He looked on as the sun set. The same image that backdropped innumerable memories. His gaze wandered around the three walled shack. This was their favourite place. Isolated, and overlooking most of the world they knew. They would wait until the sun set, and then climb back down to the city. The orange light was slowly fading away. He couldn’t remember the last time they had decided to meet here this late. There would definitely be something important she wanted to say.
He looked back at the sun. It was seconds away from sinking below the horizon. He reached his hand out, as if to catch it. To hold it there until she comes, just so she can watch it, even if it would be for the thousandth time. He noticed it was drizzling. It felt like a cool layer of morning dew forming over his hand. He waited in daydream, until the stars began to appear in the sky, along with the city lights below.
Just when he began to wonder if he should worry about her, she walked up to the door. Greetings that could not be said in words were exchanged as she waited there. He could tell from when he first saw her that something was different. Her face seemed naked without the smile that he was used to seeing. And as most other things, it was more beautiful that way.
He stood up, and broke the silence, without ever breaking eye contact.
“What took you so long?”
Anxious, though he was, he would have to wait for her to tell him her way.
She walked up to him and said, “It’s not what you think.”
“You’re so sure you know what I think?”
“Maybe I don’t. But I’m sure I know the things you won’t think, and this is one of them.”
She turned toward the window, and said “I like the night better, don’t you? It brings out our true characters. We can be just who we want to be, and there’s no one around to bother us. Night is for those who are different, and some of those who want to be.” He didn’t say anything, knowing that she would then get to the point faster.
She turned to face him again. And then she kissed him. And even that was different. So different that he couldn’t even begin to identify what was different about it. It wasn’t warm; it reminded him of the drizzle outside. Like cool morning dew. He could still unmistakably identify her though, and that was definitely a good thing.
“You love me.” He was tempted to answer, but he knew it wasn’t a question.
“We swore that we’ll stay together, whatever it takes. But I’m not gonna hold you to that.” she continued. He opened his mouth, but she didn’t give him enough time to realise that he hadn’t found words yet. “My life changed completely yesterday. More than I could ever imagine. And now, you’re going to have to make a choice. If you chose to stay with me, you’ll have to let go of everything else you have, and everything you know. We’ll have to leave this place, leave everyone you know behind. Leave behind your life, your dreams, your whole world. And you will most probably also end up leaving behind who you are.
“So, you can leave yourself, or …” He had already completed the sentence. “I’m not leaving you. I’d like to stick to every promise I made. I meant all that I said. I’m prepared to let go of everything you need me to, as long as I understand the reasons why I must.” She moved closer, and said almost in his ear, “And that, I promise, you will.” ending in just a whisper.
She kissed him again. This time, he couldn’t even identify her. As he was trying to figure out how she changed so suddenly, who she was now, and where she might want him to go, she moved down to his neck, and bit so hard that he gasped and opened his eyes. He tried to jerk himself away, but her grip was too strong. He noticed how fast he was breathing, and then suddenly noticed that she wasn’t breathing at all. He made sense of it now, the choice he had just made. His heart was racing, but he knew hers wouldn’t be beating at all. Now that he knew what she was doing, he could feel the life being sucked out of him.
The world around him slowly faded away, until all he could see was black. Had life already left him? He must have thought out loud, because he heard her say: “Life will leave, but death won’t come.”
He couldn’t move, and he couldn’t see, but he could still hear her, and he could still talk in whispers. “You lied to me.”, he said.
“You said I would understand…..”
“And you will. Besides, if I had told you everything, you still wouldn’t have chosen any differently.”
“What makes … you so sure?”
“Because the only other option you had…” She moved closer to finish the sentence. “..was death.”
He was suddenly afraid. Afraid of her, of the world, of being so helpless right now. But fear too, was fading away along with his consciousness.
“How do you know I wouldn’t have chosen to die?” he asked, and he meant it.
“Because you fear death more than anything else. Because you don’t believe in heaven.” She paused. “And even if you would have chosen death, you won’t want to choose it anymore. And if you do, death is always an option. You’re only immortal.” She was right. He wouldn’t choose to die now, if given the choice. Maybe he was already changing. She spoke again: “Trust me. Go to sleep. When you wake up, you won’t be thinking about it anymore. You’ll look at the whole world differently.”
“When will I…..” he realised he couldn’t talk anymore.
And then she sang him a lullaby.