With faltering steps two loving figures walked, hand in hand. Affection was shining in their eyes. Silhouetted by the morning sun, they painstakingly made their way towards an empty bench. Beyond them, the sun shone bright but the sky was of a pale azure. They sat down close as if afraid of losing each other after what they had been through. Occasionally smiling that little sad smile of his, the old man did not seem to mind the wind teasing the last few strands of his white hair. He was drifting in his dreams. But it was only a second before he looked subdued again lost in his own world. The old woman too felt likewise.
Minutes passed in complete silence. Tears of misery trickled down slowly tracing the strained lines on the face contorted with wrinkles. The only thing left for them was their love for each other, which glowed like a flame that will never die.
“Damn it! Can’t you take care of yourselves? Do you expect me to do every single thing for you? Look at that mess! God! Can’t you see that I have my own family to take care of? Isn’t it enough that you have wrecked my marriage? Why do you have to do this to me?”
The bitter words stung them but they couldn’t do anything about it. They were too old. All they could do was sit and stare at the empty space biting their trembling lips. They hard come to accept the fact that they were a nuisance to their good daughter. As the heart-rending words trailed on, they realized that they were the cause of her shattered marriage. They wanted to say they were sorry but she never gave them a chance.
She regarded them as a barrier to a happy life. She had wanted too much and had tried to understand too little. They struggled through life just because they wanted her to be happy and this was their reward for all the hardship they had endured in trying to please her.
One day they were forced to pack up and leave for their new home. It was the home for neglected parents. Life was unbearable there, looking at all the old people. They were useless and lifeless as vegetables. They were dependent on others. They felt ashamed but couldn’t help relying on others. “They are so different from us. We don’t need others to spoon-feed us. But they do,” they thought.
The old couple have come to accept the reality of life. This is their home now, and it is going to be till the end of their days.
They held hands. He squeezed hers, smiling, showing gaps where teeth had once been. She smiled back and assured that everything would be alright. In the solace of mutual love and care they carried on their journey through life.
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