The Unread Last Chapter

The Unread Last Chapter

You can’t start a new book if you keep re-reading the old one without ever getting to the end.

I trace the jumbled words that effused of your central orifice to form sentences I had been burning to hear from you. My ears reverberate with the same music as I pay close attention to your side of the story. The excitement finally erupts from my heart as I find myself sitting in a corner of the room, book in hand, waiting to flip the pages. The beginning is always my favourite part. I know it syllable by syllable as I had repeated the entire sequence of events over and over again as I drifted off to sleep in the night. Though the chapter had ended a long time ago, I still wish to live in introductions, awkward smiles, and the innocence of our first few conversations. The anticipation, the intuitive thinking, the journey of scrutiny, it is all so fascinating until my intuition betrays me and the games begin.

Then things change. I am unable to unjumble your convoluted words to form meaningful sentences. The twisted terms and phrases cover the book with such uproar that it’s hard for me to make any sense. However, I am sure of one thing these words have a firm resolve to bring pain, agony, loneliness, betrayal, and darkness that it would be near impossible for me to see the light of the day. When brilliance finally streams in, it isn’t from the blob of fire in the sky but it comes from a flickering candle that I manage to light up. The gleam conveys to me that we didn’t end up where we belong. That hurt more than anything you ever did that I feel charred to this day.

I don’t have it in me to turn to the last chapter. A deep voice keeps on telling me that it isn’t the happily ever after we imagined. However, I never thought that we would get only this far after all the promises and perils we endured. We’ll keep our failings with us and our scars will run deep hoping for an absolution we don’t crave and deserve. So, I only end up turning the pages until the second last chapter following every utterance and expression along the difficult terrain of your commitment. As I read the last word of the second last chapter, I slam the book shut and place my perforated bookmark on the first page. Dust fills the air and obscures my vision as I can’t see you anymore. Then, the stark realisation hits me again that you had finished and returned the book a long time ago, while I am plunged in the fantasies that are bound between its limp and tattered covers. 

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Girish Dutt Shukla

Author of Maroon in a sky of blue

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