Prolonged winter.

Winter was just setting in. The early mist enveloped the city in a chilly embrace. A chilly gust of wind blew the dust from the earth whistling in flurries on the heavily tarred street of the town.
There she sat,listless,in the company of old books and a big mug of hot brewing coffee, on her worn-out leather sofa,the only relatively expensive piece of furniture that the confines of her poor quarters allowed.
As she shuffled through the contents of her old antique box,her eyes suddenly caught sight of an old letter that brought back memories she had almost painstakingly stocked away in the pages of Oblivion.
‘Space’ is just a word made up by someone who’s afraid to get too close.
She traced her fingers across the hesitantly written letters and the smeared and smudged ink in places.
Her pulse throbbed fervently under her skin and no matter the resistance she tried to build against reading the contents,her pallid spirit broke away and overcame the resistance, while gracing each word which in turn,brought more tears than nostalgia.
He had been gone for more than seven months now.. Gone from her circle of life atleast.
Walking down the memory lane,she pictured herself next to him,hand in hand,warm against the biting chill of the twilight. She curled up into a ball and snuggled up close to him till she could hear the elated throbbing of his heart crooning symphonies in her auditory chambers. Home was truly where the heart was.  The harbingers of the night sang soft melodies on the branches of the Casuarina Tree in the backyard. The tree-house that she built as a child supported more dreams than anything else in the world. Night found them submitted to a rich and growing enchantment-the one that lovers oft gain access to on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Life felt as perfect as assumable elation of the tiny bodies prancing in the snow globe.
Love does strange things to man.Beast goes to the limits of the incomprehensible  for the love of Beauty. Cities raided,kingdoms usurped,men slain,gore and carnage.History bears testimony to how annihilative beauty can be if it becomes a cause of acrimony amongst men.
And the Ephemeral Anastasia was no exception to this. He loved her like the moth loved the flames and felt fiercely protective about her. But he drew too close to the fire.
The étincelles that love fanned charred  reason and rendered him bereft of prudence.
The day had come.
Truth dawned upon him like a glowering bolt of lightning crashing upon the summits of yonder hills till the dead grass crackled and subsumed into a mass of ash-shocked,broken beyond repair,torn into a mass of bruises.
Though love hadn’t been why the Jihadist recruit honeytrapped the wanted,things had taken a turn for the better in time.
Now,none of it mattered.
He was to be handed over to the forces he had been running away from all his life.
He woke up to reality and found himself surrounded by faces he almost dreaded.
She couldn’t stop things from happening the way they did.
She saw him choking under chloroform till he lost his consciousness,saw him dragged out.
She couldn’t stop it.
It had to be.
They let her free forever with the assurance that any wrong move by her shall put her under their radar again.
She lived under the shadow of her past,the unparalleled loss of the man she loved.
She didn’t see or hear of him at all.
Then one day,a letter addressed in her name drove sickles in her heart.
He was to be sent overseas under the guise of a commoner as a suicide bomber. He wouldn’t even get a dignified death.
He wrote to her one last time.
.
.
.
As she held the same letter in her hands today,her heart felt like a stone thrown in the fire.
She thought of all she could have done.
She thought of that day when they first met,the fire in her eyes,the ardent passion in his.
She thought of the vows they could have taken and of his children that she could never mother.
The smoke from the incense sticks curled up in wringlets and made the room heavy with burnt memories and revived pain.

It was the longest winter that year.
Sinking in the frothy bathtub that afternoon,the bokeh of memories rushing through her veins in a soft pulsating liquidity,she saw his face one last time till she sank into oblivion forever.
His touch.his kiss. Him.
And there was nothing more that she needed to carry into afterlife.

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