Our writer of the month, Khushboo Golani transforms her favourite Ed Sheeran song, Give me Love, into a story
Give me love like her,
‘Cause lately I’ve been waking up alone.
My head is throbbing as if there is an elephant jumping on it. Although I’m pretty sure I read somewhere they can’t jump. Ahhh! With eyes barely open, I try to get up slowly but my body feels stiff as steel. I need an aspirin, I think to myself. As soon as I try and lift my head I feel it fall back. So I lie down again even though the pain protests. I try to turn around and sleep on my side only to find someone in my bed. I realise what’s happening, but I can’t face it now. So I bury my head into my pillow and fall off to sleep again.
It’s late afternoon when I wake up again. My head is still heavy, but I feel way better. More stiff, but still energetic. The bad taste in my mouth makes me get up. I try my best to reach the kitchen and grab the lemonade bottle from the refrigerator. A few glasses of lemonade, a little throwing up and an aspirin later I feel better and worse at the same time. I take a good look at the house. It’s just the way it was since that day. No one picking up the stack of papers from the coffee table, no body putting the dirty clothes in the basket, no one getting the dirt stains off the floor; my headache just went up ten notches. I manage a sad smile to the empty space and head to my room. The sheets are in a mess. On the mirror is a phone number written in bright red lipstick. As if! I shake my head at the girl’s stupidity. I pick up one of the dirty T-shirts from the floor and try to remove the lipstick, but it just doesn’t come off. I just keep on spreading the stain around. Half of my mirror has turned because of the lipstick smear. Suddenly, without a warning the dams break. Tears flow down my face, my breaths break with the sobs that have now begun to rack my body.
She left. She just left. I had to let go of her. What else could I do? I thought I was preventing my heart from being crushed. But I don’t know now what is worse? I don’t know if I did the right thing. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I drink, I sleep with a different whore every night, I cry, I regret and I repeat it all over again the next day. It feels as though I’m just going through motions without her. Motions that allow me to forget her. I try to wash all the sadness, regret, pain and loneliness down with alcohol night after night after night. She left me all alone and wasted.
Pain splattered teardrops on my shirt.
It’s five by the time I find the energy to dry my tears, control my emotions and get up. This can’t go on Nate, it can’t. I think to myself. I guess I found the energy because I know I only have few more hours more to see her. I get ready with this tiny hope in my heart, that some miracle is going take place, that something unreasonable is going to happen and it’s going to be okay. She will come back to me. But I know all this hope, this assurance is for nothing. Nothing is going to change. Nothing at all.
I run hastily. I’ve wasted too much time anyway. I push myself through crowds of people giving me looks as though I’ve gone insane. But I couldn’t care less. I’m drenched in my sweat by the time I reach the hospital. I know taking a cab would’ve been a smarter option but I couldn’t waste any time on searching one. As it is the clock is ticking faster than I’d like.
I put my name down in the register at the reception and run to her room. My eyes are drawn to her. She lies so perfectly pale and motionless, just like the last time I saw her. Just the way I’ve been seeing her for the past one month. I sit on the chair beside her and hold her cold hand in mine as carefully as I can. The tubes are sticking out of her from all possible places. She barely looks like the person I had known all my life. Her long dark brown hair now burnt at places, her flawless olive skin now dull and fashioned with scars all over and her green eyes now closed and possibly never to open.
“Please come back Zara, please.” I plead her. But there is no movement. I kiss her hand and draw slow circles on them thinking about that day again and again.
And it’s been a while but I still feel the same
“What the hell Z, let me drive.” I said trying to avoid the purse she was hitting me with.
“No I’m not going to let you drive. We need to talk. Stop this car right now!” she screamed in my ears. Instead of hitting the breaks my foot hit the accelerator. I quickly slowed the car down but I didn’t stop. I was playing with her. I had a surprise planned. I just loved to watch her get annoyed like that. We were that couple, the one whose ways of showing love was by fighting. We had been doing that since seventh grade now.
“That was the sixth wedding I was a bridesmaid at. Sixth! And every time the question remains the same, ‘when are you tying the knot Zara?’ ‘Oh, are you still single darling?’ ‘What are Nate’s plans?’ Ahh! I’m so done with this Nate! I’m so done with you! Tell me honestly, are you just wasting your time with me or do you really have any plans to be more than my stupid boyfriend of ten years? My best friend has a two year old daughter and I’m still dating my high school boyfriend!”
“Tell me, what is the point of marriage and kids? We can have them without any piece of paper tying us.”
“Oh god Nate! Marriage is more than just a piece of paper and kids. I can’t even – Just stop the car Nate. Just stop it right here!”
I stopped the car and let her get down. She collected her purse from the backseat and walked down an unknown road. I had placed a new cell phone in her purse. It had a recorded ringtone. I knew it was way too cheesy and that she hated cheesy, thus I decided to propose this way.
I dialled that number and off went the ringtone; I could hear the words – ‘Cause it’s a beautiful night. We’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.’ You can’t go wrong with a Bruno Mars song.
“Turn around Z.” I said getting out of the car, on my knees and a ring in my hand.
She stared at the phone for an entire minute before walking back to me and hitting me with the purse again.
“What the hell”
“This is for taking so long. This for all the misery you put me through. This is for being a dumbass. This is for playing around with me and this is for being so cheesy!” she said before falling down to her knees and taking my face in her hands and kissing me.
“Yes Nathaniel William Marsol, yes.” She said kissing me again.
I placed the ring right where it belonged and we laughed till it hurt.
“There is a chapel few miles from here. You’re wearing white, I’m wearing black. Shall we go?” I asked her.
“But mom and dad and all our friends…” I stopped her with my wicked smile and wriggling eyebrows.
“They are already waiting there?” I nod my head at that and opened the door of the car for her.
It seemed as though she was having a panic attack. She started breathing heavily.
“Are you alright, Z? We can get married later. However you want?” I said getting scared a little.
She shook her and said, “I didn’t buy any first-night-after-marriage-lingerie!”
“We sure need to take care of that. We’ll buy some on our way, now let’s go quickly!” I laughed and finally started driving.
After that point, my memories are hazy. We were laughing, making plans, kissing, playing around and somewhere in between nobody saw the speeding car coming right at us. By the time I realised it was too late. But I do remember seeing the airbag not opening on her side, the glass shards piercing her skin and the other car ramming into her side.
All I needed were a few stitches. All she needed was a miracle. Three operations later they declared her brain dead. They wanted me to decide when the plug should be pulled. I said never.
Her parents on the other hand decided a month. They wanted her organs to be donated and to make this entire thing as quick and painless as possible; as though painless was even possible. But I wasn’t having any of that. I can’t give away her organs. I can’t give up on her. She wouldn’t either if our places were reversed.
At first I decided to fight for her life. Then I decided to forget her and move on. But I couldn’t do either. That’s when I began to find solace in alcohol.
“Whenever you are ready Mr Marsol.” the nurse said as she entered her room and interrupted my internal soliloquy.
Was I ready?
Give a little time to me or burn this out,
We’ll play hide and seek to turn this around,
All I want is the taste that your lips allow,
My, my, my, my, oh give me love.
I shook my head. She came to me and patted my back as I cried holding Zara’s hand in mine. I knew I had to let go because the girl I was holding on to wasn’t Zara. It was some soulless shell wearing her skin. I have to let her go. But I can’t.
And yet I nod my head.
And it’s been a while but I still feel the same.
Maybe I should let you go.
All the plugs except three are removed from her body. An injection later they tell me, “Anytime now.”
I placed a kiss on her dead lips and waited for the line to become flat.
“Tomorrow I’m going to go back to my job. I’ll clean the house because in case if you turn into a ghost and haunt me I want to make sure I give you no more reason to be scarier than you already are. You better wait for me up there or wherever it is you go. If you find someone else I swear to God I’ll kill that guy, even though he’d already be dead.”
I don’t know how long I talked non-sense. It was only when my almost mother-in-law came in and shook me that I realised Zara was too far gone to hear a thing.
I looked at her one last time and left. I don’t know if I’d ever really be able to let go of her. No education ever prepared me for this. Is it even possible to give up on your one true love?
Image Credit- Super Fantastic, Flickr