A Love/Hate Story

He sat at the bus stand right outside the station, watching the people coming out of the large gate.

In and out, not giving him a second glance, as he sat, adjusting his backpack on his shoulders every now and then. Just another face in the crowd.

It had been almost a decade since he had first come down to the city, but he had never grown to like it. The hustle bustle, the noises, the smoke, the vehicles and the people. The people who didnt bother to give even a smile to their neighbor.

He missed his village.

A tiny little village, set in the scenic mountains. His small house whose doors opened to the view of the snow capped mountains. Greenery everywhere. And the loving people. People who cared about you. Asked about your health.

But the city was where the money had to be made and thats what had brought him here the first time. And he had made the most of it.

He worked as a freelance IT engineer, taking up any project that came his way. He had managed to establish himself in the city, in his own way, but he had always longed to go back to the village.

And he did too. He made it a point to go back to his village twice every year. Even after he lost his parents, out of old age, he never stopped going back to open up his empty house.

It was on one of these visits that he had first met her.

He was standing at the corner shop having a sip of his piping hot Kawah, as she walked out of the library.

Time stood still as their eyes met. He didnt know how long he stood there staring at her like a goofball, till she gave him a smile. A smile that made his heart thump. A smile that made him forget the city. His work. His ambitions to earn more money. That smile was all he wanted, to be together with for eternity.

From that day, everyday, he stood outside the library. Same time. Everyday he watched her coming out and smile at him. Everytime she smiled he fell more and more in love with her.

It took him six months to gather up the courage to ask her out. She had coyly nodded and from then onwards it was a dream come true.

They got married in another three months and his empty house became home again.

Her smile, her love, made the house a home again.

She was a kind soul and her compassion extended to everyone around her. She calmed him down when he was angry. Showed him reason when he behaved like a child. Stood by him when he wanted to do something good. Chided him when he was planning to do something unreasonable.

Within a few months that they had spent together, she just had to smile at him and he would know exactly what was in her mind and what he had to do to keep that smile intact. She completed him.

She did not want to leave the village and he did not want to leave her for even a moment, so he decided to wrap up everything he had in the city and shift back to the village.

It almost broke his heart, watching her waving him off, as he hung on to the door handle of the train.

But he knew he would be coming back soon. Coming back to her and spending the rest of his life with that smile.

He hated every moment he spent in the city from then onwards, but it was going to take him a few weeks before he could sort out everything and make the shift. The house deposit needed to be taken back, he needed to sell of his bike…every moment he missed her and wanted to go back.

It was then that the phone rang. He sprang to answer the phone, knowing it would be her. This was their usual time to call each other and spend an endless hour talking about sweet nothings.

“You have to come back”, said the dark rumbling voice at the other end of the line, “Now. Immediately. Something has happened. Come back home.”

His blood ran cold. The voice had something chilling about it, and yet it was so calm. He hastily packed a small bag and started making his way back to the village.

The journey back was sleepless, confused. He didnt know what to expect when he got back home and yet in his heart he knew it was going to be bad.

“Something has happened”, the voice kept ringing in his ears as he alighted on the station and rushed to his home.

The house was empty.

“They have taken her to the hospital”, they told her and thats where he rushed, through the streets, like a madman.

He was taken to a dimly lit room as he reached the hospital and there she was, lying on a small metal table. A thin white sheet covering her body and her face. But he knew it was her. He could have known it was her even if it was pitch dark.

“She might be feeling cold”, he said, to no one in particular

“No. She doesnt feel anything now”, said the calm cold familiar voice from behind him.

“How….Whhyy…”, he choked as he collapsed to his knees in the front of her, drawing the thin sheet off her face, his eyes not leaving her.

“They did this to her. Raped her brutally…and then left her to die, by herself. They were in uniform”, said the voice.

“Those M#$%@#$F@#$s”, he screamed, his blood boiling, anger clouding his judgement, revenge screaming in his mind, as he got up, starting to rush out of the roomm when the hand stopped him.

“No. Not now. Control your anger. Your time will come. I will make sure your time will come”, said the same voice.

There was a note of authority in the voice. A command that made him stop right in the track.

“Go back to the City and wait for my call. I promise you, you will have your chance to avenge her death”, the voice continued and he followed its command.

He went back to the city after the funeral proceedings were done.

He stayed there doing mundane routine jobs, biding his time, waiting for the call.

His heart was empty, she was gone, and his mind was filled with rage. Rage which he managed to curb, to not show openly, there was a permanent mask on his face.

But he still spoke to her. Every night. He had long conversations with her, telling her how his day went, what he did, what he should do next. And she never said a word, she just smiled at him and he knew what she meant. What she wanted.

And then the call came.

“It is time….here is what you have to do”, said the voice.

And he did exactly as instructed.

He went to the place where they wanted him to go and picked up the backpack. He made his way to the station they wanted him to go to. He sat at the busstop opposite to the station, watching the people coming in and out of it. Adjusting his backpack. His hand patting his trouser pocket. Checking to see if the odd shaped remote with its little red button was still there.

The time had come. Vengeance would be his….. Today.

He got up and crossed the road making his way inside the station. His mind blank as he stood in the middle of the crowded platform.

People rushing besides him. No one knew. No one cared.

He reached into his pocket and brought out the remote, gripping it tightly in his hands, and thats when he saw her…..again.

The same eyes, the same face, the same smile. Her eyes had a strange kind of pain in them, almost as if asking him what it is that he was about to do. The smile was twisted, almost like a frown, as if pleading with him, if he really wanted thousands of innocents to be blown up to pieces for no fault of theirs?

He kept staring at her. This was not what she wanted. She would not have let him do this, if she was here. But she wasnt here, was she? They had taken her away from him and he missed her. He longed to be with her.

And then he saw the glint of tears in her eyes. No, this was not what she wanted. She would have never let innocents pay for someone else’s deed.

His hand trembled as the remote slipped through his fingers, hanging down by his leg with the thin cord attached to his backpack.

He smiled back at her, letting her know that he understood her…..when the shot zipped through the crowd and hit him squarely in the chest. He felt a sharp pain as the second shot brought him down on his knees.

His face hit the floor as his legs gave way and he collapsed. His eyes still open, staring at her face.

He did not hear the approaching rush of footsteps. He did not see the uniformed men surrounding him.

“Clear the area…. get the civilians out of here”, boomed the strange voices around him as his eyes clouded over.

“Clean shot Captian”, said one officer to another, “You got him good”

“You know, I dont think he was going to press that trigger. I could have sworn he let it go. Maybe I shouldnt have taken that shot”, said the Captain

“Would you rather have waited till he actually pressed the button?”, asked the Commanding Officer, “Go on, your job is done. Get yourself some rest”

He watched the two officers talking to each other but he could not hear them, he did not know what they were saying, and he did not care.

All he cared about was her face in the front of his eyes. Her smile as she looked down at him, beckoning him to join her. He smiled back. He tried to reach out to her with his hand.

“Any idea who he was anyways”, asked the Captain

“No. Another Terrorist. But we will find out all the details soon. Till then he was just another face in the crowd……”, shrugged the Commanding Officer.

The two officers nodded at each other. Their work done. They walked off away from the him, they had done their duty. No regrets. It was what they did. Their job.

He lay there on the floor, immune to his surroundings, a strange smile of bliss on his face, knowing that finally he would be with her again. Together. Forever. That smile was all he had wanted, after all, to be with till eternity……

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The story does not intend to make any judgements of its own and will leave it to the readers to interpret it the way they want to. All characters and situations in this story are made up and have no resemblance to any person living….or dead….

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