Monday, 28 July 2008

Of Cold Hearts

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Imagine being unmoved by tragedy and feeling really sick because of it, as this is exactly how I feel right now.

It's actually the second time that I'm feeling this cold, hard emptiness inside where there should be something; anything that would be a semblance of what may constitute normal reaction from normal, ordinary people. One reaction I know zilch about as I did not and have never once experience before. Nada, Yilek.

Backtrack: The call came at about 11.30ish pm when I was reading (yup, a should be favorite past time long neglected). The hp number seemed familiar and it was only when the male caller identified himself that I realised why. It was a number I once knew by heart as it belongs to someone dear to me. That, however, was not as important as the news that followed: She had passed away. Apparently, was in a road accident a few days ago. Her husband (the chap who called me) said he thought I should know as I was one of her friends.

I offered my condolonces, asked some questions and hung up.

Digesting the news, I then told my wife about it and one of her question was whether I was about to cry. There's actually a good reason for her question. I was, let's say, kinda involved with the deceased (Allah bless her soul) some good number of years sometime back and, later, for a brief, short, while in far more recent time; a period of which I lost control of my feelings (something I am not extremely proud of..) before everything came to the fore. Now, its all history, abeit a very bitter one.

I laughed my wife's suggestion. She said it was somewhat a bavado on my part, but in truth, I felt nothing.

Just like it was when I was told (decades ago) by a teacher that my grandfather had passed away. Nothing. You could almost feel the temperature dropping inside my heart compartments.

I felt sure that there should be some kind of reaction. What is a question I cannot really answer as; one, I do not know, and two, I have never experience. I am totally at a loss, here. There was nothing then, there is nothing now.

Perhaps it's a valid reaction. After all, I was not really close to her anyway, not in the physical sense. In the years and months that I knew her, there was not a single face-to-face meeting. Not once, except for the first ever, and that too a totally a chance meeting, when I went asking her dad to borrow his pots for some chicken cooking project of my dormitary. It's a long story. Suffice to say, we then connected for quite some time even if it was mainly through spoken words via the telephones, and written words in a flurry of letters, sms text and emails.

I was initially head over heels over her - along with many, many others; some I knew personally, others not - but after a while, the feeling had passed, but I still love her company and chit chats.

Then, as life's journeys are fond of doing, we sort of went separate ways and lost touch with each other.

She came back sometime last year and with a single phone call I was hooked again in a whirlwind of daily calls and messages that nearly destroyed my marriage. My wife (Allah bless her) decided that I was worthy of her forgiveness for a betrayal most foul. Since then, it has been a year before last night's call.

I am not proud to admit that I was pretty objective, almost nonchalant, about her death. No more than a stranger would upon hearing similar news; as if I was merely talking about news of a fatal accident and conveying it to my wife. Despite the considerable history with her, I felt nothing. Just like it was with my own grandfather. Nothing. Cold, empty.

What is wrong with me?

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