“Come on mate, don’t get so stressed okay? Everything will be fine.”, Ben tried to comfort me. I stared away from my bed, blankly, gazing outside the window of my cabin in the hospital, a cabin which had become my home for more than two months, finding nothing but emptiness. “Hey, come on – don’t break down so early. You have a long way to go mate. Just let docs operate you.” “Don’t try to give me false assurance Ben. I know you want to relieve me out of stress but sadly it isn’t helping. I know this is incurable and I have got no hope. All I can get is a few more days, hours, minutes than normal.” My voice trembled as I spoke. I knew it was unbelievable to me as well but this was the truth and I had no other choice than accepting it.
Ben buried his face in his hands with a hopeless sigh. He finally rose up and gave a pat on my back and slowly his tall figure with stooping shoulders disappeared from the room. I was left alone. Not alone, but the window of my room was with me. During all these days of loneliness, better to say last days of my life, the window was the one who accompanied me whole day long – rather guarding me from falling into utter darkness. I knew it was nothing unusual – death is a reality just as the Sun rising in the East. Being a bachelor and with an unhappy love life I had no bindings of family as well. But I was sad. I didn’t want to lose the window – the outside world, the world full of joy and life, only a glimpse of which the window gave me.
Suddenly I felt a touch on my feeble hand. I looked up and found Jin standing. I couldn’t believe she would come as we had separated three years back and I hardly had any contact with her for months. She sat down beside me and we both remained silent for long. Ultimately she broke the silence by clearing her throat.
“Why didn’t you tell me Vin?”
“I… Well, I didn’t want you to unnecessarily get bothered about a worthless fellow like me.”
“You really believe that I think about you on that line?”
“I don’t think anything. I just don’t care anymore about anything. I have come alone in this world and go away alone as well. I have no grudges against you or anyone in this world. All I want to remember now is the good things that happened in my rotten life – and I must say most of them are centered around you.”
A drop of tear rolled down from the corner of my eye as I uttered those words. Jin leaned on my shoulder and started weeping silently but uncontrollably. I just couldn’t say anything – it seemed that the thought of approaching death was detaching me from all the worldly ties I had – whatever left of it. I knew I had a subconscious pain buried inside me regarding Jin – but all was passing by when I saw her sorry for all that happened. I was feeling a strange sense of relief – feeling like a free bird.
I looked at the window. It seemed it was smiling at me too, saying, “Look, you were afraid of losing happiness because you always wanted it! Now that you have got happiness from inside – do you fear anymore?” Strangely enough, my fear was disappearing little by little as well. The more I felt satisfied, the more I was feeling complete. To let go all the grudges, pain was filling my heart with an inexplicable satisfaction.
Meanwhile Jin composed herself and found me staring at the window again. She held my hand firmly and said with a firm voice, “I am not going to lose you again Vin.” I was shocked to hear that. I was overjoyed and in utter dismay at the same time. Her words again brought back the feeling of dilemma – dilemma of losing the inner happiness of renouncing all worldly ties vs the worldly happiness of getting tied. I was again stuck at the same question – renunciation or hope, which one to rely? Jin was holding me back here and it seemed I was falling into the worldly dismay again. I just couldn’t give up the “hope” – “hope” to find happiness with the person I love, “hope” to live more in this world.