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A thing called Love

Story written from a random plot given by a friend: Castaway, Dream catcher, Post box, Nail color.

The city was under siege. Mother Nature was unleashing her fury. Such torrential rain had not been seen in a 100 years. The city was drowning. Breached lakes, overflowing sewage, furious sea, and the relentless rain. There was an overwhelming sense of despair among the rich and the poor alike.

But I wasn’t worried. I was in fact mildly happy. Only two days back, I had moved into my new apartment. The apartment was thankfully located in that part of the city where there was no threat of flood. And I just saw on the news that my previous locality was drowning. My husband was not very happy with the move. Or rather the timing of the move. He was sulking about having to move out of the neighborhood. But I was insistent and he agreed, like he always did. I can now gloat, and tell him that my decision was after all the wisest. Ha.

The apartment I had moved into was newly built. A housing complex with 90 houses. The real estate developer had sent out a flashy mail to inform us that construction of the first phase was complete and the apartments were ready to move into. And within 45 days I had vacated my old house and I had moved in. I was extremely happy that I and my husband were the first to occupy. My husband was not very keen, he wanted to move in after 6 months, so that we were not alone in the housing complex. Few drops of tears and couple of hours of grumpiness later, he caved in. I can get him to agree to anything. Ha.

As I was entertaining these vain thoughts, power supply was interrupted. Everything went eerily silent. I wasn’t too perturbed, this was after all a third world country and power cuts were a regular part of life. It began to get steadily darker and the clouds were ominous. I strolled over to the master bedroom and fell asleep.

When I woke up, I was crying. I had the most vivid dream of being hacked to death. And my entire being was shaking with dread. The dread then became anger. I used to have a condition called pavor nocturnus, during my college days. Pavor nocturnus can be simple explained as night terrors, their psychological impact was worse than that of a nightmare. I had overcome this condition long back, without any medical help. And this fact made me very proud. When I drafted my first resume I wanted to list it under “other accomplishments”. But alas, my placement mentor was really not cool about it, so I dropped the idea.

I was angry because I had relapsed.

It wasn’t a pretty experience, getting these night terrors. Majorly because whatever causes these night terrors is not very imaginative. It only kills you in your dreams, over and over again in the most gruesome way. I remember joking about it to my husband, then my boyfriend, that it is like watching all 5 final destination movies on a loop except that you only see yourself getting killed in different circumstances. He was not amused, of course. I always thought he lacked sense of humor. He always thought my brand of humor was insensitive and sometimes offensive.

I recalled that he became all brooding and contemplative for the next couple of days. Then one night he sneaked into my hostel room, with a parcel. I was delighted to see him in the dead of the night, but I had to act all outraged so that he didn’t think I was very forward. He then handed me the parcel. It was a dream catcher, a device which Native American mothers hung above the cradle of their new born child, to filter out bad dreams. He gave me a very personalized one, hand made by him, for me.

Instead of using willow, he had used a semicircular hair band, which I considered was my lucky charm during my school days.

Instead of using cotton thread, to weave the net he had used the silk thread from my first silk saree. The saree was a gift from my grandfather, but I could no longer drape it, since it had been manhandled at the dry cleaners. I had sued the dry cleaner, and had got a handsome compensation, but the mutilated saree was kept preserved in my grandmother’s rose wood closet.

The dream catcher also comprised of my first bicycle key chain, a pair of plain plastic earing which my younger sibling gifted to me on one of my birthdays, my school pupil leader badge, and a mini framed photo of my parents.

I was floored. The sheer amount of effort he had put in to collect all the things which deeply mattered to me, made me fall in love with him harder. I hugged him and thanked him very profusely, and hung it over my bed. I buried my face in his chest and I slept. I slept very peacefully after a long time.

Now, after all these years another episode. Then it hit me that, this was the first time I had slept without the dream catcher hanging above my head, and maybe that’s why I had had a relapse. My ego was slightly hurt at the thought that I was dependent on it, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.

I went to the living room and fished out the dream catcher from one of the many unopened boxes and hung it above my bed. The power supply has not been restored and I ate a simple meal for dinner. It was then I realized that my mobile had not beeped or rung in a long time. I checked the notification panel and saw that there was no signal. It was very unsettling to be disconnected. But there was nothing I could do. I tried removing the SIM card and replacing it, still nothing happened.

With no light to do anything constructive, I went back to bed, in the hope that my husband will wake me up, when he gets back from work.

I had the mother of all night terrors. I was being set on fire, and I could smell my scorching flesh. I woke up with a sense of deep fear and pain. I was physically alright, but my mental balance was close to being lost, forever. I was afraid to go back to sleep, I was afraid to leave the bed, I know I was alone, in the house. Actually alone in the whole housing complex. I had seen that the watchman had left his post in the afternoon and I knew somehow that he was not back. The construction workers were also absent the last few days. I guess it is difficult to build a house for some one else, when your own house was drowning.

I checked my mobile again, still no signal. The housing complex was far removed from the main road which connected my locality to the city. Easily by 7 KMs. My husband had taken my car to work, as his car was being serviced. And the continuous down pour made it impossible for me to walk to the main road. I was isolated and far removed from human contact for the time being at least. A castaway.

I wasn’t afraid of things in the physical world. But what was happening in my sub conscious state, left me feeling hopeless, hapless and helpless.

It took a lot of effort, but I left my bed. I lit a small lamp in the prayer room, and said a silent prayer. “Please don’t take away my sleep- it’s a basic human need.- I don’t want to go back to spending all my days gorgy and disoriented, due to lack of sleep-Please let it be an one off event. Please.”

A minor sense of calm returned. I decided to analyze my relapse like a professional. I replayed my college days, and the last few days to see if there were any similarities. I didn’t see any pattern. I didn’t know why this was happening to me again. A sense of dread was filling me up.

Then I knew why. Since the day I got the dream catcher, my husband had been next to me in my bed. We had done a lot of sneaking around in the night, until the day we could legitimately lay next to each other as husband and wife.

This is probably the first day I slept alone, without him being a hand stretch away from me. So it was not the dream catcher, it was not my will power, which made me overcome my condition. It was his presence, next to me always.

My joy knew no bounds, I wasn’t after all going to relapse. My husband will be back, and everything will be alright. I realized how much of my mental wellbeing depended on him. I had never truly appreciated him and cherished him. I felt small for having manipulated him by crying and sulking. I wanted to tell him immediately how much he meant to me. And that I was an emotional wreck without him. I was falling in love with him all over again. This sudden longing to express my unconditional love for him over powered me. I wanted to talk to him and hear is deep voice immediately. But I was still disconnected. I was walking around the house like a possessed woman, willing the useless SIM card to function again.

I was still cursing the government and the pathetic infrastructure when something scarlet caught my eye in the light of the small lamp I had lit. I ran to fetch the emergency lamp and focused it out of the window.

A post box attached to a lamp post. A mode of communication I have never used in all my life. I only got letters from insurance company reminding me of their many useless schemes.

I decided to express my love in the retro way. I spilled my heart out, expressing my love and appreciation for my husband in every written word in the letter. I sealed it, addressed it, and dropped it in, and got drenched in the process.

There was deep sense of satisfaction in writing. The soft scratch of pen on paper is more melodious than the tap tap tap of the keyboard.

I decided not to sleep till he was back. It was almost dawn when I heard a knock on the door. My husband was there, grinning sheepishly. He had ready apologies for leaving me alone the whole night, but I effectively prevented his speech with my kiss. He was astonished at the sudden display of affection, but I am sure he was very pleased. After serving him a hot piping breakfast, I sat opposite to him. Just looking at him made me feel that I was the most fortunate woman on earth. He produced a parcel yet, again. I opened it to see that it was 5 shades of nail colors from a premium cosmetic brand. I was stumped.

Why now? Then he said that while moving in to the new house he had accidentally dropped my beauty case and all my nail colors had spilled. He wanted to replace it before I realized it was gone and he had taken a detour while coming back from work to get this. In all the rain caused chaos his car got stuck in a pothole and it took around three hours for him to get it back on road. I looked into his eyes and saw that it was the same guy who had made me the most personalized dream catcher in the world. The love was still the same. Only I had misused his love to suit my whims.

I decided that he was going to get a hand written love letter every day for the rest of my life. The post box was to become my favorite mode of communication.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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