Fiction, Love, Relationships, Story-telling, Such is life, Valentine's Day

A Valentine’s Day story

Valentine’s Day attracts different kinds of reactions from different people. Some call it the day of love and expression while skeptics consider it an intelligent marketing strategy. One can’t deny though that it is a day of happiness, warmth, and affection, not only for your partner but for everyone whom you share a special bond with. Flowers, soft toys, chocolates, or jewellery, there’s a rush to select the perfect gift for that special someone. The day on which even the most unromantic person cannot let all the mush around him go unnoticed and is prompted to join the expressing-my-love brigade.

Shanaya is sitting in a comfortable chair quietly looking at the teenage crowd at the roadside cafe from behind a tightly shut glass window in her living room. In her hand is a dried and flaky rose, the remnants of what once used to be bright red. Carefully preserved in her diary over the years, it brings back a flood of memories. Her face looks beaten, her eyes resigned.

She doesn’t care about the tastefully done room with its chic decor, classy mauve and sea green patterned walls, subtle tapestry shades, and antique paintings. They had discussed at length and picked every little thing with great care, pushing budgets, their minds, and patience. It all seems to be in stark contrast to the gloom that is now an integral part of her life.

This day holds a significance for her that no amount of words can do justice to. She reflects on the antithesis of today compared with her recent past. She picks up her diary from a nearby coffee table and flips through its pages. How can a lifetime of happiness and grief be experienced by someone in such a short time? She wonders.

Theirs was a whirlwind romance. She was a Commerce graduation student; beautiful, dreamy-eyed, confident, and excited about a promising future. Vivaan was a Computer Engineer with a quick wit, a dashing personality, chivalrous, successful, and with a ready smile. They were introduced to each other at a common friend’s birthday party. Cupid struck the moment their eyes met. Both of them were at such a loss of words that all they could manage was smiling and shying away. The whole evening went in stolen glances, indirect references, and non-accidental run-ins until on a friend’s coaxing Vivaan went up to Shanaya and asked her out. She agreed.

A love-struck Shanaya writes in her diary:

I love even your thoughts so much,

Can’t imagine how I’ll love you.

‘se even when I think about you,

I feel I’m missing you.

Before their first date was over both of them knew they had found the ‘one’. They stepped into each other’s lives organically and were either together or dreaming of being together. Even a few minutes between her lectures or his meetings had them making quick ‘missing you’ video calls. They quickly became the ‘it’ couple and were revered for their unwavering commitment to each other. An age gap of six years had them enjoy both a carefree college and a mature professional life.

They had been dating for almost three months when Valentine’s Day arrived. Vivaan hadn’t planned it but didn’t want to miss the clichéd but romantic opportunity either. He proposed. She accepted. Both their families were thrilled and welcomed their decision openheartedly. Meanwhile, soon after graduation, he encouraged her to get her first-ever accounting job in an established firm.

Glowing, starry-eyed Shanaya gushes about her love:

My love for you cannot be expressed,

In the warmth of your arms, I feel loved and caressed.

You are above all the treasures in the world,

Your love is a precious gift with which I’ve been blessed.

Their wedding a year later was a low-key affair. It was a simple ceremony held in the presence of both their families and close friends. Both of them glowed in their matching off-white wedding attire, posed happily, and were surrounded by love and lots of red roses. Why? Planning, luck, or sheer coincidence, that too was Valentine’s Day! They whispered sweet nothings, gushed at each other, and indulged in rare displays of affection. Vivaan had planned a rather unusual but adventurous honeymoon, a trekking trip in the Himalayas. Kicked with the idea, they were looking forward to starting their lives together with a bang!

Shanaya writes in her diary during her honeymoon:

Now we’re here it’s just so great,

To be there for the sake of another.

So come ahead and hold me now,

For the world, we needn’t bother.

It was the first of the many adventures of life, big and small, planned and unexpected, domestic and professional, that they were going to share. Theirs was an ideal life; intimate, content, and blissful. There was nothing else they could wish for.

But just as even a bright sunny day has to make way for the night and happiness has to inevitably be followed by tears, their smooth-sailing journey of life inadvertently hit rock bottom. Shanaya was planning for a dual celebration, her recent promotion and their second anniversary, when that dreaded call came. As she listened to the person on the other side her suddenly rubbery legs started giving away.

She felt the whole room closing in on her and collapsed on the floor, unconscious. While he was returning home from work Vivaan’s car had been hit by a bus injuring him severely. The bus driver had sped away for fear of getting caught even while Vivaan was lying on the road, profusely bleeding. He succumbed to his injuries before help arrived.

What happened in the days after that is hazy in Shanaya’s memory. She recalls being surrounded by grief-stricken bawling relatives trying to console her, friends feeding her insistently, talking to the police, and signing several insurance claim documents on auto mode. Vivaan’s garlanded picture that was put up for offering condolences was the one she took at his last surprise birthday party. He loved getting clicked and was smiling merrily in the new grey t-shirt she had got for him. How could that smile ever fade away?

Today, it has been a month since Vivaan passed away. Her anniversary present for him, a week-long trip to Sikkim, lies on the table, unopened. Shanaya refuses to step out of the house or meet anyone. Both her families insist she stay with them but she can’t leave the home she created with Vivaan. She knows she has to collect the battered pieces of her life and move on but it is too hard, too soon.

Shanaya’s painful words in Vivaan’s remembrance:

The world’s painted crimson and in all its shades,

But my heart’s all dull and bare.

There can be no love or the thought of it,

If you can’t be here with me to share.

We swore we were one till death do us apart,

Forgive me, for I outlived my part.

Heaven or earth, you were and will always be mine,

Could I live without you in my heart?

I miss the smell and that touch of you,

Days and nights are alike, nothing’s right or true.

You’re too far for even my mind to go,

Tell me, there, do you miss me too?

An apology from God for shattering her world may be, and a surprise gift from Vivaan, she has found out that the seed of their love has been sown. The dark tunnel has finally ended and a ray of hope has found its way in her life. She has found a reason to live and a hope to find meaning in love, again. As she closes her eyes and caresses her abdomen in anticipation she can feel Vivaan’s omnipresence. Her Valentine has returned. Just then the Celine Dion song plays somewhere, “ My heart will go on…”.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Bohemian Bibliophile.

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47 thoughts on “A Valentine’s Day story

  1. Very well written and nice albeit heart wrenching story. The beginning lines, “behind a tightly shut glass window” set the stage very well for what is to come.

    1. 😢😢😢… I m at a loss of words. Sooooo touching but soooooo sad Varsha. More than anything, I loved Shanaya’s little diary notes… they’re so beautiful and the last one…😭😭😭. Thank God for the ray of hope in her tummy!

  2. The journey from the blissful days of courtship to the devastating loss is heart-wrenching and resonates with the unpredictability of life. It reminds us that life can be unpredictable, and love is strong even in tough times. Your storytelling skills are truly commendable. Love that song.

  3. What a beautiful narrative where I could visualise and feel every emotion of the story. God surely has a plan that it so much bigger than ours, maybe their love story was a small one but the memories they made will live on forever. I loved the poems woven in the narration.

  4. Heart warming story. It took lot of courage to let it go. Life give unexpected shock without knowing how to handle them. Feeling sad for Shanya but at the same time found she is courageous. Love the diary writing of Shanaya. You pen it beautifully.

  5. What an emotional yet positive read this story was. I shed a tear in the beginning and had a smile by the end. Shanaya and Vivaan’s story is so beautiful. I’m glad Shanaya found her own happy ending despite the tragedy. Nice one, Varsha

  6. A beautifully written story that captures the essence of love, loss, and resilience. Shanaya’s journey is both heartbreaking and inspiring. The ending offers a glimmer of hope and reminds us that life, even after loss, can find a way to continue.

  7. That was a beautiful story to read. Although I am quite traditional and break down if the protagonist dies. Why can’t love stories have happy endings? Although this one definitely had that… light at the end of the tunnel.

  8. A heartbreaking story but I liked how you ended it with hope. We plan a lot but we never know what God has planned for us. We always need to have courage to move on.

  9. This story is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. Amidst the pain of loss, Shanaya finds solace in the enduring love she shared with Vivaan. It’s a sad ending but good that it helped her move on.

  10. Shanaya’s story is a poignant tale of navigating love, loss, and the resilience found in the depths of sorrow. Despite heartbreak, she finds solace in the quiet moments, piecing together her shattered spirit with newfound strength. The ending offers a glimmer of hope, a reminder that even after loss, life can find a way to continue.

  11. A sad love story you have presented in an evocative language. There is a saying about death in my mother tongue, Malayalam.
    I somehow translate it like this: death is a comedian who doesn’t know when to show up on a stage. I presume the meaning fits well here in this story. Your creative imagination made a turnaround as Vivian got the sort of resurrection, filling the void in Shanaya’s life.

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