Naman woke up with a jerk. It was a nightmare that woke him in the middle of the night. As much as he hated to sleep because of the recurring nightmares, he equally hated waking up too, maybe, because life was no less than a nightmare to him now. His head was throbbing with pain. He went into the kitchen & reached for the refrigerator door. Gulping down half of the chilled water in the bottle, he dragged the chair nearby & held his head with both his hands. He was unable to recollect the instances of last night. Confused, he decided to pop a pill to ease his headache.
As he moved towards the living room, looking for the box of medicines, he stumbled upon the empty bottle of whisky. The fall helped him find the reason behind his headache. Medicine helped him ease it. It was hard for Naman to go back to sleep now. It was like a routine to him. Waking up abruptly, & sleeping at odd hours, killing himself every moment in the middle, realising how his own life has become his worst enemy.
Life was a struggle for Naman ever since Vartika left. The stability she brought to his life was gone with her. Naman left his job, and stayed at home after she left. He socialized less & remained to himself. Alcohol & cigarettes lessened his pain temporarily, but he was yet to find anything that would’ve helped him fill the void.
Absent-minded, Naman went to the last room of his house. It was locked ever since the tragedy, but on some days, it was Naman’s only refuge. Naman entered & switched on the lights. The walls were filled with their photographs. Vartika loved clicking their pictures, & framing it on the wall. Each photo had a memory to it. Each memory had her love in it. Naman lived a bit, watching every frame, and died more with each one.
Tears rolled down Naman’s eyes. He turned towards the desk in the room. A thick layer of dust covered the top of it. He opened the drawer, & took out a piece of paper. He sat on the floor, against one of the leg of the table, & started to read out the paper.
I know why I am writing this to you. Because you are the only person I’d wish to talk to in my last moments. By the time you’ll read this, I’ll be long gone. Please do not blame yourself for it. It was you and your love that gave me the strength to fight my mind all this while. It was your smile that made me live even when I died every moment battling inside. But love, I am now out of my strength. I can’t fight anymore. This battle seems forever & I know I won’t be able to stand for that long. Living like this is scary & I can’t collect myself anymore after breaking this much. You, of all people, know how much I have tried. But it’s like drowning. The more I try to come up to the surface, the more I sink. I can’t struggle anymore, love. You have loved me ever since we got married, and when this demon took hold of me, you kept on loving me. It’s your love that has strengthened me to write this note to you. But I am tired of standing on the edge. I can’t come back & it’s time to fall off. I don’t feel like the same person I was when we first met. Each time I look in the mirror, there is someone else who stares back at me. She looks like me but she isn’t me. I tried to find her, but she has left. This demon has eaten her away. If I stayed any longer, it will eat me too. I want an escape, but I don’t have the strength to fight. I want a way out from this fear, and I don’t have any other way than this.
Please forgive me. I wish you the happiness I can’t bring to you anymore. As I free myself from these shackles, your love brings me relief & smile. It was you and your love. It will always be.
Naman folded the letter carefully & locked it in the drawer. The letter numbed him every time he read it. It did the same to him this time too. He felt her pain in the distortion of her handwriting. He looked at Vartika’s photo that had a garland hung over it. Her agony must’ve crossed all the limits that made her hang herself. She was smiling in that photo frame, maybe that’s how she must be now, wherever she is. Switching off the lights, Naman came out of the room.
There was another bottle of whisky waiting for him at the dining table.