She looked at herself in the mirror and saw what she had become. Brown eyes dulled by pain, unruly hair that hadn’t been brushed in a while, a tired face. That was exactly how she felt – tired and dull. It had been over a month now and time seemed to have done nothing to erase the pain. She found it easier if she didn’t think about it, in fact if she did not think at all. She spent all her time, curled up on the sofa, gazing out of the window. The weather outside seemed to sympathize. It had rained for most of the time they had been here.
Her parents were worried. It would have bothered her once, the look on their faces. But she shut them out now, like she had shut out everything else. It was exactly 2 months today, to the day she had been married. They both hadn’t been able to stop smiling, their happiness bubbling over. It had been a perfect wedding. They had a whole month together, and he was gone. One more victim in the rising number of accidents, one more statistic. How did it really matter in a population of over a billion?
She was lucky, they said. Lucky not to have been there, lucky to have escaped, lucky not to have witnessed it. What did they really know about luck? Where was meaning now? What did she have to live for? Her life seemed a bleak empty landscape, matching the weather outside. Her parents had brought her back home, away from anxious and well-meaning relatives. Who talked about her in hushed whispers, about poojas and second marriages, the evil eye and bad luck. She seemed not to hear or see. Nothing mattered anymore, really.
Home was the hills, the cold air, the comforting house and memories of childhood. She started going for long walks alone, hoping that physical exhaustion would help shut out the pain. The rest of the time was spent on the sofa hardly eating or sleeping.
Her mother mentioned one day that she had met Shika, who had asked if they could meet. To her own surprise she agreed. The meeting was swiftly arranged before she could change her mind. Shika, with whom she had been inseparable for two years in school. Her closest friend for a long time until work and life had thrown them apart. She wondered what would she say when they met, would they have anything left to say after so many years? She wanted to cancel, but picking up the phone and calling was too much of an effort. It seemed ages since she had last had gone through the motions of any social conversation. Silence had been her only weapon, her only means to cope.
The day dawned, dark and depressing as it had been for the past month. Rain lashed the windows, the road was a muddy river. She couldn’t go in this weather she decided, and felt relief, tinged with a little disappointment. Suddenly by afternoon the rain stopped, the weather cleared. She did not have the energy to make an excuse, she went out to meet her friend.
Shika came and enveloped her in a hug. The mists cleared a little. They went to a little coffee shop, so they could talk, and sip coffee in awkward moments. Suddenly the years seemed to disappear, they talked as if they had never been apart. There was so much to say and so little time to say it. She talked and talked and talked. About her husband, dreams they had had, the wonderful times spent together and how it suddenly vanished in a second. She didn’t know how precious it had been till it had disappeared. Shika merely nodded. Listened and held her hand through the tears.
It was finally time to leave, and they walked out together into the sunshine. The sun had come out so that the 2 friends could meet.