Come back, my love. (A short story)

A light, melodious tune flowed through the air. For a while, I thought it’s the neighbours trying to liven up their lives for a little bit. But as usual, the sounds come from the weird, music guys practicing downstairs. Jambo’s is what they call themselves. Pretty funky name. They also call themselves a jazz group. Music seems weird to me. Strumming on a random object just to make the air wiggle in a certain way seems like a futile effort. But the music that the Jambo’s play is something different. It’s not extremely pleasing per se, but it their music doesn’t hinder my train of thought and irritate me.

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I open my eyes, its evening. With the setting sun, the lights around the street come alive. I walk around the room for a while, aimlessly. Eli isn’t awake yet. But a certain looming feeling of solitude seeps in. I go up to Eli to find her missing from the bed. It’s not unusual to find Eli missing from where she’s supposed to be. She always does that, leaves when I’m sleeping and comes back later in the day. It’s weird. I’ve never questioned where she goes, maybe it would be an invasion of her privacy. But its heart wrenching.

I’ve dared to ask once, but she refused to tell me.
You won’t understand Yukio, You can calm down.” Is what she said.
But I can’t stop myself from thinking about it a lot.

Eli is a beautiful person. She’s one of a kind. Other than being around her, there’s no place I’d rather be. She’s quirky, very moody and sensitive. She’s the kind of person who would get upset over the pettiest of things. She once got sad because a stranger didn’t acknowledge her “Bless you” to his sneeze.
I remember how she sulked the whole day.

What’s wrong with putting a little kindness into someone’s day?” she said as she wept with her arms around me. “Couldn’t he just smile back? A thank you would be wonderful.” She complained.

She’s magnificent, the most generous person in the world. She’s my favorite person in the world. Strangers might not acknowledge her sweetness, but I never miss a chance to acknowledge her presence. I never miss a chance to embrace even the crudest of thoughts in her mind. Her quirks, flaws, acne (which she spends weeks complaining about) and her elegant personality is what I try to embrace to the fullest. She’s the tiny, immaculate, essential piece of stardust floating around in this dying void of a universe. A glimmer of hope. She’s that exceptionally gorgeous stranger you never get the guts to talk to. She’s precious. But it’s tough to figure her out sometimes.

She’s a gorgeous enigma. A riddle to open the gates of heaven. She behaves erratically at times. When she’s sad, she’ll talk a lot. I’m more a listener and she loves that. She’s always grateful that I pay heed to her continuous complaints. But to be honest, I love listening to her. It’s another puzzle piece. With every word I listen, I’m a step closer to figuring her out. When she’s happy, she’ll keep jumping around. Her happiness has become a major source of my happiness too. I can’t help but smile, giggle whenever I find her jumping around, dancing. I never miss a chance to dance along with her. But there are times when she gets sad, but doesn’t talk. She shuts herself off. That’s what kills me. Sometimes when she is happy, she gets sadder. It’s tough figuring out this state of mind. Happiness to me feels like binary. You’re either happy, or sad.
But the way she behaves has me concerned at times. Maybe I’m not mature enough for her.

She isn’t at home most of the time. Which is understandable, she has to go. She works day and night to put food on the table. I offer help, I’m always ready to go along with her. But she refuses. She’s very diligent. She hunts every day, works extremely hard to fend for us. I can’t express in words how thankful I am for her presence.
But there are days when she comes late. I try to inquire, but she is always devoid of excuses.

You won’t understand Yukio, I know you missed me.” Is what she always says as she hugs me. The hugs are genuine. Her warmth, soft touch makes all the concern vanish every time.

Recently, she comes late more often. I can’t help but think about where she has been. My mind races whenever she’s not around. Morbid and dirty thoughts fill my mind. But she always solves everything with a hug every time.

But today feels different. “She’s not coming back.” says my mind as I stare at her unmade bed. She has been very sad lately. She has also been pretty distant. She hardly talks. She spends most of her time outside and when she’s home, she sleeps. On the days when she’s at home all day, she sleeps till the evening. She’s out most of the day after that. She’s always tired enough to not hang around at the end of day. Often times I feel like she’s grown tired of me. Maybe I’m boring, maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe she has found someone better. Someone a tad bit more handsome. Someone competent and obeying. Even though I love her unconditionally, it isn’t enough. Often times I’m convinced that she’s going to leave. She does leave at times, unannounced, but she comes back when I’m asleep.

But today is different, today is bad. The lights on the street are dimmer. The air around is thicker. She’s gone. She’s not coming back.
If only I knew where she goes every day, I could go searching for her. But she wouldn’t want that. She wouldn’t want me to come searching for her. She wouldn’t want me to worry about her. Worry from my side is a worry for her too. She’s the kindest, the most precious little woman who walks this earth. Maybe I deserve to be alone, maybe I didn’t love her enough.

It’s a sad day. Her absence gives a whole new meaning to solitude. There’s something off about life when she’s not around. The tiny lights surrounding the wall of images she shot seems ugly without her touch. The room seems dense and suffocating. I walk to the kitchen and stare at the drawers and the floor she once stood on. I could feel her hand reaching out to that steel handle of the drawer as she willfully and gleefully prepared dinner. If I only I loved her more, if I only I talked. If only I talked instead of listening.
My ears long to hear those three words. Those three words that always made me smile. The words that always made me feel alright. She knew how it made me feel. The words that made listening worth it. The words that expressed her undying love. The words, which I’m unsure if it were a lie or not.

I sit at the window she used to sit at always. With a book in hand, she always seemed peaceful at this spot. Which made it my favorite spot. She always hummed the tune the Jambo’s play as she turned over to a new page of the book. I try to look for her from the window. Try recognizing her from the silhouettes of people walking by on the street. A futile effort. In a strange move, I call out her voice. Maybe if she is around, she might come back.

“Come back” I whimper to the lonely street.

But alas, she’s the dream I can’t continue once I’m awake. I walk back to the sofa. Watch the door. As I look around, a certain kind of sadness takes over me. The jambo’s still seemed to be practicing, but the sound seems weird this time. I hear her voice, the three words lingering. It’s depressing. I lie down on the sofa, close my eyes, pretending it would make everything alright.

Wherever she is, I hope she’s happy.” I say with a whimper. “Come back
I wish I could hug her one last time. I could express how much I love her. How much she means to me. How grateful I am for her presence. Hear her say those three words.” I speak to the melodious wiggly air.
Soon, the music stops. Silence takes control of the air. It’s not peaceful, but heart wrenching. The feeling I got when she came back after a long time, but had no excuses for her excursion. She’s gone. No more questions.
Its tough, I don’t think I can ever move on. Those three words still linger through my mind as I wonder if there’s a point in going on.

Suddenly, I hear a sound of someone unlocking the door. In a split-second I find myself running to the door. Eli is at the door. Looking as radiant as ever. I don’t stop to admire her and pounce on her as soon as she steps through the doorway. She hugs me tight. As usual, the warmth, her soft touch melts every shard of pain embedded in my heart. She holds me for what seems like an eternity. I refuse to let go.

With her arms around me she says those three words, and i can’t contain myself. I cry like a baby (or a puppy) , whimper relentlessly. “Hey, Good boy.” She says as runs her fingers across my fur.
Where have you been?
Where do you go, Eli?
I love you so much.” “Please don’t leave again.” “I promise I’ll be a good boy.” I cry to her and she giggles.

Sorry for leaving you yukio, I had some work. You won’t understand.” she says to me as she caresses my fur. She boops her nose with mine.
I need to know.” “I’ve got to know.” “You need to tell me right now.” “Please don’t leave again” I cry as I jump on her and refuse to let go.

Hey, you won’t understand my good boy. But I’ll have you know, I got selected in a band. Do you understand music? I bet you don’t. Anyways, I’m a part of the Jambo’s baby!” she says to me and I feel the happiness she’s trying so hard to contain burst through her skin.

We spend the whole day together. I refuse to leave her side this time around. Every second I’m expressing my love, my loyalty and gratefulness. She feeds me and calls me a good boy. But what makes my day, is to see her dancing again. Dancing because she’s happy.
Today, she’s genuinely happy. I thought she used to go hunting to bring me food. But apparently, she uses wiggly air to bring me food. Which is weird.
Music isn’t useless after all. It brings me food. It made my Eli happy. The two things I need in life.

She hums the tune the Jambo’s play as she jumps on her bed with joy.
Music is weird.

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