Many things have changed. It been 3 years since Jerome passed away. During his mid forties, his kidney condition got worsened. He spent most of his time bedridden. Doctors said he has given up on his life and there is little they can do about it;
‘Why do you want to leave me’ I asked him.
‘My body is broke Randi. I want to release you from this burden. You need to let me go’ Jerome replied.
‘Don’t you want to grow old with me?’ I said.
‘We did grow old together. I am 50 years old now.Remember the days we did late night partying. We were just teens at that time.‘ said Jerome.
‘Then take me with you. I cannot live here alone without you. As far as I can remember, you were always part of my life. You were my only friend, brother and lover’ I said to him.
‘You have some time left here Randi. Maybe there are things that you still need to see and experience’ I on the other hand, had everything fulfilled in my life. There is nothing more left for me to look forward. You gave me the best life I could ever imagine and much more. So i am ready now’ he said.
I lost my words.
‘Can you promise me something?’ he then asked.
‘If you get a chance, please visit Danushka and tell him that I have forgiven him?’
Few days later, Jerome passed away. He died peacefully in my arms.
We buried his ashes in a Colombo cemetery. I stop going to Sri Lanka after his death. I had no reason to be there. Everyone I knew has either moved out or busy with their life. Hashini never got married and Nilukshi stayed with her. They adopted a boy and a girl from an orphanage. Little boy was named, Ravindu. Asitha and Shamalie live in England now. I haven’t met them since our last meeting. They were coming to Sri Lanka for a vacation and Shamalie insisted that I should come too. So I decided to take this long journey back to Colombo. I don’t like travelling because of leg pain I have from bullet wounds. I was hoping to see Shamalie or Asitha at the air port to pick me up. I was waiting at the airport entrance, when I saw him;
‘Jerome, how could this happen?’ I said. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
‘Sorry, uncle I am Ronald. Mom and Dad waiting for you’ he said.
Ronald, I remember. That’s Jerome’s middle name. So this is Shamalie’s son. He was an exact copy of Jerome for sure. Same eyes, same figure except bit darker skin. That must be from his mother. He took me to the car. I greeted Shmalie and Asitha. Ronald helped me put my luggage into the car.
‘Your son looked like..’ before I finished the line.
‘Like Jerome, yes we didn’t realize the similarities until we came to Colombo. Some of Jerome’s old friends get so confused when they see Ronald’ Shamalie said.
Forever I said to myself.
They dropped me at my place and I was greeted by Hashini, Nilukshi and kids. Shamalie said they will come and see me when I am settled. I limped myself into the house. I was given my old room to stay. After few weeks into my vacation, I got hold of Sarojini and asked about Danushka.
‘He is in Mullariyawa mental asylum now. His parents abandoned him long time ago. There is no point you visiting him Randika. He doesn’t recognize anyone anymore, not even Arosh. So don’t waste your time’ she said.
I told her about the promise I made to Jerome before he died and said I have to go and see him. She gave me the ward number. It was Friday
that I decided to visit Danushka. A male nurse took me to the place where Danushka was staying. He pointed to a person sitting on a bench outside the hall.
‘That’s him’ the nurse said.
‘There must have been a mistake here. I am looking for Danushka Udugama’ I said to the nurse.
‘That is him’ repeated nurse and left me.
I went to this person. Oh my god. It was Danushka indeed. Danushka as I remembered was a man full of energy and strength. But he had become a living skeleton now. But underneath this skeletal body, I still could recognize him. He was looking at distant horizon and his eyes were emotionless. I faced him and looked into his eyes.
‘Danushka’ do you recognize me.
Nothing changed. He was still looking into abyss.
‘Danushka, it’s me Randika. Jerome had passed away few years ago. He wanted me to tell you that he has forgiven you. I have forgiven you as well.’ I said to him.
I sat next to him for a while and the nurse came back.
‘Visitors time is over’ he shouted at me.
‘I have to leave now and won’t be coming back. I am not well and my legs aren’t strong enough to travel. Goodbye Danushka.’ I touched his hand and started walking towards the entrance.
‘Did you bring lunch today’ suddenly he spoke.
‘No, I didn’t’ I replied.
‘Then we will go out for lunch. It’s on my account today’ he said.
‘Danushka, you remember me?’ I asked.
‘Did you bring lunch today’ he kept on repeating the same lines.
I left him there.
Tomorrow I am flying back. Shamalie and Asitha came to see me in the evening. Then all of us went to Colombo cemetery to see Jerome’s tombstone. It had a picture of Jerome taken when he was 23 years old. Ronald looked at it for a while.
‘He does look like me’ Ronald said a faint voice.
Those words meant only for me. I thought.
‘Yes he does’ I said to myself.
Shamalie said Ronald knows about Jerome and me and our connection to his life. I said I wanted some private time with Jerome. Shamalie and Asitha left, while Ronald stayed with me. I didn’t mind that. I sat down near Jerome’s tombstone and stayed until dark. It was a simple tombstone. Just below his picture, the word ‘Forever’ was inscribed.
‘Goodbye my love. I will meet you soon’ I said to him.
That is when Jerome’s warm hands lift me up.
‘It will be alright. We should go back to the car now’ Ronald said while lifting me up.
‘Yes we should’ I said.
So that’s it folks. When I started writing this story, I wanted it to be a five parts. But it kept of expanding itself as I wanted to cover characters in detail and do justice to them. This story is part fiction and part based on my real life experience. Some parts of the story, I wrote with much enthusiasm and others with difficulty. I tried to put down my thoughts and ideas without toning it down to keep the spirit of the story. So if any of you got offended by its language or descriptions, please know that it was totally unintentional from my part. The story was written from its conception to conclusion within two week. With work and other things happening in my life, I was often forced to do marathon sessions of writing in order complete it. So please forgive me for any spelling or grammatical errors you may find here. When I get a chance, I will revisit the story and fix them.
I also want to offer my sincere gratitude to the admin staff of ‘Get real Sri Lanka’ blog for giving me this opportunity to publish my story. You guys Rock!
For those who stayed with me for last 14 days, I hope I didn’t disappoint you.
Finally, for Dilantha thank you for being an inspiration for this story. Forever…
Have a happy new year.
December 25, 2015
Last edited by darknoon on 27th December 2015, 21:51; edited 3 times in total
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