That day he decided to take a last walk around the city. An hour later he found himself, inadvertently, on the road he had carefully avoided for the last three decades. His eyes leaped to the small white house surrounded by a well-maintained garden. Painful memories that had been suppressed forever rose from rusty corners of his mind.
He saw Lila, 30 years back, with a tuft of hair falling over her forehead, her slender limbs flitting around her careless gait....When their eyes had smiled at each other, he knew that his love for her was deeper than anything he had felt before. He was incomplete without her and why was that so obvious to him when he held her hands....He saw himself kissing her and still remembered the strange feeling he had had after - that everything in his life before that moment had been a mistake. The life they both yearned for lay in each others' arms and everything else felt absurd.
Flashes from the past flew around in his mind threading the story of their lives. He froze for a moment when he saw himself so clearly that night, long long ago. The stars seemed to twinkle despondently between the passing clouds that were being pushed by a pleasantly chill wind.
Lila: I have to go back now.
M: How can we live like this without each other Lila?
Lila: I have to leave him. I have no other choice. I feel very sad for him, he has been so good to me. But he has to understand what I feel for you.
M. saw himself, the very next day, staring at the small painting of a child hanging on the hospital wall. He could have painted that picture himself even today for he had stared at it for so long. Lila was beside him in tears. She was narrating, fitfully, the events of the previous night.
...they called me and asked if I was his wife....he is paralyzed....he may be able to speak and think....
M. was silent and was looking at the painting gravely. Lila began sobbing.
....he was not fully conscious last night....he held my hand and said don't leave me Lila....
M. heard a creaking sound and quickly hid himself behind a tree. He saw a wheelchair emerging from the door and wrinkled hands that were intimately familiar. He turned his face away and walked back.