fiction, short story, Story

My Bucket-list

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Travel

 

Six months ago, I found out that I was dying. I experienced frequent and irregular palpitation and uneasiness. My preliminary medical tests showed abnormalities. When doctors conducted myriad of tests, I sensed something was wrong. Yet, I denied the reality till the day doctor in his sugar-coated language and in insignificant medical term informed me, ‘‘Reema, you are terminally ill. At the most, you have a year to live”.

I didn’t know what to do, who to tell. I had nobody. I was an orphan, single, had no relationship.

I had a sleepless night. The next day, I quit my job citing personal reasons. After all the formalities and discussion, I set myself free by the evening. I decided not to spend my numbered days in a hospital. I needed a plan about the rest of the days that I was left with. I thought about things I must do before I say goodbye to this world and move on to the next unknown one. So, I made my bucket-list-

  • Go on a solo trip
  • See Mona Lisa painting
  • Sing karaoke in a crowded pub

Same night, I booked my flight to France. Being an orphan, I didn’t owe answers to anybody. Next entire week, I sold off all I could- my investments and assets- to convert all my life-savings into travel-cards and cash for my trip. I packed my bag and informed my landlord that I was leaving for good. I decided to finish all my bucket list with this trip.

I reached Paris. From airport I took bus to my hostel accommodation. This choice helped me get a glimpse of the most beautiful city of the world. By the time I hit the bed I was tired and jet lagged, yet the sleep eluded me.

Next day, I visited Mona Lisa at Louvre museum. I learnt about the mysterious smile, sfumato technique and the history of this art marvel. More than the painting, I was in awe with Leonardo da Vinci. If God asked me which historical figure I would want to meet, my reply would be Mr. Vinci.

I spent the evening in watching the Eiffel Tower. I first reached Trocadero to get its best view. I saw the Iron Torre from different angles and levels- it mesmerized me. I didn’t need to click any pictures, so I enjoyed sight-seeing without any distractions. Finally, I settled at Café Constant on Musée d’Orsay to enjoy Quiche and enigmatic Eiffel.

At night, lying in my bunk bed I looked out of the small window of dormitory room. I wondered if it was good that I knew when I was going to die soon. Better me than anyone else. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to experience love. I didn’t know parents’ love, siblings’ love or romantic love. When people say, ‘I love chocolate’ or ‘I love place or thing’, I feel they take love for granted- they have too much of it. I would never know in this life.

The next evening, I went to the Karaoke club. I sang my heart out- ‘My heart will go on and on…’, ‘Shape of you…’ and all my favourite songs. I wasn’t drunk. I couldn’t afford to drink given my condition. You see my heart is too weak, and my pocket too light.

I noticed someone silently looking at me. I went to my seat at the pub. A few moments later he joined me-

“Hi! Is the seat taken?”, he asked, to which I didn’t respond.

“You sing very bad but in a good way”, he added.

I laughed, “Please elaborate”. I was amused.

“You sing with an ‘I don’t care attitude’, you should sing rock. It’ll suit your voice”

“I have never seen anybody turning an insult into a compliment. You have an art”.

‘I’m Arya”, he stretched his hand.

“I’m Reema”, I replied and took his hand.

“Reema, what a sweet name! I have a riddle for you. Why did the shellfish didn’t share its food?” he asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Because it’s selfish”, he picked a morsel from my plate and ate. I laughed at his silly joke.

He was charming. I closed my eyes to compose myself, and I had a vision of our future together- We’ll spend the month together. I will learn what love really is. And one day I will leave his place with a note saying, “I’m sorry Arya! I didn’t want you to fall in love with me, but I really needed to feel and understand love. Please forgive me. If I have another life and I’m given a choice, I’ll choose you again and again, life after life- always you.”

I opened my eyes, Arya still looking at me, waiting for an answer to another riddle. I didn’t hear the question, but I answered “because, I’m not a Shellfish”. And though, I needed that love desperately, still I walked away.

(c) 2018 Priya U Bajpai


 

25 thoughts on “My Bucket-list”

  1. Great story, Priya! Glad that Reema chose to be in Paris for the remaining days of her life, and yes Trocadero is the perfect spot for the first sight of Eiffel. And thank God, she was not a shellfish – just because she was dying and hadn’t experienced love herself didn’t mean that she broke someone else’s heart. But, then she would die without experiencing love, that is also sad, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

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