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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The rarest of the rare truly love another, beyond the tangible into the intangible.

Submitted: March 21, 2016

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Submitted: March 21, 2016



Back and forth, forth and back, back and forth, he rocked in his rocking chair. He hunched forward, eyebrows tightly knitted and his lips forming a firm line. He took in a fresh gust of air and let it out with a melancholic sigh.

He was upset. He always did that when got upset over something. Back and forth, forth and back his rocking chair. His characteristic frown and pensive eyes accentuated his expression of grief.

“What is the matter, Grandpop?” I asked concerned.

“Oh, just my heart- its giving me loads of trouble. Or rather I am giving it. Cholesterol, blockage, and all such dismal maladies of the heart.”

Grandpop had not been keeping well lately. He was a little over eighty and was mighty and strong as ever until recently, when his physical power failed to keep up with his mental strength.

I loved Grandpop dearly and spent most of my time with him. His sorrow was mine. I gently lifted his chin and looked into his eyes. Everything is going to be alright, I gave him a comforting look. He smiled but his eyes were desperate and reflected the turmoil of emotions he was going through. I sat down on his lap and drew him closer to me in an embrace. It was such a beautiful moment, his cold and sweaty palms turned warm as he tightened his grasp around me and my heart flooded with a lovely feeling of comfort and bliss as an impalpable yet undeniable bond formed between us that brought our hearts closer than ever than it had done in years, my grandfather’s last hug.

He never woke up to the rays of the Sun the next day. Our tangible relationship drowned with the rays of the Sun, below the horizon and left me as bleak and gloomy as the ebony night. I ostensibly basked as many others in the afterglow of his life, well-lived and lauded his achievements before his lifeless figure but the bereavement and grief that was rapidly ripping open my heart flowed in my tears.

That night, I slept with my grandma, who was all the more divested. As I tossed and turned in bed unable to sleep owing to the haunting memories of my grandfather, I heard a creak, and then another, and another. This went on in a rhythmic manner. Creak, creak, creak, and creak. Grandma, who was not yet asleep, heard it too and gave me a questioning look. I shrugged my shoulders and pulled my covers a little tighter around me. I tried to fall asleep again. I heard the same creak again, but this time it sounded familiar. I scrunched up my forehead in an attempt to recollect where I had heard that sound. A ball of fear tightened at my throat and a sense of dread filled me as I realised that this was the sound of my grandpop rocking in his rocking chair. I grabbed Grandma’s hand and got out of bed, taking tentative steps to my grandpop’s room.

“Where are we going?” Grandma asked with a nudge.

“Hush, Gran. I’ll tell you later, ok?” I whispered back

As I neared the door to grandpop’s room, the silence that pervade in the atmosphere got even deadlier. The incessant howl of the melancholic street dogs ceased almost immediately and chirp of the crickets lost its cheer. I craned my neck to get a glimpse of my grandpop’s rocking chair and to my utter astonishment, I saw the silhouette of a man in the rocking chair, all hunched up. Plucking my remaining ounce of courage, I got a little closer to the rocking chair pulling my grandma behind me who was gaping in horror. All of sudden, the man in the rocking chair turned to face me… it was grandpop! I screamed with terror and ran out of the room as fast as I ever could, my poor grandma struggling to keep up.

My scream had aroused everyone in the house. Mama, Daddy and little Gwendoline had woken up. My grandma was still quivering with fear from the aftershock and I was aghast. Mama rubbing her sleepy eyes asked what the matter was. I narrated the entire incident.

Daddy with a casual shrug, said, “Grandpop loved you dearly and so did you, so why are you so taken aback to see him after his death. He probably came back looking for you. He loved you more than anyone else, you know?”

He thought we were making up but the fact was no one would ever believe what had truly happened except for those who had experienced it that night.

However, Daddy’s words had a profound effect on me. If I loved grandpop so dearly, why did I run away? Would that have hurt his feelings? These questions were too difficult for my young mind. Every time I thought about them, my thoughts would become a whirlpool of confusion leading to nowhere. It took me long to understand. A bit too long…

Some forty years later, I had three grandchildren of my own. The youngest one, Charlotte was especially fond of me and I devoted most of my time to her. She would visit me every day and share her thoughts, troubles and tales with me. She even brought me bracelets and necklaces and dressed me up as if I were a princess of some South American island. She made me cookies. She read to me and even taught me how to type. Every night (when she lived with me), I caressed her gently and ensured she fell asleep before switching off the lamp. She indeed loved me.

One day, when Charlotte was in school, I felt a sharp pain in my chest. It was an excruciating pain and I could not do more than clutch my chest and groan in pain. I managed to walk a few steps to the sofa and sat down there. Suddenly, the pain eased and it felt so peaceful that I fell asleep. After a while, I felt myself getting lighter by the minute and it got so light at a point in time, it felt as though I was levitating.

“Oh, Gran! What happened?” I could hear Charlotte weeping.

Where was the sound coming from? I looked around. I saw that ceiling fan in such proximity that I was taken aback. I looked down and saw Charlotte holding my hand and weeping. But I, I was here, who was she lying on the sofa? That was me again! How was that possible, I could not fathom anything? I desperately wanted to talk to Charlotte.

“Charlotte! Here dearie, I am here,” I called out.

“Gran, say something!” Charlotte cried.

“Silly girl! I am calling you!” How silly she acted sometimes, I thought.

“Gran, please wake up, please do!”

“I am not sleeping. I am here.” She was still tugging at the hand of my doppelganger.

I was so desperate yet helpless. I could not do anything. Charlotte called her parents and told them about my doppelganger that was fast asleep. All of them were frantic and started to take her outside. They came back after a while, grief stricken, followed by a coffin which was laid near the sofa. They were weeping bitterly. I tried to call them but no one listened.

That night, I went to Charlotte, who was sleeping with her mother, and caressed her. To my surprise, she got startled and screamed when I continued to caress her. Maybe she does not want me anymore, I thought. I, then, switched off the lamp and walked away. She got even more terrified and told her mother,

“Someone was caressing me. It felt just like Gran. See, she even switched off the lamp.”

“Gran loved you dearly and so did you, so why are you so taken aback to see her after her death. She probably came back looking for you. She loved you more than anyone else, you know?” Her mother replied. It sounded familiar.

“No, I don’t want her ghost! She is dead and I don’t want her back!” she wailed.

Ah, the agony I felt upon hearing her words was beyond description. It was not a mere heartache it always used to be. This time it was my whole form, I could not call it a body, felt it. I just kept simmering with despair and helplessness, it was inexplicable.

All of a sudden, it dawned upon me all. Why did I run away from grandpop when I was a little girl? Didn’t I love him a lot? Charlotte too loved me a lot but was both our love truly love or was it restricted to the mortal façade. Was it so shallow that it disappeared along with the burial of our mortal remains? Isn’t love a connection between souls, a bond beyond the body and into the heart, the consciousness? Why then did I fear the immortal of grandpop?

Well, love is way too deep for the human heart and mind to comprehend. Humans love and behind every love there is an ulterior selfish motive no matter how much we deny. The rarest of the rare truly love another, beyond the tangible into the intangible

© Copyright 2018 Srujanee Mishra. All rights reserved.

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