Three months. It had been three months since I have heard a word from Harry. He said he was going on a business trip that day. He looked so excited and happy about the trip but still I felt like his chocolate brown eyes wanted something else. Like they wanted to stay… Usually when he went on trips like that he would give me a soft peck on my cheeks and say ‘see you later’ before leaving. But this time neither he did give me a peck on my cheeks nor said ‘see you later’. I thought he forgot to do so. But I was wrong, he did that deliberately. He was really never going to see me again. It was the last time I saw him.
“Heather…” my mother hollered out from the kitchen making me put an end to my growing train of thoughts. She moved out to here after Harry had left me three months ago.
“Are you okay?” She enquired as she started making her way towards me from the kitchen carrying a tray with food in her hands. It was a question that I dreaded to answer. I was clearly not okay. I had been like this from the time Harry had left me.
“I am fine, mom.” I lied fearing my mother would start worrying again. My situations have already taken a toll on her health. Her eyes had bags under it and her hairs were turning all grey. It made her look older than what her actual age was.
“You don’t look fine, Heather.” I don’t know how all the mothers understand when their kids are lying. “You should eat some food, honey. You have eaten nothing since the morning. If you keep doing this, you will surely fall sick one day.”
“Mom, I don’t feel like eating anything now.” I tried to protest but all of it went in vain because my mother shoved a spoonful of food into my mouth.
“For God’s Sake, you are not a kid anymore who needs their mother all the time to feed them.” She gestured towards the food tray. “Now eat this like a good girl.”
“Okay, Mom.” Begrudgingly I began to eat the food prepared by my mother. When I was a little child, my mom would prepare all my favorite food items whenever I was upset with something and I would forget about everything else after seeing what she has prepared for me. But now, even my mom’s delicious food is not enough to make me feel better. I had lost all my appetite for food since the day Harry had left me.
“Heather, you need to eat this full.” She said as I started to leave after eating only a little food. “Look at yourself, you look so thin. You need to start taking care of yourself. Now finish all this. I am not going to leave you alone until you finish this.”
“Mom, I am already full. I can’t eat anymore.” I tried to persuade my mother but after seeing her gloomy face I decided to finish the contents in the bowl. I started eating the food. “Are you happy now?”
“Very.” She looked genuinely happy.
“Mom, I was thinking about going to Erica’s place.” I said.
“That’s a great idea. You should stop sulking around and start stepping outside the home at least now.” She was right. I really needed some fresh air for myself. I had locked myself up in the four boundaries of this house after finding that Harry had left me.
“I am going to grab my phone from the room.” I turned on my heels towards my bedroom and grabbed my phone when I reached there. “Mom, is it okay with you if I come home late?” I asked while walking towards the front door.
“It’s absolutely fine, honey.”
“See you, mom.” Finally I was stepping outside the four walls of my house after what seems like a long time.
Erica and her husband David were best friends with me and Harry since the day we settled here. Their house was only ten minutes away from the place where we lived. We used to hang out a lot on our holidays when Harry was here. But after the day Harry had left I have only seen them for a very few times.
During my walk to Erica’s home, I was drowned in my own thoughts. I had several questions lining up in the back of my head to which I needed to find answers. What led Harry to leave me? Have I done any mistakes? Wasn’t he happy anymore living with me? There were no reasons I could probably think of why Harry had left me. We never had fights which lasted more than ten minutes. He treated me all the time like I was a priced possession to him. He cared for me more than anyone could do.
I don’t know why but something inside me made me think that maybe I could find the answers to my questions if I confronted David and Erica. Harry had made quite a few visits to their house before disappearing. They probably knew what the reason behind Harry’s sudden departure was.
I was so busy drawing conclusions in my mind that I barely noticed myself approaching the two storied white building. Erica who was just standing outside the house noticed me as soon as I opened the gate. She ran towards me and enclosed me in a bone crushing hug.
“Heather, you are here? Is everything alright? It’s been so long since you visited us.” Erica shot me with her never ending list of questions after breaking the hug. “Oh, I forgot to invite you inside. Heather, come inside.”
I followed Erica as she led me to their living room. David was seated on the leather couch engrossed in a newspaper, reading something that was written on it. When he heard us coming, he slowly raised his eyes from the newspaper he was holding and stared at us.
“Heather, long time no see?” He asked as I sat down on the couch placed across him. “Are you alright?”
I was not alright. My husband left me three months ago for no reason. How can I be alright after facing this much? “No, I’m not. You definitely can’t expect me to be all happy and fine when I have no idea where my husband is and what he really wants to do with me.” My voice rose as I spoke each word with anger.
“Heather, please calm down.” Erica who was sitting beside me tried to calm me. But I was not going to hear anything she said. I needed to know the answers to my questions. I wanted the truth… I somehow suspected that Erica and David have a role in Harry’s disappearing act.
“Erica, I’m not going to calm myself if you and David are not going to tell me the truth.” Both Erica and David tensed at my words.
“What truth? What are you saying?” David was clearly trying to hide something from me. Something which was related to Harry…
“David, don’t act as if you know nothing. Harry shares everything with you. And I know that Harry might have told you the reason behind leaving me. Please tell me whatever you know.” Tears started pooling in my eyes, threatening to spill anytime soon.
“Please don’t cry, Heather.” David pleaded. “I know you want to know the truth, but I am not the right person to tell you these things and I promised Harry that I would never tell you anything.”
The tears that I was holding back for so long trailed down through the skin of my cheek. Making me more vulnerable… I never cried in these three months. But today I wanted the walls I made around my heart to fall down. What I wanted to do now was just to break down into tears. And I did.
“Harry told me that he was planning something for your birthday. And your birthday is tomorrow. Maybe you will get the answers to your questions tomorrow, Heather.” David stood up from his seat and started walking towards me. “You should go home and rest now. I will drop you to your home, is it okay?”
I just nodded my head, unable to speak a word as a lump formed in my throat. I felt as if something was going to change after tomorrow. I don’t know if it is for good or bad. But I knew that my life was never going to be the same the day after tomorrow.
After reaching home, I silently went to my room. Pondering over what my future has in store for me, I didn’t realized when my eyelids started to feel heavy. Slowly I drifted to sleep, thinking about my birthday.
Birthdays were always very special for me after I started living with Harry. He was the perfect husband anyone could ask for. From wishing me at 12 in the midnight to surprising me with his cooking skills, it was a day I would wait the entire year to arrive. But this year, I have no such anticipation for the day I was born, because there was no Harry with me this time. How I wished if things were different for me.
I lay awoke on my bed welcoming the new phase of my life. The sun’s rays illuminated the whole room making it difficult for me to look around. After getting myself out of the comfort of my duvet, I decided to freshen up first. When I finished getting ready for the new day, I heard the doorbell ringing. I quickly made my way to the front door, only to find a large box awaiting me at the doorsteps. I looked around to see if the person who left this box was somewhere near. Maybe I was too late in opening the door, because there was not even a trace of the person who left this box here.
Taking the box from the doorsteps, I placed it on the coffee table in our living room. I gasped when I opened the box to see what it contained. It was a chocolate cake with ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEZZIE’ written on it. It didn’t take me any time to guess who the sender was. No one called me with the nickname ‘Hezzie’ other than him. It was his way of endearment towards me. I glanced at my birthday cake once again. It made me remember all my birthdays I have spent with Harry. He did that always. Surprise me in every possible way…
Suddenly something inside the box caught my attention. A neatly folded white paper was placed just near to the cake. I took the paper carefully and started to read. It was a letter addressed to me. The handwriting of the person who wrote this seemed to be eerily familiar to me, because the letter was from none other than Harry.
Wish you a many many happy returns of the day, Hezzie. I know that you may be probably angry towards me, because I was unable to make it to your birthday. I am really sorry for that. I know that I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but you need to know something which I have hid from you all the time. I think it’s the time to reveal it to you.
You may be wondering where I am now and why I am not with you when I know that you need me the most now. There’s a reason behind all these things, Hezzie. The reason which I hid from you… You remember the times when I had a throbbing pain inside my head. You advised me several times to consult a doctor, but me being the stubborn person I am, always ignored the advices and considered the pain to be merely a headache. But I was wrong. When I consulted the doctor after fainting at my office once, he diagnosed that I am having a brain tumor and I was in my last stage. He concluded that I am left with only few days after conducting some tests on me.
Hezzie, I didn’t knew what I was supposed to do at that time. I tried to tell you about everything a few times. But each time when I tried to tell you about everything, your happy face would come to my mind making it more difficult for me. I never wanted you to see me dying, because I knew you wouldn’t be able to see me taking my last breath.
You don’t know how much of courage it did take me to write this letter. But somehow I managed to do this for you. I have no idea how many days are left for me to live the last moments of my life. Hezzie, I want you to know something, I’ve loved you from the day you entered my life and I will keep loving you until my last breath. I want to see you happy in your life, Hezzie. Even though I will not be physically present, I will be there always in your heart whenever you need me.
Warm tears ran in rivulets down my cheek as I finished reading the letter written by Harry. On the day when I walked down the aisles, Harry promised me that he will stay with me forever. But he broke that promise too soon by leaving me at my own. He not only broke his promise but also broke my heart into pieces which no one could glue back….
Plus 2 student ,Govt H S S , N. Paraur,
Winner ,Story writing , Revenue District -2017