Ten years ago you died leaving behind a wound in my heart. They say, ‘time heals all wounds.’
Had I known the moments we spent together before you left for the hospital would be our last, I would have stored them. I don’t remember what we talked about but I remember your last promise; a bicycle. I would get a bicycle after you return.
You returned, only not in the way I wanted. You came wrapped in a white sheet, your head shaved. You looked different. ‘Did the hospital make a mistake? Declared the wrong person dead?’ I thought but then I recognised you and something inside me broke.
Mom’s pained expression hurt me more than your cold body, but in her eyes I saw something a twelve year old me could never understand—strength. Years later I realise, it was her resolute determination to live for her kids despite the anguish your absence caused.
Grandfather stood silently, his face expressionless. He bore the heavy burden of conducting the final rites of a son. A burden no father wants to carry.
The world around me shed tears, hugged me, consoled me but everything was too much to process. A father who would never return. My brother, ten-years-old at the time, prayed as tears streamed down his face. He believed God would return you to us. He is not alone. A decade has passed and I still dream of your return.
I dream that one day you will come back, prove us your death was a hoax. You will explain your absence with evidence about some super-secret mission you undertook to save humanity. But I know the truth is harsher, you will never return.
Maybe this dream will become a science-fiction tale I could write.Wherever you are now, I hope you are happy. You live in our heart and our dreams. You live in our words and our memories. You live in us.
– Saaransh Mishra