Tears from Ben’s eyes streamed down together with the running water that continuously poured from the shower. He strangely wished that water had the property to wash away the troubles and make everything anew. Unfortunately, it could only wipe off his tears, not sorrows.
It was an unusual morning at Ben’s. The house wore an odd sadness. After spending long hours in shower, Ben rapidly buttoned down his black shirt and fastened his tie, tucking the neck loop underneath the collar. His eyes looked burning red, puffed up and moistened. He kept rubbing his eyes frequently. Rinni felt miserable to see her husband undergo such a distress. He never spoke a word after he returned home late last night. He looked so pathetic and after she had asked him several times, he could only cry his heart out.
“Ben, what’s going on? Please don’t cry like a baby. Come on, wipe your tears,” She consoled him. He grabbed a tissue from the pile and wiped his damped eyes.
Just then Ben’s phone began to ring.
“Hmm..Yes dad. Are you ok?”
“Don’t worry. Has the coffin arrived?”
“Ok..Take care of everything. I will be there in fifteen.”
“Coffin,” she repeated to herself. Rinni instantly knew what it was. Ben’s mom was terminally ill with an incurable heart disease. Since Rinni did not have a cordial relationship with her mother in law, Ben hardly spoke about her. But this was something Ben should have made her known she thought.
“Give me a minute. I will be right back,” she spoke as she walked away for a quick shower and heard a faded Ben’s voice.
Ben kept answering a few phone calls with a “That’s ok”,” I am fine” and “Thank you”.
She wanted to accompany Ben because her presence would lighten things up for him. She slipped into a muted black dress and looked for her favourite rose gold strapped watch that Ben had gifted her for their first anniversary. As she couldn’t find it in its usual place, she let it go and hurried to join Ben in the car.
Rinni couldn’t help but watch tears crawling down his chin. Talking about it would make things harder for him so she continued to be silent.
Three years in marriage felt like she had lived her happiest dreams. Ben was the best thing to happen in her life. Though Ben being a man of few words, his love never felt that way. From watching sunrises to having long car drives, from sipping morning coffee to bedtime sitcoms, from silly fights to munching burnt sandwiches, from trivial yaks to dumbest jokes they were too much in love. The way he would roll over, put his arm around and draw her closer in his sleep was the most blissful things of all. Being an orphan, she never experienced love of any kind. Sometimes, she even felt if she ever deserved such love.
When Rinni expressed about bringing another life to the world, he had said “We already complete each other. I don’t think we need a third person to occupy our space.” She felt funny the way his mind worked. Besides, Rinni knew that Ben was not ready for the pain and struggle that she had to endure for a baby. Sometimes, he was a baby himself, like the way it happened last afternoon, when Rinni hit her head on the new marble decorative piece and a tiny amount of blood oozed, he was frightened and pacified her until she fell asleep.
The only thing they would dispute about was Ben’s mother. Right from the time they got married, she wasn’t fond of Rinni. She always spoke ill of Rinni’s family which would make her furious and they ended up not talking to each other.
She jerked when the car made a sudden jolt while they entered St. John’s chapel’s parking space. It was scarcely occupied at his hour of the day. The rusty brown exteriors with huge cross at the towering head made the place serene and heavenly. As she passed in, there were lillies and daisies cascading the sides of the entrance door and few chapel men doing their last bit of arrangements.
She saw her father in law standing alone below the dais giving orders. On the dais was a casket of dark brown, arranged with roses that were pink and yellow. On the wooden lid was a huge cross embedded, below which the name in tinny letters was written. She stood midway not willing to withstand Ben’s mother’s lying body motionless and still inside the box. Last time when she had met her in hospital she was full of life and hope. Rinni let go off her past and made silent apologies.
Ben was already with his dad looking fixedly at the coffin and his eyes welled. Ben’s father gave a pat on Ben’s shoulder assuring support. She appreciated the way Ben’s father held back his tears or may be because he already knew what was coming. As she drew nearer she saw something shimmering inside the wooden box. Moving a little more, she found something familiar strike her eyes. It was her rose gold watch that was strapped up on one hand. She looked at the face and quickly shifted her eyes to glance at the lid of the box, she found it clearly inscribed in black and bold. As she heard Ben’s dad murmur ” Sorry, mom couldn’t show up. She has conveyed her deepest condolences, dear,” she read the imprinted words aloud “Rinni Rose Benjamin”.
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The above story is an entry into the writing event(Feb. 02nd – 20th) hosted by ArtoonsInn: #PullTheRug #UniK-3
Event rules and guidelines: https://artoonsinn.com/pull-the-rug-unik-3-writing-event/
Check out Varshini’s space here: https://artoonsinn.com/author/varshiniravindran/
Photo by Leigh Cooper