bare

A scared little girl of eleven stood shivering on the inside, but composed on the outside, in front of a class of forty-five students. Names were being picked up, and she dreaded every pair that was called out and sent off to their desks. What name would be inside her twin folded-paper? What would her fate select? Her teacher placed the last four chits separately on her table. The quivering girl could only see two more girls standing beside her, but she hoped – for something less terrible to happen. The pretty young woman that was her teacher grabbed another pair of chits. She watched – part mesmerized by her flawless fingers, part afraid of the upcoming month. Another pair was sent off to a desk. She stood there trembling. “This is it”, she thought to herself.

Ms. Chantry opened one of the chits that had this little girl’s name. The other folded piece of paper had a name that belonged to an absent being. “Where’s she?”, asked the teacher in an affectionate manner to the absentee’s friends. “She left the school.”, was the answer. “So I guess that is it, enjoy your new partners for the next month, girls.”, Chantry said almost forgetting the girl standing right beside her,”Oh, I’m sorry Moriya but you’ll have to sit alone for a while.” The bell rung and Moriya made her way through the class isle to the last desk available, putting her bag beside her whilst ceasing to feel anything. “I’d be fine, nobody talks to me anyway.”, she consoled herself.

Years passed on. Each year she’d be seated with a new girl and she’d make good friends with her. She was a lively being, full of stories. Nobody got bored in her company, but she wasn’t significant either. Moriya wanted a best friend, but every year when she tried with new comers or unfamiliar faces, something strange happened and her trains went down the drains. This one year in her seventh grade a newly admitted girl arrived, shy as to where to go and who to talk, when a teacher came and asked Moriya to make space by putting her back pack somewhere else and let the new comer sit with her. Moriya was happy, she fancied about her long awaited wish of getting a best friend.  They introduced themselves, her desk mate was called Sarah. Both of them became pretty good friends and were getting along very well till when one day Moriya waited for Sarah but she never came. Her heart sank, but she consoled herself in her old way, “I’ll be fine alone.”. Later she found out that Sarah had changed her section since she had a friend in it. Moriya collapsed at the news, but she thought she’d get her section changed as well, and then she’ll be together with Sarah; and she did. In a week she heard that Sarah had a huge fight with her other friend and that she was going back to her previous section. Moriya tried again to change her section, but as her fate wanted : She got stuck. As a result, Sarah was back home and Moriya was left in a crowd of strange faces.

Full of life as Moriya was, she made new friends, conversed with new people and was okay within herself. She realized she could sit alone, eat alone, be alone, without the existence of a best friend. While at the same time, she could be with other people and cherish their existence as well. She was a Jell-O that could set in any mold it was poured in. Years changed, desk mates changed. They told their life stories to Moriya and she absorbed every detail for the sponge that she was. She was a good listener, that was one reason why she made friends almost immediately without doing much of the talking. According to her the definition of a friend was a person who sees you at school everyday, knows your name and replies when you speak a sentence. She was a reserve child, but when touched with grace, she opened up to people that she liked. The notion of Moriya outside her skin was rather different. School girls around her didn’t talk to her but knew her, and knew her in the way they pleased, not in the way she was. Moriya was clueless.

One morning, Stella, a “friend” of hers came up to her and said, “Moriya, did you do the homework that Ms. Chantry asked us to do yesterday?”. “Yes?”, replied Moriya being an honest kid that she was. “Can you show me?”, Stella asked in a rather nice way. “Yes sure.”, Moriya held out her notebook to her. Stella copied Moriya’s whole effort onto her notebook pages recklessly, returned the notebook and went away. As the copies got distributed, Moriya flipped through the pages swiftly, only to find “Seen” written on her work. Meanwhile Stella showed off her notebook to her friends with an “Excellent” written on her “copied” work.

Moriya stayed quiet. She always stayed quiet. This kept happening. She soon became a tissue paper that people used whenever they liked and then threw away as she never existed. She never spoke up. She never had the courage. She often told herself that she was a coward. “Maybe I can never get what I want.”, she often thought to herself. She wanted to be significant, but the very thing she could become was a nobody.

It got complicated over the years. She could feel the stiffness that these recurring scenarios had caused inside her being. One night, she opened up to her brother. Morris was the only being in the whole wide world that Moriya could trust. “So you want to be important, and that’s all?”, asked Morris coming from a deep thought. “Yes. That’s all I want”, Moriya agreed. “Do you need a trick that I used and it actually worked?”, said Morris, in a sugar sweet tone. “Why not! Tell me!”, Moriya exclaimed in joy. “Work on your grades and then you’ll be shining brighter than the moon.”, Morris advised. “But how will my grades make me important?”, Moriya got curious. “Just do as I say. Don’t chase people, let them come after you.”, Morris fired an arrow that hit right at the target and silenced her.

That year Moriya scored an A+ grade. She rose to fame as fame is in a girl’s imagination. Teachers appreciated her and she finally became important. The old notions though, they stayed there as they were. It was a new worry but she didn’t bother.

She graduated school and entered her college life. The definition of friends had now changed and upgraded to the term “mean friends”. Moriya didn’t mind. She accepted this as a fact of life, and it helped. She made friends but never opened up to them, just a little as they ought to know, as they deserved. Yet, they felt as if they knew her, when they didn’t. A five years long connection with a close friend came to an end; she decided that it was the last time and she wouldn’t let anyone in anymore.

Her university life started and she made new friends. Only then she got to know the real meaning of friends : The best people that life provides you for free. One of Moriya’s squad members was a girl that she knew since sixth grade. She reminded Moriya of all the old notions that revolved around her being, most of them being untrue. According to Moriya there always was a difference between appearance and reality, most of the time people don’t bother to look into a pit before declaring it as a well. Her first friend in university met her for the first time on the last day of college, and they bonded over the vacations through text messages. This new girl, Mohini – there was something about her. Moriya despised her initially, for being strangely right and on point all the time, but then she came to peace with it. Moriya cherished Mohini, in every possible manner. She was the lost spark to her dull monotonous life, Moriya believed. This angel pushed her to be better, to strive more, and to do more with her life cause she could. Moriya did. Moriya climbed up the rope that Mohini had thrown down. It worked. She made something out of herself. She changed upside down, for the better. She never stopped growing. Moriya wasn’t a nobody anymore.

Mohini and Moriya weren’t best friends. They didn’t have a label to their nameless bond. But there was something that bound Moriya to Mohini. Her deep dark eyes seemed to look through Moriya’s soul whenever she talked. To avoid this torture – of looking at Mohini’s bright eyes that pierced through her, she tried her best to not look at her directly in the eyes. Mohini’s attention and listening eyes distracted Moriya; they more or less hurt her. She couldn’t bear it. She always looked somewhere else whilst talking to Mohini. But she couldn’t express it either, despite her straightforwardness. At first Moriya consoled herself, that she’d be fine and she needn’t worry about it. She wouldn’t let anyone know her enough to hurt her. But then on Moriya’s twenty first birthday, it occurred to her that despite all her effort, her inside had poured out of her fists like fine sand. Time couldn’t be brought back – she ought to live with fear now. Moriya felt bare. Her very existence was naked in front of another human being. What now? She couldn’t think of anything. She decided to put her in a box for a while, but Moriya didn’t realize that this “while” took two months to get realized. Mohini gave her life and sucked it out of her with the same ease. Mohini appeared scary to Moriya. She was as bright and as warm as the sun, but sun scorches and scathes at the same time. There was was suffocation in her embrace. Moriya couldn’t think of it clearly. As a result, Moriya kept Mohini at a distance, but then, an open book as she was, it was no use. She gave in. She told her everything. Moriya thought that Mohini won’t hurt her, she had better stuff to do. Still, the fear lingers there, as Moriya finds herself bare in front of her savior.

– Mahaah.

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