|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Railway platform OR Inside Train|
Love Short Story – SAY IT
February 12th :-
I clutched Michelle’s bony shoulders as I hugged her tightly. My watery eyes met her smart green ones and I asked her, “Michelle, did he say that?”
She remained silent, letting me know that it was true. Dean Samson said he was annoyed by my very presence!
Dean. I’ve written that name a zillion times in my diary. Past two years, since my tenth grade, all I did was adore him. The first time he pronounced my name still echoed in my ears, I still had the pencil he gave me in English class when I pretended not to have one or worse, I never used my calculator after he used it, to preserve the accidental finger print he left on it and yesterday Dean Samson said ‘I annoyed him’ ?
“Sarah, stop crying. It’s okay. You deserve someone better.”
Michelle stroke my thick black hair. When I did not stop my constant weep, she repeated again,
“Sarah, stop crying. I can’t watch you cry.”
I replied a few minutes later, when my tears subsided allowing my larynx to produce some sound.
“That’s my girl” Michelle winked, “Let me get you something to eat.”
She patted my back and trotted downstairs. In spite of the fact that Dean never liked me at all and I was the one who hallucinated it all long, I was glad that I had Michelle. Michelle was like my own sister, she knew everything about me, in and out; If not for her, I would have never known what Dean thought about me.
Here is how things happened. For past two years, right from the instant I met him in Gerald’s birthday party, I was deeply in love with Dean Samson. Dean Samson like the main character of any story, was a popular soccer player of our school. He owned a tall-muscular physique fixed with sapphire blue eyes that held unnatural gravity and lustrous mud brown hair that swept past his forehead. With his sun-kissed skin, he looked inhumanely handsome. I didn’t fall for him just over looks, I really loved everything about him. By the start of my eleventh grade, I already spoke to him thrice and watched all soccer matches when he mentioned he likes them. I’d wait for him outside the Cafe and pretend entering it, the same time he does, only to hear him say “Hey Sarah”.
I really died each time I heard him say my name. The next year, I met him again in my then best friend Gerald’s, birthday party. During the cake fight, he stroke his long cream clad finger on my cheek and even gifted me an overcoat for thanks giving. I wore it all the time. Sometimes, even it was warm, I would still wear it; earning disgusted looks from people who pass by. Every instant he was around me, my heart bet a thousand times per minute and I awesomely stammered when I spoke to him. Soon we became really good friends and as the end of twelfth grade drew nearer , I decided I would confess my feelings to him.
I never really confessed anything to him, but for the last two months he never spoke to me much. When I told Michelle about this she first laughed and later told me she would try talking to him about me. Michelle would regularly give me reports on what he said or how his reactions where when she spoke about me. From what my best friend (Michelle) said, I came to know that he told her that he loved a girl. Yes, I assumed it was me. The next week I knew it was not me. The third week I knew he didn’t really like me much even as a friend and also made fun of how big my eyes were. The fourth week was my final shot, I asked Michelle to inform him to meet me at the public lawn at 8 pm.
I sat in the lawn enjoying the breezy, eleventh February night, wearing the coffee brown overcoat he gifted me, right from 7:30 pm. At eight, nobody appeared, not even at nine, at nine-thirty I just got a call from Gerald.
“Gerald?” I said with a ruptured tone.
“Sarah? Are you all right?” he asked with his chocolate like voice.
“Yes I am. What’s the matter Gerald?”
“Sarah, I’m having a pool party at ten, you want to join?”
“At your place?”
“Yes. My dad got the pool renewed recently.”
“I’ll try coming.”
It all happened at an instant, I was about the cut the call wondering what if I attended the pool party and Dean came here searching for me; I heard a familiar husky laugh on the other side of the phone as I drew it away from my ear and I realized something. I kept the phone on my ears again and heard the engaged tone. Two seconds later, I called Gerald again,
“Sarah?” his chocolate like voice answered.
“Gerald have people already come ?” I tried not to be obvious.
“Just a few of them.”
“Few?” I tried not to be obvious again.
“Yeah. Um… Ross, Elena, Mandy, Joel and Michelle.”
“That’s it right?”
“Yeah. I guess only these people have-Oh! I forgot. How can I? Dean is here too.”
“Really?” I gave up ‘not being obvious.’
“Yeah. Dean is here right from seven.”
“Thanks for letting me know.” I cut the call.
My Larynx stopped working and my cornea was flooded with tears. Was I that unimportant to him? All these years I loved him, ended to this? He went to the pool party even after he knew I was waiting here for him?
I staggered all the way back home. I decided I would not call Michelle, I didn’t want to spoil her day. She had done more than what I could expect from anyone.
As I opened my eyes today morning, I first saw Michelle’s bright pink face.
“Michelle?” I questioned.
She hugged me and cried.
“What’s wrong?” I pleaded her.
“I’m sorry for you.” She cried even more.
“What happened?” I demanded.
“I can’t believe Dean attended the pool party even after I informed him you would be waiting in the lawn for him. Around half past ten, I told him, ‘may be you forgot, but Sarah was waiting for you in the lawn from eight’ and he replied…” she tore off in between.
“Exact words.” I mouthed.
“He replied, ‘I really don’t care. I never asked her to wait. I really don’t know why she keeps hitting on me, ask her to give up. Her very presence annoys me.”
I really found no more words.
February 13, as I entered the school, I first saw Dean and a bunch of his friends laughing hard about something. I did not require a clue, I knew it was about me. At lunch Gerald came smiling, “Sarah!”
“What?” I retorted.
“What Gerald?” I snapped.
“Cool yourself Sarah. I just wanted you to know, Dean wants to talk to you.”
“He will be waiting in the public lawn next to your house at 7 pm” Gerald genuinely smiled again and went outside the cafe.
6:45 pm , February 13th.
I jiggled my thoughts between meeting him and not meeting him. Ten minutes later I got a call from Michelle,
“Sarah, are you there?”
“Yea I am. Tell me Michelle.”
“Thank god! I thought you left to meet him.”
“Of course I won’t” I first lied and then made up my mind.
“Thank god! All of them were about to play a trick on you.”
“All of them?”
“Dean and his friends.”
I paused for ten long seconds.
“Sarah? Are you there?” Michelle softly called.
“Yeah? Thank you so much for being my best friend.” I said.
“Don’t mention. Thank goodness, what I feared did not happen.” She seriously said and cut the call.
As I mentioned before I am really glad that God made Michelle my best friend. I could even die for her.
10:00 am , February 14th
Yes I knew it was valentine’s day. I never expected anyone to be my valentine and was actually happy with my present state. Finally I threw away the wings I floated with and came back to reality. May be I didn’t get Dean but I got myself back. I got a couple of cards from so many people including my mom, dad, Michelle, Gerald, Elena, Joel and…Dean. I decided that day, I wouldn’t let that boy destroy my life, I threw the letter in the back of my wardrobe and carried on with my own life.
I promised myself, I would never fall in love again.
SEVEN LONG YEARS LATER.
Hold on. The story doesn’t end there. The story actually starts here and No, Dean and me don’t get married in the end!
Prof. Sarah Steldar. Seven long years after high school drama, here I am.
I brushed my long black hair, looking at the stained railway bathroom mirror. In spite of the corroded aluminium framing it, the mirror made me look good as I looked at it. I was no more a chubby teenager, I looked different with high cheekbones, chiselled jaw line and prominent clavicles. But my big, brown eyes remained the same even as time swept over me. With one last look at the broken mirror, I drew my hand bag to my shoulder, tucked the coat on my left arm and dragged my suitcase along.
I stared at the dirty railway station of Yolkholm* and cringed my nose a bit. I hated travelling But being a archaeologist professor, travelling was like eating food. I pulled out the ticket from my pocket and rechecked the timing. Great! I had forty-three minutes, before the train to Oshlo* zoomed in the station.
I waited impatiently for half an hour.
Then decided, a nice, hot tea in an ice cold weather always seemed nice. I tapped the tea counter impatiently when no one seemed to notice me.
“What do you want Madam ?” a young fellow came with a notepad in his hand and a pencil stuck atop this ear.
“One Tea. Strong.” I Informed him hastily as the crowd pushed me backwards.
“Five minutes Madam.” He smiled in spite the rush and went inside what looked like a shabby kitchen. Around five minutes later, the boy handed me a small cup of tea. After sipping the tea like a pig, I crushed the cup and threw it into a dustbin and stirred towards my platform.
“Excuse me?” I heard a husky voice, behind me.
I slowly turned to face the burning sapphire blue eyes.
“You left your coat.” he handed me ‘the coat’.
‘The coat’ he gave years back. He had not changed much, his muscular arms still peeked through his shirt that draped his tall torso, his eyes still carried it’s charm, though it looked a bit lost and the only difference I could find was, his mud brown hair was longer than before.
“I-I… thanks” I automatically stammered.
“How are you Sarah?” he looked half concerned and half curious.
“Absolutely fine and happy.” I beamed wide.
I really didn’t know what I was proving to him.
“How are you?” I asked after few long seconds.
“Good” he answered. He seemed to be waiting for me to speak something.
“You still have the coat I gave you?” his face radiated happiness.
I could have said ‘oh, it’s not the same one.’, but I nodded. He fondled his fingers over it gingerly.
“I’m glad.” He said after some seconds and I could see he meant it.
“So…” before I could say more, a women appeared behind him.
In a jolt of recognition, I hugged that women. She had the same green eyes, but longer hair tied high and had some extra fat added to her trunk.
“Oh my god! Look at you! Such an amazing coincidence! I just met Dean and all of a sudden you run into us. It’s all like high school again. How are you?” I pressed my fingers on her cheeks.
“I’m good.” She forcibly smiled after a pause.
“Sarah?” Dean’s husky voice called my name. I didn’t die as I would have before. “Yes?”
“Let me introduce you to my wife, Michelle Samson.” He looked into my eyes.
I was frozen in Antarctic ice.
After mentally slapping my brain into reality, I said, “I-I know who Michelle is, it’s just that I didn’t know it’s Michelle Samson now.”
“We married last year in Hawaii.” Michelle informed without any emotion.
“So how did you both catch fire?” I laughed through the obvious betrayal.
“After high school, we became really very close and comfortable with each other. That’s how.”
She blushed falsely. Her eyes no more looked smart green to me, they looked cold and heartless.
“That’s so cute.” I showed an ‘aww’ face.
“You married?” she asked bossily.
“Nope. Happy being single. Saves extra tension.” I laughed again meeting his eyes this time.
“Poor you! Anyways, nice talking to you. Honey, coming? Train might leave any minute now.” she pulled his arms and kissed his ears.
“Where are you both leaving to?” I pressed my lips together.
“Oshlo.” She whispered coyly. “It has nice resorts.” She added, again with an irritable giggle.
“What about you?” she asked in response.
“I-I just came to drop a friend.” I lied.
“You live here?” Dean spoke finally.
“Yes. Visit me when you feel like.”
I handed him my visiting card looking into his lost eyes. I don’t know why I gave him that card, but for what ever reason I did, my conscience supported it. With one last look at both of them, I walked out the station without turning back to face them or the train I’m missing.
That night I ransacked my house. Searching for one obvious thing : that letter.
At two in the night, I found it. The cover of the letter had turned dull yellow over time and I no more found it useless. I ripped the cover open in a monstrous hurry and snatched the letter out. I close my eyes for a second and opened it.
It read :
This is Dean Samson. After putting quite a lot of thought into this, I’ve decided to write this letter to you. I really hoped that you would come today at seven, but you never showed up. Not just today, all the time, why are you ignoring me? I’ve tried to talk to you so many times, but you don’t talk to me at all. Instead you send your friend to talk to me. If you really did not like me, why can’t you say it to me, yourself? Why do you tell it to your friend rather?
The day before yesterday, I thought you would come to the pool party and I could talk to you directly. But you never showed up. I’ve asked Michelle twice to ask you if it would be okay, if I walked you home. But you never responded. I don’t know why you ignore me!
Sarah, despite all this, I just want you to know. I love you more than you can imagine. I’ve been loving you for past two and a half years and I just want you to know that. I’ve taken history only to be next to you, I got you that coat because I just wanted you to have something from me, I still have the bag you left in Gerald’s house, and I’ve tried every possible way to tell you that I love you, but you never listened. As If your very presence doesn’t shake me into pieces, I just wanted you to know you have got the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. May be you might ignore this letter as well, but I am relaxed now. I confessed. I did my part. Right now, all the keys are in your hand, it’s up to you to choose the door.
Hot and wet, tears streamed down my eyes.
“Dean!” I sobbed hiding my face in the letter. Everything struck me, all at once. Michelle laughed when I told her about Dean ignoring me, because she finally found a way between us. She attended the pool party, only to be closer to him. That night of the pool party, she never told Dean, I am waiting in the public lawn at all. Now I know, all Dean did was love me and she said he was annoyed by me?
“Don’t mention. Thank goodness, what I feared did not happen.”
The memory of her voice roared in my mind. She did not care about me at all. All long she liked Dean and did every possible thing to get rid of me. She feared that I would come to know about the truth and lied through her teeth pretending to be my best friend. I felt like someone was choking me, so I touched my throat and rubbed it.
Had I read this…was all I could think. I closed my eyes and tried to erase away the obvious betrayal I fell for. I knew it would take time, but I wouldn’t let my past shatter my present. Mistake was on my part too. I promised myself, if ever I fell in love again, I wouldn’t let a messenger in.
As for all we know, ‘Do not trust messengers in the time of War and Love!’ and yes, don’t wait in a public lawn.
Time and place have no role, if you know these golden words :
You feel it, Say it!
( note : * names of places has been changed)