My wife’s last words may not be for me. She might be cursing her killer. She might be screaming through her fall, and the last distinguishable words could have been It is 5.30, smiling. An illness, if it decides to take her, and it gets to her head too, the words could be incoherent and meaningless. It could be a shriek, There is a truck. In her sleep she might go as she wishes, and the last words forgotten. If death decides to do it in the hospital with a person holding her hands, she will be talking to her mother.
The mother might not even be in the hospital. I might be the messenger, holding hands.
My wife is alive and healthy and loving. I don’t mind she loving her mother more than me.
Last word directed towards me, I don’t consider them trophies. The old man, my neighbour, his were “Oh, you have come too” and he smiled, and he died. I won envying relatives who surrounded the death-bed. To me it was not special. I would have graciously, let the son take my position when the smiling dad of his died. Yes, I liked it, but it was not a life event for me. It made (makes) no difference if people speak to me or not, as they die. I never believe in ghosts.
My father hence had no obligation when I was holding his hands. Not that I have told him, but he knows me well. Father he is, treated like one too. Yet, the healthy built, fragile gentleman tried hard to focus on me. He gave up. He was forced to settle on just looking in my direction.
“Trust god always” his eyes did focus as he finished. Took too much of his breath. All of it.
Last words always do that.
It is today. I am in the green kurta that my wife got me. My son is walking slow, backwards, looking up the hole in the thatched roof, through which the pillar shoots up. He wants to see the top of the pillar with copper leaves, that my wife had described to him, moments earlier. He is wearing a green kurta. She got two. She told him that wishes come true when he catches those copper leaves sway in the air, making the copper bells in them toll.
Almost all the temples have these pillars. Pillars with copper leaves and bells. I never knew this significance, I still doubt it. I am not asking her if it was just a distraction to the bored kid. She wants to lean on my shoulder. This is a temple, so she is not leaning. I don’t like the reason. I cannot tolerate my son taking what my wife just said, serious. He is seven. I am not voicing my question, my dislike or my intolerance.
Today is four years after my father’s death.
I like the place, the peace that surrounds me, and the air that I breathe in. The air that I breathe out won’t disrupt peace.
After all she will lean on my shoulder in the cab home. We will change, and our family won’t be in this green uniform once we get home. It is beautiful how my son is walking backwards in little steps.
So I smile.