The piercing noise shattered my eardrums. Healthcare providers transported my wife Rachna’s blood-soaked form into the ambulance. A viscous red fluid trickled down my ears. I went numb. Everything seemed blurry.

A blinding light approached me. The door opened. I noticed a woman in uniform walking towards me. Her hazelnut eyes pervaded my clouded mind. A sense of familiarity lingered around her. Before I could recognize her, my peripheral vision perceived Rachna’s fingers twitch. A flicker of hope crept up my neck. I carried my wobbly self to the ambulance and landed a tiny peck on her forehead.

“Rakesh,” The woman’s voice struck a chord.

I stood transfixed. It was Amrita. Once upon a time, she was mine. The ambulance zoomed past us. Discomfiture replaced her initial smile.

“Where have you been all these years?” Her words creaked.

“Look at you. The officer on the scene.” Words boomed through my vocal cords.

Her hair was shorter, her eyes brighter and her demeanor self-assured. Fifteen years went by. She had changed. Metamorphosed. Despite the proximity, I felt distant.

“Tell me about the accident.” She sounded calm.

“My wife and I were returning from the airport. There was a collision with a speeding truck. Shards of glass penetrated my wife’s skin. My head hit the steering wheel. It was all hazy.” My eyes didn’t shift from her even for a second.

It was an awful day. Rachna was battling for her life. But Amrita had my attention. She scribbled something on a notepad and looked at me.

“You need medical attention.” She pointed at the blood.

“I’m okay. I’m worried about Rachna.” I tried to conceal the commotion wrecking me.

“How long have you been married?” Her words displayed decorum.

“Ten years,” I answered.

 

“Years back, you were in a similar situation. Your mother had died. You needed me. But I had chosen my dreams over our love. I failed you.” Stray tears rimmed my eyes.

“That’s all in the past.” She smiled wryly.

I lifted my gaze and met hers.

“Guilt seized me. I wanted to talk to you and find out how you were doing. But I never mustered the courage.” Suddenly, I felt light.

“Your absence helped me become a better version of myself. I now depend on only one person. That’s me. So, no complaints. No regrets.” She was stern.

Her words punched me in the gut.

“Your wife will soon be okay. Stay strong.” Her tone softened.

I felt both better and worse.

“You need to come to the station. But medical care first.” It felt like she still cared.

“I’m glad we met. Though I wish it were under better circumstances.” Jitter was written all over me.

She shrugged and began to walk.

“Maybe, you can come home. After Rachna recovers,” I squealed.

“This was a chance encounter. Let it remain that way and I hold no grudges.” I watched her walk away.

 “Not all reunions were happy. Some gave closures.” I finally smiled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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