The Anniversary

Prologue:

LongCreek, Sunnyvale, Tx.
1976

The Texas state fair was nearing and preparations for our participation were about to start. I was 16 back then & I worked at my fathers garage after school everyday. Our garage was the only place In the long distant neighborhood where restorations of old cars were done along with minor modifications. Dad was pretty famous for his art with automobiles back in the day, I was just a beginner who was eager to learn the trick of the trade.

We took part in the state fare regularly but this time dad wanted to use it as an medium to expand his business. The plan was good with us putting up some of our best work on view and both dad and me explaining the technical side of it, the only problem was we didn’t have a person who could multitask between keeping the accounts and managing the reception at the fair. Hence, we put up an vacancy sign up for the job as we had decided to hire someone who was good enough to do the job. That move changed my life a couple of days later, when a certain girl named Bethany Curtis walked in for the Interview.
Bethany was an instant selection, she just wasn’t good to the eye but she was way good at the work than we had expected any candidate to be. Her inclusion to our two man team was a shot in the arm. Added advantage for dad was that I had started working harder for reasons that were quite evident to me falling for Bethany (It was only ages later that I had come to know about Bethany taking up the Interview because she had liked me). I started going out with her soon, dates to the local diner and the lake had become a routine for us. Most of the guys around me were either jealous or dumbstruck thinking why a girl as beautiful as Bethany would date a guy as ugly as me? But then she never cared what others had thought, she had always been the one to follow her heart.

The fair started with a bang and we were one of the most successful business’ at the fair that year. Bethany managed to do her job better than what we had thought at first, No one left our Stall without a word of praise for dad’s works and Bethany herself. On the last day of the fair I took her to the lake, fingers entwined we spoke of an better future, of love and life. In that moment when I kissed her, I knew I had met my soul mate. I was sure it wasn’t a summer romance, It was one that would last the lifetime.

Couple of months later In early September of the year 1979, I lawfully wedded Bethany, my love, my soul mate.

The Anniversary

Manhattan NY,
9th September 2001.

I woke with a startle the clock had struck mid-night. I check if she was still asleep and quietly slid out of bed. I opened the cupboard and fetched an gift from it. It was Diamond studded bracelet which I had picked to start this day off (and a Diamond ring to go with later). As I returned, I saw her sitting upright on the bed smiling in my direction. She sure did knew me too well.

“I thought we had decided on No surprise gifts this year.” She said.

“Oh! Beth, you know me well, I just couldn’t control myself.” I replied.

“I sure do know you well Honey, So I got you something too” She said as she pulled a small wrapped box from behind her pillow and smiled at me.

It was a beautiful watch that she had gifted me, She had always know that I had a thing for watches.

“I love you and Happy Anniversary Sweetheart” I said to her and pulled her in my arms before I kissed her as passionately as I had kissed her on the lake that night when I had proposed to her 25 years ago.

At 41, both me and Beth were celebrating our 25th anniversary of a successful and romantic matrimonial alliance.
A lot had changed since we had got married. The next summer we had our first daughter Abigail and four years later our younger daughter Charity was born. Dad had passed away 7 years ago courtesy a cardiac arrest but not before he made his dreams come true. Our business had flourished from where we had started and we had expanded on national levels. We moved from Texas to New york for better prospects where we currently had our head office.
Charity was completing her college degree in Virginia so she stayed away for most part of the year while her elder sister Abigail was already betrothed to her boyfriend James and was settled with him in the London across the face of the world.

We might have been married for 25 wonderful years now but the romance still kept us young. Beth looked as beautiful as he had ever looked, no signs of aging, her beauty gave the term “Timeless beauty” a whole new definition. We sat and chatted for most of the night, revived old memories, had a good laugh before we drifted in the beauty of our romance making love just the way two lovers do for the first time. Never did I had felt for a minute in the last 25 years that our love had been lost, she was just not my wife, Beth was my best-friend, My soul-mate.

It was 6 am when I woke up, Beth had already taken her bath and was on the phone, I saw her tuck a strand of her hair behind her ears as she ended the call & though, Oh! my god she is so beautiful.

“Its a bit of a bad news honey” She said.

“What happened love? Is everything all right?” I inquired.

“Well, after Abby not getting a ticket In time for her flight here, Even Char wont be able to make it for our anniversary celebrations this year.” She sounded genuinely upset as he said that.

“I guess, Its just the old man and his wife tonight celebrating their 25th anniversary in the hut. We could do some not so old people kind of stuff, if you know what I mean” I joked with a smile and a wink.

“Its been 25 years now darling, When are you going to change? Didn’t we do some of it last night?” She sure knew how to trade rocks for bricks.

We both had a good laugh at that and moments later I still managed to drag her into the bath tub with me, accompanied by a chilled bottle of champagne. She sure did knew me as well as anyone could have known but I had some tricks up my sleeve for this special day. The kids were never gonna miss it, Both Abbey and char were in the city a couple of days ago and I had them assigned specific tasks for the big surprise.

I was going to renew my wedding vows with Beth.

The plan was simple, I was going to drive Beth to her work place and make sure she stayed there till evening, while the kids could sneak home and make the preparations for the event in the evening. Only close friends were invited and I had got professional people to decorate the house and take care of the food. Kids just had to make sure that all of that was done on time with utmost perfection. The plan was helped with the fact that Beth had an early meeting planed for that day and had to reach the office an hour before her usual time.

By 7 am we both were racing each other to getting dressed and occasionally bumping into each other for the exchange of  tender soft kisses. I saw her getting dressed and was lost into admiration of her beauty all over again. On the canvas of life, She had to be god’s very own masterpiece. Such mesmerizing was her beauty.

I was to drive her to her office which was situated in the lower Manhattan area In a constructive man made master piece, which were the tallest man made structures in the world, It had more than 100 floors to it. I remember Beth coming home and praising the view her office had of the entire Manhattan on numerous occasions from the North tower.

By 7:50 am we got into our car and drove silently for a while, listening to some of our favorite songs with her head resting on my shoulders. Perfect start to a long day I thought.
By 8:15 am we were in walkable distance of her office. I parked our car some 300 yards away from her office buildings near a local diner to have breakfast first. But she wasnt in the mood for breakfast, Instead chewing on my lower lips was chosen. I did the least to resist when she in the mood. We sat there in the car, kissing and embracing each other like young kids these days for the next 15 minutes, not caring about the world that went by. In those few minutes, My world was better than the thought of heavens.
She checked her watch at 8:30 and smile at me, I knew it was time for her to leave and I had dreaded that. I wanted to be with her as much but I guess a few moments of separation would be worth it for the wonderful evening that we were about to have later that day. We got out of the car and walked the 300 yards hand in hand like love birds until we stood just across her office gates.

“So, I guess this is it Honey” I said.

“For now, yes this is it. So what are you going to do till I get back home.” She asked with a smile.

“Oh, I am not going home sugar, I might stick around here and try to flirt with some young woman who might be working in your office, as I wait till your day ends”, I joked.

“If you fall for a woman, go after her chase her and get her. I never would want to see you sad. And seeing the one you love be happy is true love, even if its with someone else.” She said with a smile.

Know you all know why I lost my heart to this beauty, she had her way with words that would win anyone’s heart.

We both said “I love you” in unison and wished each other Happy anniversary once again by kissing there before she walked off into those towering man made masterpieces that decorated the skyline of New york city. As I saw her walk past the gate my heart skipped a beat, yet I turned around and made way to my car.
I decided to have some breakfast first so I headed into the diner. I wasn’t sure why it was called a diner even when it was packed for just a breakfast meal with no seats available. I got my breakfast packed and headed back to the car where I planed to eat it in silence.
I called up the kids to notify them that the plan was underway and they were good to enter the house now. While I was busy eating my breakfast in the car when I heard a brawl taking place just on the pavement of the street where I was parked. I was in no mindset to change my mood & let go the lingering kisses of Beth, all the romance and planning that I was about to indulge into. I just decided to turn up the volume of the songs I was listening with Beth to ear shattering levels, So I could turn myself off from the world and plan my next steps towards the evening. I somehow entered in a trance and drifted away in the past to relive some amazing memories I shared with Beth, right from the moment we met, to our first kiss, then to our marriage and to Abbey’s birth.

20 Minutes later, I heard a violent thud that brought me out of my trance, I was sure it was due to flesh hitting the metal of my car. It wouldn’t have been fatal since the car was stationery. I killed the high volume in the car as I tried to make sense of the world going haywire around me. I started to look out of the windshield when I noticed why the people were running like crazies, A huge cloud was heading my way. Some sort of natural disaster must have occurred, I decided to stay put until the calamity had calmed down.

The dust had started to settle 8 minutes later, I got out of the car to have a look around. I found I was engulf with panic and chaos as I took a look around. I spotted a young lady on the pavement who was clearly having moist eyes.

“What happened?” I asked her.

She didn’t say a word, only pointed towards the direction from which the storm had come. I turned to see clearing skies. It was that moment when it struck me, what had transpired.

The magnificent two towers that decorated New York’s skyline were gone. In that very moment my life ceased to exist.

Uncontrollable tears flowed from my eyes onto my soot laden face, I screamed the only word on top of my voice till my lungs burned “Beth”.

Epilogue:

Manhattan New York,
9/11 /2011.

It had been 10 years since that dreaded day had lived its ill fate. America had lived through the worst terrorist attacks know to man kind.
On the Morning of 9/11/2001, 19 terrorist from the terrorist group Al-Qaeda hijacked 4 passenger airplanes. The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.

The floors where Beth had worked were the worst hit in the initial stages of the attack. No one present in the office at the time survived the attack. 295 employees and 63 contractors died in at that very moment. Beth was one of them. No remains were ever recovered, only death certificates were signed.

The Anniversary had changed its meaning. From the celebrations of a successful matrimonial alliance, that day hand become the death anniversary of my love. The world had changed from being better than heavens to worst than hell.

All that left in the rubble of life was memories, that were left behind. My world had changed yet again, Only this time for the worst. I had lost my wife, my best friend, My Soul mate. I was half dead and my other half never wanted to live after that day. But a part of me kept going, for the two lovely angels Beth had left me with. I stopped the watch that Beth had given me that night to the time when she had been robbed from my life.

In a war of worlds where hate was nurtured, Life was lost. Love was lost.

The world is a better place with love in it. Try not to hate someone, even the slightest of misunderstanding could lead to live changing events. Accept and respect choices. Live and let live. Even though Beth wont be back to me & Even though I suffered excruciating pain for something neither Beth and I did, I still would say, Kill terror and not the terrorist. World sure is a lovely place with love in it.

PS – I have to thank a few people for this blog. Firstly, I have to thank Bruce himself for letting me a window in his life & then I’d like to thank Bob & Bri for the video they have shared of the horrifying day. It was of huge help while writing this Blog.
Well, if you all want to know what happened to the others then here it is, Abigail got married to James and the lovely couple are are expecting their first child now. Charity, completed her higher studies and has launched into a successful career. As for Bruce, he met someone at ground zero couple of years ago.
Yes, Bruce has been dating Karen for the past 2 years now, even his kids have accepted her as a part of their family now. He says, “I took that last conversation with Beth seriously, There is enough love to go around for everyone. She wanted to see me happy. That what I am doing, Staying happy and In a way keeping her alive withing me.”
Bruce is not that kind of person you’d forget, I wont either.

I’d advise you all reading to make every moment count of your life if you love someone. Everyone is special for someone. Spread the word, Spread the love.

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A Walk Back In Time (Part II)

Prologue:

12 June 1982,

I was In his arms, happy as I ever had been. I looked Him in the eye and I knew he is all that I need to complete my presence on this World.The journey that I had been waiting for a while was about to commence and I was very sure that It will be worth my lifetime. I was with the man whom I had loved with all my heart and would surely continue to do so till the end of my breath..

The Journey:

12th June 2010,

The sun has started to rise as I made my way Into the Kitchen, I had to make lunch boxes for my kids before they get ready for their office. I wasn’t myself today. Memories from the past kept coming back, some which made me smile and some which my tears couldn’t fight. But I dint wanted the kids to know anything about it, so I just went with my morning chores until they left.

I started getting ready for my own day once they left but somewhere Inside I knew that never wanted this day to be the same as every other, Something In me kept saying I had to go down memory lane. I just had to live In the past, At-least once more. Yet, I started for work knowing I never was going to make it to my office. Random memories kept coming back to me as I made way to the train station and boarded my usual train. Thankfully, I got some space In a crowed train and the nearby window was a delight to have without a fight. Something sure was good about this day I thought as I looked out of the window.

And then I saw him, Standing at the platform smiling at me. I remembered that smile of his, I loved nothing more than that smile. And the same window opened a chapter long turned over In my life. He still stood there and Smiled like a child, I wanted to run towards him and hug him as I had done that day three decades ago. But I knew, I can only chase memories, cant hold onto them. So, I continued to turn the pages of life and went back on the same day In the year 1982. I was barely 16 and against the wishes of my family and this world, I had got married to the man I love.

We both hailed from different backgrounds, castes and cultures but love had brought us together and we had decided to stay together till death do us apart. We got married In a small temple In the presence of His family, which was no more than his mother alone, who was half his world as me. I was blessed not only to have him in my life but also to have a Mother-in-law who loved me as her daughter and teach me all that I can ever need In life. I remembered the first time I had come home, to our home, It was unfamiliar yet his mere presence In it was comforting. In my early days of Marriage, I came to know a whole different side of love, the kind only he was capable of showing. He just wasn’t my soul-mate, he was a friend, a Guide and all of what I had. Those were the days that keep me wanting to live for his dreams and of mines.

I opened my eye and got off the train and decide to make way to travel a little further to a place he always used to take me when I was upset and we used to sit there for hours with my hand in his and the world was complete. It was a small park with kids playing around all the time with a jogging park as its perimeter. Things had changed in the place since I was there the first time with him.

I went and sat on the exact same bench where I used to sit with him watching the little children play and then that scene took me back to the memories of the birth of my own children. He was so elated on being a father. Full of joy and it was evident In his eyes and smile to whoever didn’t notice him trying to scream from the rooftops every now and then.I remember him walking in the room after our son was born, he looked at our son and then smiled at me and letting me know that he loved me so much and would do so forever. And that memory still leaves my eyes moist.

He was everything A woman ever needed in her life and I was the luckiest woman to have him in my life. Yet, things never went they way there were supposed to and I was there sitting alone, only walking back in time to relieve his memories. The pieces of my heart were crumbing thinking of what could have been and what the reality is.

I made my way out of that place and decided to head back home so that I can have some more time to myself. I stopped at a local bakery to buy his favorite cake and then continued on my way.

I reached home by mid afternoon and after having a little time for me to relax, I decided to cut the small cake that I had brought. I cut a small piece of that cake and kept it near his lone photograph in my room..

It was our 30th Marriage anniversary!

But, unfortunately I was the only one celebrating it. He had passed away 17years ago courtesy a cardiac arrest and I had to walk the rest of my journey of life all by myself. With only his memories as a souvenir for the true love that I once had.

That’s when suddenly the door bell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone till another couple of hours and yet someone was here. Curiously, I opened the door only to find my kids standing outside with bright smiles on their faces. I noticed that they had brought flowers and cake as if they were going to have a huge celebration. My younger son hugged me as soon as he was in the house and with a peck on my cheeks wished me Happy Anniversary. Tears started to flow out of my eyes and this time there was no controlling them. Both of my children hugged me and I knew even if he was not around, his love was always alive in the form of my children.

My world still was full of love, in a different form though. In a kind which makes you want to live all over again…

Epilouge:

True love is not a myth. But saying that only a few of us are really blessed to have it in their lives. Sometimes Its good enough to die for while at some other times, It makes you want to live all over again. Some love stories never dies, they just live on amongst us, unsaid and unnoticed.

But a timely sequel always follows in another time In another world.

Love sure was worth it but then how do people know that they have fallen for the right person? How do they know its true as the sun and the moon..?

Some questions always linger in my mind knowing the answers are going to be a lot different from person to person. I had to find mines though.

Its just the start of my long journey…

A walk back in Time (Part I)

Prologue:

Is Love Really worth It?

The question still stood tall In-front of me. I knew time had all the answers and I would discovers mines only when the time arrives. Yet, I wanted to know If It was really worth it and hence, I decided to go back in time and meet someone who had already had his answers.

Someone who had walked into the dusk of his life 35 years ago from now.

The Journey:

14th August 1975,

Somewhere In the City Of Mumbai.

I lay on my bed, half awake. Its nearing mid night now, most of my family members are awake too. They are constantly checking on me, keeping tabs every now and then. My son and my daughter who has just arrived are the most worried out of them all. None Of my grand children are allowed near me as others think they would trouble me. Yes, grandchildren.

I am 80 year old man lying on his death bed. I am Abheer. Born in 1895, I saw the turn of a century quite early in my life followed by the rebellion against the Britishers to gain back our motherland and then the long awaited freedom. I had witnessed and been a small forgotten part of our glorious history.

But among all those memories from my life, I only remember her clearly. Everything else is a blur. In the last moments of my life, I only want her close to me. And I call her name from the bottom of my heart, “Bina”. Somewhere deep within me I know she has sensed that its time for me to go now. But I must wait a few hours more until morning so I can see her for one last time.

Till then, I re-visit her memories yet again lying amongst my worried beloveds.

It was one bright and sunny day way back in 1922 when I had first seen her. I was 28 and Bina was 18. Our matrimonial alliance was decided by our elders and It was during my marriage ceremony that I had seen her for the very first time. I had fallen in love with my soul mate at that very instance.

The outside world was filled with chaos in those early years of my married life and irrespective of that, me and bina had managed to start our new life pretty well. I never had wanted anything more than to be a proud parent and In the first decade of my marriage bina had made me proud not once but four times. We had been blessed with 3 sons and a lovely daughter. Bina had truly changed my life and filled it with colors of love. With each passing day my love for her grew even more. In 1947 we not only celebrated the freedom of our country but It also marked the 25th year of our successful alliance.

It all changed when our kids grew up. My daughters marriage followed a few months after my elder sons and then a couple of years later my other two sons were married. The house was full of people and happiness that I loved around me as we grew older. It felt very pleasing to my heart when I used to see our children happily settled in their lives. Soon after my retirement from work followed and it gave me an opportunity to do what I always wanted to do, spend time with bina.

Everyday of mines in the past two decades have started with a cup of tea, made by bina. None of my daughter-in-laws had interfered with this ritual knowing I wont even touch the cup of tea made by someone else. My evenings or alteast most of them were spent having long walks with bina, sometimes recollecting the time that had gone by or sometimes exchanging sweet nothings of a married life.

Looking back at those walks, I remember the only thing that I used to love about it. Holding her hand as we walked. It would mean nothing to the most of you but It had meant a lot to her back then. I had promised her I’ll never let go of her and she knew by holding on her hand I was somehow keeping my promise in a more simpler way.

I always ended my days by going to be only after watching bina smile & I used to wake up only to her smiling face. This had been another of our rituals. Our kids had always know things like these about us and I’ve heard them giggle about it But they never went against it or complaint about being embarrassed.

This continued for another few years until we had our grand-children and the family grew bigger in size. Thats when everything changed. The number of people had grown in the family and the space to occupy them was limited, consequently we had to split the family.

Me and Bina were separated too.

While Bina had stayed on with my youngest son, I had been relocated to a far distant place with my eldest son and his family. I wasn’t happy at all but bina had forced me into it for the betterment of the family and as always I gave up without any protest. My health deteriorated as my days and nights had reduced to become lonely without bina any I wasnt sure if I would ever be able to meet her again. I saw a ray of hope when my son asked me to visit his younger brother once a week and see if everything was ok with him. That moment I knew my son had been reading my mind and thoughts, understanding the feelings of an old man very well. A pattern had been drawn then for the remainder of my years. Sunday would be decided as the day when I would visit bina.

With that hope I always kept myself into shape so that I can make it to see her on that day alone. Every sunday, I use to start early from my house so that I can spend more time with her. The climate had stopped effecting me on sundays. No matter how cold, humid or rainy it got my schedule on sunday had never been disturbed until today. I used to catch a train to reach bina’s city and then on my way home I used to buy sweets and flowers bina used to like the most.

On the other hand, bina used to help out everyone in the family just like a empty robot programmed to do all the work. She used to come alive only on Sundays at the sight of me entering the house. My youngest son had 4 children and the youngest among them was considered to be an angel by me. That little angel had always seen the glow bina used to have on her face on Sundays. She somehow knew that bina is only completed on that very day.

I had always cherished the memories of the sundays spent at bina’s place. Like always I used to get my cup of tea made by bina followed by lunch. In the last few years of my life me and bina had always shared a platter for lunch & dinner on Sundays. According to her, by sharing meals love between two people always tends to increase.  Finally, my day used to end with a long walk in the evenings with her at my side. I always made sure she was home safely before I started on my way back to my place.

The feeling of separation sunk in once again as It use to happen on my way back home during those days as my dreams made way for reality. Over night my condition had deteriorated even more. My eyes started a faces of my family members all whom I had loved but it rested only on binas face. I still saw her as she was when I had first seen her. Time might have affected her body but her soul had always been timeless. She like all the others knew I had very little time left now in this world.

She came and sat besides me, smiled and held my hands during the last moments of my life.

On the morning of 15th August 1975 just as an old ritual I closed my eyes forever after watching her smiling face.

Epilogue:

I somehow felt as if I knew abheer personally even though I am born a couple of decades after his death. But he did manage to teach me an Important lesson. We dont have an option to choose love, Instead it chooses only a few worthy people. Bina showed that she was in love with her soul mate as much. Unable to stand this separation from abheer, bina passed away 15 days later on the 30th of august 1975.

Is love worth it to die for? My curiosity to learn the answers to my questions grew with ever passing second and I decided to turn the clock back once again.

Some love stories never end, a timely sequel always follows.

PS:- Had already written and posted this True life story a while back but still I had to share it with a wider audience and hence sharing it once more. The next couple of posts are going to be similar and very much about true life people and love.