Josie smiled at Iype from her picture on the wall. The pain was almost unbearable.
Till Death do us part, they had promised each other in the little village church. Rains had just washed the entire village clean. Josie was beautiful in her white sari, her long black hair in a thick braid, cradled her waist. A gust of breeze in the church had picked up the scent from the jasmine flowers in her hair and Iype had felt drunk
That was fifty years ago. And now she was gone. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the pastor had said.
Every nook of the house reminded him of her. Pain ballooned up from his stomach and threatened to burst his head open with its power.
Then he remembered the letters. The love letters. She had written every week for the two years that he had to work in Calcutta. She had stayed back to care for the kids and his parents. But she wrote.
On pink paper with blue ink.
The paper must still smell of her.He had packed them in a box.
Maybe I put it in the attic. Josie, this memory of mine is getting wearisome.
Iype climbed the rickety ladder as hurriedly as he could, up to the attic where all old memories were stored. It took him an hour to find it, pushing aside dusty boxes and looking under odd pieces of furniture. The little box had gathered dirt over the years, and the painted leaves on the lid had faded into the wood grains.
With shaking hands he wiped it clean and almost trembled in anticipation. Josie’s words of love on pink paper summoned him. His breath grew shallow and a smile started to rise through the wrinkles in his cheeks. His heart beat faster. And he sat down in anticipation.
Then his glance ran over to the gaping hole in a corner of the box where the mice had attacked. His fumbling fingers pried open the box and Iype lay his eyes on the faded pink love notes chewed into a heap of shredded dust.
C is for Chagrin