“Pat!!” screamed Larry as he was thrown
out of the car. Patrick lay with his eyes closed and sunk into a different
world. And when he woke up he was at his door at home waiting to leave for
“Carol. I’m getting late. Larr would be here any moment!” said Patrick.
“Happy Anniversary to you too” winked
Carol as she came out of the hallway wearing the skirt that Patrick had gifted
her on their first anniversary. She looked as pretty as ever. Her long curly
hair reaching up to her waist and her hazel colored eyes still made his heart
skip a beat or two. The sweet scent that she wore still made his heart soar.
She was the embodiment of beauty in simplicity and Patrick loved her for that.
“Ohh Darn it! Don’t tell me I forgot this year too” Patrick smiled as he walked up to kiss Carol.
“You look great” he said.
“Oh well” she winked. She had fallen in
love with Patrick when he was just a nervous guy eager to ask her out on a
date. And till today he was the man of her dreams.
“Daddy! Why would you kiss Mommy first!”
said his little princess Emma as she suddenly ran from behind Carol and jumped
into Patrick’s arms. They were a perfect family. Patrick and Carol had been
together ever since college. It was their fourteenth year as a couple and they
not only had Emma with them but also another baby on the way. Carol was four
months pregnant and they couldn’t have been happier.
“Okay.. You need to be home early today. Don’t forget that!” said Carol as she kissed him goodbye with Larry’s incessant honks
at the background.
“Coming!” screamed Pat out of the window
and hugged Emma before leaving for work.
As Patrick drove
away with Larry, he saw Carol and Emma leave for the beach for a day of fun and
It was a packed
day at the diner and it wasn’t until 7 in the evening that the rush subsided.
“Larr. I gotta go. You’ll handle it, won’t you?” Patrick asked as he wore his jacket and got ready to leave.
“Yeah! Sure man. Have fun!” Larry said
as he disappeared back in the kitchen to fetch the next order.
As Patrick took
the bus back home, he called Carol on the land line several times but there was
no answer. Perhaps she was dropping Emma at the baby-sitter’s place he thought
and called her on her cell the next time. But still there was no answer.
"Where are you Carol?” he thought as he
looked out of the bus’s window. It was a beautiful night and the breeze made it
ever more romantic. It was perfect for the night he had planned out. With one
of his hands in his jacket pocket with a ring for Carol, he smiled and thanked
his stars for a wonderful companion like her in his life.
It took about an
hour for Patrick to reach home. He ran up the porch and pushed open the door.
“Carol! Let’s get going honey or we’ll miss our reservation. And yes
I know, I know I’m sorry I’m late” he said as he
walked into the kitchen. But Carol wasn’t there.
“Honey?” he called again and moved
towards the hallway that lined his and Emma’s bedrooms. What lay ahead made his
heart sink. Emma’s beach toys lay strewn on the floor; there was sand all
around and her favourite doll crushed by something heavy. Patrick didn’t even
want to think what this could mean.
“Emma? Carol?” he called out again and
this time the excitement in his voice had given way to fear. He walked slowly
towards his room; the door was left slightly ajar. He took a deep breath and
there they were. Carol lay with her eyes open but lifeless.
“Oh God Carol” Patrick ran to her side
and took her in his arms. She was wearing the same skirt that she had been
wearing in the morning. There were scratch marks all over her body and her face
had been hit repeatedly with something sharp.
“Wake up please” he cried and shook her
as if that would bring her back to life.
His eyes suddenly
caught hold of a part of a cloth. He recognized it instantly; it was Emma’s
dolphin swim suit.
“Emma! Oh God Emma” saying that he
hurried and pulled away the sheet that covered one side of the bed. There she
was, his little angel, lying lifeless still wet and clothes full of sand. There
was a tear drop that seemed to have dried on her cheeks. Everything he valued
in life lay shattered in front of him. His world, his home and the cottage that
they had so lovingly built had now been reduced to ruins. Patrick had lost
everything that made his life worthwhile. He sat there sobbing but nothing
could ever bring them back. Nothing!
And then suddenly
he found himself floating through space with his eyes closed that refused to
open even as he heard his name being called.
“Patrick. Can you hear me? Patrick?”
“Male. Late-thirties blunt force trauma to the head and lungs. Lot
of blood loss” said the Para-medic as they carried
Patrick to the OR. Larry had miraculously escaped being hurt too much as he had
been flung from the car onto the beach. Except a few broken bones he was fine
but Patrick wasn’t so lucky. He was taken to the OR directly and chances of his
survival seemed bleak.
“Patrick. Can you hear me? Patrick?”
“Emma! Oh God Emma!” saying that Patrick
suddenly woke up from a deep slumber and found himself at home. He was in the
same room where Carol and Emma had been killed. He looked around and everything
was just the way Carol had left it when she was alive. He hadn’t been in that
room ever since that fateful day but he was there today. How?
He stood up and
walked out of the room, still in a daze. The accident! He remembered being
turned upside down in the car but he couldn’t recall how he got home and that
too apparently unhurt. He could smell the sea sweet and could feel the mild
breeze. It was silent as if the whole town was deserted. Though there were
people playing in the beach and cars passing by, everything seemed mute to him.
And then suddenly the door flung open and as he turned there they were in front
of him, Emma and Carol.
“Daddy! You’re here! We’ve been waiting for you!” saying Emma ran to him. He couldn’t believe that he was with his
baby. It was unreal but true. Carol however stood there with pain in her eyes.
“I didn’t want this for you” she said
and walked towards him.
“I know. But I think this is what I wanted ever since that day more
than anything else” Patrick said as he realized
what had happened. He kissed her forehead and they went back to being together
again. Hand in hand they walked towards an eternity of togetherness.
The sun set beyond
the horizon and so did the sun of the space between Patrick and his family.
“Time of death 11:35” said the doctor as
they stopped working on Patrick. He was dead and gone but perhaps in a happier
place from there on.