Her Tale

By Sumaiya Swati Udita

“Words can kill. Words can heal”, the girl thought, as she took a sip of her morning coffee.

“All you can do is create trouble for me and my family. I appreciate your efforts and your enthusiasm behind your school performance, but do you know how much it costs us?” Her father yelled at her one fine morning, when the girl was getting ready for school. “Do you think we are as rich as your friends? Oh sorry, you do not even have friends! Why, this little madam thinks she is the best! Tell me, what gives you the power to esteem yourself so high. I have never seen any of your friends coming, even for a little chat, at my house. Why?”

“Zaman, you are the one who always creates a scene, even when your brother comes, how is she supposed to dare for such a thing? But indeed, why do you not bring your friends home, your father is always yelling at you, how long am I supposed to endure all these? You are always so active at school, but we want to see things for ourselves as well, do we not?” The girl’s mother cried helplessly. “Now get going, it is getting late.” She lowered her voice and said to the girl, “Can you walk to school today, darling? You see how your dad reacts whenever we ask for money from him, even if there are valid reasons. Go safely, be careful as you walk. Goodbye.” She kissed the girl on her forehead. The girl lowered her head and left for her school. Tears streamed down her pink little cheeks.

“I do not understand. What am I supposed to do? They do not like it if I sit idle at home. Dad does not like it when I take part in the programmes at school, because the tailor takes a high charge each time we need to make dresses for the functions. Neither can I quit, nor can I keep going. What should I do?” the girl thought to herself, as she was just about to cross the street. Suddenly a car came rushing at her. the girl ducked to protect herself.

“Hey, watch it. What are you up to, you foolish girl? Are you deaf, could you not hear me honking from a mile, at least? All girls like you can only create scenes on the streets and get us into trouble. Did you wish to get yourself killed and put me behind the bars?” The girl saw these words pouring out from the mouths of a boy older than her, sticking his head out from the driver’s window of his Audi. “I could only wish for it, but can you please complete the work for me? I cannot take it anymore,” the girl broke down into tears. Seeing the girl’s reaction and hearing her words, the boy got down from the car and held the girl by her arms, having kneeled down beside. “Hey, I am sorry, buddy, I did not mean to hurt you, but it could have been fatal, do you not think so?”, the boy said compassionately, shaking the girl gently to pacify her. Looking at the boy’s white face and black eyes, the girl could see a generous human being through her tearful eyes. She began sobbing loudly. “I was just trying to be careful with my father’s car, you know. He would skin me alive if there is a mark on this car. I take back my words,” the boy said. “That is much better than having to hear the same harsh words every day.” the girl said.

The girl wiped off her tears. “He does not look much older than me”, the girl thought. “Does he have to go through the same pain, every single day?” the girl thought, as she stared at the eyes of the boy without knowing. “Come, let me give you a ride, we have had enough of this mess,” the boy said, stretching his hand out to the girl. “Get up slowly”. “Why should I go with you?”, the girl asked sharply. “Why do you not take a look at yourself?”, the boy pointed at the girl’s right foot. “This is just a drop of blood, I can help myself, I do not need your pity. Leave me alone.” the girl said angrily. “Definitely, just enough to get into my white uniform as well,” the boy said, frowning. The girl felt ashamed. She said, stuttering, “I live nearby, come home with me, let me wash this dress for you. You are the same size as my little brother, his shirt will fit you. Follow me.” “Ma’am, we are already late for our schools, now both of our Principals will skin us alive. Trust me and get into the car fast,” the boy said. “Alright,” the girl said nervously.

After a twenty-minute drive, both of them reached their schools. “Thank goodness, our schools are just beside each other,” the boy said. Making sure that she is at the right place, the girl said, “Yeah. Well see you around, thanks a bunch!” the girl said, as she headed towards her school.

Just before parting ways, the boy called the girl from behind, “It’s Rohan”. the girl turned around and said, “Ri.”

Ri sighed as she took another sip. “And thereby hangs a tale”, she mumbled. “Your words gave me power, and brought us together fifteen years ago.”