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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chp 108. A special Valentine's Day post

14th February
Valentine’s Day, Aizawl.

The two steaming cups of hot cappuccino remained still on the round coffee table, revealing no signs of movement from its original position, a subtle hint that the two people sitting face to face across the coffee table were here for reasons other than drinking hot beverages.

It was a cold cold winter’s day in the city of Aizawl, the kind of weather that would force even the most hot-tempered shrew to revert to mere facial gestures during the heat of an argument. But inside the warm comfort of “David’s Kitchen”, the atmosphere was far from bitter and cold. Couples all around the restaurant were in each other’s arms, listening to the track of “Faithfully” by Journey while whispering sweet nothings to each other. Yup, couples were indeed cozy everywhere… everywhere but that round coffee table where the cappuccinos were untouched.

“You’re kidding right?” John’s wounded stare penetrated deep inside Nancy’s dark eyes. Although he knew she was telling him the truth, he thought maybe, if he probed hard enough into her eyes, things would change, and that somewhere deep inside her head, something was making her play a prank on him. A cruel prank.

“No John… it’s true. I’m so sorry…” Nancy’s trembling voice was undoubtedly convincing.

“First you kept me waiting for hours. Our date was for 11am. Now it’s 1 freaking PM. And now you tell me THIS…” John could speak no longer.

“Believe me John, everyday I tried to tell you, but you have no idea how difficult it is for me to…”

John exploded. “You mean after all these years… after all that we’ve been through…” Overcame by a sudden overflowing emotion of utmost betrayal, John abruptly stood up, spilling the two hot cappuccinos all over the coffee table. Other couples around them stopped cuddling and stared at them.

“John…” Nancy pleaded, but John was no longer listening to a single word coming out of her mouth…

As John got up from his chair in full fury, everything around him closed in. He felt intoxicated. suffocated. sick. betrayed. giddy. cheated. He had to get some air, pronto. He wasn’t even sure how he managed to walk outside; he didn’t care. It was only when the cold Aizawl wind hit him sharply on the face that he realized he was no longer inside “David’s Kitchen”.

“Taxi” he screamed out. As he furiously jumped inside the first taxi that stopped by, he heard somebody call out his name from behind. It was a meek voice. He recognized that voice too damn well; he didn’t turn back. “Chanmari West”, he yelled.

As Nancy stood all alone infront of “David’s Kitchen” watching the white taxi disappear around a curve at Chanmari, tears uncontrollably rolled down her cheeks. She froze. Two passersby noticed her plight immediately and inquired with the utmost concern if there was anything wrong. She forced herself to smile at them; something that required all her strength to do so, dried her eyes quickly and started walking in the opposite direction towards Zarkawt.

For the next two weeks, John was devastated. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat. He even lost faith in God for a few days, ridiculously blaming Him for everything.

Nancy had been the only girl he ever loved. They had been classmates right from Kindergarten all the way through College! They knew each other inside out completely and had been inseparable even when other young boys of their age group were fighting with the girls to show their repulsion for the opposite sex.

Even when adolescence kicked in, John and Nancy were like two prime numbers: undividable. Hence their respective parents were not surprised at all when they revealed to them that they were madly and deeply in love with each other. That was during their High School.

From then onwards, John and Nancy grew even closer and closer. Inspite of all the years of companionship, neither John nor Nancy could sleep without spending a few hours together during the day. Soon, both families started making the wedding plans, much to the two lovers’ delight.

And now, Nancy confessed to John, on Valentine’s Day, a few months before their wedding day, that she met somebody else, and had been seeing him behind his back for more than 3 months now. To add fuel to the fire, Nancy even mentioned that she might be pregnant with her secret lover’s child!

John was beyond remorse initially. He could not talk to anybody coherently. But slowly, time became a great healer. He started socializing again, with help from close friends and family. He heard from his cousins that Nancy had left the City that following week, probably with her lover, and was rumored to have shifted to Kolasib, the adjoining district.

He still had occasional nightmares for a few more weeks. He hated anything that reminded him of Nancy. Hence he hated everything. But slowly, the wounds healed. The scars remained but he found ways to conceal them.

A year later, he met Donna. She was nothing compared to Nancy, but atleast he started smiling again. As Donna became more and more involved in his personal life, John started believing in love again. Donna understood what John went through and even though she knew she would never take Nancy’s place, she could fill some of the void Nancy left behind.

3 years of romancing later, John and Donna got married.

John and Donna lived happily from then onwards. They had four wonderful children, all bubbly and cheerful. John was contented with life and it's blessings. But on extremely rare occasions, he still used to wonder how life would have been like if it was with Nancy instead of Donna. He had absolutely no idea how Nancy is doing, for he made no attempt to contact her.

It had been more than 40 years later, after his retirement and all his children were married off, that he happened to clean up his messy old cupboard. From the bottom of the randomly cleaned pile of old documents and files, he dug out his old faded photo album!

With wrinkled fingers, he turned the pages carefully. Every photograph in it were of him and Nancy, right from when they were kids climbing his father’s cherished jackfruit tree to the time they graduated from School and College together. Oh he looked so stupid in those old-fashioned pants and shirts, while Nancy seemed to look as fresh and beautiful as ever. He suddenly felt this tremendous urge to cry.

After an hour of spending a very emotional time alone, he decided that he should atleast see her one last time. He wanted to see who the guy was that stole his soul mate away from him. He wanted to shake the hands of her children. He wanted to spend time with Nancy again, just like old times! Atleast they owe each other that, he muttered.

2 days later, he arrived at Kolasib. It didn’t take time for him to locate Nancy’s house, for he found out that she had a relative at Kolasib, a cousin.

Taking a long hard deep breath, he knocked on her door.

A young lad of around 18 opened the door. John looked at him and wondered if he was Nancy’s son.

“Yes?”

“Hi. I am a dear old friend of…” The dear old friend part came out of his mouth with such an ease that it even surprised him… “of Nancy. Is she around?”

“Huh? Maaaa, there’s an old gentleman here looking for Aunty Nancy.”

An old woman came to the door, ushering John to step inside. After John introduced himself, the woman exclaimed, “I knew you would come one day. Nancy told me about everything…”

The word “everything” still felt like a spear jabbed through John’s heart, even after all these years!

“Sit down please… John.”

As John sat down, Nancy’s cousin continued… “I’m afraid Nancy is no more…”

John suddenly felt an excruciating pain deep within him, as if he was struck by lightning a hundred times. He asked immediately, “When? How?”

“It was a long time ago. More than 40 years ago. She felt sick…”

“What sickness? And what happened to her child…”

“John, before Nancy breathed her last, she made me promise one thing, that if you do come visiting her one day, I must never tell you anything else, other than the fact that she died. I’m sorry John…”

John sat alone for a long time, not believing what he just heard. He cried again, lost in time, memories of him and Nancy running around the hills filled his senile head…

“Can I atleast go through some of her old stuff? Please please? I’m sure she has a lot of things I will remember…”

Nancy’s cousin could feel the desperation in John’s voice, and knowing it would do them no harm, she led John inside her bedroom. Under her bed, she kept a small trunk. Inside it were Nancy’s belongings. John started crying again, as he remembered many of the dresses in that trunk. On the side of the trunk was a small box covered with a plastic cover. He gently uncovered the box.

Inside the small box, undisturbed by moisture and age, were photographs of him and his dear Nancy! They were not as faded as the ones he had at home because of the airtight wrapper. There was also a small bundle of letters, letters that he wrote to Nancy all through his life until that fateful day she ran away with somebody else. He cried and cried again.

And then he noticed a small crumpled paper at the side of the trunk. Something seemed to make him pick it up. As he softly opened the paper, his hands started trembling… his knees gave away and he collapsed to the ground. Everything around him started shaking and spinning… his blood pressure rose alarmingly. And then everything became so clear to John… so lucidly clear… as if it had just the previous day when he was sitting with Nancy at “David’s Kitchen”….

There never was a child involved. There never even was another guy in the picture! The piece of crumpled paper was a diagnosis report from Aizawl Civil Hospital, stating that Nancy was dying of blood cancer… and a doctor noted that there was nothing they could do save her… the date and time on the small appointment sheet was 14 Febraury 11am... That was the reason why Nancy was late that day…

26 comments:

myself said...

wow!! honey i love it!!! such a great one,almost made me cry :)

illusionaire said...

Thank you sweetie. I'm so glad you love it. *Muaaaaaah* Happy Valentine's Day to you once again hon.

myself said...

OOPSS!!! SORRY,ka wish nasa tawh ltk che a ,ka lo theihnghilh daih,hetah hian..HAPPY HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!! muahhhhhhhhhh

illusionaire said...

muaah muaah muaah :-)

Sonam said...

dude..i'll ask karan johar to have a look at your story and translate it into a movie starring ur fav actor: shah "kkkkkkiran" khan and kkkkkajol...heheheh

but seriously ur story telling is excellent..but my fav is still the "old tribal woman on a hill"...keep up the good work!!!

illusionaire said...

Thanx Bro :-)

Yeah, I really enjoyed writing that other story too... I like ending my stories this was, however cliched they may be :-D

Joy Tonsing said...

Your post is realy great. I really like the sentence "John and Nancy were like two prime numbers: undividable". It's really nice how you blend mathematics with literature. Keep blogging!

ligialh said...

Man somebody should apply a job in the SOAP serial , must say quite a gud one but you make truly murdered the spirit of Valentine's day

Nel_hauzel said...

got me totally glued while i was reading it

good story my fellow Gunner keep up the good work

Bolton 1 - Arsenal 3
Goals
h//p://www.arsenalclips.blogspot.com/

MockingBird said...

St Valentine's looking for you, buddy, for dampening the Valentine's Day mood. So run and take cover :p
Interesting post as usual.

Anonymous said...

"John and Nancy were like two prime numbers: undividable".. classic!

he@dspin said...

hey casey here...
finally read it..
man!!! awesomeness!!! its so effin sad.. and that john also..he shouldve listen through na? or cudve gone and approach her the next day or some shit..ooff and this nancy shouldve been more straightforward must say.. ooff neways no point i guess

but dude, thats one awesome and beautifully tragic story..
nicely done..

illusionaire said...

Thanx a lot Joy, ligia, nel, bird, anonymous and he@dspin (casey).

And hey, its not about murdering the spirit of Valentine! Valentine's day is all about love, and what greater love can be expressed than Nancy's selfless sacrificial love? :-)

Whatever!! said...

Awesome post!!! very nice...
Happy Valentines Day!

illusionaire said...

Thankyou Whatever :-)

Happy Valentine's Day to you too.

Sumanth said...

Hey Buddy!!

One awesom story! Keep it goin. Excellent..

Anonymous said...

Interesting read and much of my commendations have already been noted by others...which goes to say much about your storytelling skills! What's left are a few critical bytes which I hope make constructive sense. The prose was a little too jarring/documentary style and the plot was too sitcom-ish...as someone suggested it being translated into a screenplay of the Johar-types! More so, the characterization and plotting was too unnaturally forced that even with the occasional signposts like 'David's Kitchen' and Kolosib, it read really rigidly out of place...aesthetics are situated and can at times be awkwardly forced. Hope this documentarized comment will not end up a 'prime number' but rather tease out more John-s and Nancy-s or maybe a Tluanga and Siami!!

luke jh said...

Hey This is just amazing story. Damm!! ur such a great writer dude..

illusionaire said...

Thank you sumanth and Luke. Your visit is highly appreciated. Looking forward to your visits again.

@ anonymous: Thanx for ur comment. And you know I always welcome criticisms, even the non-constructive ones. But I would love it if you can use a name because there are so many people who comment in my blog as anonymous :-) you dont have to use ur real name... just a nick that will differentiate you from the other anonymouses :-)

I did use a "sanga" and a "lawmi" when I initially wrote that for misual.com, but then I thought, let me publish it on my blog too, and since I have a large non-mizo patronage on my blog, I decided to use "John" and "Nancy" so that everybody could associate with :-) But yes, next time, I will definitely use our Mizo names in my articles... I will work on the documentary style that you mentioned, thanx. I hope you keep visiting my blog. Glod bless.

Kima-II said...

Hi,
Was the humanizing of the indivisible prime numbers into 'undividable' intentional coz it was a brilliant stroke of artistic license! And yes, I concede to comment with my name...its the same 'et tu' from earlier (as in 'et tu Brute') cause of the obvious!

Anonymous said...

it amaze me bfore n still keep on by this thing called love works on different people esply like nancy.. find it difficult to understand. if she have enough trust in the love shared by she and john why cant she tell the so-called secret of her sickness to the one who love her most instead of telling a hurtful lie that broke both hearts. just put urself in john's shoe wat will he feel after he found out.. dont she know that their love can surpass angthing come what may... i personally think nancy does not understang one loving our is better then pretending life of a lifetime..

Rami said...

dear anon - i totally agree with you

SEKIBUHCHHUAK said...

Kima,Himm..ngaihthlak a van nuam ve aww..lung a kuai hle mai..!Ziak ngaihnawm hle thin mai.David's kitchen hi haw hun chu kal ve tur a ni..a lar hle mai..

illusionaire said...

haha. Hi Kima 2 :-) Glad you could be here. Do visit often.

@ anonymous: Different people have different perspective on love :-)

@ Rami: ok :-P

@ Seki: Thankyou thankyou :-) Ka lo ziak leh ang, David's Kitchen settings ngei in... :-)

Zorami said...

Makes me wanna cry :-( I can't imagine wat John's life wud be after the tragic discovery!! Nancy truly loved John... even the Shri Ram Sene cannot protest against this :P

Initially I thought that John ( wit the cappuccino )was u, bt then I remd ur only 42! :DD

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