The Separation

by Chandra Sundeep

The Separation

Divorce is painful. It drags, hurts, and kills.

It is excruciating when one’s still a bachelor. And an eligible one at that!

According to the grapevine, I’m a prized catch—a successful public speaker and an accomplished author. I’ve been called a younger version of Ryan Reynolds far more often than I can remember.

A couple of months ago, I was moved to a different place. A temporary home, someone said. Yet, there’s nothing temporary or homely about this place. Indeed, it is sterile. Better. Safer.

And yet, it remains cold and unwelcoming.

Days and nights drag slower than ever. Nothing changes ever. Nada. Zilch. I open my eyes; I shut them close. Everything remains the same.

Naked white walls. A labyrinth of tubes. The steady humming of machines. A sickeningly sweet odour.

And amidst all this lies my body. As still as a mattress. Desperately seeking a separation from its unconsenting partner, my soul.

Not an inch of my body moves. Except, of course, my eyes. One blink for yes, two for no. But they also convey much more…my thoughts, fears, and worries. Unfortunately, nobody can decipher this language.

The machine’s monotonous drone has now become my lullaby. The myriad pipes running all over me are a puzzle I can’t seem to crack. Feeding from a tube. Painkillers through a tube. Pissing into a tube.

It’s a pitiful presence. A worthless existence.

I’ve become like the walls. Dull. Insignificant. Unnoticed.

Memories crawl inside me, taking me on a journey far from the present. To the world that was once mine. To a time when my life mattered. Until…

Rainy day. Slippery roads. Loud crash. A flash of light. Darkness. Screams.

Horrendous screams.

And then nothing but silence.

Dreadful silence.

Initially, there was a never-ending stream of visitors. Friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours. They were here, but I was far away from them. Their words, pitiful smiles, and hollow consolations fuelled my rage. Their presence left an unpleasant aftertaste on my tongue.

I craved company. I wished to be left alone.

My wishes were fulfilled sooner than I expected.

Visitors vanished. Friends forgot about me. And family, well, what can I say about them?

I don’t hate them. I understand it’s painful watching a loved one fade away.

But my best friend’s betrayal has broken me.

How could my words desert me? What’s my life without them?

Empty. Broken. Senseless.

The doctor’s words, however, don’t leave me alone. They haunt me and torment me. They ring in my ears, day in and day out. A pathetic nonstop reminder.

Locked-In Syndrome. Incurable. Permanent life support.

My unspoken words beg to be heard. I blink feverishly, conveying my only desire – I want out.

For the first time, I can’t wait to reach my destination. This journey is not worth remembering. My body needs its partner’s consent sooner than ever.

I am sure hope I can get it.

One day. 



This story, The Separation, was first published on Penmancy here. It garnered a high score and was ranked amongst the top stories of the month.


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