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She Was Going To Come Home Soon, But…

Posted: June 27, 2021
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I sat on the bed all confused. I couldn’t get myself to reality. It was such a beautiful dream and it all seemed so real. I wanted to sleep again. At least that way I could hear her voice.

It was just another normal day. The bright midday sun covered the house in its warm light. I am occupied with office mails and my little daughter Aria is playing with her blocks and peppa pig toys. We got her the new doll house and she’s elated with it, keeps her busy for hours.

There is a beeping sound from my laptop and I realise I have to get back to work. Work from home in reality is very difficult. You have no time for yourself or for your family and you end up working upto 12 hours in a day. I think in my mind I need to spend time playing with Aria, being a lone toddler is difficult and there is not much that she can do the whole day.

It’s already lunch time; we both sit and have our favorite meal – lady finger with hot parathas and dal rice. Aria is just learning to eat and has already spilled dal on her light blue dress, she wants to change her dress right away. I tell her we can change after we are done with lunch as it’s just a small stain. She gets busy talking about Peppa Pig and her new toy house, “Daddy I love my new house, Can you take a picture on your mobile and we’ll send it to mumma on her phone, I am sure she will love it”. I tell her “Sure, let’s click it after lunch”.

After lunch we click lots of pictures on my phone. She grabs my phone and says, “You don’t forward it, I will. I want to send the pics to mumma.” She is happy when she sees that the message has been sent.

“Mumma must be busy in the hospital now, she has so many patients to attend, she will see the picture in some time,” I tell her and take her to bed for her afternoon nap. It’s crazy sometimes how long kids take to fall asleep. I close my eyes and act like I am asleep, a trick taught to me by Antara my wife. It’s somehow a no fail hack.

After what feels like an hour I hear my phone beep. I can see Antara’s message flashing. Seeing the message brought a smile on my face. “Baby I’ll call you tonight, my day is incomplete without seeing you and our little buttercup. Talk to you later, time for my rounds.”

Antara is a doctor. She has crazy working hours and high levels of exposure to the COVID patients, so she decided it was best if she stayed on rent in a place near the hospital. We had a daily ritual of video calling each other every night and having dinner together. That was the best part of my day and I always looked forward to it. My mind wandered towards her and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. It had been a while I had seen or touched her in person. She was everything I wanted in my life. The poem she wrote for me on my birthday kept crossing my mind. How true was each word for both of us.

You are my calm in the chaos
The smile on my face and the skip in my heart
You are my sanity in this insane world
The wind beneath every flight I take
The sparkle in my eye and the butterflies in my stomach
I love you to infinity and beyond
You are both my safe place and wild
You are my solace and my biggest adventure
You are the sunshine of my life and the stars in my sky
Every moment spent with you feels like a lifetime and so does every moment without you!
Happy birthday my love. Can’t wait for covid to end so I can be back home with my favourites.

Even if I wanted to, I could never have put my thoughts in words as beautifully as her. I was so proud of her… she was working so selflessly in this pandemic.

My thoughts were interrupted by my phone ringing. My heart fluttered; I knew it was Antara. We always joked we were connected telepathically. She always called me when I missed her and vice versa. I answered the phone.

“Hi babe, I was just thinking about you, can you believe it? I miss you so much. I wish there was a way I could hug you through the phone now,” I waited for her to reply but there was just silence at the other end. I assumed she was overwhelmed with work. It was a difficult time and she always got emotional when she talked about her day. Seeing so many people in so much pain. Combine that with being away from us.

I asked her, “Hope you are okay babe, don’t worry we’ll meet soon, if not a hug at least we can see each other from afar.”

“Are you okay son?” came the reply from the other end. It was not Antara’s call. It was my mom calling.

There was a dead silence for a while. I told her I’ll call you back, I am getting a second call. I needed a minute to myself. I realised that while putting Aria to bed, I had slept too. Antara always joked about this. Father and daughter both sleepy heads.

I sat on the bed all confused. I couldn’t get myself to reality. It was such a beautiful dream and it all seemed so real. I wanted to sleep again. At least that way I could hear her voice. I opened the drawer and checked the phone. I could see Aria getting up from her slumber. I hid the phone in the drawer and locked it fast.

“Daddy has mumma checked the photos I sent her yet? Show me your phone… please show me, show me now!” She had no patience, just like her mom. I gave her the phone and she saw two blue ticks. She was so happy and she started dancing… “Yayy mumma saw my pictures. I am so happy… Do you think it’s possible we can visit her someday in God’s house? I know she always replies to my messages but I miss seeing her. Can she at least do a video call tonight?”

My heart sank. I was jolted back to reality. It had been three weeks since Antara had succumbed to COVID. Aria couldn’t understand; she was 4 years old and she thought mumma was treating patients at God’s house now and that she would eventually come back. I had Antara’s phone, and Aria regularly messaged on her number. The blue tick that the message has been read made her day. She thought even though she couldn’t see her mum, she could still chat with her.

I wished I could sleep again, and this reality we were in now was just a bad dream. She was gone too soon and all I was left was with her thoughts and dreams that would never come true.

Dear Antara,
I dream I could see you walking through the door again.
I dream of a world where we could raise our daughter together.
I dream I could hear your laugh one more time
The days are all the same but still so different
I dream all this was not real.
Right by my side is where you belong
Together is where we are meant to be
You are the dream I want to wake up to every morning.
But since that can never be… I’ll close my eyes and hold on these dreams.

Well I was never as good as you Antara in expressing my emotions, but I tried… Until we meet again my love…

Image source: Nandhu Kumar on pexels

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