“Knock knock” I heard a knock on the door. I opened my eyes and checked the time, it was half past two at night and was raining heavily. “Was it a dream?”, “Did I just hallucinate it?”, “Did I call someone over tonight?”, Is it some drunkard friend of mine?”, many such questions clouded my mind while I headed towards the door rubbing my eyes.
“Knock knock” I heard another bang, louder this time, I peeked outside through the see-through hole, there stood a girl of around 21, thoroughly drenched, with a suitcase beside her and a fuming cigarette in one hand while a bottle of alcohol in another.
I opened the door cautiously, “Yes?” I asked “Uh… I came here to hunt for a job, but I… I don’t have anywhere to stay, I… Umm… Ran away from my house” she almost shouted for me to hear her properly through the noise of the rain, her voice evident of her being drunk, I decided to let her in to avoid any chaos in my neighbourhood. I found no harm in helping her,”Get in” I signalled her.
“Th… Thank you” she stuttered after dumping the cigarette and the alcohol bottle, I nodded and guided her in after closing the main door. “That’s my bedroom, go and change, you can sleep on the bed, I’ll take the couch in the living room. Do you want something to eat? I have some dinner left…” I said it all in one go.
“N… No. I’ve had my d… dinner.” she said and headed to the room. After a few minutes I knocked on my bedroom door, “Have you changed yet? I need to take some of my things.”
“The door’s open you can get it,” she said in a low tone. I entered, she was closing her suitcase. I walked towards my bookshelf, picked up a book and a pillow and a blanket from the cabinet. Scared Words – A Tale of Unexpressed Feelings!
“Do you need anything else?” I looked back she had already passed out. I laid down on the couch and started reading the book. I woke up in the morning and found myself on the floor, my book and the blanket underneath me. I checked the time, it was 8 in the morning, “Who wakes up so early on Sundays!?” I whined rolling my eyes.
After completing my morning chores, I went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I heard my room door opening “Do you have painkillers?” I heard her saying. “Yes, you can sit there, I’ll just bring them for you,” “Here, take these” I forwarded her a pill with a glass of water and continued with my work.
“Do you know how to cook?” she asked me out of sheer curiosity. “Yes, of course. I’m a chef by profession!” I replied giving her a dainty look. “That’s great. Anyway, thank you and sorry that I disturbed you last night,” she gave me an apologetic look. “It’s okay, let us have breakfast!”
While talking to her during our breakfast, I got to know; her name is Antara. Her mother died when she was 5-years-old, and her father had remarried her stepmother. She had a tough childhood and now wanted to be a fashion designer, but her parents didn’t support her. Hence, she ran away from her house, knowing that no one would be bothered enough to look for her. Our day passed talking to each other.
In the evening, she asked, “Would you like to have a drink?” After a bit of hesitation, I replied, “Okay, sure.” She then she forwarded a glass to me. After a while of silence, she questioned me again, “Do you smoke too?” I was quite casual in my reply and stated yes to her question. She hummed in her response.
It was then she asked me if I had a lighter with me. I nodded, again, and got up to search for it in my drawer. It took me a while to search for it my drawer; eventually, I found it and sat there smoking and drinking, discussing our lives as if we were friends for a long time. However, as time passed, I do not remember when did I pass out that night. The Journey That Will Be Cherished Forever, The Wrong Turns Too: Part I
Next day, I woke up and looked for Antara; she was not on the couch. Neither there were the leftover cigarettes, nor there were any of the alcohol bottles. “She must’ve cleaned it,” I said to myself and called her again, “Antara!” while looking for her in every nook and corner of my house. “Antara!” I called again; heading towards the balcony, this time. However, the door of the gallery was closed from the inside, so was the main gate!
I checked my house all over again, she was nowhere to be found, and so were her belongings. “Where did she go?” I kept on questioning myself, and there was no sign of her being here. She was long gone, I said to myself. I still do not know where.
Short Sails By Namaswi Gupta