Sitting under the old, crusty banyan tree, she was reading a book. As usual. She used to come here every Sunday without fail, away from the world, to be alone, and yet, to be with him. Her back against the trunk of the tree, she sifted through the pages, one after another, her mind wandering. Sometimes following the story in the book, and sometimes, her life.
It had been 3 years since the incident, and yet, it felt as if it was just yesterday. The time they had spent together in the very same spot, echoed in her memories, with the promise of never fading away. They used to come here every Sunday, just like she did now. They made this their own little world, away from the hustle of the real one. They watched the rose bushes every time, as the flowers bloomed, then wilted away with time, and then, bloomed again. It made them feel that no matter what happens, their love for each other will continue to bloom, year after year. And she felt so very sure of that every time she looked into his eyes. Eyes filled with the promise of a future together, filled with laughter and happiness.
He used to bring flowers for her every time they met. Either a rose from the nearby bush, or some from the florist across the street. That day, he arrived as usual, but without any. He had tried to get some on his way here, he said, but the florist had no change. She of course said that it did not matter at all. But he was adamant, not wanting to break their tradition. She waited for him while he went to another florist this time, a little further away. 'Will be back soon' he had said, his eyes full of life as usual, and his face radiant, she was sure, knowing that she was his. He did not return.
The driver of the car that had hit him, was drunk. He had a fight with his wife, he said later, and had been to the pub to 'forget his problems'. She waited for nearly an hour, trying to reach him on his phone constantly, without any luck. All she remembered is that she decided to walk to the shop where he said he would be going. She noticed the crowded street, her heart missing a beat instinctively. After that, all she remembered was a numbness. In her mind, and body. She vaguely remembers seeing him on the street, stretched out on the ground, blood everywhere.
A loud 'thud' jolted her out of her thoughts. She looked around. The book still in her hand, her finger toying to turn the page. A young man seemed to have tripped and fallen beside her. Very quickly, she wiped the single tear from her eye, lest he see it. He had now got up, and was collecting the fallen flowers which he evidently had, in the basket he was holding. 'Are you ok?' she asked, approaching to offer help. He looked up at her. The same radiance she was so used to seeing on the face of the one she loved the most, was on him too. He stared at her for what seemed to be an eternity. Then realizing that it was inappropriate, he looked down, beginning to collect the flowers again. She heard him vaguely mumble 'Yes, I am fine'. She began helping him the with flowers, and they began talking. And she couldn't seem to stop! After years of emptiness, there was suddenly a feeling of joy, of elation, that she felt every time she met him. And here was someone, who made her feel the same way, and by the look in his eyes, he felt it too.
Winter was almost over, and the rose bushes nearby were beginning to bloom, the scarlet red of the flowers barely beginning to show. She looked around at the bushes, while talking to him, laughing, smiling, wondering, was the winter over for her too?
~ The End ~