The metallic clanking continued. He wouldn’t stop until I gave in.
“Just march out!” I hollered.
The knocking stopped, only to start again, more fervently. It had been almost five years to that fateful day; the day I survived, and he didn’t.
“What’s it this time?” I bellowed, yanking the drawer open, a formality.
He flew past by my shoulder like a cold draft of breeze and forged a deep throttled cough.
“For once, try to live in that drawer without a whiff of oxygen… It gets to you. Lack of oxygen makes my arteries revolt. My blood starts to turn blue. My heart starts pounding and then I hyperventilate, you know this feeling of impending death is worse than death itself.”
“Ishaan, you are DEAD! One doesn’t do that often.” I rolled my eyes at his exaggerated melodrama.
“You are a forensic pathologist, thus your lack of knowledge about the living system is excusable,” quipped Ishaan, “I am a trauma surgeon, more aptly; a dead trauma surgeon. But, remember once a doctor, always a doctor. Doesn’t this call for a drink?”
“A drink that you can’t have and I don’t want.”
“Unfortunately, you silly humans don’t value life and it’s vagrancies.”
His deep chortled, mirthful glee echoed in the metal-infested mortuary.
I was behind the wheel, in no hurry at all, as my patients don’t demand immediate attention. He was. Ishaan made me accelerate and the eventual happened. My vagrant friend went flying across the windshield leaving his unbridled seat belt behind, along with his life.
As an old adage goes; friendship is forever. He left his mortal remains but not my bedside.
Six months elapsed in my recuperation, he walked by my side, or rather by my wheelchair. We exchanged notes, articles, and latest surgical innovations in our specialisation. Anything to ease the pain of the loss of his life, and my fractured existence. He prodded me to contact Anu, my lady love, but I declined, who would want a partner, bruised for life.
“Will you stop it! I can’t drag my wheelchair before her. Spare me the pity.” I cried.
“Ya … ya … Stop playing Meena Kumari. If that’s what you want, then I will have to be with you, knowing what a weakling you are.”
“I wonder, what made me befriend you? You are obnoxious!”
“Obnoxious? Me? I am delaying my journey across the pearly gates, making beautiful, nubile angels wait and forgoing an opportunity to share a drink with the God himself, and you call me obnoxious?” Ishaan needled.
“Then why don’t just cross over and leave me in peace?”
“Oh! First you kill me and now you want peace too. As the old adage goes ‘Friendship is forever be it life or death,’ so I shall be there for you until you come to senses.”
“There’s no saying like that” I said as I wheeled away, wiping away tears of guilt and gratitude.
“Are you implying that I just cited something that can make me immemorial like an author? Can a dead man write like a hawk’s flight?”
Yes, he is incorrigible, yet my buddy. Kindly excuse.
Ishaan roamed the emergency ward corridors. I worked at the mortuary. That’s when it all started.
“I want you to meet someone,” his excitement was palpable, “he needs our help.”
“Meet? What do you mean?” I said, perplexed to the core.
“This… no….he is bed no. 5, he died before his family could be informed. They would be devastated if he doesn’t reach home today.” Ishaan’s ranting continued and I couldn’t comprehend a bit.
“Talk to him. He just wants his family to know where his will is kept, or they would be thrown out onto the streets.”
I looked around, a chill seeping through my bones as another apparition appeared.
“Do you need my help?” I asked haltingly.
The old man…. spirit…gave me a number. I informed his family, though disturbed, they expressed their gratitude on my being by his deathbed.
Indeed, a warm feeling. Thus, this became our new normal.
Spirits came in all sizes, colour, creed and religions. In fact, I learned more about life from the dead than the barely living. I felt a part of me was dead too.
“No! Ishaan, stop! We are playing with destiny.”
“Just this once, I have a good feeling. He’s only four. The child just wants to see his mother once.”
“See… but how?”
“We’ll take him home. He’s a baby, there’s something about him that reminds me of you. Say yes, please,” Ishaan pleaded unlike his authoritative self. A Little apparition clinging to Ishaan’s neck was a sight to behold.
I couldn’t deny them both.
“Squeak… squeak…” The wheels of my chair announced our arrival.
“Mrs. Singh… I am Dr. …” I couldn’t continue. Both ghosts were sobbing…… I just cried, and Anu fainted.
I held her tight, fallen like a heap on the floor, wheelchair turned turtle.
“Why did you leave me alone? Just cause of your inability to walk, I pity your estimation of my character,” she lamented, “I lost our child too, in an accident, he was so like you.”
I didn’t know how to apologise or comfort her. I had lost my son without even meeting him once. Ishaan had my boy in his arms, safely cuddled. I know he shall be a better father than me.
Both apparitions started receding. I panicked, “Ishaan! What’s happening?”
“I think our purpose here is achieved, don’t worry about your son, will watch him like a hawk, the way I watched you, my friend. Don’t ever leave her side now, be her strength.”
They were just a flickering visage now, I wondered whether my connect with the other realm had snapped when suddenly a voice echoed, “Friendship lasts forever, until death do us apart.”
His laughter still echoes in my life!
Do you think, he had a remote chance to make it to the book; Hawk’s flight?
Photo courtesy: Unsplash
Photo Credits: Unsplash
This is an entry for the event #Supernatural #UniK-7 being held at Writers Room | Room8.
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