Raymond smiled, as one could smile, when faced with a troubled heart and a tired mind. His smile conveyed it all, but to only those who knew him well. Hid behind that subtle smile was a sadness, the depth of which even Ray couldn’t fathom. Ray, that’s what she never called him, but what everyone knew him as. Most of the time Ray tried to keep himself busy, aloof and when facing a crowd generally hid behind humor and made-up smiles. At one point he had managed to fool himself, convinced that it probably wasn’t as serious as he imagined it to be. He remembered, now and then, few moments they spent together. Everything else seemed like a distant dream. Exhausted, Ray continued to do what society expected him to do. Growing miserable with each passing day. The emptiness growing within him, gobbling up life that once existed.
Not a day went by when he didn’t think about her. Afraid to let go and afraid to hold on, Ray kept looking at their pictures. Thinking about the times they had spent together and the future they had dreamt about. Wasn’t much, thought Ray now, just a few more worries they had added to their list. Life would have been happy with her, probably. There were other paths to happiness, reasoned Ray. He felt no need to consider those, or he had already tried and failed. The stress Ray felt showed up in different ways. His silence , caused more worry to people around him. They were determined to pull him out of this state of mind with any means possible. Every time they just seemed to hit a wall.
Ray was not silent. He was having conversations with her everyday. Fights, negotiations and moments of intimacy, the whole works. He was drowning in these virtual conversations, losing track of what was real. He just held on with the hope that things might change for the better. He waited each day for a glimmer, a spark, something to restore his faith in the universe. Each day looked more insufferable than the next. Books and music gave a brief moment of rest to his thoughts but everything seemed inconsequential at the end.
If one was to substitute Ray with Pam in these above lines, then one wouldn’t be very far from the truth. Pam was rolled up under her blanket. The air had turned chilly after few days of continuous rain. She thought of the conversations she had had, with her tucked under that blanket and Ray on his way to the office miles away. Would things be different, if they had belonged to the same city? No, some things are just not in your control, thought Pam. She followed Ray’s posts on social media, feeling good that at least he had managed to continue doing what he loved. She enjoyed looking at his photographs. They sometimes reminded her of the excited conversations Ray had about them.
There were other paths to happiness, suffering was optional, she reminded herself. Her health had constantly deteriorated. After trying various doctors, Pam had realised that unless she puts her mind at ease, her health was not going to improve. She started meditating with renewed zeal. She still worried about Ray feeling guilty about the whole situation. Although she knew they had been very clear about their insecurities with each other, it had never occurred to her that it would hurt so bad. She had no expectations from anyone but being with Ray she had learned to expect some good. Now it just hurt her everyday not being together. She tried by all means to get better.
There was no common future for them, just a lot of history. No moments but a lot a memories. These are the things that fade with time and allow new ones to take their place. All would be calm in a few months and forgotten in a year. Some took time to let go while some never let go. Each carrying a part of the other within them forever. Raymond and Pam were two individuals floating in a sea of uncertainty and there was no end just two new beginnings.