We have plenty of time.
You and me.
I, navigating us over winding trails, you silent by my side.
Today, I shattered open our memory trunk and overshared with the owl-shaped urn trapping in your free spirit. I spoke about your zealous eagerness to travel on new roads for discovering the unknowns. Burdening our pillows and cushions with tears, I massaged my collapsing chest, eclipsed by the pain of losing you.
I read to it the love poem you penned for me:
Fall in love so
your fingers caress
cheeks flush red.
Fall in love so
your toes curl
Fall in love so
your pulses thump
breath heaves easily.
Fall in love so
deep, your lips knot
up your shadows,
in an unbreakable beat.
It’s traditional practice to tear you away from resting upon my anxious heart, so we part ways, and you drift away. The family advised me to set you down, my love, on the coffee table you carved and to unwrap the sealed head pointed to heaven. Wouldn’t Karma record it as a cruel act performed on the owl sheltering your ashes? I cannot do that to your favourite bird-of-night. Let me nurture it, please, I pleaded
On our honeymoon, tenting outside, we stretched our legs, searching for stars at the foothill of the Himalayas. I lay on your smooth-shaven torso, the imaginary pink and blue butterflies in my tummy eavesdropping and titillating my shy libido.
You revealed our love is the best kind: entwined hearts thumping the same rhythm. Our lips were rubbing, fingers tangled up, bodies pulsated, and you said our essence heated to fuse as one. Then why did your heart bow out first, leaving mine pumping companionless?
Inside the hired Wrangler, you behind the wheels on one of our trips, I trailed your vision as it spotlit on the lonely, dried-up Serengeti tree. I, of curious mind, asked you to express what you see. You drove through the rocky Savanna terrain braking a few feet away from the friendless tree. We climbed out, and you asked me to hug its trunk. I hesitated, but heeded. Oh, the joy and laughter after! As I pressed my bosoms onto it, you implored we kiss it at the count of three.
You sweetly explained to me how one must perceive flora and fauna as responsive emotional creations. During the Green Season, when the branches on the Serengeti blooms new life, it will remember me- the affectionate, aimless traveller stopping to smother it with mushy affection, toughening its roots to weather the changing times. From that day onwards, my inner envisioning lenses no longer fixated on narrow angles- wisdom broadening my sightline.
On our first hiking trip, you motioned me to refill our water bottles from a continuous running stream. I, a finical person outdoors, rolled my eyes. You sprinkled water on me, tempting me with your charming smile while downing few cups. I sipped, then gulped litres. The cold water replenished my body and mind, reminding me I was drinking up from my creator’s masterwork.
My way back to base, I plucked the forlorn flower, Zinnia, thriving alone and shared my feelings on how miserable it must be. You shook your head and said- 'No blossoming thing could be lonely in the wild because nature is a joint family. When a bud springs up to bloom- the sun, the moon, the stars, and heaven’s guardians watch over them.'
As your whiskey brown eyes protected me.
The news of your death unnerved me. You were on your solo trip, and I, pausing my step count, awaiting your return. Oblivious of the portending storm of emotions in my future. If I had been by your side during the accident, we could’ve travelled together for eternity. You being you, constantly oozing kindness, would ask we attend our joint memorial and funeral first, weeping along with our hurting family and friends before departing. Every second I breathe, I regret not declining the work gig I could have.
I now live inside the pyramidal tent we slept in whenever our feet itched to escape monotony. Zipping up the tent and closing off the world every day, noon, and night, never leaving our bedroom, my love. Your parents and my family are downstairs waiting for me to bring you to them. The cuckoo clock I bought for your birthday died too. A sign that it loved you as I do.
Ignoring the soft knocks on the door, I quickly hide the urn under my pillow—the creaking hinges signalling someone's entry. Towing knees close to the face, I bury my head in the gap- when hurried, tapping noises on the wooden floor jerk my ears up.
A low-levelled shadowy figure flaunted across the room. Then a woof! Was a dog in the room? Alarmed, I grab the brass owl, ready to dash out and trap the four-legged someone inside the tent. Slowly unzipping downwards, I bend my legs backwards, and Bam! A puppy head and ears pop in, hanging excitedly in-between. Startled, I scream, and the pup yelps before scurrying off towards my mother. She stoops, rubbing its floppy ears and fluffy tum.
“I don’t want a dog, Mum,” I scoffed.
“I know, dear. She is a gift from Hawke.”
“What?” Tears pricking my eyelids.
“As your birthday surprise. The shelter phoned to pick her up today. If you don’t need her, I’ll be happy to take her home. They told us Hawke registered her name as Zinnia."
The playful Golden Retriever charged at me, and I flinched. Sensing my rejection, she scooted under the bed. At that second, I recalled us agreeing to grow our family. You’d name our daughter after a flower and I, our son, after a famous writer or poet.
Placing the urn on the bedside table, I sit on the floor cross-legged. Zinnia peeped from under the blanket, licking my feet. For the first time in days, I smiled, giggled.
Cuddling our child, I weep for you and me.
We were never going to make it.