I was waiting for her to arrive. The cold gripped me and I wanted to return home but somehow I wanted to believe what the locals had said about her. They had said that she is still waiting for me. Although I was wearing an overcoat and a wind cheater, the rummy breeze smacked against my face as if a thousand needles were being injected into my exposed skin. I rubbed my hands and waited. I had to meet her. Suddenly a car passed by and it was a trekker, which quickly bypassed me and went downhill.
It was over three hours that I waited now and it was a little past midnight. The darkness was my friend. I was watching the trees swaying in the gentle breeze and the mountains enveloped everything as far as I could see. I was sitting on the rock and waiting for her to come. I flashed my torch to see the end of the meandering road that came down the mountain.
I opened the flask and poured some coffee and sipped it a bit. It restored my senses and kept me alive in the cold. She had once promised me that she would come so she would. I would wait for her till eternity.
Around quarter to one, I realized that the fog had started to float in, but it was not heavy as I could still see the end of the meandering road. It was then that I realized that someone was walking slowly down the road. I quickly adjusted my spectacles and watched intensely. It was then that I realized it was her. I flashed my torch on her face and she quickly covered her face with her hands, just to avoid the glare of the intense light. She was wearing the same dress, the blue jacket and jeans. I had to believe that it was her. This fact slowly crept into me, and I couldn’t control myself.
I dropped the flask and started running after her.
I shouted out, “Wait Jasmine, wait for me!”
It suddenly reminded me of the olden days where she would challenge me to catch up with her, and I would test the strength of my legs. She realized that I was running and she was laughing and started running away from me. Nothing could stop me getting to my love. I realized she was running on her toes just like the way I had taught her. So I started running as fast as I could. I ran, towards her, spellbound. I remembered the way she would encourage me to catch up with her, as she ran on the white sands of the Radhanagar Beach in the Andamans, the place where we had visited.
Then I realized that a dog was barking behind me. Was it Jimmy, my pet dog? So I stopped as the barking grew louder and nearing me. I suddenly turned around expecting Jimmy to jump on to my lap and lick my face. But nothing of that sort happened. The barking and the laughing had both subsided. I could only hear my own heavy breath. My nostrils were paining. The cold numbness of my aching limbs had just subsided as fresh blood had been pumped in my veins. When I flashed my torch searching for Jimmy he was just not there. So I turned around hoping to catch up with Jasmine, but what I found was beyond my expectation. Drops of perspiration was welling out from my forehead and my senses became alive.
I realized, I was standing on the edge of the cliff and with another step I would have lost myself to Jasmine! The light of my torch over the depths of the deep gorge and of the dense foliage underneath, showed me a sign of exit to eternity. She and Jimmy had come and disappeared just like that. I had somehow stopped taking that final step. A tricky question was actually popping out of nowhere. Who was more faithful? Was it Jasmine who was wanting me to join her for eternity or was it Jimmy wanting me to continue. I realized a dog is a man best friend! Jimmy had remained faithful, in life and in death.
Well, it was seven years since I had lost both Jimmy and Jasmine in a road accident on the mountains of Darjeeling and, according to the locals, on that day every year, they would come to look for someone they love. Drops of tears had been flowing slowly on my cheeks and I had returned home despondent as ever, thinking of how I would miss the free flowing innocent laughter of Jasmine and the intense barking of Jimmy.
It had taken another seven years to let them go by! I guess I had learnt the hard way. After that I had learnt to let them go. Hope had helped me learn the hard way, that death is not the solution to everything. After all, let me give life another chance. Till now, I had tried to live selfishly and loved in my own terms. Now, I would dedicate this life for living and dying for others. Jimmy showed me the way, do I have a choice?