We used to walk along the creek, tossing pebbles into the shimmering water. We hummed a tune in harmony and let the sunlight that seeped through the Willow Tree wash our fears away. We didn’t have much, and I thought we were happy. But looking at you now, I’m not sure if we were ever joyous. Maybe we suppressed our sorrow and hurt, thinking they will evaporate once things got better, but things only got worse, didn’t they?

I used to come home with my fiddle after a lesson with that stern teacher who smoked all the time, and you’d want me to play you a melody. I remember you listening with pride, and encouraging me even when I made a mistake. I thought the world of you then, and I still think the world of you, but something has changed. I guess we’ve matured and seen the disturbing facets of life, and they have impressed on our hearts despair that makes us forget that things can be beautiful again.

A scintilla of doubt is enough to ruin faith. And though you say you still have it, I see the sadness in your eyes, and I’m overwhelmed with acute distress. I want you to be happy again. I wish we could find that cottage nestled in the mountains where the air whistles and the honeysuckle flaunts her little yellow and white gowns. I hope there is meaning at the end of this trek. I want us to rest finally in the glow of the sunset watching the beautiful vista of the valleys with its rolling meadows and few spruces.

Life is harsh, and judgment hovers, but before that, perhaps there is peace. I would love to share that with you. Don’t ever feel like you’ve wasted your life. Don’t ever drown in regret. I love you, and though I haven’t proven it always, know that I do, fiercely and furiously. And it’s moments that make life. The grand scheme, however tragic or abnormal, never measures up to the beauty of the simple experiences we share. You mean so much to me. You must know that though there are times when the harsh rain breaks branches, and the lightning tortures the sky, and I’m left braving the downpour wondering if it’s all worth it, I come back to you.

Everything comes back to you: All the hopes, the whimsical dreams, and the beauty I’ve known. The fiercest tribulation always ends with you holding my hand. The fits of madness end with you consoling me. The spasms of angst end with you cradling my head. You’ve wept with me. You’ve loved me, and everything I’ve created or have ever known starts and ends with you.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

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