Based on true events.
10th October, 2003.
She was beaming like a solitary star in an inky black sky. Her hair shone like moonlight and sunlight woven together in a magnificent tapestry. I longed to run my fingers through its softness, wrap shining black strands of it around my fingers. I saw her eyes, blinking brightly, mesmerizing despite the shroud of tears that veiled her gaze.
I wished she would not cry. I wished I could make her smile instead. But that wish was beyond my reach. I realized that. Instead, if I could just reach out and catch her tears on the palm of my hands, free them from their onerous journey down her pink cheeks, my own heart wouldn’t hurt this badly.
“I’m sorry he hurt you.” I whispered, but she couldn’t hear me. Priyanka’s sobs retained sound and broke free from her in brutal, heaving bursts. After a while she hiccuped, but her cries ebbed, as if the faucet of her emotions was suddenly turned off. She sighed, defeated.
“I wish I could make it better for you.” I said. Priyanka still did not hear me, in the mild sighing of the summer’s night air amongst the persistent chirping of the crickets. I squinted, wishing that she would look at me, see me. I’m right here!
Instead she closed her eyes, long, wet eyelashes resting gently on her skin. She angrily, mournfully, pounded her small fist against her leg.
“How could he?” she cried in despair. She shook her head and the veil of her hair shimmered like starlight. She opened her wet eyes and gazed off into the starless night, at something I couldn’t see. The crescent moon hung above, wrapping its luminous arms around her in a comforting embrace.
“He doesn’t love you like I do. I would never hurt you.” I nibbled miserably on my bottom lip. I shifted my position, as if to go to her, but a sudden shadow pooled over her frame. Priyanka looked up with glistening brown eyes, her mouth trembling. I sucked in a tortured breath, watching from the shelter of trees along the dark garden, as she stood to meet her lover. Their voices floated along the garden to greet me, mock me.
“You hurt me, Vinayak.” She said, bitterness marring the usual mellow timbre of her voice. She stood from the cement steps and turned her back on the tall penitent boy beside her. The boy gently laid a hand on her back and she seemed to melt into his touch. I choked back a sob from my hiding spot, desperate to get away, to not torture myself this way. My love was being touched by another. I felt as if my heart would literally shatter into a million shards, like fragile glass.
“If only I could tell you that I love you!” I thought desperately. “You wouldn’t need someone like Vinayak, who will only hurt you!”
“I promise. I will never lie to you again.” Priyanka looked up at Vinayak; hope skittered across her sweet face.
“You promise?” she asked, and a hesitant smile touched the corners of her lips. Vinayak nodded.
When they leaned closer, their lips touched and a strangled cry emitted deep down from my throat. The swiftness of it startled even me and I clasped my mouth with my hands but I was a moment too late. I froze in fear as the couple stared curiously in my direction.
“Who’s there?” Vinayak called out, his fists clenched at his sides, stepping towards where I hid in the canopy of trees.
“Oh!” Priyanka murmured as she noticed me. She furrowed her brow, and a look of disgust darkened her features.
“Vinayak.” she whispered. “It’s that creepy guy from school who keeps staring at me all the time.”
Vinayak moved forward to reach for me, but she laid a restraining hand on his arm.
“Let him go.” She said and they stared at me and I stared vacantly back.
“Creepy? Did she just call me creepy?” A horrible, piercing hollow filled my guts and I clutched my stomach.
“My love, my light, thinks I am strange?”
“B—but I love you!” I blurted out finally, as if the mere words aloud could convince her of my sincerity. I pictured her in my mind, smiling at me, holding out her hands to grasp mine, her lips meeting my cheek. But instead, she snorted, “Love me? You don’t even know me!” She exchanged amused looks with Vinayak who no longer looked threatened but pleased.
“Go home, kid.” He said. “Leave this to the big boys.” And he winked at me. I struggled to breathe, feeling as if a burning hot knife had pierced my chest.
“She is laughing at me.” I thought, dazed. “What kind of a person laughs at another’s pain?”
“I—I’m sorry.” I muttered, backing away in haste. “I made a mistake.” I turned and fled through the bushes, ignoring the slaps and scratches of branches and thorns on my bare skin and the tingle of tears as they raced down my cheeks. I retreated, heart-broken, to the sound of Priyanka’s laughter, loud and cruel, and it was then that I realized that my love had died.