QB Short Stories
The Birthday Without Her!
Deja-vu! A concept that all of us have been hearing about, reading about or talking about since the time we were all little children. We have never known the entire truth about it. That is quite expected for we all know that to be insightful about something completely, we must have an experience with that. Unless we experience something, we can not know it completely. Since it’s well known that not all of us have experienced it, we can not know it completely.
Besides one thing, all of us, each one of us has experienced it sometime or the other. Regardless of how small a deja-vu it was or how meaningful it must have been. He too had not known anything about it until that night when he really went through it.
You know how they say that memories make a big part of our lives. It’s not really the memories. We are always happy about the times we remember but the sadness comes from the people that are a part of those memories for we know that the times keep changing. That was exactly how it was for him. It is an evident and precise part of my memory that building the swing set for his daughter was the happiest day of his life. He had been so extremely excited about building it and see her swing it that he had been blabbering about it all day more than Mia had.
As he had been done with it, he had just rushed into the house and brought her into the backyard to play with him on the swing set. They were both so extremely happy. They were playing, dancing around, laughing together, having the utmost fun. It was not more that thirty minutes of happiness on a Sunday when Roger got a call from work and had to pull off. As he went out, Mia got a little upset but he promised her that he would be back home soon and would play with her then. That made her a little happy. She went back to her room doing the stuff that she had been doing earlier. As Roger went out, I kissed him goodbye and saw him leave.
Tonight was a lot similar. There was a swing set, a dark night, a place where he had been sitting after all his work had been completed and he saw birds clinging on to each other and playing together. That was when he remembered that night. He remembered that a year ago, just as he had been rushing towards home to meet Mia as soon as he could, he had lost control of the car when out of nowhere, a child had come in between the driveway for it had been chasing a bird not realising where that child was going. The bird sure flew off leaving the little darling child alone on the street, all in the pool of blood. For what he vividly remembered, the bird had come back. It was a white pigeon. He remembered seeing that pigeon in a shade of white and red. It was surely horrifying. I am sure it traumatised him. Well, more to it was that he was undoubtedly not able to recover from what he had done. For what I know, he never will be. He surely will never be able to recover from the guilt that he killed his own daughter on her birthday.
Had that bird not been there, he had thought, she wouldn’t have been running in the middle of the street. However every time he tried that, he failed miserably. Every single time, he would get reminded that it wasn’t the bird. It was him. She had been waiting for him and he had wanted to be there for her, with her, as soon as he could. But it was so extremely unfortunate that when he went down to hug her, she didn’t hug him back this time. Now that I can see, he had this deja-vu today for today, it’s a complete year. She would have turned six today but instead, her death turned one. More interestingly, we encountered a new theory that maybe, as we all get the presents on our birthday, in the death world, people GIVE presents on their death-days!
He had gone down to the park to be able to get it out of his head but instead, did something worse to himself.
The night was a stormy one, just like the one a year ago. He saw two birds curled up with each other in between the tree branches. There, he remembered, was the playfulness of life amongst them. Right when he saw them, his eyes caught the sight of a swing set. The swing set, nowhere similar to the one he had built for her in the backyard, however, the exact same thing which was enough to remind him of her. Before he could have given it much thought, his feet had already started heading towards the swing set. In no time, was he there. Little had he realised when he was already swinging on one of them. Unable to ignore the empty one to his left, he glanced at it. The one that should have ideally been as still as a stone was as much in motion as that of his. Well, that seemed strange for sure. He started to follow it along with his own when a little breeze in the air made a crumpled yellowish piece of paper get flown to his feet. For obvious reasons, as he looked downwards, he found two more, right beneath the other swing. Strangely, more so, the other one had stopped swinging then. Though everything seemed weird, he did not give much thought to it and bent over to pick the piece of paper that had flown to his feet. As he opened it up, he spotted what seemed unusual.
An entirely blank piece of paper with nothing but a feather’s drawing on it. A beautiful feather’s drawing which seemed like one but was literally an imprint of a peacock feather. As soon as he saw that, he murmured to himself,
“She loved peacock feathers.”
For quite a while, in the dark aura of the night and little moonlight, he kept staring at the feather’s imprint. The blend of blue with black and all the shades that were mixing with each other as soon as they had been brushed down. The beautiful green in the middle that seemed to have faded over time and the little twig of it that had no colour but the impression of it. He kept staring at it for he knew that he had seen it somewhere before but he wasn’t able to understand where. In the next few minutes, he came to a stand still as stone as paralysis when he finally realised what the memory was at which he was look back. Mia’s funeral and his eulogy for her were nothing more than that feather. He knew she had always loved feathers so much, that he decided to give her a mark of her heart while she left. The little piece of paper that had been buried with her grave was evidently there in his hands.
He couldn’t move. He was in a great dilemma about how on Earth could that piece of feather’s imprint possibly be there instead of Mia’s grave after a significant year without her.
Before he could have understood what had been happening, he knelt forward to grab the other two pieces of paper to find out what they had in store. It had probably been the most difficult piece of paper that he had ever opened the folds of. Unless he had seen it, he knew it for sure that he couldn’t stay calm, he couldn’t be in peace. As an obvious result of which, he tried his best and finally opened it, to his terror. The other one was nothing but the eulogy that I had written for her. Being a mother, I know that it’s the worst feeling ever to lose a child. What’s worse is that when she is the only little baby you have.
The words that he read in that letter were not the words that I had spoken on her funeral but when he finally read those, he was in a state of surprise about how I had held myself for an entire year.
That letter had had all the reality of my heart. Not one thing out of those million ones had he come across in the entire year. Later when he was done reading the letter, my real eulogy for my baby girl, he stayed there looking at it, while tears took all the possible space away in his eyes.
The last piece of paper was something for which he had no courage to open. He had no intentions to open that up anymore. He had no idea in his heart what that could have been but suddenly, he didn’t even want to know about it. When does, however, fate do what we want it to. The wind started to blown once again, everything around him was flowing with the wind and the noise must have been an irritating factor, which, strangely, didn’t bother him at all. Meanwhile, the last letter that he didn’t even want to touch anymore, flew up to his arms and unfolded itself a bit.
As it was clear that fate wanted him to see what was there in the store of that sheet of paper, he picked it up and unfolded it completely.
A blank sheet of paper in his hand and then came to a sensation around his neck that he knew for sure, was extremely familiar to him. The last piece of paper was left blank for Mia had still not learnt how to write but on her birthday, she definitely wished to be with him. He had felt someone wrap her arms around his neck from behind, the way Mia used to climb up his back. The warmth of those arms, which were surely not visible, was felt as the best thing ever that he had felt.
Never before had he believed in spirits. I’m sure that never again will he ever question the existence of good-hearted ones.