I could taste the loss in her voice. Her “Hello..." lingered. It wasn't like her, even though she spoke the same words. The way she always responded when I called. It has been almost a week, but that “Hello..." lingers.
We spoke and somewhere after talking about the heat in our different cities and the familiarity of our different worlds, she said, “You know my mother died?"
“It was a year ago."
A year? We had not spoken for 12 months, when we used to do so at least once or twice a month? I had tried calling a couple of times, and assumed she was traveling on work.
A lot happens in a day. Why did she not let me know? But, then, some sorrows curl up inside. I could understand that.
Our conversation, as always, flowed into other nooks. I can't remember a thing, except that she had lost some of her precious work. I had, too. The more space we have to hog and the more of it we use, the more we lose.
Much later, she said, “Do you know how it happened?" Not the work, but a life of a loved one stilled. She told me. Details. I was a bit breathless. She sensed it. “Are you okay?"
I could not say anything because I was afraid of opening up more wounds. It was a year gone by, she had just about come to terms with it, just about. Not completely. Never will.
I was disoriented, even as I listened.
Silence. “Are you there?"
But I wasn't. I was where she was. I said we'd talk again later. I had to go.
It was waiting to happen and it did. I sobbed uncontrollably. For not being there, not knowing, not sharing. I felt her loss, but I was even more numbed by the realisation that I had lost touch with isolation too. I did not know how it felt not to know. Till that moment. Till the last bits came out tasting of grief.
The “Hello..." still lingers. Like loss unknown to itself.
© Farzana Versey