Meera woke up shaking, her palms tinged with sweat. It had been the same dream again, awakening her at the same screeching stop. Like many such nights, she sat thinking if she had seen more this time. If she only knew what it all meant she thought, when she heard Veer cry from his room. She carried him to her bed and put him next to Vijay who was in a deep sleep, oblivious to the turmoil she was going through. Deep down she did not blame him, it had been so long now that it had been beyond him to empathize with her every time she went through this. She knew she was in this alone.
It had been a difficult morning, like how it always was every time she got the dream. She rushed in to her parent's house to drop Veer before work, just having enough time to say Hello. “I will call to talk to you Ma!” she shouted as she closed the door behind, only pausing briefly to look at the picture of Manju. Though it felt like she was with her just yesterday, it had been three years since the accident. But only Meera knew the void it had left inside her, which had only grown bigger with time. Though she was surrounded by so many loved ones, she had nursed this wound on her own. Everybody had assured her then, that her little one who was due to arrive in a few weeks would get her through this loss. But every time she was with her son, she had missed Manju more. It hurt her deeply when she thought that her sister never got to meet her son.
Meera checked the time again, while Vijay drove to the airport, his flight was leaving in two hours. She had planned to talk to him about seeing a doctor while he was away. He had been suggesting it for so long now and had given up when she had shown no interest. This time she knew she needed the answers, she finally needed to connect her inside to her outside again. “Will miss you Vijay” she said not knowing how to begin, while he steered the wheel frantically to reach the airport on time. “Just a matter of three weeks,” he said his voice softening, “Call me anytime.”
She looked back in the rear view mirror to make sure there was no one while she backed the car. It was the same eerie feeling she felt every time she looked behind her, there was always that expectation. It was a good forty minutes drive to her parent's place, she was planning to stay for the week with them. The thought of Manju immediately followed as she braved herself to spend so much time amidst all the memories left behind at their childhood home. There was a lot of traffic with very less space to move, allowing her thoughts to move away constantly. There was roadwork ahead with a detour sign, she followed it blindly still deep in her thoughts. The roads eased a bit, while she accelerated, the thoughts getting stronger, the streets getting blur. She suddenly stepped on the brake, the car came to a screeching stop. It seemed like she was in a reverie, but she was conscious enough to get out to see if everything was okay. A little girl came running across the street and picked up the puppy near the car, her mother closely following her. “Sorry about this,” she said “We had just unleashed her for....” she paused, and Meera could not hear the rest. She looked at the puppy and it all came back. It had always been their secret plan to bring home a puppy as their parents had never agreed to let them have one. They had spent days figuring out ways to convince their parents and had even thought of a name. They had grown and matured beyond this childish ploy, but it had never stopped to amuse them every time they had spoken about it. “Sorry again,” said the mother “we will take her back to the store, we are putting her up for adoption today”.
Meera sat in the car and looked smiling at her new companion in the rear view mirror, while she called Vijay. “Didn't know you would call so soon”, he said as soon as he picked the phone. “I didn't know either,” she said “Just wanted to tell you I will be okay”. She drove home thinking of how she would explain about little M2 now sitting in her car to her family, and for the first time she felt an excitement taking over the voidness inside her.