I was standing there, staring at that piece of rock right in front me; staring at it for ages and trying to understand how one color was merged into one – every color distinct and standing out yet there were no boundaries, no horizons and if I touched it I could point out every color without any effort. I stretched out my hand and traced my fingers over the initials that had been engraved in that rock eons ago or that was what it seemed like. When I was done feeling the course texture and the bumpy grittiness it came to me suddenly – isn’t that how every journey is? Beautiful and colorful on the outside, hard and bumpy on the inside. I bent down then, picked up a piece of rock that had fallen and started re-carving those initials, cutting deeper and deeper into the rock until my fingers pained and my palm screamed to stop but how could I? Against the tide of time those initials had faded but what if I re-engrave them and maybe that’ll help me regain what was lost, recover what had faded and rebuild the whole of my life that has been shattered inch by inch, like shards of glass that has been called a heart piercing into my chest every now and then when an old memory tugs at the corners of my mind.
I remember that day. All that traveling had worn us out but the party didn’t stop and we were never too tired to explore a new place. Us. You and me. It was perfect. And while we were on the highway, singing our favorite song, you stopped the car. There were mountains all around us; scary looking mountains that were standing so taut and daunting that it scared me to even look at their peaks at times. I was afraid of heights and you told me not to be because if I fall, you’ll be there to catch me. Cliché. But I believed you and let you take me to mountain tops. And when I was afraid to look down, you would put your arms around me and tell me it’s alright. It is okay to be frightened by things but as long as your arms are around me, I’ll be safe and I need not worry. I believed you every time.
And so you stopped the car and we got out, traversing the road hand in hand and coming closer to the mountain rock, you squeezed my hand.
“Let’s engrave our names in history, shall we?” You said.
“And maybe someday we’ll pass by this road and find our mark.” I replied.
“And we’ll think of how awesome this day was.”
“And we’ll tell our children about this place.”
“And they’ll check it out one day and realize how much we loved each other.” You said with a wink.
I smiled and a blush started creeping up my neck. And so we stood there while you took out the pocket knife from your pants’ pocket and started carving our initials into rock. I stared at you and at times my gaze wandered to the hand that was carving my initials to make them a part of history. Right below the initials you carved the date 2005 -.
“Nothing after dash?” I asked.
“Nope. Till death do us part.”
“This is for forever.”
You nodded. I understood. We made our way back to the car silently.
And now here I was, five years later, on the very same road at the very same spot where we had been together, tears clouding my eyes and running down my face, and hands busy carving our initials back into stone, back to forever that we had promised each other. Maybe just maybe if I engrave them again and again and again I might get you back. The sobs erupt and the silent screaming begins. When I have engraved the initials enough I start over the date, carving, carving, with that year flashing right before my eyes, how I met you and how you gave me the best years of my life and how perfect we had been. You didn’t catch me, no you did not. Perfection doesn’t last forever and I should have seen it in your eyes that neither would you. Things too good to be perfect seldom do and I believed you. Believed you every time.
I stopped on the dash. I kept looking at the space beyond the dash, staring at it like I was in a trance. Then my hands started to carve once again. Without realizing what I was doing, all thought process blocked; I engraved another year in this rock to last forever. And maybe this time it’ll stay.
After I had done it, in an almost inhumane amount of sense of calm I trace my grazed fingers over the new date: 2010. Tears had stopped and I took a deep breath thinking that I don’t want you back anymore. With all the resolve I could muster I started walking away.