He smiled. And I could discern the pain written all across that smile. A fake smile. Just like the fake facets he had been made to live with, for the length of his life – an entirely undeserved sentence. I wanted to extend my hand, touch him and let him know it was real. I wished to enter into that aura of containment that hid him from the whole world, me included. But the frailty of that curtain thwarted all my attempts. Every step I took forward had to be receded on the fear of ending up wrong. The distrust in his eyes never turned into the slightest shimmer of hope. And I stood, all the while, at a distance drawn between us.
I’d see the scandalous eyes that lingered upon him and satiated their dirty expectations in his sickness. Their smiles depended upon his ghastly pallor and every second of every minute I stood there, it cut me down to my very core. Pain – an unnamed, unwanted pain that surmounted every time I faced him. And he always kept looking down, in his own lonely being.
But I could take it no longer. I could no longer stand the life that sobbed in him – helpless and struggling for the slightest thing to cling to. And I simply reached out and held out my hand. ‘It’s your life and you always have to take a chance’ I told him. His empty eyes bore into mine for many long ages, doubting, thinking, perhaps calculating. I offered no affirmation for words never could mean one. And then he held it, in his cold grasp. For a moment, I shuddered at the touch. A cold pulse shivered through me. And then I held it firmly in my grasp, with a smile. ‘Let’s go’ I told him, even when his eyes betrayed a shocked disbelief. And he quietly consented..