It had been a while since I painted a picture. And somehow I did not feel like it that night. It was all silent and the colours were not blending in together. All I could see was blue. Dark blue splashed all across the sky with patches of smog to mar its beauty. Only until the rain came down and splashed red mud all over the cottage steps where we were sitting. When the dancing of the rain had stopped I could see the deep shade of blue with freshly bathed stars. Those are the only colours I remember from that night. Dark blue of the night sky, dots of white and the brown of the mud and the wooden bench. I had retreated to the cottage to escape the humdrum of the city life. It was always peaceful to be with him.

Today this cottage still reminds me of him, our endless conversations and our bicycle rides to the nearest town. He loved bicycles and I loved riding alongside him. He used to buy me flowers and freshly baked bread to have with our usual cups of tea. He used to wait for me at the front door every time I arrived. Somehow he just knew I was coming. He used to read a lot. He used to read about wars, their after effects, books on famous leaders so on and so forth. I used to get him a new book on each visit. I did not share his interest but I always listened with rapt attention whenever he used to narrate one of his stories. One night which I particularly remember, we stayed up late at night talking about my job and its travails. I went on talking and he listened with undivided attention. I felt loved that night.

Tonight is a similar night save that he is not here. But I still sit here on he same wooden bench in the softness of the light coming from his favourite lantern. Until I arrived here I needed to talk to someone. Now that I am here I feel at peace, just like I used to be when he was with me. It is silent and I can still see dark blue. What he said to me minutes before he passed away rings in my ears, “My child, when I’m gone don’t feel alone. Come here whenever you need me and I will be waiting for you.” Coming here reassures me, you’ve not gone anywhere Uncle Jerry. This house still reverberates with your presence and I don’t feel alone anymore…

Sameen