“What took you long?”
In the bright darkness, we met each other finally. It seemed to me like we aged never. Fitting perfectly in each other, the twists and turns were smoothest this time.
“How did you find me?”
“So desired Richard’s will.”
“So you’ve been staying with Charles all these days?”
“He recently broke his leg.”
There was an awkward silence in the room for a few minutes. Then our conversation continued.
“I stayed with Richard most of the time. He treated me like his only possession. Unwilling to depart from me ever.”
“Cancer, they said.”
“Charles knew about me. He knew how possessive Richard was about me. He waited for him to die.”
“So he broke all ties and let him die?”
“He did. Charles broke Richard’s trust many a times before. Richard left Charles with nothing but me. From the moment Charles got his rights on me, he’s busy finding you. Sometimes I feel he thinks of you only. But then, he grabs me tight like no one ever did.”
“What did Richard have to say about me?”
“He mentioned you never in conversations open. He mentioned about you only in his will when he had options none.”
“What did he write in his will?”
“Charles can have me and that he must find you. There’s something precious in the things you hide. Ever since then we’ve been looking for you. We searched for you everywhere but who knew what’s in store?”
“But why would Charles want me so bad?”
“Richard’s treatment has left him bankrupt.”
“And he seeks for me to gather his fortune you mean?”
“I guess so.”
“Then we should have never met. I’ll disappoint the broken soul only.”
In the middle of our conversation, Charles broke in. He looked at us. A devilish smile on his face we saw. A smile filled with greed and hope. I had never seen Charles like that before. He pushed me and turned me forcefully. Pressing my head hard, his gentle nature escaped. I went round the other in the most comfortable manner. Silent we were. We were closer than ever. More close we wanted to come.
“What’s holding you?”
“Charles,” I replied.
The box unlocked. Charles opened it with expectations great. He found his childhood belongings in there. Richard had collected them all. It was like his hobby. But now, what about Charles? How could plain things like broken toys and records make him happy? With broken hopes he threw the box on the floor. I watched him silently as he broke it too.
I looked up at the table top. Lock was too open to be close. With an open head he could lock my words no more.
I uttered not a word. How could I? A little key I am and my companion an unlocked lock. I wonder why Richard called me the key to happiness.
By Payal Dutta
PC: royalty free images from pexels