Life was always challenging for us, but we both loved a challenge. Me and her were inseparable and undefeatable. We would deal with every problem with the motto, what doesn’t kill us, simply gives us another chance to risk our lives. I know, I know, insane duo. The word insane is something people always described us with but with all the things happening lately, I feel it might pertain more to Anjali and not in a humorous way. It all started a few months ago.
“How do I look?” she asked, dressed in a beautiful emerald green dress. She always looked spectacular in green. “Enchanting,” I replied, ﬁnding it difﬁcult to take my eyes of her. Soon, we were in the car and on our way. “Dr Rajesh Kumar weds Ms Smitha Venu. You know, I can’t believe they’re getting married. I mean, they were always in love and all, but it only feels like yesterday when they were sitting right in front of us, cracking jokes and all of us getting in trouble together. Speaking of which, are you simply going to take me to other people’s marriages or are we ever gonna get married?” she said turning to me with her arms folded, slightly exasperated. I had veered away from the topic of marriage.
I mean, there’s nothing I wanted more than to spend a lifetime with this girl, but I felt my life needed to be more stable before I can have a family. She on the other hand was just waiting for me to get on my knees and propose at some exotic location with romantic music playing in the background. Full on classic love story. Dealing with this was hard as it is, without all of my friends getting married, making her even more annoyed. One guy even went that extra mile and had a son. He had a frigging kid! I swear, if I get my hands on him, well, I’ll probably let go and apologize. But you get the picture.
I had quite a hard time trying to reason with her but ultimately decided it’s best to change the topic. We soon reached the venue. It was a grand function with a DJ party, bar, expensive cars, large buffets, you name it. It was also on an island near the coast with a small mansion in the center. We had a great time, but things started to change when I saw Anjali walking towards the pier. There was something odd about the way she walked. Her pace was slow and somewhat wobbly. She seemed to be losing control. As I got to her, she turned around, “Aah, there you are. I was wondering where the waiter was, can you ﬁnd my fiance, he’s there somewhere in the crowd wearing a black tuxedo and a weird red bow tie.”
“Very funny Anjali, but you’re not supposed to be here. This pier is off limits.”
I proceeded to pull her away from the edge. “How dare you?! Get your hands off me! Who do you think you are?! Wait till my ﬁancé gets here.” I wasn’t new to her pranks but this time it was different. She seemed so serious and angry. She just didn’t recognize me. I couldn’t make sense of anything that was happening. She started moving towards the car and I followed. Once she was there, she turned around, “Whoa you startled me. I was looking for you. There was this waiter who came to me while I was at the pier. He started getting all… What’s wrong?” She noticed my face of confusion. I had no idea what was happening. I couldn’t believe this woman was my Anjali. But there she was standing in front of me, looking just like her, down to her unmistakable posture and the tiny actions that were a signature of her.
We reached home, and I carried her to the bedroom. She had fainted soon after what happened on the pier. It was the ﬁrst time she had an episode like that. Also, her depression was getting worse. She was always this positive source of light in my dark and murky universe. Now she’s so depressed it almost ﬁlls the room she is in. She didn’t seem like the girl I fell in love with, more like a corrupted and unrealistic recreation of her. Day by day, her condition got worse and worse, but every time I took her to multiple experts, they would give her medicines that did absolutely nothing. It was unbearable. To see the girl that just wouldn’t accept defeat, now simply a convoluted mixture of random memories and episodes of memory loss, depression and anxiety.
I had noticed a change in her behavior much earlier, but I simply guessed it was her occasional depression sessions where she suddenly gets depressed and then soon goes back to normal, only this had lasted days which was abnormal. I even caught her talking to absolutely no one in the bedroom. She simply stared at the wall and talked about me, sometimes she was talking to me, only I was not where she seemed to think I was. It started to creep me out. After the pier incident I started noticing her physical changes. She had a hard time walking. Her motor skills were almost non-existent sometimes. Most of the time she would walk as if there was nothing wrong, but at other times, she could barely stand up. Occasionally, she would talk like usual but sometimes, out of nowhere, she would forget who I was, and start attacking me and call out my name for help. She seemed to have memory issues. I had her diagnosed with yet another psychiatrist, a leading expert and a close friend of ours, Dr Rajesh Kumar, but he said he’s going to need to study her further and requested that we visit him on a regular basis.
“What’s happening? Where are you taking me?” She was in her normal state but remembered nothing of the previous 12 visits to the psychiatrist. She even forgot her name a few times. It was getting serious. The psychiatrist got into contact with some of his more experienced colleagues and they were all examining her.
I was waiting outside, unable to bare the suspense. The clocks seemed to have stopped, for each hour dragged on till it felt like I had sat there for years. The world simply stopped. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I wanted to know what’s wrong with my Anjali, but no one would say a word. Soon the experts came out of their ofﬁce and sat down with me. My friend put a hand on my shoulder with a comforting smile, “We’re lucky her condition was discovered as early as it was. But…” To be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to what he said. All that I could think of was the condition she was diagnosed with. My world fell apart in that very instant.
I decided to take a walk to help me deal with the issue. My mind was exploding with thoughts, memories, her laughter, her face, her smile. I even remembered the cake sitting in my car. It was her birthday. But today was supposed to be more than just her birthday. If it weren’t for her sudden loss of consciousness, I would have taken her on a trip to a nearby hill where we used to sit on a bench beneath a tree since we were kids. A bench on which I sat, trying to convince myself it’s not just a nightmare. After smoking a few cigarettes, which I usually don’t do, I got up and walked back to the psychiatrist’s ofﬁce. The rain, thunder and lightning that raged that evening never bothered me as I slowly walked back to the hospital. The image of the ring I left on that bench on the hill in my thoughts, the ring which would have hopefully rested on her hand. Soon my mind came back to her and the psychiatrist’s words, the condition she was suffering from.
It’s funny how three words can unhinge your entire world in a single instant.
I reached out to grab her hand. She looked at me, confused. There were times I simply grabbed her hand and made cheesy declarations of love that she used to adore. But I usually had a playful expression on my face, not one that suggested I was about to break apart, like I was just trying to take it all in, her face, her eyes, her smile, her.
“What is it?”
Come back next Saturday to figure what he has planned to say to her.