by Damyanti Ghosh
She has woken up early today, feeling strangely empty. She buries her face further into the pillow and reaches out for that familiar feeling, the feeling that makes her tremble and spill out in tears every time she thinks of the day they'd met for the last time.
He had come into town just that morning, tired, jet-lagged. She had waited for him at a coffee-shop. When he came in she had made as if to rise, and he had bent to kiss her, but not quite made it. In the end they'd both sat down, not touching.
She can't remember what they talked about, only that she was getting late, the strawberry slush she'd ordered was freezing her lips, and she was hugging her arms. He'd never driven back to the airport immediately after driving into town from it, he'd said, and offered to drop her to the airport where she was going to receive her fiancé.
He'd joked about how it was he who should have been the one taking her on her first flight out of the country, but he was at least delivering her to the man who would. He was wearing spectacles instead of the usual contacts, and she'd been conscious of how they must look like to others, her twenty-three years against his fifty-six.
She remembers the sun on his tousled, peppery hair, his white shirt, the people at the airport, his wave as he walked away, how she had met her fiancé with a kiss. All of that.
But try as she might, she cannot recapture that one thing she's striven so long to forget: that surge of pain, that acute awareness of him that has always pushed against her heart. And just like that, he is gone.
© 2008 Damyanti Ghosh
Creative process: Damyanti Ghosh : I have often seen the moment of falling in love depicted accurately - I wanted to capture the moment of falling out of love, which is subtler. I do not know if it is a process or a moment. It could be a process leading up to a moment.
I usually describe the film inside my head as I write. Most of the time it seems to be done by my pen, not my brain, so there is no particular creative thought process as such. The image that set this particular film running was the memory of a girl sitting alone at a coffee-shop, hugging herself.
Damyanti Ghosh is an established freelance writer, writing for various websites and magazines, who is now trying to figure out a way to step into fiction: a field she has touched before, but never professionally. She has written poetry for quite some time now, and hopes to become a writer some day: not just a published author, but a real writer in the truest sense of the word.