“We couldn’t have a child.” She expressed disappointment as she gathered all her strength to speak.

Tears streamed down his face. His eyes were an endless oasis of tears, they just wouldn’t stop. His hands were trembling as he caressed her forehead. Every second that passed seemed like ages.

“Was it my fault, John?” She lifted her eyes painstakingly to look at him, eye to eye.

“It’s just fate, dear. Our lives are predestined; we cannot change the course of destiny.” He replied as he fought back the tears.

Her face became pale and paler by the moment. He could see that she was struggling to breathe now.

Her lips thinned as they stretched to the corner. She was trying to smile.

“Do you remember when we met each other first?”

John nodded slowly. How could he forget that, it was after all she, who gave him a new reason to live on.

“What would have happened if the corner of my eye hadn’t caught you trying to jump from the balcony?”

90’s was the time of war, everyone was drafted into the army, and so I fought for my country. It was a proud moment to wear the country’s badge. Little did I know that I would come back home as a cripple. My hands were blown away in a mine explosion. When I returned back, I had no home to return to. The concrete building was gone. In place of the doors that lead to my house, only bitter memories were left now. Who would give a job to a cripple like me? I became homeless; I spent years on the road. I was so lifeless. Though I barely managed to move around, I was dead from the inside. One day, I couldn’t take it any longer, so I decided to end this suffering. I would have jumped, only if I hadn’t heard her sweet voice calling out to me.

I froze at her sight. She was so heavenly, so full of life. It was as if the angels of fortune had descended upon me. I felt her warmth as she hugged me; they were the only source of comfort in the horrible cold. It was as if someone had breathed fresh life into me.

“John….JOHN! What happened to you?”

“Just lost in thoughts.” His voice had become hoarse and eyes had become numb from all the crying.

“Our marriage was like a dream to me, walking down the aisle with your hand in mine was so ecstatic. Years of orphanage came to an end; I finally had someone for myself. All the pain and sorrow disappeared when you put that ring on my finger. Both of us had found companionship in each other’s misery.”

“You were my salvation. You filled my empty heart with young love. I too found hope and trust after losing faith in life and god.”

“Was I a good wife, John? Did I let you down somewhere?” The heart rate meter started dropping slowly. John cursed himself at his helpless situation.

“I have had many regrets in the eighty years of life that I have lived so far, but you were the only ray of sunshine amongst all that sadness and rejection. “

“I have no regrets, John. I couldn’t have found someone better than you. You took care of me as if I were your child. I guess that’s why you never longed for a child, and I never felt the lack of a father. You were devoted to me all through this journey. All good things come to an end. This is my time, John. I’ll leave you in some time. I’m not afraid of death; I’m scared that I’ll forget you John. All our beautiful memories, just gone like that. The thought terrifies me.” She shuddered.

John broke down now, with head in his hands. He was sobbing like a baby. A pall of gloom had descended upon the small room.

“So many unsaid apologies and thank you’s, how will I ever repay this gratitude?”

“This is not the time for apologizing John. The end is near. I don’t have much time left now. My clock is ticking fast.”

“I want you to sing me to sleep John. I want to die in your arms. When my eyes close, your face must be the last thing I see. “

He began humming her favorite lullaby. Life ebbed away from her peacefully.

And then it struck him. As a veil of darkness surrounded the room, an aura of paranoia swept through him. The color in her irises had faded. She wasn’t moving any longer. The sun had set upon her, and this time all the stars in the sky had flickered away. Even the moon’s light was horribly pale. It started raining, it is a general belief that when good souls depart, it pours. Her face looked so peaceful in death. As John came back to the sound of the heart monitor beeping a flat tone, he had made peace with her death.

He kissed her one last time. He had never kissed her as passionately as this ever before. He wasn’t kissing her; he was kissing their memories a painful goodbye.

As a strange feeling of loneliness and bereavement engulfed, John now awaited his death. He realized that life was indeed a great showman’s odyssey. You play your part in the circus till your time comes and then the curtains come falling when death calls your name.