Tears rolled across her moist eyes. It was decided then. She took firm yet fragile steps towards the beach and the raving sea. The same beach where she used to relish as a kid. The same beach where she used to relish and rejoice as a kid. The same beach where she had fussed at the sea for scattering her sand castles. The naked feet and the sand beneath. It was all too familiar. The 'bhelvala' had packed up his stall and was on the move. It was almost twilight. The sun in the distance was a vibrant red. So bright yet not intense. This was the place, she had frequented the most as a child. Never before had this beach heard her sobs. The only tears she shed here were of pristine joy. But it was a different scenario today. Her brain was in a muddle. Her heart was in trouble. She had not lived up to the expectations. Everyone had expected a lot of her. The expectant smiles replayed in the theatre of her mind. The way the elder ones would be proud and the way the little ones would be in awe. It was all lost in a jiffy. All was in a disarray now.
She could still recall the way her father had proclaimed proudly, that she would be the one to break all the records. Leave alone records she had failed. Good that he had not yet seen her. She could not face her father. He had pooled in every penny for her. Savings and valuables had been mortgaged just for her. She shouldn't have taken the leap. It was just too high for her.
'Cut your cloak according to your means'
This thought taunted her. Yet she had not paid heed. And now here she was in shambles. Failing miserably. The waves by now tickled her bare feet. The cold touch brought her back from the haunting reverie. Her feet moved as if they had a mind of their own. Carrying her further towards the edge of the shore. And now she was almost waist deep. The water soothed her numb mind. Her hands splaying across the cold surface. The cool jets of water rushing through her fingers. Exhilarating it was to face the retiring sun. She would join him soon. To retire from this life. But unlike the Sun there would be no tomorrow for her. She would set forever never to rise. It was strangely calming to know that it would end soon. Leaving this realm for another one. No use of living now. She had to do it. It would be relief to end it. To end her life... In the distance something stirred. It was unexpected. An old fisherman she could sense. Gathering his net. Where did he come from? It was going to be a nuisance. Ohh go way!.. Let me end it. Let me take MY LIFE... she thought. And then she heard him say.. "Is it yours?",, She was caught unawares. As she turned towards him. He had a handkerchief, probably had been stuck in the net. She nodded in denial. The fisherman shrugged and went away. But he hadn't left her alone; He had left her a question.. "Is it yours?"
The question rang in her head. Was it hers? Was her life her own?? Complete ownership?? Was she the absolute owner of her life? Her father's face flashed across. The smile, the beautiful smile, especially reserved for her. He had a share in her life too, hadn't he?? Her mates, buddies, teachers, brothers, sisters, every individual had a share in her life. Those tiny moments they had invested in her life. They surely had a share. Her life wasn't only hers to take. NO, Not an option. To end it.. As a wave came gushing to embrace her, she recoiled. What was she about to do.. That terrible moment had passed. The terrible pain was still there. But her body had accepted it now. Rather than running away. The pain would become a part of her life. She could see clearly now. As if some mist had been cleared away. Taking small yet determined steps, on her way back to the life that wasn't solely hers. The old fisherman was nowhere to be seen. No raft marks on the sand, nothing at all. Nothing could prove the existence of the old man. He had vanished without a trace. Leaving nothing but a question. A question, which had saved her.. "Is it yours?"