Liya’s white cheeks turned red, she was crying, babbling reasons and our past promises and texts. If somebody had asked me how would you feel when the world would collapse to end, then surely it was the feeling, watching my girl sleeping with other guy. I was praying, it might be a nightmare. It wasn’t. I couldn’t blame the guy, he didn’t force her to cheat on me. It was Liya’s own choice. An intentional mistake or sin! She was uttering sorry and Don’t leave me repeatedly like an insane. I wasn’t a metahuman to tolerate such heavy weight of deception with my little heart. The guy sought forgiveness from me, he cleared that he had no idea Liya already had me. Liya made him to trust that she loved him and there was no one except him. Oh my Liya, what you have done!
“You only have to ask that you like someone else. I would have walked away. All I want your happiness.” _ My words were broken, perplexed with sadness.
“No, no.. I want you in my life. I have done mistake. Forgive me, please!” _ Liya wasn’t the same girl anymore whom I had been known from childhood.
We played together, grew up together, we became friends then fell in love. I was in illusion that I was the only person who knew her in and out. Now I was nothing more than a stranger to her. She might forget her promise but my vow wasn’t fickle.
“Liya, I remember my words. No matter what I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I’ll be loving you to all the morrows. If it’s a mistake then hold my hand dear and get out of here.” _ I said with firm voice. It took so much strength of my shattered heart to lock the pain inside.
It has been one month, Liya is like before again, an innocent face with the sweetest smile. Whenever I see her beautiful face, I forget the pain which she gifted me. I cry in lonely midnight for her treachery but still I love her no matter what and she is going to be my beautiful wife soon.
Her under-eyes were dark. It seemed she had been passing through sleepless nights. She was busy in choosing dress for her 5 years old son. I saw her as soon as I entered the shop. She was indifferent to surrounding that she didn’t even notice me. Samina was my friend and classmate too. She had been married suddenly at the age of 19. Not many of our friends knew about her marriage. I was watching her after 6 years.
“Samina!” _ I came close to her and I was reluctant too calling her name. She looked to me with vague sigh. I felt she couldn’t recognise me. She was staring at me like a child without speaking any word.
“Samina! Right?” _ I asked again.
“Yes, God! You are Nisha!” _ Her voice was delightful. She was surprised too.
“You just disappeared leaving all of us in curiosity. We only heard that you got married.”_ I was happy to see her after long time but I was so sure something was wrong with her. She was changed from her behaviour to dress up. That change wasn’t good hint.
Her smile wasn’t natural. She forced her lips to smile.
“Parents asked to get married as my relatives also suggested he was the best man for me.” _ Agony was reflected from her face. But she was trying hard to hide it under the scarf.
A man with tall figure approached us in the middle of our conversation. His arrival struck Samina with discomfort. She stopped talking, saying only goodbye she walked away with that man like a pet. I too bade her goodbye. That man was her husband. I had no idea why he was glancing at me. I was standing there speechless. The old days of high school flashed in my mind. Samina used to be a funny and lively girl. That Samina was lost somewhere now. She seemed a zombie with no feeling.
Next day I called one of my friends asking about Samina because my mind was restless to know if she was happy. My friend told, her husband abused her now and then, he didn’t allow her to meet anyone. She was like a servant to him. I found it hard to believe, when we were lecturing huge words of morality in public, there were many Samina were being treated inhumanly behind closed doors. I felt ashamed that I was also a part of this hypocrisy.
It was 3 p.m. I was getting ready for tuition. I was a student of eleventh standard. Usually I used to wear salwar, the most comfortable dress for me in the world. Mother was noticing my every movement from the door.
“Cover your body properly with dupatta” _ Mother was serious.
“It’s already covered. How much you want me to cover?” _ Mother’s strictness irritated me.
Only to please mother, I wore dress as she wished. When I hit the road with my firefly, I left mother’s rules of dressing at home. It was really uncomfortable and unmanageable when my body was wrapped in three to four layers of clothes in summer. I was already covered from neck to feet but mother was never satisfied with my dressing. She told that I should cover my body properly so that some people couldn’t have teased me.
Finally I was relieved riding on my firefly. That was my bicycle’s name. My friend was sick, she wasn’t coming to tuition so I had to ride my firefly alone for 4 minute. Sometime it felt good to ride alone on the road. I went through the market then I had to pass the area with less people. I was afraid of afternoon ghosts, there was rumour that white lady ghost with long white hair used to stand on middle of the road. I fastened paddles. Three boys on bicycle were following me from the market. I didn’t notice much untill their bicycle came closer. They were about to hit my bicycle.
“So you’re alone today!”_ 1st boy.
“Don’t worry, we’ll give you company!” _ 2nd boy.
“Hey, don’t be afraid. We are your friends.” _ 3rd boy.
I was scared of them. Their approach wasn’t friendly at all. Their eyes were preying me head to toe. I didn’t respond to their any word. In the meantime, I heard someone calling my name. When I looked back, Akash and Rik were there. My fearful heart got relieved to see them. They joined me, they were my classmates and tuition mate too. Akash glanced to those boys warning them with sharp words. I was surprised how they turned back from there. We reached tuition centre together but the little fears of those living ghosts haunted me for days.
My grandfather was chasing my grandmother with a bamboo stick with which he used to beat the cows. I was eight years old spectator of this whole scene behind the bamboo wall. I wanted to snatch the stick from grandpa’s hand but I was a little terrified being. Grandma was crying out of fear standing other side of the pond. Grandpa was shouting on her with some vulgar words. I didn’t understand the meanings of those words. I used to ask my mashi (younger sister of my mother) about those words. She told me that I was a little girl, I shouldn’t utter those words. I asked her “So I can speak out these words when I would be grown up!” She was staring at me but she didn’t say anything. (Perhaps she didn’t know herself what to say)
Mashi adored me much. She was more like a friend. My summer vacation destination was grandma’s home every year. One evening, I did mimicry of my school friends in front of her. We both were giggling. Sometime my laughter was loud. I was so happy till mother called me.
” Why are you laughing so loud?” _ Mother’s voice was angry.
“Why? What happened?” _ I didn’t have any idea about the reason behind her question.
“You are a girl and good girls don’t laugh loud. What will people say? You better stop talking and laughing loud.” _ Her voice was strict. My eight years old brain was terrified a little. After that I hadn’t laughed when mother was around. I laughed loud only with my friends when there were no people around. I didn’t want to live a life like my grandma. My grandma got married to grandpa when she was twelve or thirteen years old. She lived a life of abuse, slavery and both physical and mental torture. She didn’t utter a single word against my grandpa in her whole life. Her wishes and freedom to live were killed by barbarian mentality. Or by tradition or society’s rules or fake honor or lack of education!
The atmosphere was clouded with awkward silence. Gales of dilemma were rising inside the mind of both of them. After 5 minutes 4 seconds she ordered two vanilla ice-creams as she was always confident about his favourite flavour.
“So would you let me know what’s going on in your mind?” _ He asked. There was urgency in his voice.
“Do you remember the poem I wrote for you? There were lines- Don’t be afraid to get lost, I’ll find you tracing your scent. Those words were not only ink on paper, that was my vow made of rock to you. Don’t ever dare to damp them with doubts.” _ She said. There was essence of trust in her voice.
And she smiled looking into his blue eyes holding his hand.
“See, I have found you.” She whispered.