It was dusk when I reached there. Under the violet sky, amid the withered grass, my bones rattled from the icy chill. The clouds were still, as if they’d been sculpted out of rocks. No blade stirred in that haunting, frozen silence. Surrounded by the whittling glimpses of her, I gazed far into the cluster of crammed tiny houses. Her place was quiet as a cold winter night. I remembered the day I’d seen her off. It was our 14th date, and she was dressed in red, and as her fingers slipped away from mine, my heart skipped a dozen beats.
“So. “I said, “According to that pinterest post, girls do fall in love after the 14th date. Have your clouds turned pink yet? ”
Her lips broke into a smile.
“No. “She said. “After 14 dates in Coffeehouse 11, I think I’m in love with the waiter. He has been more polite, better dressed up and a lot less sulkier than you. ”
It was a stupid idea, actually. We had to share 14 coffees because she believed that the only thing that ever came close to explaining the mechanism of love was that stupid Pinterest post. So, till 14 dates, I wasn’t allowed the perks that a boyfriend usually has. But I wasn’t here for perks, I wanted to share a life, with half a dozen kids and everything.
“Will you go out with me again? “I fumbled.
“Ummm…what if I say no? ”
“I have given it a thought. “I said, “I’ll start drinking alcohol, shift into a small dank cubicle, and compose sad songs of betrayal and loss. I’ll never shave, and kids would call me Boogeyman, and I’ll die of drug overdose. ”
“Hmm..What if I say yes? ”
“I’ll have six kids with you. We’ll have a tree house. We will watch Sin Chan together. ”
“Well, I’d have asked for more if we were fishes. “I said. She chuckled. A momentary laugh that still echoes in my brain.
She leaned in and gazed into my eyes.
“Marry me someday. “She said. I wanted to say things, something a poet would if his girl asks him to marry her. But I was afraid I’d babble something unpoetic and ruin the moment. I stood there, watching her nose, and when her breaths caressed my lip, I lowered my lids.
Two days later, she was in ICU. And then, they took her to the morgue. The last time I saw her, her limp body lay covered in the blanket, the ECG monitor displaying a flat line for an eternity. It wasn’t just the cessation of pulse or heartbeats or breaths, it was death; I could feel her algor mortis.
The lamppost still glowed quietly in her street. As I gazed harder, I could almost make out two people kissing under it. One had to be her ghost, and the other, mine.