The last call

She screamed and jumped onto the wooden chair. The only piece of furniture in that apartment. The departed rat looked like it had been dead for quite some time. She lifted it up by the tail and flung it outside the window hoping a cat would eat it.

She was moving into a new city. You know like one of those soul searching moments – A fresh start. In pursuit, she found herself already ticking off the first thing on her pretty short checklist. 1. Find a house 2. Find a job. She had done enough of bunk sharing in her college days. Without thinking too much, she sealed the deal with the very first flat the broker took her to. It was a tiny complex with buildings in close proximity – you could literally shake hands with your neighbour if you stretched to your content. It was a studio apartment – one she always dreamed of. Growing up, she always lived in smaller spaces, this felt like home. There were two french windows, cute decorated glass windows in the kitchen, enough sunlight which meant the ventilation would be perfect, and a tiny balcony. To top it all, it fit the budget.

Feeling exhausted already she quickly made some Maggi and opened a bottle of port wine. She grabbed a carton, laid a cloth to make it her makeshift dinner table for the night. She lit up a candle and played some Jeff Buckley to set the mood. She felt truly at peace. Accidentally, she dropped some wine on the box. On removing the cloth, she read the tape marked “etched in memory”. She packed so many boxes over the few weeks, she got curious to see what she stuffed up in this one.

She found her first slam book – all the school friends she never spoke to anymore had written such cute things about her. An old file with Green Day written all over it with a whitener – inside which she found old newspaper cuttings, random poems, song lyrics, and celebrity posters. She smiled at her own horrible taste. She found her old diary which she named Joe – every fight with her parents, her ex’s and how she loved to watch the sunsets, each day writing down new hopes, and penning her thoughts. Inside the box, there was another box with no label. She remembered what it was. The box still intact – untouched. She cut through the tape on it. She paused for a second after she retrieved the first item. It was a birthday card with a Captain America shield painted by her. She opened to find a letter inside.

"Dearest friend, fate has decided to make our paths cross. I cannot fathom that a cup of coffee could get bring us this far. I hope to cherish this and many more birthdays in the future by your side. Many happy returns of the day. Hope this surprise has made you smile a little more than you usually do. PS after you read this, do remember to ask for your gift. Love, your forever annoying Cookie Monster."

She sat quite, her eyes moist.

Five years ago, on this very day, they sat inside his car. He had dropped off their friends. She planned a surprise gathering for his 28th birthday. She wanted to make it special as she was falling for him so hard. Like a teenager with butterflies. She asked him to close his eyes and handed him the card. After he finished reading it, he smiled and asked her what the gift was? She leaned closer and gave him a warm hug. She felt her entire world flip.

The letter brought back the memory of the person she fell in love with. The only person who knew her truly. The person she could no longer call her own. She moved on to find a black Ferrari jacket – looked fresh as new.

It was a cold December night. They sat near the beach, their bare feet dug under the sand. The moon was bright, the car doors were open to hear the radio faintly in the background. He had just bought this jacket and couldn’t stop talking about how soft the material is, how he always wanted the Ferrari logo on it, and so on. She jokingly said if it’s that good, why don’t you let me wear it? He said, when I’m not around, you could wear this and feel like I was hugging you. Since then it was hers.

She took it out of the box and wore it. Even now it felt so warm, oversized, and cozy. She closed the box immediately and felt like she couldn’t move. It has been two years already. It did not feel as though months had passed. She still felt the same: still ached, still could not sleep, still held back tears any time she wasn’t alone. The entire universe continued to operate on days, weeks, and months while she took it moment by moment. She could not come to terms with what had happened. She wished she did not open that box. She opened her phone and clicked on her voicemail.

Hey babe, guess what?! I found the Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Chunks. God, you and your midnight cravings! I'm heading home. Get ready to.... *car crashing sound* -end of voicemail- His Jeep swerved, out of control. The two on-coming cars tried to avoid it - and failed. Both of them hit in a three-way head-on collision. There was an explosion, a ball of flame and a fist of gray smoke...A moment later there was another explosion.

This was the only way she could hear his voice. The last call.



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