It seemed my insides were being singed by the flame of the words as I read the letter on. Smoke billowed from the cigarette between my fingers and spiralled up. I realized I needed a drag badly but my hands remained transfixed. The words didn’t add up anymore, though my eyes swept over them. I looked at the dawn sky through the sheer white curtain. A wet breeze poured in through the open balcony door. It rid the room of the stink of alcohol and me of the trance. I looked back. She was asleep. Some loose strands fluttered over her face and rapped softly on her lips. She looked serene. How could a face so untroubled harbour such unsettled emotions? My eyes remained fixed on her. And right in that moment, the words from her letter started falling into place –
They say if you love two persons at the same time, choose the second one for you wouldn’t have fallen for him had you been in love with the first. But is it true? Can I deny my feelings for him? Can I resolve to live a life which is completely devoid of his presence…
I clung to the edge of the letter which flapped vehemently in the wind. My eyes burnt in the flare of the truth. I looked away from her. The cigarette slipped off my fingers as I crumpled the letter in my fist. It was addressed to no one. It could either be for me or for him. But the words seemed to be meant for both. Why did she stash it away? Whom did she mean to send it to? Was it him? But there had to be a reason why I had stumbled upon it. I walked out on the balcony. I had spent the entire night contemplating the words while being immersed in the past. The first ray of Sun touched my face. It was time to wake up. The most beautiful dream was about to be over. I straightened the letter in my hand. Fumbling a pen from my shirt pocket, I scribbled the words that cut their way through my heart –
There’s no such thing as first or second; you only need to accept the love that scares you the most. And right now what you fear the most is listening to the voice in your heart and going back to your husband. I’ll be out for a day…you can pack your stuff and leave before I’m back. I wish I was your only one…not the second one.
I walked into the room and placed the letter by her head. Her eyelids twitched a little. I took a step back and dashed to the door. Pulling it open in haste, I looked back at her. Our eyes met for the last time as the door closed behind me.
Written by Chirasree Bose