As I was clearing my drawer today, the one that I have got into the habit of putting away all “important things” in, I came across this small Post-it. The folds were held together with some cello-tape. The edges had been worn out a long time ago. I didn’t need to open it to see what was inside. I just had to close my eyes and I could re-live every second of that time when I had first pulled the post-it and seen the two words you had written on it – See you. That was just before I had seen you for the last time. That was at least forty years ago. See you!
Sir Alfred has started his persistent purring and clawing at my feet. He has this knack to demand attention and perhaps affection. I look outside the window and wish I had had some of his persistence forty years ago. When I saw the post it stuck to the car’s side view mirror, I should have gone back inside. Screamed and shouted at you, begged and pleaded with you. Instead, just as you had asked, I drove away, hoping, someday, to see you again. Forty years ago? A long time ago for sure.
You would have a merry laugh if you see me today! Dressed in my kurta payjama covering the ample middle, a little bald patch that even I can see plainly in the mirror and Sir Alfred the cat would have you in splits. How romantic were we to think we were anything but mundane, failing in spite of our best efforts and pretensions. Sir Alfred has really kept me company these last few years. We manage just fine, the two of us. We don’t need anyone else other than the weekly grocery supplies and the money from my weekly newspaper column. I still don’t read what I write but the newspaper sends me my checks punctually so I assume someone does!
It has rained today. Unwittingly I pull my shawl tighter around me. The cold gets to me these days. You had enjoyed the rain and the nip in the air; forced me out on days like this, splashing in the puddles of water like happy children. Nowadays I stay inside and light the fire. Even Sir Alfred doesn’t fuss and just curls up into a ball in front of the fireplace. You would have had none of that. Don’t you go on calling me pathetic, I enjoy my peace and quiet. Rainy afternoons spent looking outside the window onto the street from the comfortable warmth of my house.
Do you see that man over there, he and his drenched cowering mutt and the smoke rising from the hastily lit paper fire? I see him every day. Perhaps he is a beggar. He keeps me coming from here. Sometimes I wish I could call them inside the house. But I never do. Why did I not go back inside and get you? I can’t remember now. It was such a long time ago. I have forgotten most things. Just as well, I say, memory is overrated. It hurts. I don’t know why I kept that Post it. Everything else is gone. After you left. There was a book you were reading. I kept it for some time; thought I would read it and keep you close. It was boring! I kept it down and one day gave it away. I don’t remember the name of the book. I don’t remember a lot these days. Had I gone back inside the station that day, maybe you wouldn’t have gone? But I didn’t. I haven’t thought of this in a long time. Never like this. But I did what you said, didn’t i. and you said see you so you had to come back. That beggar is getting up. Strange, I have always seen him sitting there, never saw him come or leave. Is he leaving? I shouldn’t have left. I should have come after you and called out for you. Then perhaps, you wouldn’t have slipped as the train came. Then perhaps Sir Alfred wouldn’t have been here.