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The Missing Petals (Part 2)

THE MISSING PETALS (PART-2)

“Nurse?” I said..

“You were weeping last night. I heard you.” She spoke candidly. There was no greeting or introduction from her side. “So what?” I spat at her.

“I thought you might need some company,” she offered. “It hurts to hear a man cry like that.”

“I need no one! I’m strong! I can take care of myself.”

“Of course you can,” she said nonchalantly.

“I’m a martial artist! A fighter! “

“Yes you were screaming that too last night. “

I hated the blunt way she spoke. What the hell did she think of herself?

“I’m strong… I’m strong…” I told her. Or maybe I told myself. “I don’t need anyone’s help to survive. I’m strong.”

“I know.” Her voice was cool.

I replied nothing. Who was she anyway? I wondered.

“You wanna talk about it? Venting out feels good. “

“GO!” I yelled out loud. I could imagine her horrified expression at that moment, or maybe she was still sitting there coolly.

I felt a whiff of air as she rose. Then I heard the door open and shut.

I woke up late the next morning. Everything felt like a puzzle to me. With the help of sound, smell and movement of air, I tried to deduce what’s happening around me. But I was never sure. And it was maddening to be not sure. I felt insecure and vulnerable. I didn’t like to feel that way.

“Hello my angel.” I heard a man’s voice from the adjacent cabin. No one responded.

“You look beautiful today, you know,” he continued. “I’ve brought roses. Stole them from the neighbour’s garden early in the morning.” He laughed alone at this.

“We will have a beautiful rose garden in our house after we are married, okay?” he said. “All kinds of roses for my angel. Every colour you would like to have in there. .. I’ll plant it myself. You will marry me, won’t you?”

I found the conversation odd, maybe because it wasn’t really a conversation. He was speaking alone, and with full gusto.

“And by the way,” he continued enthusiastically, “We performed beautifully last night. The audience went crazy for us. I got it recorded. Let me play it for you.”

A few seconds later, I heard Westlife’s “I Wanna Grow Old With You” playing beautifully.

“It’s for you, love. You like this song. don’t you?”

There was never a response.

I laid awake in my bed at night. I badly needed to go to the bathroom, but didn’t want to ask for help. I tried to remember the exact position of it. Outside my cabin, if I walked ten steps at an angle on thirty degrees, I should be there. But the ladies and gents washrooms were located next to each other. What if I entered the wrong one?

Against all rational logic, I got up from bed and headed for the door of my ‘dark’ cabin. I found it, opened it and stepped outside; only to trip over a doormat and fall down. A moan escaped my lips; I remembered not to scream out lest someone should know.

But I realised I wasn’t too successful when a woman’s hand helped me get up on my feet. “I’m fine.” I told the nurse. I was grateful, but didn’t say so. It would make me look weak. She said nothing but walked me up to the bathroom. When I came out, she was still waiting to take me back to my cabin.

“Good night” she said when I reached my room, and I recognised the voice immediately. “It’s you!” I cried out.

“I heard you fall.” she said coolly.

“I was fine.” I had to control hard to not scream at her. “Go away!”

I spent the night tossing and turning on my bed. I would close my eyes for some time and then open them again. It made no difference. Darkness. Now and again I would scream out of frustration. “I’m a fighter, I’m strong.” I would tell myself. “I’ll never fight anymore!” a voice from inside would retort. And I wept myself to sleep.

The next morning went the same. The same man talked aimlessly to no one in particular in the next room. Doctors came, checked on me and left wordlessly. A male nurse helped me walk up to the bathroom whenever I needed. My mom kept trying to cheer me up and get me talking, but in vain. Exasperated, she left by noon.

“You were screaming again after I left last night.” I heard her voice. It was past 2 a.m. and I was lying awake in bed. Somehow, her company in these lonely nights was annoyingly comforting.

“Do you eavesdrop?” I asked.

“No, not really. I was woken up by your sobs.”

I squinted at the word “sobs”.

“I must have awoken the other room’s patient too.” I said, remembering the man’s voice from the morning before.

Strangely enough, she laughed when I said this.

“What’s so funny now?” I asked.

“Well they would be very happy if you could do that, you know, wake her up.” she said. “The poor girl Krishna has been in coma for sixteen months now.”

“Girl? I heard a man’s voice last night. He seemed crazy.”

“He is her fiance, Saiyyam.” she replied. “He has been coming here everyday for sixteen months. They say there never was a single day that he didn’t come. He just doesn’t give up, that man.”

I chuckled softly. “Things don’t work out that way. She won’t come to life just because he believed she would. Those things happen only in movies. It’s useless sh*t. “

“It’s love! It’s always worth your time. A flower with a missing petal is still a flower.”

“It’s incomplete. A handicap. That missing petal will never come back.”

“It won’t. You will just have to learn to love it for the petals that are present.”

I took a moment to digest the concept. “Are you a nurse?” I asked.

She laughed. I didn’t understand her irritating habit of laughing at anything and everything. “No,” she said. “I’m Avni, just another patient.”
………………………….

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