Warning: This story has a paranormal plot. Reader’s discretion is advised. This is purely a work of fiction.
Neha stepped into the store room. She picked up a pink scarf and wrapped it around her neck. Suddenly she found herself in a different place. The place was green with flowers all around. Zina was waiting for her. “What took you so long?”, she asked.
Neha didn’t have the answer. She just smiled weakly. Zina hugged her and said, “Look mother, I planted some flowers. Aren’t they beautiful?”
Neha held onto Zina and cried profusely, “why did I let you go that day?”.
Zina looked into Neha’s eyes “Because it was time, mother. And it wasn’t your fault”.
They stayed talking for the things that mattered and that didn’t. Zina was the most precious child. The mother cried for days when she left for heavenly abode. Zina’s eyes always had longing for her mother. Neha always felt Zina’s pain in her own heart. Probably, that’s why she was the mother.
As Zina fell asleep, it was time for Neha to leave. She didn’t want to go, but she knew others were waiting too. She gave Zina an affectionate kiss and gently wrapped the scarf around her neck again. She was back to the store room. She felt lonely without Zina. Tears rolled from her eyes.
Neha looked at the box of chocolates. She took the box in her hand and caressed it. Ranu loved to eat chocolates. Neha had got a chocolate box for him and asked him to eat when he would get fine. He never got fine. The chocolates were all that was left. She reached Ranu’s space. It was quiet and warm. Ranu was delighted to see her. And happier to see the chocolates. He grabbed the unfinished chocolate box and munched on the chocolates.
“Get me a different type next time” he spoke with chocolate stuffed in his mouth. “Yum, still so yum mother”. They all called her mother. Ranu had the most innocent eyes. She blessed Ranu and came back to the store room. The loneliness still too much to bear.
Every week she would go to meet the kids whom she could not save at the hospital. She couldn’t save them as a doctor, but she could be with them as their mother till they finally left for a happier place. It was her bizarre destiny- to cure those kids till their final relief.
Next, Neha picked up a torn brown shoe- time beaten, the aglet broken, originally white but appeared yellowish brown. It belonged to Neil. She hesitated for a moment, it was the first meeting. The first meetings were always difficult. Sometimes they didn’t know that they had departed, sometimes they still wanted to hang on to the mortal world and wanted to return. She didn’t know how he would react. She picked the shoes and some candies too. Most of the times candies helped.
The place was too dark for her to see anything. It was cold, Neha reminded herself to get a warm blanket next time. She heard the rustling of the leaves and followed the sound. She spotted him under a tree, holding his face in his hand. He looked up sensing her presence. She could see that Neil has some questions in his eyes.
He didn’t recognize her. She reminded, “I was your doctor”.
Suddenly the sorrow in eyes gave way to anger. “You could have saved me”, he roared.
“Why didn’t you save me? Because I was poor, an orphan? I didn’t have money to pay for the operation. Is that why?” he accused her.
“No, Neil…”, she tried to explain.
“Yes, that’s exactly what it was. My parents left me to die in the orphanage. You also let me die. And I saw you as my mother.” Angrily he said, and disappeared.
Neha waited for him to apparate. But he didn’t. She found some candles around. She lit the candles. Perhaps he needed more time, she thought. She picked the shoes to leave. The wind blew the candles as she left.
She returned to the store room, without realizing she wasn’t alone this time.
(c) 2018 PRIYA BAJPAI ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Picture courtesy: Pixabay
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