The best love stories are the ones that stay in your heart, reminding you that when all is lost, you still have stolen moments of life with each other. My appreciation for life has been shaped by two very important people in my life.
Perhaps, of all the precious metals found on earth, Platinum, the strongest, the purest and the rarest of all, would be a representation of their love. This is a tale of their Platinum Day of love.
It was almost dawn. Time for his walk, which he knew was an essential part of his routine – a routine which kept him sane in the worst of times. It was cold for this time of the year, but he liked winters.
She was fast asleep. He adjusted the sheet around her a little more snugly, shut the blinds a little more tightly, and tip-toed out of the room. No need to wake her yet, he thought.
He walked to the little grocery store outside the compound walls, and smiled at the waiting shopkeeper. “Helllooo Saar!” the grocer was excited. “I have all the stuff you asked for. I am sure Maydam will love the pastry saar! I told the bakery to get the exact same flavor you asked for.”
He knew it was not exactly the kind of fluffy sponge cakes that she liked, but this would have to do today; they were miles away from a good confectionery shop. He would have to make the best of the situation - and he would do that!
He took an inventory of all the things the shopkeeper had handed over to him, while ticking off from a list in his wrinkled hands. “Paper plates, paper glasses, paper napkins, candles, balloons, pastries, and Sprite………Okay” He mumbled while putting the list away.
As he walked back into the compound, he met a few of the new friends he had made here. They were all happy for him, and promised, yet again, that they would be with him by 10 o’clock – just a couple more hours left.
He left all his edible purchases with the housekeeping lady, who promised she’d keep it in the fridge till they needed it. The balloons he gave to the guard, who was only too glad to get it ready to be put up before the party. Both of them were very excited with the little celebration that was due to happen in a couple of hours.
He looked at his watch, frowning. Only an hour before she would be awake! He needed to hurry up and visit the barber and be back before she woke. He all but ran out of the building, and went into the barber shop, which was still getting ready for customers.
* * *
Before she opened her eyes, she made the same wish she’d been making every day for the last few days. “Not here. Not today. Not anymore.”
She was not alone. He was right there, grinning from ear to ear, just as he would every morning. Being here in this place, did not change that. But he looked different – she couldn’t place it, but there was something about him that was not the same.
“Happy Birthday!”….. they all shouted in unison, smiling at her.
That’s when she noticed the balloons stuck on the stark white walls, the streamers on the doors and the platter full of her favorite pastries. Her room was filled with people – some of them in white uniforms, some in uniforms like the one she wore – pink and grey. Some even wore the same grey scarf that she was clutching tightly around her head.
Her eyes watered up, as they searched out the pair of eyes that were filling fast with tears too – his. She finally discovered why he looked different when he bent down to kiss her.
The cap he was wearing had now disappeared, and she touched his shiny head, his lovely salt and pepper hair shaven off completely. “Happy Birthday darling…… Surprise!!!” he whispered into her ear, while wiping away fresh tears from her eyes. “We’ve won again – and we are going home today.”
She laughed now, her attention drawn away from the grey scarf, uncaring that it slipped off her own bald head, unmindful of the tubes and wires around her cancer-ridden body, and completely, absolutely in love with the man in front of her. They had been married for over two decades now, but this was truly their moment of love…… Pure, Rare and Eternal.
This is the story of my Mom and Dad, and the love they shared, which triumphed over each time, for over a decade after my mother was diagnosed with cancer.