Bella had no idea what time meant. She had never known how old she was or what date, month or year it was. It seemed odd to those who knew her. It was not that she was lost. She wasn’t lost at all. Just that she had come to a conclusion that time is immaterial. It never bothered her to know, and she quickly forgot when was it exactly that she was.
What people found queer, Bella felt was her way of life. She did not mind people telling her over and over again that she should keep a track of time. People seemed to believe that there was no way one can survive without knowing what time it was. Once the more famous forms of tortures, they said, discovered by men was isolating the candidate and putting him in a room with no windows. Men went crazy without knowing the date or even if its day or night.
The calm and composure of Bella, even as she had no track of time perturbed the people who knew her. Ironically, a lot of them went crazy attempting to ‘fix’ her. Her composure also lent her an air of mystery and no one could comprehend her agnosticism towards knowledge of time.
There was only one old and haggard woman who knew why Bella was the way she was. Bella had come across her several times but she didn't remember that either. Who was this strange lady? She was always around, lurking in shady streets, shady corners of the city, hiding herself from people, who had loathed her forever now. They ignored her and wanted never to look at her and had shunned her to the ruins of the city where she roamed alone. No one to talk to, no one to share with. It had been ages since she had been there, forgotten by all. Generation after generation of men had let her be, and gradually her tale became a myth. She was lost forever. Well, maybe not forever.
It was October, 1965. Bella did not remember this date either. She had started losing track of time then. She had been happy once. Happier than she’d ever known anyone to be. She had loved Kaspy once with all her mind, heart and soul. He was the love of her life, all that she lived for. All that she thought of. She had made sacrifices that seemed to her the most natural thing to do. People were shocked at her decisions. “You are throwing away your whole life’s hard work”, they used to say. “My whole life’s hard work got me to Kaspy. He is the reward of everything I’ve done. Now I want to cherish it. Tell me what’s wrong with that.” She did. Till 2011. She was 70.
I am no one to judge whether the sacrifices were right or wrong. However, she did make a mistake. She should not have loved so much. The ingrate Kaspy just left one day. He was a human being after all. On his way home from the book store, he met the old hag. They had a brief word, and he left with her. Never coming home. Never telling Bella what had happened. He was gone.
He was gone. The void in her life, was much more than what Bella could take. She had no idea where Kaspy was and she was determined to find him. She walked the streets of the city in despair – yet determined to find Kaspy...