“Have you ever tried to stop a trickle of water as it slides down the surface? You realize all you can do is either erase it out of existence, leaving its tiny trail; or better yet, let it flow until it dies out by itself. What do you reckon one should do? What should I have done!? WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE??”…
Those words had screamed on its own accord as it had seemingly assumed its own sentience. For some reason, I had given life to my own innate horror; at my own inability to have done nothing!! A lot of people did gather around me. Some even awkwardly stepped out of the commotion. And yet some looked at me intently for some reason. I would never know; I would never care!! I unconsciously clasp my chest, as a lump forms in my throat. It hazily comes around to me.
Those soft murmurs of a dying wish would keep haunting me for another stretch of hours. “Has the irony of death ever affected you ever so much?” I ask a passerby. He quickens his steps, just to get away from me….”I guess I should have expected that”, I murmured to myself. Yet those lingering pained words had affected me to a great extent. I chose not to think about it. I won’t think about it.
“Kill me…..I beg you…please!! I can’t take it anymore”…Each single word had weighed upon me, as they kept repeating after itself, without an end in sight. Here was a man trapped under the rubble. I felt so torn up inside, with gusto of empathy over my helplessness; I just wished he would die. I indeed wished that!
But what if he asks me to do it? What happens next if I get to decide if I should release him from his mortal coil? Then I would not be just a mere onlooker, would I?
Amidst the din of the blast radius, the jagged stone keeps teetering on my hands.”Take heart”, I said”. End his suffering” (I did say that, didn’t I?). The edge kept faltering with each passing moment.”No. No. NO….I cannot succumb to the trembling now…of all the times I have had, not now…please!! “I turn my head the other way, in an effort to regain my composure…”It’s alright. You will be alright. Do you trust me?”…..I could not even trust myself, not with the sudden masking of my horror with a raw amount of concern. As we slowly gazed over at my side, the rubble settles down and my eyes widen. His lower torso was strewn apart, on the bloodied street!! All of the mustered courage dissipates as I scream at him, “I am getting you help….RIGHT NOW!!” I could not take it anymore; I told myself. I wiped the tears on my sleeve, and barely took a few steps back to get a medic when he looked at me with an ambivalent expression. As he inaudibly mouthed the string of words…the only ever words he could say to me before it all died out, I barely managed to understand it all. Amidst the blur of the scene, I wanted to take it all in. I felt responsible on my own accord in this passing moment…this very moment…
“MA’AM…NOT THIS WAY! THATS THE RESTRICTED AREA….”
“You are not allowed within this area of the block.”, the security guard aptly pointed out to the sign overhead.
“I guess I lost track of myself. I am sorry”
“Ma’am, would you like me to call someone? Do you need help?”
“Sorry….what did you say just now??…”
“Would you like me to…?
“Shut up…..SHUT UP!!” I covered my ears really hard and ran off in the other direction, leaving him flabbergasted.
“Wait…what did he say to me again? It’s not that he meant any harm, right?” I reassured myself. But truth be told, there have been so many people keeping tabs on me after the incident, just so I wouldn’t do anything brash and stupid.”Of course, I wouldn’t, dimwits!! I value myself far too much”.
“Take a break…you deserve it!! Let me help you with the paperwork.”
“Are you alright, my dear? I promise I will come over tonight…Probably join you for dinner! And I can help with the dishes…”
“Let me help you with the lease extension”.
“Why can’t they just understand that I needed some space…all to myself? It should be ME to sort this all out! You probably would not have known me, had this incident wouldn’t have occurred at all”, I sighed in exasperation. The tiny droplet needs to go on its own, for there can’t be any assimilation at all! After all, it wouldn’t be the same, would it? It wouldn’t be me.
My shoes had been rendered muddy, after all the wanderings of the day. Sunday afternoon was the funeral, I recall once again, as I stepped into the Church. What did he really mean in the end? Was it a slighted observation on his mortality? No. The man didn’t seem like it. He couldn’t have given much thought to it.
“Oh…looks like the service has begun.” I avoided the gaze of the solemn crowd and quickly took a seat around the corner. As I observed my surroundings and started focusing on the hordes of people in formal wear, only a few significant words from the speech had filtered into my mind.
The man was a good, jolly creature…Loved his life… (And look where it got him!!)
Nonetheless, he had a pretty good reputation, I must say! With all these people attending his service, he can’t help but smile all over again, right? Well…if it’s up to my musings, I would exactly say that, because I wouldn’t want to revisit that day….not again!
Had I slipped into my ‘reverie’, it would have still led towards his death, wouldn’t it? Here, I am standing in front of the casket, being announced as a victim and a survivor to the unnamed sympathizers; and yet I subconsciously perceive myself to have been the one who pushed him to the throes of death! No heartwarming sympathy would amend the raw void left in me! It wouldn’t have mattered in any other way as well! For now, I would just say it was inevitable.
With my turn to pay my respects unto the half-opened casket, I scrutinized it all….that slight smirk of his, still residing on that face. Without any further thought, I settled my bouquet of flowers…”It is all for closure”, I remarked to myself.
“I have done all I can”, I reassured myself.
As I retraced back to my seat, something did not feel right! The ambulance was never heading from that way, was it? That person couldn’t have been so curt in his moment of poignancy, could he?
For now, it slowly dawns upon me…..”What if he was muttering the right direction? Wait! Did he merely point out that I was heading towards the wrong way…that the ambulance was in the other direction?”
Nonetheless, I burst out into uncontrollable fits of laughter, as all the guilt washed away from me momentarily. My empathy just cannot bog me down, not at such a sudden moment of revelation! Well…people did shirk away from me in utter discomfort….it is just a normal reaction, for all I care!
I had to be escorted out shortly thereafter, whilst I was given a blanket and a glass of water. I was subjected to some tests too, if I recall correctly! And here, all I could do was sigh in relief. I really didn’t feel the need to snap back at them”…
Maybe it is just one of the possible explanations that I could muster, for it would render my heart stable. But even if it is not true, I will hold steadfast to it. For quite some time, at least! Because it would be the only thing that would keep me from encountering my survivor’s guilt, at least until I am ready for it. Right now, I wouldn’t be able to live like this….not at the mercy of others….not by lapping up the goodwill of the folk, with their subsequent shower of sympathies. Maybe it is not necessary to find my path right away; but I will seek it on my own…
For it had all come round unto my mind…maybe the tiny droplet could be heading nowhere. Maybe if you lift up a finger up on its tracks, it would just dissipate, or it may just bypass it…it would take a small detour. It might not end where it wished to be. But all it ever wanted was to leave out a fresh trail…that is all it ever intended to be….