I walked slowly up to the long corridor of memories. This place had seen good days, and it had seen bad days. There were days of pain and grief and anguish, and there were days of joy and dreams and laughter etched on the walls. The long walkway led to the door at the far end of the corner, the same heavy, strong door that now remains closed all the time. I slowly walked up to the door, my feet made of lead. This journey has always been painful.
I slowly touched the door, the metal feeling cold and lifeless to my hands. The air seemed damp and musty. I tried pushing the heavy door a bit, and it creaked and squeaked. I pushed it a little more, aghast at all the noise it made for nothing. What an ordeal it was! This place reeked of death. I gulped, knowing what I was about to see at the other end of the door, but not quite prepared for it. I opened it wide enough to be able to see the other end of the room. There at the corner she was, as always, crouched on the floor the same way she has always been. It seems she was oblivious to the creaking of the door, or to anything else going around in the world that made sense. She was stooped on the ground, wearing a flowing white dress, her hair unkempt and flying wildly around her face. She had a piece of her dress in her hand, nice to touch, all shiny and satiny, and was scrubbing it with all her might. It seemed like she was trying to get the stain off the cloth, and was working at it diligently, so much that she was unaware of anything else. She must have sensed my presence, my discomfort, for she looked up to see me, startled, her brown almond eyes dilating and liquefying. She looked at me with an expression difficult to decipher. One could not guess what she wanted me to do with that pleading look in her eyes. It seemed like she was trying to reach out to me, like a scared child, for empathy, for understanding, for closure. Yet she spoke not a word.
She looked at me for what seems like ages, that same look that I have seen on her beautiful yet slowly ageing face every time now. Then as if she had never seen me, she went back to work. She went back to business, to scrubbing the corner of her dress she was holding on to dearly, as if I had never existed. She scrubbed with all her strength, with every muscle of determination. I pleaded her to stop doing that and look at me. She did not. I knew I had lost her once again.
I closed the door behind me and scampered out of the corridor, eerie apparitions with little fragments of her face exploding all around me. I could not face that look in her eyes, the fear and the pain that was so palpable and that left me so helpless. There was no way I could stay there and prolong my misery any longer, I needed some sunshine on my skin, I needed some fresh air to breathe, I needed to make a resolution to never come back again. I half-walked, half-ran, not sure if the ghosts had stopped chasing me. I didn’t realize I was crying. Something about her face broke my heart every time I saw her that way. I used to know a different face a lifetime ago. Not anymore.
I was out there in the sun, panting, gasping for breath. I closed my eyes once and there I saw the image of her scrubbing her dress, trying to get rid of the stain that perhaps no one else saw. I have seen her the same way, in the same room, crouched on the floor and doing the same thing for so long now. And I know that I am never going to have my closure for as long as she does it.
She’s been doing that for four years now.