Fiction Park

Ticking time bomb

  • Aayu’s parents and Shristi were aghast. It took them so long to realise the terms of the conflict she was fighting in her mind and heart for the past five years
- ALISHA SIJAPATI
While thinking about it, Aayu could feel her heart racing; she could hardly breathe and her body began to shiver. She knew this was bad. She couldn’t show this side of her to anybody because she went through those things when at home, behind closed doors when nobody could see her. So that she can grieve by herself over the person she had loved and lost

Mar 25, 2018-Racing towards the emergency room with her best friend Shristi at her side, Aayu only had a vague idea of what was happening. She couldn’t have anticipated the chaos. She saw both her parents walk in and out in a panic. It was a rare sight for someone who hardly ever saw her parents together. Shristi stood next to the door, staying strong, taking charge of things. Prone on a stretcher and barely able to see, Aayu knew something was off. She could sense the eerie vibe and all the eyes that were trained at her which made her realise that she was the cause. Although in pain Aayu wanted to stand up and get out of there but doing anything at all was now beyond her. She began to lose consciousness.

.......

Aayu was celebrating her lavish 27th birthday party with her friends at some posh restaurant in the City, on a Friday eve. The party was a surprise. If it was only up to her, she would have celebrated her birthday in solitude. As beautiful and fun as she was, nobody but Aayu knew of the constant conflict she was fighting within. During the gala event, she tried to stay aloof even though she was the centre of the universe that night. While she tried keeping up with the small talk, an annoying cousin of hers, Samridh, walked straight up to her and blurted out loud, “I have news for you.” Looking at Samridh’s mischievous smile, Aayu, embarrassed and angry, knew exactly who the news was about. After all, it was this piece of ‘news’ that would either break or make her life. 

“Do you know ‘he’ is getting married?” asked Samridh. 

Struggling to seem indifferent, Aayu replied, “Not that I care.”

Oblivious to Aayu’s stirred up emotions, the cousin poked at her again, “Of course, you care. 

He’s getting married to that little girl who lives two blocks away from you—because he couldn’t marry you, he married someone from your block—janti khub ramailo huney bhayo talai.”

Aayu’s face went red as she prepared to snap at the selfish guy but then suddenly, her best friend came and pulled her away. 

Her best friend, Shristi, could feel her distress. “Being best friends for two decades comes with a lot of perks—I know your trouble but I just can’t figure out who or what is the main cause behind it,” Shristi said.

Although Aayu wanted to pour out her feelings, she knew it wasn’t the right time or place. She knew people would overhear and she did not want them pitying her. She understood that people do not appreciate sadness and on top of that, her parents were philanthropists who had contributed a lot to people’s welfare and happiness—she did not want to be perceived as the sad daughter of such perfect parents. 

She could see those who were attending the party just for the food, slyly talking about Aayu’s much publicised break up. Some had blamed Sidharth but most of them blamed her. They blamed her probably because Sidharth came from an elite family. 

While the night passed and people started to get drunk, Aayu overheard a gang of friends discussing her personal life. She was shattered by this. One of them said, “How can Aayu dump such a guy, he was smart, handsome, rich—the perfect marriage material. Aayu must have cheated on him.”

The other followed by saying, “Yes, Aayu comes with a lot of emotional baggage, and Sidharth couldn’t bear the nonsense, why would he be her guardian angel?”

After hearing her own friends gossip behind her back, Aayu confronted them and told them to leave the party immediately. This shocked the gang as they didn’t realise she had overheard them. 

Shristi and Samridh came running towards her, looking startled. Unfortunately for Aayu, the bitter folks before leaving had called her a psychopath who flipped on them for no reason.  

Without even asking Aayu what was wrong, Samridh assumed it was all her fault. “Is this what your parents have taught you? I am ashamed to be your cousin!”

Aayu couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. As Shristi tried to console her, Aayu couldn’t stop sobbing. It was only Shristi who had stood by her through all of this. 

Aayu thought for a second while looking at everybody, “Is it my party? Are these my people? Do I deserve this resentment?” 

While thinking about it, Aayu could feel her heart racing; she could hardly breathe and her body began to shiver. She knew this was bad. She couldn’t show this side of her to anybody because she went through those things when at home, behind closed doors when nobody could see her. So that she can grieve by herself over the person she had loved and lost. Nobody knew why they parted ways, everything was nothing but speculation for them. 

“Aayu!” Shristi screamed. 

By the time Shristi got to her, Aayu had already collapsed on the floor. She couldn’t keep from shivering until the pain gave way to numbness. She could vaguely see Shristi sprinkling water on her face. She had wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words. She couldn’t speak, perhaps. 

She could hear people gasp, “Launa, Aayu lai bhoot chadyo, kei gara chado.”

And amid the chaos, she heard Samridh say, “Aayu’s capable of nothing but drama, she’s acting, she’ll be fine in 10 minutes, she does this for sympathy… like always.”

............

Aayu who was barely conscious and gasping for air was taken via ambulance to a nearby hospital. Her parents who lived separately in different part of the cities were informed of what had happened. In the emergency room, Aayu heard the doctor say, “Her anxiety attack is severe. Check her heart rate immediately.”

Although vague, she remembered hearing a group of nurses say, “Look at her clothes, she came straight out of a party, badi drink garera anxiety bhako hola.”

The next day when Aayu woke up, she was shocked. Shristi, her parents (who couldn’t stand each other), her elder sister Samu and her estranged boyfriend Sidharth were surrounding her. Although happy to see Sidharth, she knew it wasn’t right for him to be there as he had incurred enough loss for her. Giving no heed to her family and best friend, she looked at Sidharth and said, “Please leave gracefully, otherwise this meeting would only be cause for grief and sadness.” 

Hearing Aayu’s words, Sidharth lost his composure and called her a loser, claiming that the only reason she was lying on a hospital bed was so people would pity her. He stormed off, slamming the door behind him.

Aayu’s parents and Shristi were aghast. Only then did they realise the terms of the conflict she was fighting in her mind and heart for the past five years. Aayu, feeling guilty, turned to the other side of the bed where they couldn’t see her face. Hiding her tears, she cried herself to sleep. 

Published: 25-03-2018 09:24

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