Samara, the story’s protagonist narrates her journey of discovering who she truly. It is her tale of going against society, to be who she is and to be with the woman she is in love with.
It was 6:55 in the morning. The sky was covered in a blanket of dreariness. The gloominess somehow found its way to seep into my body and make a home there. I walked up the stairs of the train station and then walked down, another set of stairs, to step onto platform number two. I walked slowly toward the place where I usually stand. The place where the first class ladies’ compartment, halts. The clock had struck 7. My eyes ran toward the stairs. I saw her walking down. She was wearing a pair of black semi-formal pants, below a maroon colored top which was tucked inside her pants. The maroon top highlighted her lean figure. Her hair was tied in a messy bun and her bangs fell effortlessly on her forehead, like always. Her earphones were plugged on to her ears. She slowly unplugged them as she walked toward where I am standing. There was a certain beauty in the manner in which her hands moved whilst she removed the earphones from her ears. I could see a smile slowly appearing on her face. My heart begins to race faster and faster as she approached closer. But suddenly she turned and walked toward the bench which was a few steps away from me. She laid her shoulder bag on the bench and sat beside her friend. They engage in conversation while their eyes remain fixed on the side from where the train was going to come. I was suddenly interrupted by the whistle of the train which was approaching. They stood up in an instant as soon as the train entered the platform and slowly walked toward the edge of the platform. The train halted for a few seconds. She and her friend, stepped onto the train and with a blink of the eye, the train left, whisking her away with it. I watch till the train finally disappeared in the distance.
The feeling of void slowly began to seep through. I had become so accustomed to this feeling that it came so naturally to me, now. Every morning when the train arrived to take her away, this feeling of a void inside me would take shape. I always wondered why I felt this way about a girl who has no idea of what was going on in my mind.
It was 7 in the morning. I was waiting on the platform for the train and my eyes immediately went toward the staircase. I saw her descend down the flight of stairs. But today, she wasn’t alone. It was not just her but I saw her walking down with a boy. Their fingers remained intertwined as they walked down, talking animatedly with each other. It was like the world around them was a complete blur. As they walked passed me to sit on the bench where she usually sits with her friend, I almost stopped breathing. A pang of jealousy suddenly came alive, inside me. The two of them gazed deep into each other’s eyes as they engaged in conversation, not letting go of each other’s sight even for a bit. The whistle of the arriving train, forced them to shift away from their gaze and look at the train. They entered the general compartment. I was left with an empty feeling, as always. But only this time, it wasn’t the same kind of emptiness. It was an amalgamation of hurt, sadness and jealousy. She wasn’t mine nor was I hers. I felt betrayed and cheated by someone who had no clue about my existence. What is wrong with me?
****2 years later****
You seem like a hundred miles away, what’s wrong? Is everything okay with you? We were sitting down in the balcony of her room, sipping mugs of tea just out of the kettle. She loved tea and that’s what we usually drank when we were at her house. I turned toward her and smiled.
Nothing, I’m just happy. She simply smiled back.
Is there any particular reason?
The smiled remained glued to my face as I replied to her question. I don’t know, really. I lied. I’m just happy, in every sense of the word. She just smiled back. It was like she knew the reason for the happiness breathing within me but didn’t force it out of me. She came closer than she already was and she took my face in her palms, gently planting a kiss on my lips. I planted a kiss on her lips and we didn’t stop right there. Suddenly realizing what we were doing, I disentangled myself from her. I was perplexed and just stared at her for about a few seconds.
I got to go.
Because…–I didn’t say anything. I picked up my bag which sat on her bed, put on my shoes and left.
I did not call or text her for almost an entire month. Whenever I’d see Michelle in college, I’d ignore her or turn away whenever we’d bump into each other. I would see her looking into my direction, waiting for me to look back at her. I could see how much she wanted to talk to or just say “Hello!”
****1 month later****
John and I went out together for the fourth time, today. As we walked outside together, we passed by Michelle. She was walking into college as we were stepping out. When we passed her by, Michelle and I just stared at each other. Staring was becoming our favorite way of acknowledging each other, especially for me. But this stare was different. It left me feeling like I was caught doing something wrong, like I was cheating on her or something on those lines. And I could see the anger and hurt in her eyes. It was the same anger and hurt I felt when I used to see the girl at the train station with a boy.
John and I walked to a small park, near college. We sat there talking about our favorite movies and about music that we liked and often listened to. John shared with me his dream of wanting to become a scriptwriter someday. He loved writing and wanted to take it up professionally. He believed that he was good at it. I told him about my inclination toward photography. John seemed more relaxed and less nervous as compared to the first two times we went out with each other. After sitting in the park for quite some time, talking, we got up to leave. John took me to a small coffee shop, a little ahead of the garden, to have cold coffee. Our hands kept bumping into each other’s. After a lot of bumping, he finally caught hold of my hand. I let him hold my hand for some time and then I removed my hand from his. I looked up and saw the disappointment on John’s face. We reached the coffee shop. It was a small stall with no place to really sit. John loved the cold coffee here and after my experience that particular day, I couldn’t deny that it was one of the best cold coffees I’d ever had.
We caught a cab to go to the station because the two of us were tired from all the walking. We spent most of our journey to the station in silence. We waited on the platform for our trains to arrive. My train came first. As it was approaching, he looked at me.
So is there going to be a fifth date?
I don’t know, John. We’ve got exams coming up and we’ve got loads to study. So for now, we should shift our focus toward exams.
So after exams, then?
Yes, maybe. I lied. I didn’t want to go out with him, again. I didn’t want to take this forward. I looked at him and our eyes remained fixed on each other. He knew that I wouldn’t meet him. He knew there never was going to be a fifth date. I got onto the train and stood near the door. We didn’t say anything to each other. I kept looking at him until his figure disappeared in the distance.
****3 months later****
It has been three months since Michelle and I have spoken. After seeing me with John the other day, she doesn’t look at me anymore. Today I decided to go to the library since I was going to be free for nearly two hours straight on account of having two free lectures. I went to the farthest corner of the library where there was literarily no one. I sat down on the floor, placed my shoulder bag beside me and opened my copy of Lolita. I put on my ear plugs and began reading. After one hour of reading, I got up to stretch my legs. As I was looking through the bookshelves, I saw Michelle sitting next to the one bookshelf which contained books related to American History. As I went closer, I saw tears trickling down her cheeks. I almost whispered to her, keeping the decorum of the library.
Are you okay, Michelle?
Why are you crying, then?
It’s none of your business. It felt like someone had pierced a knife down my throat. But I deserved it, completely.
Take care of yourself, Okay? She didn’t say anything. She simply turned away. I took a step forward to give her a hug but I immediately stopped myself and just left. I walked back to where I was sitting.
****2 weeks later****
It was about 3 in the afternoon. I knew Michelle would be alone at home now because her mother only returned from work at about 6:30, in the evening. I walked up the stairs of the building in which she lived. My heart was pounding more strongly than I expected it to. I stood in front of her door for a few seconds, contemplating on whether I should be doing this or no. Before I could get an answer, I found myself lifting up my hand to press her doorbell. I could hear feet hitting the floor. The door opened and we saw each other.
What do you want?
I just want to speak with you, for just a little. She didn’t say anything but just looked at me. In past few weeks, I was the one trying to get her attention, to just talk to her or just say hello. But she ignored me. This was my last resort because I knew she wouldn’t pick up my calls or revert back to my messages. She unlocked her front door and kept it open for me to enter her house. She didn’t ask me to sit, but just stood there with her arms folded and her eyes fixed on me.
I’m not going to apologize for the way I’d behaved in the past many weeks because a “sorry” wouldn’t suffice the amount of hurt I’ve caused you. Much before I’d met you, I remember seeing this girl who is probably a few years older than myself, every day, at the train station. I never really got a chance to speak with her or get to know her name, even, but the way she laughed, the way she spoke and just her, made me feel something for her. It wasn’t admiration or fascination which drew me toward her but it was just something much more than that. Every day I’d ask myself why did I feel these feelings and I couldn’t quite understand what all of these feelings really meant. A year passed by and she stopped coming to the train station. I have spent nights asking myself why I am like this and I got no answers. I did find it unnatural but, it took me her, many dates with different boys and spending time with so many girls, to realize that my attraction and just those kind of feelings which I have toward my very own sex, which I’m not supposed to, is what in actuality I am born with and what comes naturally to me. I am so used to living by the rules and not doing what I actually want to and just being myself. I don’t want to do that, anymore. I have been denying myself of being who I really am because of what people might think of me, for the fear of being separated. Mich, we’ve been friends for a decent amount of time. The way I feel for you, I have never, ever felt for anyone else. You’re someone I absolutely respect and someone who I connect with in ways that I didn’t know I could connect with any human. I have been running away from you because I’ve been running away from a truth that I knew all along but had too much of pride to accept. I love you and miss you, more than words can express. I just wish you give me another chance and if you don’t, I will completely understand. She didn’t say anything. She came closer, took my face in her palms and planted a kiss on my lips. I love you Sam, you know that right? I have been waiting for you, all this while. I was angry and upset with you but I never, ever stopped loving you. And I don’t think I ever will.