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Monday, May 7, 2012

The second paragraph

“What a perfect couple!”
John and Maggie Simpson’s neighbors complimented them time and again. They had been joyfully wedded for eleven years. All their acquaintances praised their triumphant matrimony and some even envied them. Life was moving at a gradual pace and then, one day, John had to go to France on a business trip for two weeks. As he was a painter, he had to meet some buyers there. She went to bid him farewell at the airport.
“Let’s take a picture, John. I want to capture this moment.”
“At the airport? Is it allowed?”
“It’s your first Europe trip. Now, don’t be a pain in the ass and go, stand there.”
She requested an unenthusiastic French woman to click a shot. Seconds later, she looked at the screen of the digital camera and frowned.
“Oh! I look okay but that tourist only clicked half of your face in the picture.”
He looked at it and smiled. “Honey, you’re my better half. Even if my face is half in the pic, you make the pic better.”
Smiles. Laughs. Hugs. Kisses. Farewell. A tear drop.
Three weeks passed by. Upon returning from the trip, John found that the atmosphere in the house was a bit peculiar. The flowers in the garden seemed unattended and inside the house, all the curtains were closed. A thick layer of dust covered most of the furniture as if it hadn’t been cleaned for weeks. And then he saw Maggie lying on the bed.
“What happened Maggie? You got really sluggish huh! The house is chaotic.”
Few more steps towards her and he exclaimed, “Oh! You’re dreadfully pale, are you unwell honey?”
A frail voice answered, “You finally came?”
“Of course I did. Where else would I go?”
“I thought you would…”
“I would what?”
“Are you sick?”
“No. Little weak, I guess.”
And so they chatted for a while and he told her all about the trip and Paris. He noticed that she was a little preoccupied and unfocused.
Poor thing, she had to stay in this big house, all by herself for two weeks. She must be depressed. None of them were hungry so they skipped the dinner that night. When he felt her body in the bed it was stiff and cold as ice.
“Did you go to the doctor Maggie?”
“The doctor can’t heal me honey. Go to sleep.”
She didn’t throw a single word after that. He thought she was probably tired and they both fell asleep.
“Seems like I slept for eternity,” he exclaimed after waking up at 11 the next morning.
“Ya, I also slept like forever.”
“You still look so pale. Come on let us go to the doctor.”
“I told you John, I don’t want to go to the doctor. I don’t want to step foot outside the house.”
“But today’s Sunday. We’ve got to go the church at least.”
Her face turned grim. “There’s nothing left for me at the church now. I have made peace with god. I want to sleep some more.”
“End of conversation.”
He kept wondering why she behaved so weirdly. Without uttering a word he went to the living room. In there he saw torn pieces of newspaper all over the floor. In curiosity, he put the pieces together and began to read. One of the headlines read: Suicide at the local lake. What he was going to read now was about to change everything in the next nine seconds. It was mentioned in the article that a woman had committed suicide by drowning in a local lake. It further read that the lady’s name was Maggie Simpson. There was a picture of Maggie’s dead body. It was her. He felt as if someone just pulled out his soul and ripped into a million pieces.
His mind went numb and his eyes got fuzzy. The pain one feels when someone is hammering their brain, he felt that.
“No, how could this be? Am I dreaming?”
Flooded with tears, he sat lifeless on the kitchen floor. Suddenly, he heard footsteps. She was coming down the stairs. As she entered the room he crawled back a few steps as if in fear. But was that a fear of seeing a ghost or a fear of losing a loved one? The answer was invisible. She saw the torn pieces of newspaper assembled together on the floor and her eyes drowned in tears. He was too scared to look into her eyes. He dragged his body under a table; shaking with horror. He barely gathered enough courage to look at her feet.
Her teary voice mumbled, “I didn’t want it…to end like this John. I don’t know if you are not meant for me or I am not meant for you. Or may be love is not meant for us.”
A pale faced John asked in a shaky voice, “What is going on? Who are you?”
“I’m a ghost haunted by your love, John.”
“This can’t be. This can’t be. You are not Maggie. My Maggie would never kill herself. She would never leave me.”
“No, I didn’t leave you.”
“You left me John. You left me.”
A thousand bursting cannons in a dead night would have echoed lesser in his ears than that “you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you read the whole news article John?”
“I read the first paragraph.”
“Read the second one.”
He quickly picked up the newspaper pieces and began to read frantically. The second paragraph stated: What appears to be the cause of this suicide is her personal tragedy. She had just suffered her husband’s loss few days ago. He had passed away in a plane crash, returning from Paris. There were no survivors in that horrible accident.

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