Seema sat on the park bench watching the little tots playing in the sandbox. Sanjay would have been so thrilled to see them so full of joy and life! She quickly shifted her thoughts to happier memories when she felt her soul welling up inside her. Just thinking of him brought on pangs of loneliness and solitude and the memories of a great love lost to time and fate.
Sanjay had passed away after a brief illness a couple of years ago. Seema had to find her inner strength and gather up the scattered pieces of her life so that her children saw not one but two parents in her. In a matter of a day, her entire life went through an upheaval that she neither was prepared for nor thought would ever happen.
She had lost the will to love another after that. Her life revolved around her children and their needs. It had to be enough for the rest of her life. She had made her peace. What she had shared with Sanjay was a lifetime’s worth of love and no one could ever replace that.
Ajay watched the elegant woman dressed in a crisp and simple saree, seated at the park bench right opposite him. His breath caught in his chest. Something that had last happened to him when Antara was still by his side, his companion and mate for life.
He saw reflections of his daughter and son as the kids played. A child’s laughter always brought him out of the blues. Antara had been his anchor, his love and his partner. He had lost her a couple of years ago to a long drawn battle with a dreadful disease.
He stood by her through it all and cared for her like she was his child and ensured her every comfort was taken care of. He tried to make life as easy as possible for her while she valiantly fought against time.
Eventually time won. And here he was, all alone. Trying to put one foot in front of the other. Trying to remember he had to keep living for the sake of the children.
Seema shook herself mentally and forced her mind and attention back to the present. For a brief moment of panic, she lost sight of the children and got up rapidly from the bench, her eyes desperately trying to find them again.
Ajay got up as soon as he saw the panic in her eyes and found his feet had developed a mind of their own. He was inexorably being pulled towards this elegant, beautiful woman who suddenly looked very worried. He felt an inexplicable need to be by her side.
Seema looked up to see an elegant man walking towards her. He was dressed in loose and comfortable clothing that suited him so well. She gasped at her own thoughts. Suited him? Why was she even thinking about what suited him!
The stranger was extending his hand towards her, “Hi, I’m Ajay. I couldn’t help noticing you are really worried about something. Can I be of any help?”
Seema shook his hand and introduced herself. Just as she was about to share her concern with Ajay, the children came running towards her. She heaved a sigh of relief.
“Sorry Ajay. I lost sight of these two for one minute and my heart stopped. As you can see they both found me instead!”
She smiled and her eyes twinkled with the glow of a thousand stars. It was as if the sun had risen all over again that morning. Ajay could only hope she came to this park every day in the morning like he did.
He couldn’t wait for tomorrow.
Authors note: Catch the conclusion on Valentine’s Day!