Usually it would be the sound of her anklets and bangles that would wake him up. No matter how quietly and carefully she moved through the room, the gentle tinkling would give away her every gesture and step. It would invade his sleep slowly, making his mind awake, but eyes would remain closed for a little while more, as he would listen to the playful song of the anklets. Only when he felt the slightest caress of her palm he would open his eyes, his gaze meeting her face for the first time in a day. His mornings have never been more beautiful.

But today was one of those rare occasions when he had woken up before her. He decided there was enough time to lean in for a kiss after which her flashes would flutter and she too would be welcomed by sunbeams streaming through one of the windows into a new day. Instead he took the opportunity and simply watched her. Her usually animated face was calm as she slept, a single strand of dark hair resting on her cheek.

With a slight disaproval he noticed she looked rather skinny. And a bit pale. And rather tired. But then a feeling of repentance reminded him he was the one responsible for all that. For past four months she was taking care of his ever so slightest need. After that night when he realized it was not in his power to leave her, he almost didn´t make a step out of her chambers. He was too weak to go some place else anyway for some time. He hardly remembered anything from those first few weeks. Lying in bed, feeling terrible as so many times before. Bothered by coughing out blood. And an odd little man with wrinkled face whom Chandramukhi found somewhere after being told he´s a great healer, would make him drink all kinds of medicines he had made. First time he refused. But one look into those painfully worrying eyes of hers and he immediately regretted. She had that power over him. Her silent caring was so much more powerful then she could have imagined herself.

Slowly his strength returned. He was coughing less and felt better. Even now occasionally the coughing would return, but there was no blood anymore. And there was no alcohol any more. Chandramukhi made sure every bottle disappeared from her place. Even if she didn´t, he had no desire to fall into that lying trap again. For the first time he wanted to live. And he knew all too well now, that every sip of alcohol would make his time shorter. The time he wanted with Chandramukhi.

Thinking about what had passed he often wondered if all that pain with Paro was needless or not. Paro. She was still alive in his memory. There would still be a slight sting of pain in his heart upon remembering her name. To talk about her still felt bitter. But no longer it put off the lights of his life, no longer the impossible desires burned his mind. Because there were no such desires left. He wished she would be happy in life. He now understood he was probably never meant to be the one to make her happy. But there was another, whom he now wanted to give everything – and take everything from her as well.

She opened her eyes. She would always wake up like that. Without any trace of sleepiness which usually refuses to leave from beneath the eyelids even in the sunlight. Nightmares would occasionally trouble her during rainy nights, but in the morning there was nothing, nothing but peace mirrored in the dark, deep wells of her eyes. She was looking at him without a word, not moving, just watching. And he could feel all the love from that long gaze, all that devotion. Her eyes were thanking him for being there, like every time she found him beside herself. There would be a tear or two then. They would leave the corner of her eye and make their way down her cheek, to show him how much she was happy, how much she was grateful, and how she still, after those moths, didn´t entirely believe he was there. And as always, to ensure her he was, he bent down and pressed a loving kiss on her forehead.

Another beautiful day.