His Angel – Chapter 3

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

By Ranudi Gunawardena | Sri Lanka


August 20th 1998.


I can see him sitting at his usual table with a beer in his hand. He is dressed in a light blue button down shirt with a loosened tie around his neck. As I watch him, pretending not to see his eyes fixed on me steadily, he raises his drink to his mouth and gulps down what’s left of the foamy liquid. The Hut holds a string smell of intoxicating drinks as always, which crawls into my nostrils making me feel sick with nausea.


I am asked to sing “There you’ll be” by Faith Hill by a lady in a tight figure-hugging black dress and ridiculously expensive-looking ankle boots. It’s a song I dislike singing,a song that brings back memories I fight daily to keep away and forget.


I remember the song, its stabbing lyrics on repeat as I lay on my bed, hugging my baby bump as I cry into the pillow, soaking its soft cotton in sorrowful tears. I remember longing for Vinuk to come back and hold me, longing for the father of my unborn child to take me in his iron arms, safeguarding me from this wretched hell of a life. The suppressed memories come back flowing to the ocean of my heart, reawakening hidden pain and numbing ache within a weeping soul. Vinuk’s smile, his hand on my belly as he sings the words “I’ll keep a part of you with me”, rubbing my stomach with gentle palms, as if he’s scared I might collapse into pieces like brittle porcelain had he been any less gentle. His eyes red with tears when he sees me before the altar in my overflowing white dress, his sympathetic eyes like sea waves crashing against a golden seashore.


Then comes the unreal realization of him no longer being with me, except in the child inside of me. My child. Our child. The one thing of our love that still seems real.


There are tears in my eyes as I voice the words, there’s emotion in my voice that gives my own body chills, making me feel colder in the air conditioned space.


“In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky”. Me, waking up in the middle of the night, searching the empty space next to me in our bed to feel his touch only to realize its hollowness, its coldness. “In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all of my life”. His lifeless body, leaning over the steering wheel, blood dripping down his forehead. Me, kissing his wounds fervently, trying to shake him into existence, crawling among shattered glass and a pond of oozing blood. “I’ll keep a part of you with me”. Me, holding an umbrella above my head, watching as they bury him, shovelling earth over his body. The pitter patter of the rain against the umbrella. My hand upon my belly. My baby kicking at my stomach furiously as if it knew something was not right. “And everywhere I am, there you’ll be”.


I rotate my wedding band around my finger, hoping it would keep back my tears, keep back this hurt, keep back this burning sensation in my chest. I feel his ghost embracing me and my child, his hands warm against my skin. I want him here. I miss him. I am crying because I still love him. “And everywhere I am, there you’ll be”, my voice shakes and the sound of applause drains out the pain in my tone.


Hassan walks to me the moment I take my break and step down the little short stairs of the stage. There’s pain in his face, like a misshaped statue, like colours of a portrait fading under water. I cannot look at his face, not with these tears in my eyes. Not with this child inside my stomach. Not with a heart burning for another man’s love.


I carefully observe the patterns on the grey carpet – there are little flowers connected together to form a breathtaking pattern. The ring on my finger feels unusually heavy all of a sudden. He knows I’ve lost him. He could read me like an open book even five years ago, when we were but kids in love. “I’m sorry for your loss”, he says in an emotionless tone which makes me look at him. There’s sincerity and honesty in his eyes. And I know he means it.


“His Angel” is a seven-chapter story. Click here to read Chapter 2.

 

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