Monday, July 23, 2007

The Sign

She was sweating profusely. The sweat beads had formed a peculiar design like a row of tiny & minuscule due drops filled on the grass during early winter mornings, on her upper lip, on her long sharp nose, on her forehead a little below where the hairline begins and around her eyebrows. She was breathing heavily. Her nervousness was pretty obvious with her quivering voice and trembling hands. She was totally shaken. This was not what she wanted to do. No! Never, Ever!

Slowly, she bent down to feel her stomach with a wave of her right palm and felt the butterflies inside. There wasn’t a total denial from her side. She had resigned to what fate had to offer her for the kindness personified that she always is. She tilted her head sideward to see him watching her; who was in a better state than her. For a split second, a fleeting moronic thought rose in her mind; of jumping off the window sill of the 9th floor that they were in. She felt dying would be a better choice than to make up a mind over a decision to be made which was as grave as this. But she couldn’t muster the much needed guts to do that even.

The damage was done already. No use lamenting about it. Any discussion or debate over spilt milk is not gonna gain her (or him for that matter) a penny.

He decided his home would be the best place to bring her in; as his parents were away for a while. He was very confident about persuading her into it once again. For he knew how kind-hearted and sweet she is; although she might get agitated and worked up in the beginning.

He moved a little closer to her on the couch at his living room and held her left hand. Slowly stroking her upper palm, he told her that it was all going to be okay soon and she need not have to really worry so much about it, these days this isn’t a big deal at all. He braced her up stating that it would be over once for all, if she agreed to do what’s being instructed to her and that he would really be grateful if she did it for him just once – this one last time.

Still unconvinced she looked up at him with a pool of confusion blinding her eyes and a cluster of wrinkles conquering her forehead. Inside her, frame by frame, images kept flashing by of the mistake that she committed of getting closer to him, of her not wanting to be a part of it, of how he deliberately dragged her into it, of how scared and agitated she was if her parents ever came to know about it…. All for trying to be nice to her only best friend, which was him.

She never really wanted to hurt him and that was the sole reason why she had to end up being party to it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As always, that morning Beulah rode her bicycle to school at 7.45am. On the way, she met Paul who was on his bicycle to the same school that she studied in. Paul is a very talkative boy and would do anything to keep good company of people around him who would joke, tease and love to have too much fun, all in good spirits and healthy attitude.

Paul always had a liking for Beulah as they both grew up together since their childhood as neighbors’ at Mussoorie until they were 12 and then Beulah’s dad got a transfer to South India and they had lost touch for about 3 years. When Paul saw Beulah join him in the same class as he studied, he was pretty much surprised and it was a dream come true for him for he never wanted to part with Beulah or her friendship.

But the three years after Paul had left; Beulah had grown up to be a gorgeous, beautiful, charming and a stunning girl in her early teens looking extremely attractive for her age. But she had turned out to be very quiet and more of an introvert sort, which was a striking difference from what Paul, had known her to be three years ago, as an argumentative person who was busy with her mouth full of words and a renowned chatter-box kind of girl in their avenue. Paul did like this flavor of Beulah as well. He rather liked her this way much better than her older self, especially because this saved him a lot of energy in the form of refutations that he always had to come-up with, every time Beulah started out with a new argument!

Paul’s teenage considered, getting closer to Beulah as a potential challenge and an issue of cachet and esteem for a boy of his age among his friends for he had uncontrollably spat out all about his childhood friendship with Beulah the Beautiful (BB - as she was fondly called in her class) and her family and so he was decided to go for it at any cost.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Beulah didn’t want to be late to school. But Paul had stopped her on her way. Pleaded her, begged her to come with him to his home to do some catching up for the lost 3 years. Beulah refused vehemently. After a lot of coaxing from Paul, at which he was very skillful, Beulah had to agree to go with him.

At his home Paul offered her sweets, cakes, sandwiches and confectionaries for munching on while they got busy in the talk and Beulah slowly opened up talking about the three years when Paul wasn’t around.

Slowly the rapport that was lost between the two returned to the best of forms leaving the two totally more curious to know more about the other person.

When time was not failing in its duty; they both were yapping away to glory.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

She kneeled down on the floor with both her palms folded together in front of her chest she prayed to God. She confessed everything to god and sought forgiveness from the almighty. This was getting him restless for she was delaying the time more and more instead of just getting it over and done with. But he didn’t have the nerve to disturb her prayer either. So he kept pacing up and down biting his nails very hard.

After praying she slowly opened her eyes. There was a bit of calm and peace in the once confusion squirming eyes of hers. Decidedly she got up and walked up to him who was now at the verge of tears.

With out a word Beulah took the card from his bag and signed as “Mark Stevenson” on the “Parent’s Signature” column above which stood the single digit marks of Mr. Paul Stevenson in all 7 subjects of the recently held Quarterly Examinations for the (Second Year’s) Higher Secondary Education underlined brightly with red sketch and evidently filled with scornful remarks in the “Teacher’s Comments” section by his class-teacher.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Mayaavi said...

heheh...was expecting something like it all the time i was reading...but for a moment also thought if this was going to be one serious entry...u saved me...:)..well written

Saloni Ramachandiran said...

@Mayaavi: Thanks!