The sky was like a curtain of silk and tufts of cloud drifted past. Holding a piece of her heart in the form of a letter, Mithila stepped out to meet Ram.

He was already there, waiting. The air around them was pregnant with the smell of baked goodies. She longed for the beach but he had insisted on meeting at the coffee house. So instead, she had written him a letter. She had written how she always wanted to walk in the airy womb of sand and sound. Not just today but also in the twilight years of their lives.

Nervousness was an understatement for someone who had witnessed damaged relationships very early in life. Mithila’s father left her mother when she was just an infant. That day her mother died too. Only her heart kept pumping blood so that she could raise the little girl who was yet to discover the good part of life.

After a few minutes of casual conversation Ram took out a little box and placed it on the table. He opened the box when Mithila felt a little tremor. This is it. The moment she had been both dreading and waiting for. The ring glistened against the dark background of the little box. And then it felt like the solid ground beneath her feet has suddenly been replaced by the golden sands of the beach.

The tremors grew and within minutes the entire coffee house crumbled under the earthquake.

As the shining silver of loose cement blanketed them, she thought about the undelivered letter.

He held her hand as they walked besides the pulsating heart of the sea. She looked behind for the last time and already their footsteps were fading. Mithila’s eyes became heavy and the beating heart paused for eternity.

-Satarupa Mishra


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