Uncertainty

His cigarettes kept dwindling, one by one, as he kept reaching forward for one the moment the previous was finished. His fingers twitched towards the beeping phone nearby but he willed himself to ignore its buzz. The smoke swirled around him, until his thoughts turned into a mesh of confusion and agony, and his feelings slowly turned into reminiscence. He felt void, empty and surprisingly, calm. It was as if knew that he was empty, that his life was over, that there was nothing else now. The only thing filling him was her. Her breath, her laugh and those wrinkles by her eyes. Endless nights spent by waiting for a phone call and even the final words she had said hadn’t prepared him for this. In the end, it was just a matter of time. Whether it was he who had pulled himself away from her, or she who had caused the void, he couldn’t tell.

She wrapped her jacket tightly around herself, her heels clicking over the paved street. Mascara smudges and salty tears – a masterpiece of a face. Those final words she had uttered, leaving him alone, kept on playing in her mind incessantly. Had she said the right thing? Had he understood? Leaving him was the only way to release him, to free him from his own demons, and to pull him out of his bounds. If only she had known that in his release, lay her capture. Her breakdown, her pain.

Alcohol appeared in front of him now. He had fetched the bottles from the cellar, knowing that it would be weeks before anyone would notice. He clutched the bottle, gulping the vile liquid, trying to gasp for air and yet drowning deeper and deeper. He drank till her face shimmered before his eyes, all glitter and smiles and red. He saw her dress up for him, all lace and straps and stockings and undress, all skin and skin and skin. That was when he grabbed his phone. He would try. One last time. He would call her. He would try. He would live, if only for one more second. He switched it on, but his fingers stilled.

She looked down at her phone, wondering whether he would call, or whether she should give up her hopes. She walked along the bridge, and stopped right at the center, facing the water downwards. Cars whooshed past her, the entire world unaware of her. Gulping, her mind whizzed by all those memories, all those days spent together and all those laughs she had shared with him. And, she began running. Only this time, she ran towards herself, towards her life, towards him. Breaking out from all the uncertainty, she ran.

He swaggered a bit, but managed to stand on his feet. The broken phone lay by his foot, tattered out of frustration. His mind was reeling from all the booze and the smoke, but he could still see her. He could see the wind play with the strands on her forehead, and how he used to always lean in to smell her hair. Tears leaked out from his eyes, and he touched his face in surprise. Bottles lay around him and he gently kicked one with his foot. He had stopped trying now. No amount of clutching his hair or scratching his face could get her image out of his head. It was etched. With nothing else to do, he could think of only one thing which would give him an escape. He trudged forward slightly, his lips whispering her name, again and again and again, till he knew that she was him and he was her. And then, he jumped. The wind stirred the bottles lying on the terrace.

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