(A sequel to Bare.)
Warmth rained and the rays emitting from sun touched the surface of Earth with a sweet delicate touch. Spring had finally showed up at the bleak cold party of weathers. An orange butterfly circled around Moriya and flew away. She absorbed her surroundings and became one with them. Warm, gleeful and gay. The red bricks of her college buildings, the carved arches, the old yet strong pillars of the corridor and the perfectly mowed and shaped lawns added beauty to what was in her view. Observations isolated her from Mohini, and she came back to the realization of coming to that event with someone when Mohini hit her on the arm.
“Where are you?”, Mohini grinned at Moriya.
“Uh.. here? Am I invisible?”, Moriya covered her zoning out.
“You are so not here.”, Mohini rolled her eyes at Moriya.
“Okay? Now I am. What do we do now?”, asked Moriya, looking at the brightly decorated stalls.
It was an annual college fair. Moriya had never attended any of these events before. The only reason why she came was Mohini. Had Mohini not insisted her, she wouldn’t have bothered to wake up in the morning that day. Both of them walked towards a stall that said “ART FROM YOUR HEART”. Mohini got pretty excited to enter the competition when she read the terms and conditions letter. She turned towards Moriya and asked her if she wanted to register too. The competition allowed art of all genres, depending on availability of chances and participants.
“What do you think then? Should I sign you up?”, Mohini eagerly asked.
“I don’t know man. I can’t win competitions. That’s just not me.”, Moriya replied.
“We’re not here to win stuff, dumbo. We’re here for the fun!”, Mohini looked at Moriya with puppy eyes.
“What are you signing up for?”, Moriya tried to show interest.
“Writing competition? But you can enter in both painting and writing categories. If you like. You should, I mean.”, Mohini expressed her thoughts.
“Painting isn’t a biggie. What kind of writing competition is that by the way?”, Moriya asked Mohini.
“Its a group thing. We’ve got to research upon stuff and write a report. I’m tired of creative writing competitions anyway. Oh wait. You could register for the same group as me! I’m telling you its gonna be fun!”, Mohini came up with another idea.
“Really? Who else is going to be in your group then?”, Moriya felt like someone’s gotten her back so she could go for it, if she liked.
“Ayla? I think Ayla would be a good partner.”, Mohini replied.
“Ayla? I’m not gonna sign up for this if Ayla is there. Ayla and I. We don’t get along. So I’m out. I’m not sorry.”, Moriya shrank away.
Experiences from the past had taught Moriya to step back from plans if there were people who she couldn’t glide with. The friction made her uncomfortable, and she always tried her level best to stay away from conflicts. But trouble, trouble loved her. She didn’t search for troubles, troubles found her.
“Hey. Listen. It’s going to be fine. I know about Ayla and I know about you. But I’ve got your back. Nothing will happen, trust me. Now can we please sign up for this amazing contest?”, Mohini tried to convince Moriya.
“Don’t let shit happen then. I’m putting my faith in you.”, said Moriya and signed on the form that Mohini had placed in front of her.
“Cool. Lets move over to that one.”, Mohini submitted the forms and pointed towards another stall.
The fair was over but the competition went on because of a longer deadline. Mohini had now made it a group of four, having added another person named Isabella. Isabella was an amazing writer and a well read person. She didn’t just search for material, she dug for it and found it. Ayla, Mohini and Moriya were trying to do their best as well. They created an online group to share their findings and gave themselves the deadlines to get work done in time and to compile it.
“This is not possible.”, Moriya said to Morris when he told her that cancer had attacked their mother’s health again, this time, in the liver.
“But it is like that. Don’t worry. The medication will cure her disease.”, Morris said in a comforting deep voice.
“Cure? A cure for cancer? Do you think I am dumb enough to believe what you are saying?”, Moriya started to lose her mind.
“Pray, okay. Pray. And don’t lose focus.”, Morris said and left.
Focus. How can one focus when they watch their loved ones go towards death, slowly and brutally?
Messages and notifications filled her phone screen when she turned on the Wi-Fi as if Armageddon had already initiated. She knew that the deadline for the report submission was near, and that she was only half way through her part of the research. Her mother’s health didn’t let her put her best to the research. She was rubbing her eyes from a nap that she had taken on her study table when her phone started vibrating. Mohini’s name popped up. She knew something was coming. Moriya dreaded the future but picked up the phone.
“Hi.”, said Moriya in a deep sleepy tone.
“Where are you, Moriya? Do you know how screwed up we’re gonna be if we don’t finish our tasks on time?”, asked Mohini.
“I know. There’s some stuff going on. I’m trying though. I’ll get it done, don’t worry.”, said Moriya.
“You HAVE to get it done. Do you get it? I know there’s stuff going on but do it, please.”, said Mohini and ended the call.
“I’m in deep shit.”, Moriya mumbled under her breath and put her phone down.
Moriya’s mother was feeling better that night, so her family decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant. She had gotten ready earlier than her sister, so she sat down to check her social media for the remaining waiting time. Her notifications were on fire. She checked the online group for the report and tears started streaming down her face. A post that had been uploaded an hour ago said, “Attach your files below.”. The deadline was two days after. The compilation process had to be started. The only person who hadn’t completely written her part was Moriya. She knew she was the one to blame. Moriya scrolled down the comments on that post and her heart sank. Ayla had stated all the times when Moriya couldn’t do something that she was assigned to do. Mohini and Isabella had no other choice but to believe what Ayla had to say, because Moriya wasn’t there to defend herself. Ayla had stated half stories, even if they ended in a good way. Ayla had this innate talent of making positive things into the worst negative things possible, and she used this ability well, in nasty ways. Ayla had humiliated her before too, but this humiliation was more painful. Moriya was ashamed of her existence. She wanted the Earth’s crust to burst open, so that she could bury herself in and no one could see her.
Moriya’s mother asked her to get up and be seated in the car. She took that journey with a heavy heart. Her mood had been ruined, for something that she didn’t really sign up for.
“I’m sorry about what happened. You’re done with your part by the way, right?”, Mohini’s text message brought life to Moriya’s phone screen.
“Yes I am. I sent it a while ago.”, Moriya simply replied to the question.
“I said I’m sorry.”, Mohini’s bubble read.
“Don’t talk to me about it. Bye.”, Moriya shut her out.
The report was submitted. They didn’t win but they got third place. Moriya didn’t perform well in the final parts as well, she wasn’t prepared, but that was somehow overlooked by Ayla. Ayla never apologized. Moriya stopped expecting an apology.
Time went by and Moriya chose a different subject for her next year at college. Moriya had to leave Mohini behind but the decision saved her from scorching awesomeness of Ayla. It took time before none of it mattered to her, but what was surprising for her was the neutral chill behavior of Ayla, through her texts. She couldn’t care less, Moriya had moved on.
Moriya had now learned that no matter what a close friend says, if your gut says no, you should better stay away from things that don’t seem inviting in the first place. It took months and years, but she finally learnt how to say no.
[Amalgamation of a dream and a real life event.]
(Should I start writing a Moriya Diaries thing? Idk it feels real. What do you think? Let me know below.)