Alvira sat for a long time on the park bench, looking at the families enjoying themselves on Saturday afternoon. There were picnic baskets on spread out mats, colorful balls and Frisbees, children laughing, little baby girls in cute puffy frocks, concerned mothers calling out to children to stay safe. She smiled at the happy chaos. She smiled at the dogs fetching balls and at the babies crawling around in their diapers and hair bows.
When the first family that packed up and left glanced at her, she smiled a goodbye. Soon all the families left and the bright yellow afternoon turned into a golden orange evening. The evening air felt fresh, cool and crisp with the hint of distant spices. It turned soon to a reddish dusk, and then to a purplish night, turned greyish blue by the street lamps, around which insects with transparent wings had begun fluttering. Alvira got up and buried her hands into the pockets of her trench coat. She attracted no attention, a solitary figure, trying to take up as little space in the world as possible by hunching her shoulders, and bowing her head as she walked.
She stood on the pavement, waiting for the light to change to cross the street. Suddenly, her mind was assaulted by that image again – Navneet, briefly turning around to wave to her, when a drunk driver rushed in from the wrong side and hit him. The car had sped off without stopping. He had been caught, but Navneet – Navneet did not survive.
Alvira was twenty three and a widow. No matter how much she tried, she couldn’t get that image out of her mind. Every time she slept, she saw the car hitting him. Loneliness and grief drilled into her very last cell. She found no distractions she could immerse herself into.
Then finally, one Saturday, she went to the park – to look at the happiness around her, to look at happy families, at children, and picnic lunches. She walked back, crossed the road when the light turned, despite remembering Navneet again – had she ever really forgotten him, even for an instant?
She reached home and carefully locked and bolted every window and every door. She wiped the bit of dust that had collected on the kitchen platform, and threw out the milk that had been lying in the fridge. Then she went to the bedroom, and slowly withdrew from her trench coat pocket, a bottle she had clutched as she walked back home. A bottle of strong sleeping pills. She gulped them all down with water.
She never woke up.