She heard the rush of wind on wing
Steal hope into the night,
And though she called and called his name,
She could not make it right.
sat in the front pew with Aditya's family and listened to the organ
play softly. From somewhere in her childhood the words to the hymn
flowed through her mind.
When peace like a river attended my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
soul was far from peaceful, and she fought to control her emotions
while the ritual continued. If she allowed one tear, it would surely be
followed by a torrent. Nupur didn't dare listen to the proceedings, so
she forced herself to think of something else, anything else. Jasper
had been a sweet old dog and had lived his entire life with Nupur. Her
father had given her the Pug pup when she was fifteen. She'd named him
Jasper after her favorite Actor, but the last two letters were soon
dropped. When she and Aditya married, the dog came to live with them in
the modest house on Twenty-third and then later to the lovely two-story
colonial on Willow Creek Lane. Jasper died only a couple of years ago
when Mansi was in first grade.
Nupur remembered the old dog's
last day. He ate a good meal, collected his tennis balls and lined them
up along the edge of the courtyard, then settled down in his favorite
place in her flowerbed and went to sleep. She found him there later
among the irises with his affairs in order. That's the way it should be
at the end of a life, thought Nupur, with all the RELEASED TERMINALS tied up neatly.
She glanced up at the polished walnut casket
by floral arrangements as a black-robed soloist rose to sing. As the
first measure of Amazing Grace echoed through the hall, Nupur strained
to think of a time before her life began to unravel.
She should have been happy.
Nupur was an attractive woman, married to a successful man who loved
her. She had two beautiful children. They lived in a fashionable
neighborhood, she had friends, and plenty of time to do as she wished.
If her life was not every girl's dream, it was Nupur's. She didn't know
why she hadn't been able to quiet the rumble in her soul.
soloist cleared her throat and began another verse: "Through many
dangers, toils and snares, I have already come..." Nupur's attempts at
distraction kept circling back. She finally gave in to the need to make
some sense of the last months of Aditya's life. Had her self-involvement
played a part in his death?
There had been a time, before the
end of the year, when Nupur worried about their relationship. Aditya had
always been the brooding type, but his moods had deepened and he became
Aditya had been especially disturbed on the November
evening they celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday. He insisted on a
simple family affair. Aditya was preoccupied during the meal. He went
through the motions, though, and smiled when Manas led the family in a
chorus of Happy Birthday as Nupur lit the candles on the
cake. He feigned enthusiasm as he blew them out. He was only truly
there, however, when Mansi and Manas gave him their homemade birthday