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He recoiled for a second, but was too quick to hold us back from the escape. He looked around and found a bottle with some label on it.
Hey! Howdy? I know you are on cloud nine, enjoying every second of your life. The shine is so evident in your eyes. Just like the stone that decorates your finger these days. I must say I never imagined that I had it in me to buy that for you. To make a candid confession, it cost me a bomb, almost an year of worth of savings and I may not be able to buy you another gift this entire year.
I have a couple of more confessions to make to you. We have known each other almost all our lives. For as long as I remember, I have found you to be quirky. You made me uncomfortable and the sight of those pimple laden cheeks made me cringe. There even came a time, in high school, when I couldn’t set my eyes on you. You were at your weirdest worst, with those braces shining through your mouth. And the loud snort you let out, whenever someone cracked a joke in the class. I wanted to hide behind the desk and wait for all the piercing mocking looks directed towards you to be quieted. I wondered in distaste, why you wouldn’t work on yourself or seek someone’s help.
I know you had a crush on that hunky Peter from the senior class. While he didn’t care for you even two bits. I wanted to punch into the mirror in disgust when I heard the senior group mock over you. It was so humiliating to hear them call you a rather plain stout Jane who had set out to reach for the stars when all you deserved was the blistered sand. That was it! I could bear no more!
It was then that I decided to take matters into my hands. You needed a transformation, and I promised to myself and secretly to you that I would get you through it.
I know, you never believed me when I told you that there was more to you than what the world saw in the nerdy picture that you presented. You might have even laughed, had it not been for the stern I-mean-business look that I constantly sent your way.
Talking the parents into letting me have my way with you was another hurdle. I always thought, that they were very loving and supportive. Loving they were, but not all that supportive of you moving out of a comfort zone and try out a different way of life. It took all my grit and a 21 day trial in a new routine to convince them thoroughly that a complete make-over was possible. But then, anyone who doubted the magic that Ms. Fanny’s Salon could do to ones looks, had them no more when they saw the new you on the prom night. My God! You were a breath-taking sight. I did notice the boys drooling over your kohl laden eyes and the prominent bustline. But trust me I wasn’t jealous or concerned. You had worked equally hard to bring that grace in your moves and you deserved every bit of the attention.
It was at the university, that I feared for the first time, that you might be flying a tad too high. Those late night parties, the heavy booze, the jam sessions weren’t really to my taste. But you were enjoying yourself too much, for me to want to clip your wings and keep you grounded. The music and you fit in so well. Especially now, when complemented with looks and style.
I must have been too dedicated to you keep you company even when you were on a success flight. When you did not pay any heed to my warning about how I was extremely uncomfortable about Steve being present and sighing while constantly staring at you without batting an eye-lid, at every Jam performance on the weekends. Instead you decided to ignore the warning and accepted his invitation to go clubbing with him. Trust me, something kept nagging at my core and I wanted to hold you back. But I guess I was a tad too late…
They found us both on the street behind the club where the stray dogs created a ruckus in response to our agonized howls.
Warning bells eventually rung out loud, when Steve held your elbow and pulled you out of the club from the back door. As always, I was with you and we both cried out loud in objection. But he wouldn’t listen. He wanted to force himself too harshly. My sirens went out loud and you took the cue to kick him hard ‘there’. He recoiled for a second, but was too quick to hold us back from the escape. He looked around and found a bottle with some label on it. Neither of us realised what it was until in one sweeping movement he pulled out its cap and threw the liquid all over. He rushed out from there the next second.
Your screams had been loud and painful enough to make the ghosts turn in their graves. I cried too… Trust me I too lamented but nobody heard my cries. For no one even saw me when they came for you. But I was there with you all the time. For there was no other place that I could go; there is no other place where I can go. Even in that moment of heart wrenching pain, I couldn’t rip you apart and escape. Because I am your eternal friend, your eternal foe, your faithful partner… your Soul…
See! They think that they have resurrected your face with multiple surgeries. Only residual deformities remain. There is pity evident in their eyes. Some even have sympathy. But no one knows that you are mourning and you are scared. Mourning for the glory that was short lived and scared for what now lay ahead. Yet, I urge you to have no fear. For, I promise to hold on to you. And I promise to be there by your side and prepare you to face the world. Yet again…Because I am your soul and you my soulmate… I know it’ll be a difficult path ahead. You the body and I the soul – we will both hold on to each other. And hand in hand we will make life possible. This world may be harsh, but it’s not heartless. It thrives on hope and I have enough of it for both of us. I know that I am enough… Yes, I am enough.
Author’s note: Whenever I hear stories of acid attack survivors, or survivors of a great calamity where individuals lose their everything, my heart (like many others’) bleeds for them. But I more often than not also wonder how much solidarity society shows with them; eventually it’s a lonely battle for every survivor. It’s the individual who has to gather the tit-bits of life (whatever remains of it) and start afresh and breathe till the universe wills them to. This story is my dedication to all such lonely warriors of life.
Image source: By Sand Paper – victims of acid attacks, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
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Trigger Warning: This deals with mental trauma and depression, and may be triggering for survivors.
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