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The Final Goodbye - Last page

by Suneet Paul
(Faridabad, India)

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Despite the failing health, Samuel had maintained a high morale. But today, after the one-on-one meeting with the oncologist, on his specific queries to the doctor, the responses had rather jolted him for a while, though he had attempted quick composure recovery. It was Manu who had accompanied him for the meeting, which was to discuss a further change in the chemotherapy drug, but of a lower potency- more like maintenance chemotherapy. The oncologist didn’t want further heavy pounding of his body.
Throughout the evening, though a bit pensive, Samuel managed to appear as cheerful as possible. It was only at night in their bedroom, that his feelings found expression. He was already in bed when Aakriti walked in after having finished the kitchen chores. She changed into her nighty and jumped into the bed with a bounce. Turning to Samuel, she gave him a sweet smile that momentarily brought a gleam in his eyes. He pulled her to himself and she comfortably rested her head on his chest. The lack of fat on his body, brought her in direct contact with his ribs. He embraced her with both his lean arms, “Aaki, what would I have done without you!’’ He tightened his grip around her stomach.
Feeling Samuel’s frail body had led her to once again face the blunt reality of his health- a fact which she always avoided confronting. “No, this cannot be true- from being a smart handsome machoman to this state of affairs-,” she fought her thoughts. She commented passively, “Baldy, you are the brave one- giving all the strength.”
Samuel was stroking her soft and smooth hair, “Darling, I want to have a chat with you.” There was tension in his voice, which surprised Aakriti, and she looked up at him. His intense eyes steadfastly focused on her, “Aaki, I know it all now. The oncologist shared it with me today.”
Aakriti raised herself to a more upright position, “And what has he told you dear?”
He took her hand in both his, “Aaki, well, I’ve decided that the moment to say goodbye has come. At the meeting today, when I had a few minutes alone with the doctor, my straight question about the time I had left, surprised him. He mentioned that at the last meeting with you a month and half or so ago, he had explained in detail my medical condition, and informed you of their assessment of giving me anything above a month,” he paused and smiled. “And it dawns upon me now that I am living on bonus time.”
Aakriti could no longer sustain her valiant pretense. Sobbing, she threw her arms around his neck, “Oh my Baldy, I don’t want to lose you- no- no. God- I don’t want to think about it.”
Samuel tenderly stroked her back, “Now, now- we have to face the truth, Aaky.”
Still in disarray, she responded weakly, “Yes Baldy, the doctor did share the medical view with me that meeting. I- I just could not accept it and have been running away from it.” She wiped her face splashed with tears all over. “I had then shared it with your father and we decided to let it be as easy as possible for you. We didn’t want you to get depressed or- or give up the fight. It has- has not been easy to not share it with you.”
There was a very serene expression on Samuel’s face, a rare one. He spoke almost sage-like, “Aaky my dear, all these months, you have sacrificed so much for me. Don’t know how to thank you for it.” His watery eyes clouded his vision, “And, my dear, the time of acceptance has come. I want to bid farewell- may not again get the chance to do it.” He pulled her closer to him. Aakriti was just staring at him and clutched him tightly. He continued in his cool voice, “I fully appreciate why you did not share the doctor’s observations with me. But to be frank with you, I have been feeling it in my body- the final stages. Medically, they gave their opinion a month back, but I sensed it earlier that it was coming.”
He awkwardly shifted his position on the bed with Aakriti also moving along, wanting to be close to him. Tenderly, he took her face in his warm hands, “Aaki, we say our final goodbye today. Promise me that you will get married again, and soon. Promise me that you will remain as strong as you have been- after me.”
Impulsively she placed her hand on his mouth, “Darling, stop it- no, you are not going anywhere.”
The smile was back on his shrunk face, “Aaki, I plan to stay with you always, and will wait for you there. But in the meantime, till you are here, assure me that you will be happy and remember me not with tears, but with pride in the heart. We- we have spent some lovely years together, and nobody can take them away from us.”
He paused to give her a penetrating look, “Let’s make this moment, one of celebration, my love. We have always lived it like that. And to be honest, after the initial shock after the talk with the doctor, I felt liberated. Gradually, a reconciliation came about with the truth. And darling, after many days, I am truly feeling relieved, happy.”
Samuel’s words linked directly with Aakriti’s chords. Seeing him so genuinely at peace with himself, she fought desperately to drive away the gloom in her mind, and just be a part of him. Spontaneously, she jerked his face to her bosom, “Yes my dear Baldy, we have shared some very ecstatic unforgettable times.”
Samuel continued, “Aaki, I feel good that I go fighting, not in despair. It could be today, tomorrow-. But it doesn’t matter. What I care about is you- and being with you right now. No tears, no talk- just happy memories- farewell Aaky- we’ll keep connecting for sure.”
For a long time, they just gazed into each other’s eyes, as if imaging together all the earlier great days that they had shared. Aakriti’s body slowly relaxed, her eyes glowed. With a faint hint of a smile on her face, she rested her head on his lap and whispered in a child-like tone, “My Baldy, I will always cherish you- goodbye my love, you are the best-.”
(The End)

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Aug 22, 2018
Very touchy
by: Poonam Bhaskar

Indeed very touchy story.could not stop my tears while reading .

Aug 05, 2018
A breathtaking masterpiece
by: Vibhuti Katyal

A magnificent pice of work....
Touched my heart

Aug 03, 2018
The final goodbye
by: Your Name:Ranjana Adesh

Loved it the beautiful sync with life and death ..... amazing . I cried my heart out but then there was hope in the goodbye!
It’s amazng how death and life can be interwoven ! Written in simple language it touches your innermost ! Beautifully woven with emotions love and eternal sleep!
Waiting for more from this amazing writer ! Kudos !!!!

Aug 03, 2018
by: Yash Walia

Just read the story and I am deeply moved. I found it painful to get to the end and found myself thinking how painful it must have been to write it. It was a heart-wrenching tale about what life throws at us and accepting defeat with grace.

Aug 02, 2018
by: Ritesh

Wonderful...... Moved my heart.

Aug 02, 2018
A heart rending story
by: Ambareen Farooquee

What a heart-rending beautiful story! Kudos to the writer again for touching our chords and inspiring us to accept the realities of life.

Aug 02, 2018
Last word
by: Sarita Chawla e:

The Final Goodbye, yet only final in words.
The warmth of love between the couple can be felt. Mere words can be final, never a lovely relationship. Beautiful!!

Aug 02, 2018
Beautiful expression
by: Zenia

Touched the chord... Gives the impetus to live life....

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