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Three Seconds

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The early morning sun rays crept through the crevices of a curtained up window in my room and with it brought a sense of warmth. The month of November screams ‘Winter is coming’ with the cold mornings. The early morning temperatures can drop up to 10 degrees Centigrade in November. And when you are curled up in a thick blanket trying not to lose even a teensy bit of heat and the morning ray shines on your face, you don’t care about the fact that the brightness is waking you up. You are just glad that you are alive enough to experience that sensation.

I opened my eyes slightly to a blurred vision caused by my woven eyelashes. The migraine and sleep deprivation were putting a lot of load on my eyelids, eventually, forcing them to drop down and blind me. Fighting the tiny eruptions in my head, I got up and sat at the edge of the bed, making sure that my eyes stayed shut and that the sunshine still rested on my face. Time to stand up.

The head rush from standing up too fast almost brought me down to my knees. I adjusted my boxer shorts to make sure nothing was hanging out, stretched my back and my neck, walked towards the window and pulled the curtains apart to let the early morning sun to do its thing.

After flourishing that worldly essence, I turned my head and looked over my shoulder, validating my paranoia. There was a girl lying on my bed with her bare back staring at me, cuddling the warm comforter. I kept my calm, turned around, opened the balcony door and stepped outside for a smoke, overlooking the fact that I didn’t know who that girl is and ignoring the need to know. I walked onto the balcony and felt one of the most beautiful feelings ever, the cold wind chilling your body while the sun rays try to warm you up. Goosebumps.

Smokers will know how hard it is to light a cigarette when there’s a wind blowing. I, however, succeeded after a couple of attempts. The first drag doesn’t do much. It’s the second drag that gives you the feel of smoke running into and through your alveoli. I took the second drag and closed my eyes. While the Sun was warming me up from the outside, the smoke from the inside and the cold breeze was neutralizing the effect.

The railing was supported by extended walls at either end of the balcony. I rested my left hand on the cemented wall. Out the corner of my eye, my peripheral vision sensed out the presence of an unopened pint of Budweiser out there, possibly from last night. I picked it up from the table and opened it in the coolest possible way, using my premolars. I took a sip from it hoping for a refreshing feeling, forgetting the fact that it was chilled.

With my burnt out lungs, corroded liver and freshly frozen tongue, I looked straight ahead and watched DLF trying to construct a building on every available land in Delhi/NCR. Modern day Mughals, they are, concocting an empire. I turned around and carefully climbed up on the parapet, making sure to not fall 9 storeys down.


I paused in the middle of my drag to look around; I thought someone had called out my name.

“If you fall, how long do you think it’ll take for you to hit the ground?” The question intrigued me and there was an odd familiarity in the voice.

‘About 3 seconds?’ I thought.

“Let’s find out.” The voice became vivid and by using the sound localization mechanisms of my auditory system, I concluded that it was her.

All it took was a blink and there she was, standing in front of me in her well fit saffron salwar and no makeup. She spread her arms and walked towards me for a hug. I opened my arms and spread my legs to make room for her. Our bodies touched. Her head resting on my chest and her body buried in mine, I felt complete. I realized why I was here and I was wildly glad that I didn’t take my pills.

“You should’ve worn your pants, Ashwin.”

With her in my arms and a smirk on my face, I started moving my center of mass backwards until I tipped over. The momentum carried by my legs flipped me and now I was flying towards the ground, face first. Her hair flew near my eyes causing them to shut.

“See you soon” and her voice faded away. I opened my eyes and she was gone.


Cold air ran through my hair in a streamline. Its icy molecules freezing my face and wetting my eyes. An involuntary smile made its way across my face. My eyelids finally gave up and dropped dead. A tiny drop of tear managed to escape from the edge of my right eye and ran towards my side burns for cover. The adrenaline rush was slowing everything down for me.


I relived the moment when I broke her heart, the moment I heard the news of her demise and the moment the doctor told me that I have to let her go. I loathed myself. But then, my last happy memory with her flashed in my mind; I’d gifted her a hot glue gun and she wouldn’t (read: couldn’t) stop kissing my face. The smile on my face grew back. My quest for peace had finally ended. In that moment, I was at peace.


Ashwin Ashok

Ashwin Ashok is from Gurgaon, Haryana in India.

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