Sunday, July 19, 2015

A wake up call

"Please help me...I want to go on... It's so peaceful here!"

Phil woke up with a start! He hadn't thought about Pam in a while. This dream brought back memories of her.

How long has it been! Wonder where she is and what she is up to...

He got out of his bed and got ready for work. He was standing in front of the mirror when Rose, his wife, walked in. She pecked him on his cheeks, told him that she had an early meeting to attend and that breakfast was kept on the table. He nodded and gave her a smile as she left the room.

That dream had shook him up. There was this strange uneasiness. He went down, sat at the table and stared at his breakfast.

The last time we spoke was when she called to congratulate me on my wedding. She said she won't be able to make it. That was 4 years back... 

He came back to reality as his phone beeped. He quickly stuffed some toast into his mouth and headed for work. He couldn't focus at work either. He cancelled all his meetings and decided to reach out to her instead. He didn't have her phone number anymore. He looked through some old emails and emailed her. He went through his Facebook only to find her account doesn't exist anymore. He buzzed some of their common friends about her whereabouts.

Whatever he did, the uneasiness was only increasing. Why haven't I kept in touch! Why am I always busy for everyone! 

Beep...Beep... The heart rate monitor’s beeping was what told them that she was still alive. Her parents, some relatives and friends were gathered outside the room; some in tears; some consoling the others; some discussing about life and death in general.

The doctor came in and started speaking to her father. "We cannot keep her in here any longer. I've already informed you about the gravity of the situation. We have tried everything; she is not coming back. It's been months now. Have you guys arrived at a decision?"

"Give us some more time, please! It's a hard decision to make... ", said Simon.

"I understand. But please understand our position as well.", said the doctor before walking away.

Simon addressed his wife, Mary, and the well-wishers gathered there, "We've two choices. We can take her home with the ventilator and let her continue to live in this vegetative state or we can show her some mercy and pull the plug!"

It was night. He has been constantly checking his email to see if she replied. His wife was getting concerned. He told her it was work. He couldn't shake off the feeling that something was wrong.

His phone beeped. It was a message from a common friend.

"Hey, any news?"
"I'm not a 100% sure. I have not been in touch with her. But I heard from an acquaintance who knows her colleague that she was in an accident and is on her deathbed."
"What?" he asked in shock.
"Yes, it's quite sad...That's all the info I have, man..."

God! No! How can it be? "Is there any way you I can get in touch with her??"
"I took the number of her colleague, Julie. Here's her number: XXXXXXXXXX"
"Thanks man! Thanks a lot! "
"No problem. Do keep me updated! I will pray for her!"
"I will."

What a horrible friend am I? I didn't even know! Why did I lose touch? Without wasting any time, he called the number. Julie answered the phone. He heard the news…

"They are yet to arrive at a decision. It's really sad to see her like this..."

"Please help me...I want to go on... It's so peaceful here!"
"It's so peaceful here!"
She wants to move on... She wants them to take the right decision...

"Hello, you there?"
"Yes, yes... I am. I think she would want to move on too..."
"You think so too, right?"
"Maybe you can tell aunty. She may be open to hearing it from you. I will put her on the line."

Her voice was shaky. One could sense the grief.
"Hi, my dear...", Mary managed to say.
"Hi, aunty..."
"I don't know what to do anymore...Why did this happen to us?"
"We can't change what's happen. We need to see what we can do to help her now..."
"What do you suggest?"
"I think she would like to be at peace..."
He could hear her sobbing.
"Aunty, please be brave."
"I'm trying to be. Maybe you are right. Maybe this is what is best for her..."

He heard the phone click. She had hung up.

I hope they make the right call...  

"Have we made a decision?", asked uncle Rob.
"We should let her go in peace.", said Mary unable to stop the tears.
Simon just stared at the wall, nodded in agreement, and put his arm around his wife in support. Tears were gathering in his eyes.

"I will inform the doctor then. When should we do it?", said Rob.
"Why wait and let her suffer more? Let's do it now." said someone.

"No!” screamed the wailing grandmother. "It has to be an auspicious time so that my poor child's soul at least has a better life than the one she led here."

"Then you tell us when it should be.", said Rob.

This was definitely not the time to point out religious beliefs and superstitions; so many chose to keep mum.

"Tomorrow, 5:00 PM."

His phone buzzed. It was a message from Julie. It read: "It's been decided. Tomorrow, 5:00 PM"

He leaned back on his chair, somewhat relieved. He couldn't stop thinking about her. The past they had. The pranks; the karaoke sessions. A rueful smile came up on his face. He stared at the ceiling and tried to revive all his memories of her. One by one, the memories played out to him in his mind before he fell asleep.

Pam’s birthday…
"Happy Birthday!" he screamed into her ears.
"Go away...Let me sleep!"
"Sleepy head", he said as he tickled her to get her to wake up.
"See what I got! I baked it for you."
It was her favourite red velvet sponge cake.
"What? Really? When did you learn to bake?"
He laughed.
"You ass!" she smiled and gave him a hug.

The time she insisted that he tag along with her for the movies…
"No, John will make fun of me. You know how I cry at movies!", said Pam
"He's your boyfriend!"
"But we have been dating only for a while. Pleaaaaseeeee."
"Fine, fine. We will go separately. Just both of us. Happy?"
She gave her usual toothy smile.

When he confided to her about Rose…
"Are you sure Rose likes me?"
"Of course! Who dares to not like you?"
"Come on... I'm serious... I'm very nervous!"
"I've seen the way she looks at you. Trust me..."

The times she would spoil him silly… 
"Here's a little something for you from my first salary!"
"Oh my God! The iPod I wanted! But, Pam!"
"No buts!" she smiled.
"Thank you so much, sweetheart! You're the best thing that ever happened to me."
"Are you sure? I don't think a certain someone will be happy", she smirked.
"I'm sure!"
He hugged her and kissed her forehead.

When John broke up with her…
"It's alright..." he consoled her as he stroked her head resting on his shoulders. She couldn't stop crying.
"I can never do anything right..."
"Don't say that. This wasn't your fault!"
"All those dreams I had..."
"Not all dreams come true, sweetheart. You've to let go..."

When she started to lead a different life…
"I haven't seen you in days!"
"I have just been resting..."
"I'm glad you are. Your mind and body needs it. But please meet me too!"
"Dreams are so nice, right?"
"What? Umm...I guess. Except for nightmares...Heh"
"It's my world. A world where I'm not judged... A world where nothing is wrong or right... A world that I own, I control, I live with all the people."
"It's like alternate reality, you know"
"That's one way to think about it. Some dreams sure are fun."
"Once you learn to steer them your way, it's even more fun."
"Anything that keeps your mind off is good!"
"Yep. I will talk to you later."
"Wait... hold on..."
The emptiness was all he could hear.

When he called to tell her that he was marrying Rose…
"Hi Aunty, is she there? She never picks up her phone!"
"She is sleeping. That's all she does when she is home."
"Can you tell her I've something important to tell her? I'm getting married, Aunty and I want to tell her myself. I'm out of the country now, else I would have come there personally."
"That's some great news! Congrats, my dear. I will inform her."

The last time they spoke…
"Tomorrow is the D-day, eh? Congrats!", she said.
"Where are you? You should have been here by now!"
"I'm sorry, but I won't be able to make it."
"You can't do this to me!"
"I'm really sorry... Have a great wedding and an awesome married life. My love to you both."
"Thanks. But remember, this is not over."

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"Dreams... What if you could just live in them, forever? I could live with you. I could live with him, I could live with anyone I want, or live without."

"My way... my happiness... a world where there is no pain. I can erase anyone. I can revive anyone."

Everything is beautiful. Everyone is beautiful." 

"It's so peaceful here! I want to go on...Please help me..." 

"Please help me..."

Nooo! What have I done?
He got out of his chair with tears in his eyes...

"Did you doze off in the chair?", asked Rose.
She noticed the tears. She was concerned now.
"What happened, honey?"

"I did her wrong. That's not what she wanted..."
"What are you talking about?"
He ignored the question and grabbed his phone. He tried reaching Julie, but in vain.

"I've to go now. I promise I will explain everything once I get there. I can't afford to get delayed!"
"I don't know what is happening. But I hope everything goes fine."
"Thanks for being so understanding. I love you."
"I love you too."

He started packing his stuff. She helped with the packing while he booked a flight ticket, the earliest possible one.

"I'm taking the 3:00 AM flight. I should land by 12:00 PM their time.
About an hour to get to the hospital. I should be able to make it just before time!"

"I've reached the airport. The flight is delayed by 3 hours!"
"Have you checked for any other early flights?", asked Rose.
"It's the bad weather. None of them are flying now. I don't know what to do. I can't reach them either. I want to stop it."
"I will pray. I hope we make it on time!"

" ready for boarding", went the announcement.
He grabbed his bag and rushed to the gate.
The whole flight, he felt uncomfortable. He couldn't eat. Alcohol didn't help either. Her words haunted him...

"Please help me...""It's so peaceful here!"
He couldn't take it anymore. But there was nothing he could do.

"...cabin crew, prepare for landing.", came the captain's voice.

"... the local time is 2:50 PM and the temperature is 23 degree Celsius. We hope you have a pleasant stay."

He was the first to get out of the plane. The immigration line was long. He cursed everyone ahead of him. By the time he made it out, it was 3:30 PM. He quickly hired the first cab he found.

"To St. Mary's Hospital, please..."

"I still can make it. I can... I can..."The cab came to a sudden halt.
"What happened?"
"Looks like an accident, sir. The road ahead is blocked"
"It can't be! I have to get to the hospital. Please!"
"We are not going to make it via this road, sir. There is another route we can take. But it's longer"
"Any road that can get me to the hospital. Drive as fast as you can. I beg of you."
"Sure, sir. I will try to get you there as early as possible."

He tried calling the number again...
"Switched off!! Bloody fucking hell!"

4:55 PM
Everyone was gathered next to her bed. Her grandmother was reciting some prayers and blessing her. Her mother hadn't stopped crying. Her father looked a defeated man.

The doctor walked in. "Everyone ready?"

"Keep the change!" He almost threw some money at the cabbie and ran into the hospital.
"....which room? Please, it's urgent!"
"Room 306"
He ran.
The clock struck five.

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