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It is 6 in the morning when I wake up drenched in sweat. The nightmare I had is still clear and etched before my eyes. I lie dying, living a life of regrets. As life oozed away from my body along with my blood, the only thought that I had was I am not ready. Not yet.
I still had a lot of dreams, I was not ready to give it all up. The thought stuck me out of the blue, what if today was actually my last day. That I if I were to die tonight, would I go in peace? Or would I kick up a mess, like I always did when I was alive?
Today is a Monday. I have to report to work and be at my desk at Nine O'Clock. Even employees reporting half an hour late would be marked off as a loss of pay, such were my strict office rules. Do I really want to spend the last day of my life slogging away at a job that I didn't even like in the first place? I got up, took a shower, wore my favorite yellow sundress and had my breakfast. Donuts and coffee. The donuts were definitely not good for my already expanding waist line, but it's my last day and rules don't apply. Not anymore.
I happily ignored the calls that were coming in from my office. I panicked all of a sudden when I thought about the work that was long overdue. Today was the deadline for submitting the presentation that I had worked hard and sacrificed my weekend for. I switched off my mobile as an afterthought. I don't need this.
I have a whole day ahead of me. What do I do first?
Then I remembered. I took my old bike that now lay dusty in the corner of my car shed. The second hand Audi that I had bought using my last year's bonus overshadowed the rusty bike. But nothing a good cleaning up can't fix. The bike had gifted me so many fond memories. Skinned knees while I was learning it, the dent that it still bore as a reminder of a crazy drunken stupor.
I rode it home, to my parents'. The wind played with my hair, the ride gave me an adrenaline rush that I was yet to experience while driving a car. The memories came rushing back and brought a smile to me face. That felt weird, so caught up was I my hectic life, that I couldn't remember the last time I had felt so carefree and happy.
My mother seems surprised to see me when I reached home. Whether she was surprised to see me on the bike, or whether she was simply taken back at seeing me, I was not sure. She hugged me close and the smell of her cooking on her and the warmth of her skin made feel that it was not a mistake in coming home today. Dad seemed happy to see me as well, and it was felt like I had traveled back in time. Helping Mom with the cooking and watching the football commentary with Dad.
It was past late afternoon after having the delicious lunch when I left. They both seemed surprised when I hugged them tightly before waving goodbye. I was never good at displaying my emotions. And maybe that is why I had to visit one more person before I go.
I drove to his home, which was hardly twenty minutes away from mine. I had not expected him to be there, honestly. The last time I heard, he was preparing to leave the country and pursue his career elsewhere. But I didn't want to die without having to know. I didn't want any what ifs. Not any more.
We both looked at each other dazed. It had been so many years back. We had grown apart, in so many ways. He looked so different. Gone was the boyish arrogance that he wore in his teens, instead it was replaced with a ripening maturity. He had a scar on his left eyebrow as a reminder of the by gone days with me. We stood and stared at each other before he managed to muster me in. His voice had changed too, somehow it felt like being wrapped up in the softest of velvet.
We didn't speak much; but his eyes said it all as did the raised eyebrows. Another habit which refused to die.
"Look, I know this weird. Finding me springing from your past must come as a shock to you. But I had this huge crush on you back in college and I know that you considered me as a good friend. I could never gather the courage to tell it to you on your face. But today is special for me and I could never forgive myself if I didn't tell you this...", my voice trailed off. I hope he didn't notice the quiver in it. I would never have uttered these words had it not been for the dream. And for that, I'm thankful. Another thing off my chest.
He stood looking at me in surprise with his mouth wide open. What he must have expected could certainly have not been a confession of love, which obviously, looked like it came a tad too late. I got up to leave, it was mortifying to sit in uncomfortable silence as he continued to look at me skeptically.
"Well, you must probably be busy. I better be going now. I was in the neighborhood and thought...," he didn't let me finish the sentence before he got hold of my hand.
"Wait, I wanted to tell this to you on our last day together, at the farewell party. But somehow, my gut ditched me the last moment. I never kept in touch because I knew you were enjoying your new life and job...", he said so looking into my eyes.
And trust me when I say this, but if I were to die that very moment, I would have done so happily in his arms. That evening I mailed in my resignation to my office before we went out for a stroll in the moonlight, after all, we had a lifetime to catch up on. And the voice inside my head said that it was only the beginning of a new life. I was reborn.