"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

He stood confused, face buried in sweaty hands, overcome with grief, anger and a vague relief. His heart felt heavy and light at the same time. A bead of sweat trickled down his lips. It was salty yet in it was the sweetness of washing down a mental burden. He was not crying, yet he choked on a great guilt for he had exactly wished for this to happen.

Though it was 8 hours back, he vividly remembered every detail of it - the noise in the station, his wife seated in the coach, her dry sullen face which avoided him, his tongue tied stance, the way his heart sank when the train started and the way she drifted away without a good-bye or even a fake smile. It was exactly at that helpless moment his heart had wished the unthinkable - "Is there a way to end this all?"

The train had derailed in the wee hours and he woke up to the breaking news. Her coach had been smashed. They put up a list of the deceased and her name was there. He had not spoken to her parents yet, but he felt he was prepared - it was only weeping and condolences to handle now. It would have been harder to speak to them had she reached them alive..

It was a marriage that God had served on the rocks - it had gotten worse with each passing season. He loved her but always struggled to translate it into reality. Was it inability or was it defiance? Almost all the time she had either cribbed, abused, wailed or just kept an impenetrable silence. There was never a proper conversation or even a fight between them - because you need two people for it; not with one standing mum, his head down and stammering on his words. She initially suspected him of being Autistic but finally settled on Maniacal Depression syndrome. Since marriage, they had always lived in cities far from their people. As a result, they met very little with his or her relatives and she would always be on the phone proclaiming the failure of her marriage to her friends, cousins, et al. Many a times, he had overheard her phone conversations and had secretly dreaded the thought of meeting her friends and relatives - he knew they would grill him to death. Whenever she spoke to him of getting a transfer, he was quick to reply "I am trying dear. They don't transfer in the middle of a project.."

Finally his bluff was called at an office party, the evening before her train journey. His boss had casually said to her, "Whats up with him? We offered him a transfer several times but he denies it giving personal reasons. In fact, we have better projects in the other office while he has been on bench here for past 6 months". She had instantly realized he had been 'swindling her' all this while. She had stormed home that night and packed her bags. She threatened to 'expose his criminal mind' to everyone and didn't listen to any of his explanations. At the station too, he had kept praying she would finally change her mind and come back home with him.

"Is there a way to end this all?", those words hauntingly came back to him now. He realized his trauma had ended but also gone was the person with whom he had spent his past 4 years. She was the only company known to him - even in between her rebukes he had found traces of love. He had heard somewhere that when the heart desires something very hard, God makes it happen. It was only one burning moment that he had wished for it, Why did God have to listen to him precisely at that instant? He felt he was a murderer. He could not speak to anyone now, as he felt they may sense it too. Then he felt maybe it was all a bad-dream, he wanted to sleep and get up again. He went into the bath and gulped down the entire bottle of sleeping pills..

2 days later

The whole family was there. His and her parents. All the elders were in utter shock; they couldn't believe the funeral of both their children would happen in front of their own eyes. Someone was heard saying, "Her fate could not be avoided, but wish someone was there to console him and stop him from taking such an extreme step. He should have atleast spoken to the parents once. I can't believe there are guys today who love their wives so very much.."