Read from the begining.
‘Listen Gabriel, I think you should go home, I am sorry - if I’ve been rude. But I do think you need help. Besides, I don’t recall seeing you at Gerald’s funeral, not that I was in my complete senses, but I am quite certain you are mistaking me for someone else.’
‘Gerald never spoke about you – how were you his friend? I did know most of his friends. I mean I ve never seen you, I don’t know you, and now you appear out of no where and expect me to get off the train and then spend my entire life with you?’
‘Do you realize this is what people refer to as insanity?’ She ended her practicality spiel with a hint of sarcasm.’
Every word she spoke made perfect sense, yet something in him kept bothering about the time. His watch read 10:05 PM. He couldn’t quite place what was bothering him more, that rank stranger who asked him to get off the train before ten past ten or the fact that he was running out of options to convince Rosalyn of his love.
In the meanwhile, the train started to approach Jatin Das Park, the penultimate station before Kalighat. As the train slowed down, he realized that the conversation was going no where and soon he would run out of time.
He thought of a last resort – as an act of desperation -to pull her out of the train by force. There weren’t too many people awake to witness, but if she resisted then it could get dicey. Yet not doing it, would translate to a regret for the rest of his mortal life, and he wasn’t prepared to live like that.’
He looked into her eyes, and pleaded one last time with all his heart and soul –
‘Rosalyn – I want you to know – that I love you and I’d do anything for you’.
Rosalyn was startled. How did he know her name?
What happened next is something, which turns this simple love story into a whirlpool, something which makes it surreal.As the train stopped at Jatin Das Park, she stood up to run away from him, he latched on to her right hand trying to pull her back. The door was just a couple of feet away. She resisted and a scuffle ensued. Rosalyn slammed the bags with her left hand on his head.He fell down, a little away from the door. The sliding doors opened swiftly and she jumped out of the compartment and started to run ahead. Having a rather high-heeled shoe didn’t help the pace.
She twisted her ankle a few coaches ahead.Just then the rogue overhead announcement system, urged the passengers to stay away from the doors, as they were about to close. Meanwhile he had to get up quickly and get out of the coach before the doors closed in exactly 30 seconds.He dragged himself out of the train just in time – 15 seconds for the doors to close.As he rolled over on to the platform he saw Rosalyn trying to get up and run with the shoes in her hand.He shouted –‘Rosalyn don’t leave me’. 5 seconds for the doors to close.She turned around to look at him once, and that was the last time he saw those wonderful eyes. As he hunched on his knees he saw her jump back on to the train as the doors closed.
A lump in his throat threatened to burst, tears welled up and his heart sank as he watched the train leave Jatin Das Park station. Each passing compartment took away the last ounce of hope he had left of seeing Rosalyn.He slumped back and sat down on the platform wondering why did he do this at all ? He hadn’t seen his watch in all this commotion.
The watch showed 10:10PM – and that is when he heard a huge explosion inside the tunnel ahead. A not so distant burst of flames engulfed the tunnel with smoke.Alarm bells went off and he could hear distant commotion from the street above, people screaming and running, and the mind was fuzzy. He just couldn’t get up and walk.Just then someone helped him get up. It was the same stranger on the train. He was at a loss for words.He broke the ice again.‘Gabriel I am sorry, this is how it had to happen – I had to do my job.’‘I am sure you realize I had a new role to play and there was no way I couldn’t execute it.’ ‘A job which you excelled and something which I never wanted to do – I did it only because I couldn’t stand and watch you suffer, you are one of my own – do you remember now?’
‘I had to take her with me since you refused the last time. Her time was up. I’ve been trying to warn her all day long – I tried to cancel her trip to office – but she just wouldn’t budge. I tried to delay everything on her way, thinking this might dissuade her from getting out of her home, which was the only hope for another extension. But she was persistent.’
‘I must say, being the angel of death is tougher than I’d imagined.’
‘And look at you – you gave away eternity for this woman?’ ‘Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you back then – I tried – but you were in love and you wouldn’t listen to any of us’.
Father knew this would happen, and if He let you know in advance, then it would make Him unfair to the rest, and you and I both know, that is impossible. Or perhaps, if He agreed, then He would have to do this for all of humanity – which is not such a smart thing to do isn’t it?
‘I did ask Him to stop you from doing this but He said that though He is sad, but He will never stop you from your free will and choice. You’ll have to own up to your actions and their consequences’
The stranger’s words were slowly entering his sphere of consciousness. It all came back to him.
Mr.White, the stranger in the white suite was his replacement as the angel of death.
Gyanban thoughts - The story heads into climax in the following episode.