1. Majesty and Maiden
Everything that I have told you is, of course, a fairy tale. Life is magical, after all. Nothing is safe and everything changes.
— Trina Schart Hyman
And then the maiden left, broken heart, with a tear in her eye, her longing for her Saviour wrenching her heart, with hidden tears she kept walking, a tear of hope cascades down her cheek, a hope for one last glimpse, but then the fate had no mercy, the destiny had written only that much for them.
She just hopes—prays for him to be happy, forever!
If not hers’ then someone’s!
She wishes, he become Someone’s Forever!
The bile of emotions, threatening to spill, tears somewhere, somewhere smile. I could finally reach the conclusion!
With a final enter, I find a huge smile making its way on my lips. With one last glance on screen, I raise my eyes, the busy traffic of my city greeting me, passing by as the car speeding on the road.
A sigh escapes my lips before I close the laptop on my lap, leaning back, I stare out through glass quietly. But the quiet wasn’t my companion for long when it’s been penetrated.
“Seems like you’re done. Where have you reached?” I turn holding a smile at my brother who asked, keeping a focused concentration on road, his hands swift keeping a firm command on the powered wheels.
“It’s done. I completed.” I announce, with pride shimmering in my tone.
“Oh good.” The cold response from my brother made me scowl. But his lack of interest in stories pacifies my scowl.
“So, what’s the ending?”
“The young maiden left. The King was left behind.”
A sigh slips off him, “So, it’s a sad story.”
The words shock me. They do, making an impact and without another thought I jump for clarification.
“No, it has rational ending. The maiden was nowhere near King, her love was one sided. The King had no idea of her feelings, if had there, there was—”
A scoff from Prince seize my word flow, Prince cast me a glance, smirking before turning back on driving task. The sharp turn almost made me hit his shoulder earning him a glare.
“Since when fictional novels have rationality and how is this justified when they can’t meet in end. Or is this not the ending?”
His words made me muse, before the ray of hope combusts in me. I offer smile to my brother, when something in me burnt.
“Some people are meant to be together…Some are not.”
Silence comforts us; I steal a glimpse of my brother’s driving, my eyes tracing his bright charismatic face.
Time has passed so quickly, from weeping together in a corner of darkness, we have grown and learnt to brighten our surroundings. From shedding tears in each other’s embrace, our life taught us to wipe the pain of other.
From devastation, I held into his hand to life, from pain he has taught me to stand and face life.
Now when I see my baby brother, a young energetic man taking the command of his present; I feel proud and elated; the prouder he makes me when I see the compassion and warmth of our mother in him.
“Perhaps, you should try contemporary or fantasy, historic fiction isn’t your forte.”
Prince pulls me out of thoughts almost surprising me; I glare at my brother for his rude comment.
“Your pat—well Kings and Kingdoms are all past. Besides when you write fiction, you can’t put these old logics of rationalism.”
I scowl, “Why, the Kings and realms can be in present.”
With a sigh, Prince quits, halting the car.
“Here, we have reached.”
“Take care of yourself and call me if needed.” I nod, smiling, reaching for the door handle.
“I’m with Kavya, what will I need Bhai, you take care and work hard.”
With one flying kiss, I slip out of car, taking his laptop with me.
“I want it. Will return you in evening. Mine is on back seat, use it.” With one pissed look, he left leaving me laughing at his expense. I know he needs his laptop for work but what can be more amusing for a sister than teasing her brother.
With the fading sight of car, I turn to the magnificent small structure between the buzzing residential colony. The sight warms my heart like always and I start walking, entering through the front door like a rightful proud owner.
The servant dusting the sofa covers, sensing a presence, halts and turns my way, “Doctor Ma’am is in—”
“—Garden.” I complete for the helper who smiles and leaves.
Ah! This Doctor!
The magnificent sight of nature and quiet whispers of surroundings instantly put my heart in peace. My eyes dart toward the figure’s back sitting beside the row of pink flowers, her hair falling as she tilts her head to inspect—look at the plants. I choose to stand, leaning against one of the pillars, staring at the warm and soothing view my friend has created, a private chapel of peace.
“Stop looking so serene and ethereal, I may have fall in love with you.” The face turns at my announcement, I watch her lips curving wide, I knew the retort will be crisp.
“Like you aren’t already.”
“Ah! Yeah, fortunately.” Trying to make a sour face, we both burst into laughter.
I embrace her into a warm hug, soaking into her warmth, still grinning like small kids do when they meet their best buddies after a long time.
I let my gaze wander again to the magnificent surroundings of her closed garden before she ushers me to sit with her on stair steps, the branches of her wild touch me not shrinking shying away at my proximity giving me another reason to smile.
Shifting back, I take her hand in mine; we sit for some time, in peace, quiet, in calm.
“You love to spend time quiet with these flowers. It seems quite opposite to your profession where you meet many different people every day.” I mumble quietly, shifting just to witness her serene knowing smile as she nods, a sigh slips her.
“Perhaps, that’s why, I spend time in solitude. Niera, I like my work yet the place makes me…”
“…Who can like hospitals; where people go when they are not happy.” I grumble; looking up at the branches of hanging pots—peeking out just above us.
“Miracles happen at that place; I have witnessed honest prayers whispering there than temples or churches. True tears falling from heart. It’s not just easy.”
She sighs looking back to her magenta bud, “And who says it’s only sadness and worry brings people to hospital, healed hearts and smiling lives also find their way to hospitals.”
Her words tie my tongue, I can’t argue, but my experience with those places has left me into a sour taste for…perhaps life.
“Yours were true, tears, prayers.” She whispers holding my hand.
“But they weren’t answered.” I retort bitterly.
Eeriness prevails as I fight the tears through glimpses of our past, while Kavya holds onto me, as a friend supporting me. I want to keep this silence, but this pain and sorrow, I don’t want, because whenever they appear, they prove, all our efforts were in vain.
We are still weak, weak and shattered against our sorrow, and one glimpse is sufficient to shake us.
“Well, you tell me, what brings you here.” Kavya pulls me out of my reverie. I blink, looking through the wide array of violet orchids ready to blossom.
“I had to collect reports, Love.”
“Oh! It slipped my mind; they are to reach by 2:00. Let’s go.” She face-palms and I smile, we know how to bring other out of pain, that’s how friends are, siblings are.
I still, a slap comes sharp in my heart, with a smiling face and I shudder in pain.
My brother, Jerry!
The sun-rays reflecting from the screen makes me squint, as I continue to hold my phone between ear and shoulder, typing with tilted face can be a struggle I have just come to realize.
“So, that’s all?” I say, pressing the last enter and a groan like hmm, comes as response before the call disconnects and I straighten my head resulting my baby to fall on solid ground. I groan and Kavya laughs kneeling to pick it, “Why do you have to tease him always? It’s his work device; you could have just used yours. Now bear consequences.”
I slam the laptop shut before leaving it on pillar. I let out a sigh looking down at passing streets, small and almost insignificant from the tall building Terrace, familiar yet the blend of unknown and distinct seems quite clear and noticeable.
I wonder how this city where I have spent my entire life can be so distinct, so foreign.
And somewhere, I felt it all belonged to me, that I belonged there, since the first day.
A shudder of pain erupts from my chest, I almost wince; my hand reaches for my chest, for something that has been keeping me alive. In true sense, I shouldn’t be here; perceiving the city of mine but dead and buried.
But I’m here, alive and almost lost in life.
Why is it, whatever I do, I can’t keep myself away from those thoughts, the guilt, the regret and pain has been my companion, and I feel lost and lonely in midst of crowd.
“I was working on novel; the draft is with this one.” I whisper, taking the mug from her awaiting hand which she has been holding since Prince suddenly called for some urgent documents. The reports were taking time so she chose to come on terrace, and I follow, wanting to stay away as much as I can from her work place, hospital.
“You have your own.” She points softly, and I press my eyes shut, exasperated; not by her words but the searing pain taking place in my chest again.
“You are lost again.” She points.
“Am I?” I smile, taking another careless sip.
I hear her sigh; she knows when to not touch the sore wound. And I feel thankful for that.
“Anyway! How about the novel?” this makes me snap my eyes open, the crowd passing down reminding of nothing but all that I left. So, I look back at her, taking sips from her mug, looking over to far ends of city.
“I wrote the end.” She stills for a second before nodding, she turns to face me.
“Really, great. It seems like you knew the end. Because it took you long to proceed after a point.”
A breath escapes me, the bitter taste of coffee losses all its delight.
“Yes, the carrying on part has always been tough for me. And of course, it’s my stor—novel.”
“You didn’t find the end but seems like you already knew where to end it.” Kavya smirks faintly, I know what she is implying here, her eyes speak with me more than our words, I bit into my inner lip.
I let out an exasperated sigh, “What difference does it makes.”
She smiles, looking ahead,
“Love, the end is the beginning. Always.”
“I don’t like it. Change it. This can’t be the end.”
And I sigh, already anticipating her response, I was somewhat prepared. Removing my gaze from my mother’s reports, I turn to my friend’s frowning face, showing disappointment and a considerable amount of anger. I consider taking a walk out to her garden just a few steps from us, but something stops me.
Instead, I give her my complete attention, “Why?”
“Because if we talk about forever this isn’t their forever. You’re betraying each reader who has been reading this novel. The King, how can he have his forever with someone else. This is utterly wrong. You’re cheating us, Niera.”
I can feel her rage through her words.
A sigh escapes me as I look away from her rip-roaring charged gaze, “I can’t fulfill everyone’s demand. I’m—”
“Then fulfill yours. At least let them meet here, if not in reality, let fiction have them together. Perhaps, this will give you peace, reduce your burning pain.”
“The mighty King is Gideon; the Young maiden is Niera. I don’t see this as ending; I see a new beginning that you have to write, if you’re leaving this here.”
And allow myself another sin, and bear pain and longing.
This should end here, if not, the Young Maiden will suffer in her feelings…!
Bearing a smile, deceiving the pain of chest, I look around the beauty of her garden, “The young maiden loved him—”
“The King wasn’t given the chance to express.” She snaps, her eyes expressing the charged thundering of emotions, she feels connected.
I accept defeat, the burning of my chest, leaves me breathless. I look down, unable to face the pain of her, as it intensifies mine.
“He doesn’t need me—”
“Perhaps he wants.” She interrupts. The room sinks into the slumber of silence again.
“Since you’re the writer, I’ll leave this tale to you, about your story; perhaps destiny has planned another beginning.”
The hope shouldn’t be born, the faith of reality shouldn’t be breached, what my words want me to believe, I shouldn’t disagree.
“You’re getting dramatic.” I mumble.
“You’re getting pathetic.” She snaps.
“Miracle! I won’t let any harm touch you. This is my vow, I’ll protect you.”
I jerk upright, breathing harsh, I felt the sweat beads prickling down my forehead, drenched in sweat, I tried nothing but to focus on my breathing.
“Niera!” I flinch at Kavya’s sudden touch; the darkness vanishes the next moment when she switches on the lights. I groan when the sudden lights bring uneasiness to my eyes.
“Niera!” She calls again and this time I turn to her panicked face. She seems absolutely fine, whereas I’m drenched in sweat.
“You’re palpitating.” She mumbles before a glass of water comes to me, I took long sip, the cold liquid provides me comfort, cooling my torrid body.
I rub my face, the sweat covering me completely started to dry against the cool temperature.
“You were having a dream.” She rather states once she considered me fine to talk. I stayed quiet and sigh when she let out a sigh of her own.
“Niera! This is getting worse. Since the day you’re back. Either you’re getting nightmares or these dreams; you can’t sleep at night, and wake up sweating. This is affecting you.” I heard her, the worry and stress are clear in her tone, I find myself buried in guilt to worry her like this.
“Will you tell what you saw?” she asked; a little hopeful and I find myself suppressing the growing headache.
“It was about the Alpha King, right?” my head shot up to her, I muffle my groan at sudden move, my wide eyes found Kavya who regarded me her tired worried eyes.
“Why you left like this? If leaving hurts, then why did you leave? Why didn’t you tell him that you—”
“Kavya! Please, I can’t do this, I couldn’t. He has someone who is destined for him. Someone his soul, his heart belongs, someone who is his forever, I can’t have him. It’s wrong.”
“How do you know, it wasn’t you?” she hisses the same statement, and I flinch.
Since the whole revelation of the trip, Gideon’s dreams have become a regular sleep hurdle for me. I tried my level best to engross in my life, but like shadow never leave you, even in dark, his thoughts and smoldering pain in my chest doesn’t leave me. From sunrise to sunset I work, at home I try to engross myself, tire myself with errands, but then the loneliness of night bites me to welled up eyes, I sleep only to wake up, either by Gideon’s thoughts, his unsaid promises wake me to sweat, or those dreadful nightmares wake me to fright. I don’t sleep much because sleep and rest terrify me.
Kavya had keep me sane with her company along with Prince but with each passing day, I see her worry riling up in frustration when I wake up shivering and she gawk my reaction and try to comprehend whether it was dream or nightmare. We had this conversation of my sudden departure, her query and my same answer. Neither she gets tired nor do I change my opinion and response. She counts the times when Gideon saved me, his care and exceptions he made for me, and I pull up wall saying he cared because it’s his nature, he made exceptions because I’m an exception, a human, he wished to save at all cost and he did till we were together. He is a true King by heart. None of us get tired, her worry as my friend, my denial at irony of life.
“I’m a fragile human.” I look down at my hands, my spine started to hurt as I shifted to head board for comfort, sleep is long gone. I cast a glance at clock on side rest, 3:23AM
“You can’t live like this.” she murmured defeated. My heart squeezed inside, she seems shattered like me, indeed, friendship is a pious bond.
“I’ll learn to and it’s just because the incident is fresh, it’ll fade to old memories with time.” I made a pathetic try to smile, my wavering lips flatten when Kavya’s hand finds mine, comforting me with her warmth.
“I’ll go to lawn, I feel suffocated.” She nods before I slip off, and shiver when my warm feet touch cold grounds.
I close the door and waited, from the space between door and floor, the lights went off, assured she is back to rest I made my way to lawn. The cold breeze soothing my chaotic mind, I smile, wrapping my arms around myself. It’s a routine for me, if I get that unreal dream, I spend alone time walking on the lawn grass in cool winds till morning knocks, when I get that horrible nightmare, I lock myself in blanket and try to calm until I doze back to sleep. What seems like peaceful sleep? I have forgotten a long back.
My chest aches whenever mind sails to memories, I miss them, I miss my Tiger, Jerry, The Good Doctor, Miss. Mahriya—h, Sir Gerard. All of them.
My breath hitch, and eyes welled up, when one face comes, crashing into mind leaving me breathless. Gideon!
I miss him, terribly.
Why destiny has to be so harsh! I look up at sky, the moon seems missing from sky, dark night seems incomplete, “Why destiny pull us apart; if we were not meant to be, why you made me fall for him?”
I asked the sky, the stars, the dark stayed quiet like mourning along my heart which shatters every night, pulls up every morning, just to shatter every night when I call for him in my lonely agony.
“I wish for his happiness, even when we are apart, my Miracle is mine. Keep him safe and cherish for me.” I wished looking at the mourning sky above me. Just then I notice a falling star, I smile hoping destiny will bring his happiness to him soon and forever.
Despite the decree of fate, faith will remain aflame,
Desires and destiny may collide and fall,
Despite all odds, I’ll continue to believe,
You live in me, and I hide in you,
And our forever resides in each other!
August 9, 2020
Her pain in her words, her desires in her heart.
Hidden and buried yet painful and hopeful!
Now what destiny will bring? Tears or surprises?
So, here, I presented the chapter 1; how was it?
Shares your views, would love to read them.