She picked up the strewn pieces of her life with great panache. I’m sure she grieved for her loss. But she didn’t let it overwhelm her. At least, for not beyond a few miserable weeks when she woke up sobbing at 3 am, unable to sight the rubber slippers she always associated with him.
It was a rude shock, like it sometimes is. Just the other day, they were discussing salad dressing techniques over breakfast and two days later, she returned to an empty home, with swollen eyes and wads of tissue.
She dreamt of him often. Always sighed when there was no one sitting next to her to enjoy the purple sunset with. A couple of evenings, she even laid out his place on the dinner table. Partially, out of habit, partially, she was hoping against hope.
But she moved on. And with grace. She slowly, but determinedly, resigned to the fact that perhaps there would be no one who would look at her questioningly every time she returned from a shopping binge. And then compliment her on the great earrings she had picked! His compliments had meant the most to her. Probably because he wasn’t ever superfluous with them.
There were, no doubt, some weak moments. She missed his measured words of caution each time she stepped out for a late-evening drive with the gal-pals. But mostly, she missed how she was, when she was with him. Dealing with the memories wasn’t too painful. She struggled with the fact that henceforth, there wouldn’t be any more with him.
She shifted to a different city. Packing and moving and settling down into the place kept her on her toes for a while. She began taking a lot more weekend trips, outside the city, to ease herself out of her comfort zone. She attended drama classes in the evenings, going back to her childhood dream of being a performing artist. She watched a lot of movies, even those that they had once enjoyed together. She made it a point to regularly be in touch with her mother and aunt.
And she survived. She learnt to smile within a few weeks. That got replaced with a bigger grin in the next few months. And eventually, the laughs and giggles followed. It didn’t hurt to remember him. She had learnt to live in the moment. That had always been his words of advice for her. “Live in the moment. Everything else is transitory.”
It was painful that this learning had come to her only once she lost her father. That was probably one of her biggest regrets. The universe had extracted too great a price.