20:00 HRS, 31st December
She looked at herself at the mirror, holding the new outfit, against her chest. She loved it. She felt a rush of excitement as she thought of tonight’s plans. It was new year’s eve. She and her husband were supposed to attend a party thrown by their close friend. Having had a very hectic schedule, at work, for the past few months, she looked forward to the party tonight. But the part she was waiting for the most, was the long drive after the party that her husband had promised her.
She looked at the clock on her dressing table. “He should have been back by now”, she thought. She walked towards the window and pulled the screens aside. The road, she noticed, was completely jammed. “Ah! He must have got stuck in the traffic. But he could have at least given me a call”, she sighed. Just then her cell phone rang. It played her favorite song, the one she had reserved for her husband. She answered her phone eager to ask where he was, but she heard an unfamiliar voice at the other end. “Hello!”, said the stranger. The urgency and panic in his voice, gave her the shivers. She knew it then. She knew that something was wrong, really wrong.
20:25 HRS, 31st December
She had never cursed the traffic to the extent she did today. This was a matter of life and death and these silly party goers did not seem to understand. The driver looked at her through the rear view mirror. “Don’t worry. We’ll get there soon. I know the short cuts. Once we cross this main road, we’re clear”, he assured. She nodded her head in response, as no words seemed to find their way out. Her life had turned up side down in a moment. Scenes of what had happened in past quarter of an hour kept replaying in her head, as if her brain was asking her to come to terms with it.
Her husband had been in a car crash. The stranger on the phone had told her that the front end of the car was almost completely crushed. He also mentioned that pulling her husband from below the steering wheel was not easy. He told her that her husband was bleeding profusely and feared that he might have a few broken limbs. The kind stranger was taking him to the nearest hospital, which would take about three quarters of an hour from their residence, on a normal day. Today, she thought, it would take longer. The mere helplessness of having to simply sit this way, was torturing her.
21:00 HRS, 31st December
“We’ll be there in another 20 minutes”, said the driver. “Thank you”, she croaked. She was really thankful to him, as he came through a number of short cuts, she never knew existed. She had called her friend to say that they would not be attending the party. She told that her husband wasn’t feeling well. She had to keep her voice straight, hide the quiver in it, not let her tears escape as she heard her friend’s voice, so that their party would not be ruined. “The party”, she thought. Something that she was looking forward to, for the past few days, did not make any sense anymore. Everything looked silly in the face of death, she realized. “Death”. The word haunted her, as the driver relentlessly honked for the car in the front to move. She remember the words her mother always used to say, “Never give up. Being Hopeful and positive will always show you the way, even if the path seems like a dead end”. She wished her mother was right.
03:34 HRS, 1st January
The kind stranger, not a stranger any longer, left to his home. He had not only rescued her husband from the ruined car, but also, donated his blood to save her husband’s life. Her husband had broken his right leg and had dislocated his right shoulder. Although the situation had taken a while to stabilize, his life was in no danger anymore. The doctors felt it was better to keep him under observation for the night.
She now sat on a chair beside her motionless husband. As she looked at him, a lot of memories flashed in her mind. The day they first met, the day they first kissed, the days he comforted her after a bad day at work and then the promise of the long drive he had made. They would have been laughing together and making fun of each other, driving in their car, had things gone as per their plan. “Their plan”, she thought. She suddenly felt insignificant under the might of time. As she felt a wave of restlessness, her mother’s voice echoed again, “Being Hopeful and positive will always show you the way”. She placed her hand on her husband’s left hand and felt it’s warmth. She felt reassured.
07:15 HRS, 1st January
She was awakened by a grumbling noise that she heard at a distance. Suddenly, she said bolt upright. How she could have fall asleep, in such a situation, was a mystery to her. Her husband was stirring, slowing waking up. As he opened his eyes, their eyes met. At no point in their life together, these past five years, did they take a look at each other, the way they did today. Her heart was thumping hard. “Everything”, she whispered. She then cleared her throat and said, “Everything is alright. There is nothing to worry. Just a broken leg and a shoulder dislocation.” His eyes widened as she spoke. She quickly added, “Like I said, you are fine. Everything is OK”. “You are safe”, she whispered, as she gently held his left hand. Tears, that had been held inside her all this while, now flowed down her cheek.
07:45 HRS, 1st January
The doctor and nurses had paid their visits, checking his vitals. Everything was fine, except, he would take a few months to recover from all his injuries. She sat next to him and watched him. “I am sorry”, her husband said. It looked like he was exerting a lot to speak. “Please, don’t speak”, she said. “Just take rest”, she added. “I promised to take you for a ride. I couldn’t”, he apologized. “Oh! You took me on a ride, alright! You did keep your promise”, she mocked smilingly. He gave a weak smile. “It is going to be hard, the next few months. With your work and my bed rest…”, he moaned. She put her finger on his lips to silence him. “We are ALIVE. There is a lot to be thankful for. I thought I would never see you again. I mean, never see you seeing me again. Does that make sense?”, she laughed. “Kind of”, he answered. “As long as we are alive, we can find a way”, she said. Her husband quietly listened to her. “As long as we are Hopeful, we will find a way”, she added. She thanked her mother, inside her heart. Her husband put on his wide smile and said, “Happy new year”. She bent down and gently kissed his forehead and wished him, “Happy new year, to you too”.