To Be ... Or Not To Be... Part One

Each day of her life started and ended in a similar fashion. In spite of being surrounded by people for the entire day, her mornings and nights were lonely. She dreaded those moments, as if she feared that her life would end then and there. On second thoughts, those were the moments when she wondered as to why she was alive in first place. Life had not been fair to her since the day she learned the meaning of the word “life” in school.

After losing her parents when she was a kid, she lived with her aunt. That was the most interesting part of her life. The time when she met Sam! He was the first person whom she could really talk to. Really share her secrets, her sorrows and joys, if any. If he was the best thing to happen to her, her aunt – his mother was the worst. Growing up together from kids to teenagers she really enjoyed spending time with Sam, until one day her aunt discovered what they were up to. She had not wanted it to happen the way it did, but the truth was – it happened and they were caught. They were supposed to be cousins and what happened or rather what was about to happen between them was not the right thing. Blame it all on the hormones, she told herself every time she felt guilty about it.

One afternoon alone with Sam in the house and that was the last time she saw him. She was packed and sent to a boarding school. Studies and later on - work was all that was left to do in her life. She did not have many friends; she did not go out on dates. She did not hear from her aunt, she did not care much about it. She did not hear from Sam, and that hurt! Agreed, they made a mistake but that should have not scratched out all that they shared in between them. She wanted to write to him, call him, and tell him how lonely she felt. She thought of him and remembered him as a friend who understood her. She wanted to tell him that she needed someone who could be a part of her life, be her family. Care for her and make her feel comfortable. She wanted to be “home”. Then, why could she not utter a word when she saw him at the café? That was yesterday.

The same monotonous morning; she followed through her routine like every other working day. Had breakfast, took a shower. Shed a few tears, which were camouflaged by water. Got dressed and stepped out of her apartment. Walked a few blocks to the café where she worked as a waitress. Her day began as soon as she put on her apron. One order after another she attended to all her customers with a smile plastered on her face. She walked to her allotted table to take yet another order and her heart skipped a beat when she saw Sam. She did not know why she felt that strange feeling, commonly referred to as – butterfly feeling when she saw Sam. Was it the guilt or the lust that resurfaced? She smiled, this time – a real smile. She hoped that Sam would recognize her but he did not. The smile vanished as a woman walked out of the restroom and sat next to him. She was not sure what hurt the most, the distance of all these years or the present when he failed to recognize her! He placed the order and turned to talk to the woman. She stood there for a moment, an awkward smile on her lips and then she turned around.

The rest of the day did not happen. Even if it did happen, she was not aware of it. She did her job, taking orders and fulfilling them – with a smile. But, she was lost somewhere; her mind was not where her body was. Towards the end of the day she realized that she was totally exhausted, her body ached and so did her heart. When it was time to go she removed her apron and kept her money, the tips she received, in her drawer at the café. She opened the drawer again and took out some cash, the tip Sam had given her. On her way home she gave away that money to a beggar woman. She could not use that money, no, never.
Back home, she collapsed on the bed and started crying. She felt lonelier than all the nights added together. The only sunshine of her life was lost behind the dark clouds. She closed her eyes and fell asleep. The afternoon from long ago stirred awake in her dreams and she felt Sam’s mouth cover hers. She woke up and looked around. She was back to her room devoid of furniture and happiness. She walked to the washroom and splashed some water on her face. She placed a hand on her tummy as if it was going to stop what was happening inside her. She looked at the mirror and a fatigued woman who looked more than her age looked back at her. She looked away from the face, and scrutinized rest of her body. If she paid a little more attention to herself, she could become what she really was; look as beautiful as she really was, without wearing makeup. But she did not have any reason to do that. That was yesterday.


Books by Arti Honrao

Depression is REAL

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