She doesn't remember how long she stood there.
Motionless, emotionless, empty; the slowly changing scenery outside her bedroom window was the only thing which made any movement at all.
The grief - which has just been bubbling below the surface, ever since she left - threatening to engulf her, the only escape she could see for miles and miles ahead was Numbness.
Her schedule hasn't changed one bit over the past month. Observing the golden ball, which was the setting sun, being swallowed by darkness again and again and ever again was satisfying somehow; it felt friendly too, like the vicious darkness and the obliging sun were the only things who understood her and reflected her emotions on a blue canvas night and night again. The stars, that were always objects of wonder and amazement to her now pierced her like scalding knives whenever she saw them smiling down at her. The smile felt less friendly and more taunting the longer they saw her and made her feel even more lonely than she already was. But she would not avert her gaze from them. Coz she wanted to feel the pain. She wanted to let go of the shell of vacuousness that she had formed around her, that protected her from the grief(which always waited around the corner) from overpowering her. She wanted to feel.
But numbness, strong, shielding numbness, always stood by her, holding her tight in its embrace, never letting a single piece of her fall prey to the agony that always tried to break the barrier between itself and her.
The moon shone bright and whole today, reminding her even more of the person whom she had last seen in this room itself, under the equally shining moon, thirty days ago. Whose memories she now held onto as if they were her life-line, her oxygen mask. Whom she would never forget again.
A knock on the door woke her out of her reverie and her silent fight with the stars. Utterly surprised (as no one had ever come into her room since the last full moon), she turned back to staring at the stars. A lock clicked, the door swung open and she heard light footsteps making their way towards her. Something flickered on her face,some emotion, but only for a nano-second. She went back to maintaining her blank stupor as a small hand circled itself around her hand, "Can I sleep with you tonight?", said a tiny voice, which had turned hoarse, she knew, because of crying.
She nodded without looking at him.
"Thanks", said that tiny voice and shuffled a few steps towards the bed and stopped. "I miss her", he said, a little loudly.
She whipped her face towards the voice. A small boy of five, whose eyes had filled up with tears, was looking up at her with a certain plea in his face. He wanted to be hugged, to be loved, to be consoled, to be assured that everything will be alright. But she couldn't do it. She couldn't move towards him, or hold him in her lap or wipe his tears. She stood there, rooted to the ground, hating the sight of her brother as much as she hated her mother for leaving them alone, with nothing but memories, responsibilities, loneliness and a big black hole of despair in which she was falling, inch by inch, every night she stood there, staring out her window.
"Don't you miss her?", he asked. Something happened inside her, she couldn't put a word to it. But the numbness was still too powerful to let her experience whatever it was that happened.
She looked into her sibling's eyes and felt herself drifting through a haze of pictures in reverse.
"Mum, Maggi!", her groaned rumbled with the groan of her empty stomach. "Muuuuum"
Where is she? She went into her mother's room to check if she was there. So excited she was about telling her about the movie she had just seen that she didn't bother knocking. Flinging open the door, she peered inside, only to be disappointed with her absence. She went into her neighbor's place to ask if they knew where she was. No idea, they said.
Finally, thinking that maybe she had gone down for some work, she thought she'd freshen up until she came. Making her way towards her room, an idea struck her - "how cool would it be if she made the dinner and mum would cum be all happy and surprised! And maybe, if the good mood persists, she could ask her about the Matheran trip too!" smiling at her brilliant idea, she opened her bedroom door and was shocked to see the scene which was greeting her. Her mother was sitting with her eyes closed on the arm chair near the window, with an album of old photos on her lap. Her face bathed in moonlight, she looked so peaceful, she could be sleeping.
She walked slowly towards her mother, dreadful images forming in her mind. The moment she reached exactly besides the armchair, she knew there was something wrong. She caught hold of her mother's wrist and a moment later, let out a silent scream, which reverberated inside her, smashing each and every part of herself. No voice left her mouth, but if she could speak, she would have frightened the whole society with a scream so piercing and painful, even a stone would break in two and cry.
Instead, she just stood there, all vacant, frozen with her mother's wrist in her hand.
After what felt like centuries, her brother came inside, he shook her mother like she was a can of Pringles that he was holding in his hand. Fear totally pronounced in his shriek, he ran out of the room and called for help. What happened next, she did not remember, nor care. all that was truly alive for her was her mother's cold hand in her palm. Nothing else mattered. And she left her soul, her happiness, and everything else that connected her to the world, aside when she was parted with her mother.
Coming out of the painful oblivion, she noticed that her brother was hugging her knees and tears were falling down from his warm eyes onto her cold, bare legs.
She placed her hand on his head and for the first time in all this month, she let go of the numbness that she was holding onto with all her might. Embracing the grief that was hurtling towards her furiously, she let the very first tear drop from her watery eyes. A stream of tears followed the first and before she knew it, she had fallen to her knees and was crying and wailing with the grief that threatened to break her with its strength. All the emotions, the feelings, the sadness that she had numbed down were waking up to life and making her feel more lively and grief stricken then she ever was. Her brother held her hand and squeezed it so as to say "its alright" and she returned the pressure trying to add as much warmth as she could.
And she knew then, that life doesn't stop when misfortunes happens. In fact, its in those times, where you have to be strong and live life, if not for yourself, then for others, who are depended on you, who love you.
And as she knelt there, hugging her brother, breaking the shield of numbness and finally accepting her feelings, she knew everything will be alright, even though it wasn't now.
She's just got to hope. And trust.