for was to stay there, look at her, and delve into the divinity of her realm just by gazing at her dark outline. I was intrigued by this alteration in my emotions. However, I didn’t want to comprehend the situation, or my love, because staying intrigued is solitarily central to the art of loving someone unattainable. And she was unattainable. After all, that’s what real love is—free from the desire of being requited, free from the wild cravings of touching the flesh. It’s like the warble of a musical note. It enthralls your sensibility without the existence of any physical aspect.
When I was somewhere lost between my own thoughts, she vanished. She was gone, again. Everything receded back to normalcy. The warmth inside me dissolved into the cold pulses of the floor. The redolent aroma diffused. The air was more nipping, but less benumbing. My insides provoked me to lament over her departure. But then, I realized that was what she was destined to do. In the semi-dark house, she had to depart with all her insidious essence. She had to vanish. Because that’s what dead souls do. They vanish.
SWAPNIL is an 18-year-old high school science student who loves to write. He has deep love for poetry as well. He loves to sing and listen to soul-soothing music at his leisure. This is his first publication.