A love story?

It is full moon night today; the moon is looking so beautiful as if it is the belle of the ball. The moonshine is touching my hand softy and its warmth is calling a flood of memories in my head being the moonlight refracted into colors of memory from the prism of the past. A past that taught me that things are not always as they look. Like the moon, people have a dark side too. But I guess I didn’t expect someone so dear to me to have one. Okay, let me take you all to the beginning. I, the ink slinger here, is just an ordinary girl with big brown eyes, long brown hair, fair, height- 5’5, but this is not my story this is the story of an old man who in the summers used to sit in his old swinging chair in the lawn of his house; with big mango trees and a beautiful garden which, the lady with swinging old age, used to maintain. They used to greet me with the warmest and welcoming smile whenever I visited them. I typify these oldies as my grandfather and grandmother.
Every summer I used to visit them just like most of us do! And this aroma of pink roses was everywhere which could make anyone spellbound to visit the garden. And the sweet smell of ripped mangoes was the only reason, all the little toddlers who were my friends, used to sit so patiently in front of my grandfather till that old man completed his same old love tale which he recited to children from past 18 years I have been visiting them. After the story, my grandmother used to come with a basket of mangoes and used to give this sweetest smile to my grandfather and in an answer, he used to smile back at her with pink cheeks.
When I was a child I used to feel happy about this beautiful place, when I became a teenager and puberty hit me I used to admire the love and the bond that my grandparents shared, and then when I became older and wiser I developed a respect for their love and their love story become my favorite story in which my grandfather was the hero.
This summer when I visited them it was the same as always; my grandfather was reciting his story “This story started late back when I was young!” he said just then he saw me and called me in and then with his wrinkled hands asked me to sit with his gestures. He continued, “she was new in the classroom and became a desire of every boy of the class when she smiled for the first time in the class” he recalled with a blush on his cheeks; “when I was, as usual, getting punished for being consistent in not writing the Pahada of 16 (mathematical table of 16) for the 8th time in a row, and Masterji was insulting me in front of the class he called me RAJNI instead of RAJNEESH”, he continued “she along with whole class started laughing at me.”
He continued with a childish smile on his face “Her brown eyes shimmering like a pot of honey in sun; hair dark as night; her smile like a freshly bloomed flower in a morning mist and that small mole near her lips made me spellbound. I stood there looking at her, admiring her; what else I could have done, I was nothing in her eyes back then. For two years I loved her and she didn’t have a clue about my existence, it’s not that I didn’t want to tell her but I was scared of being ‘ friend-zoned’, yes this term is an old one” he chuckled while looking at me as he caught that amazing glaze on my face. “then one fine day I decided” with a slight pause he continued; “I will tell her that I love her and want to marry her, that I will never stop loving her and that I will always keep her happy I practiced these lines for that entire week but I couldn’t muster the courage to go and tell her in person so, like any other Idiot lover boy, I wrote everything on a paper and then gave it to her. She didn’t say anything; I thought I have lost my chance with her and she wouldn’t even want to look at me now, but the next day I found a letter of my name at my front door. When I opened it a sweet smell like a fresh bloomed field of lavender with sweet morning mist, made me realize that she has finally answered. Before I could hold my breath, many thoughts were clinging in my head; when I opened the letter, it read ‘yes’ and my eyes were searching for her because I knew she is hiding somewhere and watching me. I looked near the old mango tree and there she was hiding; her cheeks were red as a tomato and she was looking very pretty in a blue saree that day, her eyes were looking so beautiful and that small gorgeous mole, Like a chocolate chip in a vanilla ice cream, complimented her beauty, It just look my heart once again and I fell for her all over again; then we got married and built our own house. Every day was a new experience with her. After two months we went on a vacation with my friend and his wife there were 70 other people on that trip, the most memorable trip of my life. It was a 1-week trip and we had to sail in a beautiful ship called ENCHANTRESS it was a lovely ship with all the facilities. We were living the best years of our life with each other. I remember that moonlight and her face which was more beautiful than the moon that day and her glittering eyes I wanted to drown in them.” grandpa took a deep breath and sighed.
Then as usual grandma came with a basket full of mangoes; gave one to each one of us; then smiled at grandpa and he blushed like a baby and his cheeks went pink.
I asked grandpa, “why always this same story grandpa?”
He replied with a strange smile, “this is my favorite love story and unforgettable too.”
“Mine too” I replied. Then we all went inside the house and had dinner.
The next morning grandma told me to take care of the house as they had to go to some wedding for giving aashirvadas to the newly wedded neighbors, I agreed; But now I regretted not going with them. If I would have gone with them this would not have happened, now everything has changed.
That day I went into grandpa’s room and saw his old trunk. It was so dear to him that even my parents were not allowed to touch it. I found it as an opportunity to open the trunk and see what is in there.
I found a blue saree just like he used to describe in his story and a diary.
‘My favorite love story’ it read. And I was surprised to see a diary with the same old story in it that too so treasured. I was just keeping it back and suddenly a wedding photograph fell off it.
It resembled my grandparents. I read the old story and on the next page, I found the story continued, but grandpa always used to tell the story until here what was on the next page made me curious. I took the diary in my room and began to read it.
“That was a 1-week trip and we had to sail in a beautiful ship called ENCHANTRESS it was a lovely ship with all the facilities and we were living our best life with each other I remember that moonlight and her face which was more beautiful than the moon that day and her glittering eyes; I wanted to just drown in them, then suddenly we heard people shouting I went out to see if everything was fine and found out the ship is drowning, the mast has fallen and water is entering the ship through the keel. The Captain and his staff ran away on the lifeboat and there was nothing we could do. Either we could jump in and swim to the shore because there were not enough lifeboats for all of us and the weather was not with us, or we could wait for the help, and waiting on the drowning ship meant dying. I was figuring out the way to get out on a safe place while me and my friend with whom we came and 5 other young men were taking people out of the ship on lifeboats 5,6,7 as many as we can. We were putting people on the lifeboats to save them. The counting of young men helping us were reducing as they were getting on the lifeboats with their families too. At last, even my friend was gone. There was just one lifeboat left on which 5 of us remaining and half-alive people got out. Out of us 5, there were two people seriously injured because the mast fell upon them. With us was a little girl too; with brown frightened eyes and her hair all wet and curly. I told my wife to find first aid kit in the boat but before we could do anything one among the two men died and we had to bury him at sea and move on, after some time even after applying the first aid the second injured passenger of our now haunting trip also Succumbed to his injuries. Now there were just three passengers on the boat – me, my wife, and that another fair rose lady. Somehow, we survived that night but the next morning too. Death, like a hungry vulture, was wandering above our head, we were unable to find any help and we couldn’t find the shore too and we knew that if in the next two days we fail to find the help we will be dead in the middle of this unknown sea. The food supply was getting short too. I saw my wife’s frightened face when we found out that no food is left in the boat, her eyes were no more shimmering and that smile was a hesitated one, I was frustrated and worried about the situation we were in. 2 days, 3 days, and another week passed, we were weak, hungry, thirsty, frustrated, exhausted, and ready to welcome our death. The third passenger of our boat said “if we want to be alive, we have to rest our hunger otherwise all the three of us will die here.” but we didn’t have food now. My wife said in a very low and weak voice “to stay alive one of us will have to give up his/her life.” okay, I think you are right, you should have my flesh in order to survive here” I said, “no what are you saying, this is not right I am weakest of us all you can have my flesh as I will die soon.” Said, my wife
I never wanted her to sacrifice like this and showed my strong disappointment to this notion of hers. But both the passengers were not ready to listen to me, so finally we decided in the next 12 hours whosoever will die first will be sacrificed for the rest of two. I know this was unfair and we didn’t have any right to do this. But we didn’t have any way out there so we had to do it when the third passenger died. That was the most horrifying experience of my entire life, but I fell in love with my wife again at that time when I hugged her and she smiled with relief.”
Reading this in my grandpa’s diary was really terrifying for me my hands were shaking and I was unable to stop the tears to roll down my cheeks, then on the next page was a newspaper cutting with the headline,
I was speechless at this time when I read it. I didn’t know how to react and I was crying continuously without a pause.
Then suddenly I heard a creak of the opening door and I could hear footsteps coming towards my room. I quickly closed the diary and hid it behind my back.
Grandma came and gave me a warm hug; kissed my forehead then smiled at me pleasantly, but at that moment everything changed for me for when I looked at her face between those wrinkles, I was unable to find any mole. I was stunned.

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