The cake placed infront of me remained untouched for two hours. Everyone sang happy birthday to me as soon as the village bells started to ring.
It was 12 am.
I was 16 years old officially.
My family and friends gave me hand made gifts and celebrated my birthday with a small dinner. I was able to smile and pretend I was okay but once I was alone, i couldn't hold back my tears and cried.
The first snow of December slowly fell on my desk by making its way through the open windows that I had not bothered to close. The letter on the desk was now almost covered in the snow but i couldn't care less.
Every year on my birthday, I received a letter from Arhem. Yes Arhem. The guy I had been crushing on since i was 11. The letters in the beginning were long and filled with exciting stories that Arhem narrated to me. I waited anxiously for my birthday because i knew there would be tons of stories coming in through a letter.
But since the past year, the length of the letters significantly reduced. They became formal and more direct. I kept asking Arhem through my letters that is everything okay and that I was worried for him. He assured me it was only work.
Arhem's mother always told me about his new achievements whenever she visited our village. He had graduated from a prestigious college and had flown to New York and was now working in some high profile company. There were chances he might get promoted to CEO as his exemplary work had caught a lot of senior's attention at the company.
Hearing such stories about Arhem made me so happy but at the same time i felt strange. I remembered Arhem as the jolly, kind young boy with soft expressions always lending out his hand to everyone in the village.
But through his letters and his mother's stories, he now seemed as some stranger. A stranger, a grown man with responsibilities and goals.
His letter today only consisted of a single line,
That's it. That's all he wrote. My over thinking brain started to assume that maybe he was tired of me now. He hasn't seen me in a long time and he's out there accomplishing things and i was here waiting every year for his letter. He had a life now... While i had none.
My self pity made me more depressed amd more tears started to form. I realized that maybe i needed a change. A change to make me think about other things in life and not focus on letters from Arhem or what was happening in Arhem's life. I highly doubt he even remembers his promise to me.
It was time for me to move on and accept the change. Life was never fair anyways but sometimes you have to work yourself to make it fair.
My mother encouraged me to go to town and find some work to do and maybe that would help me find some purpose in my life. I had never visited town on my own, alone. It was always with Arhem. He knew the streets, the stores, the people. I was someone who simply followed his every footstep. The thought of working there was quite scary to me. I was just an average village girl who lived her entire life in the same village with the same people. I had no experience or exposure to the outside world and I had heard that people from the town were rude and sharp. You always had to be on your toes with them.
But mother was right. I needed to walk out of this village and find meaning outside it. I needed to make new friends.
I was desperate now. The thought of starting new was driving me crazy. I decided im stepping out the first thing in the morning. This chapter of Arhem is now officially closed from my end. He's gone and he might never return to this small and poor village. He's better than all of us now anyways. We're nothing to him. Just some poor people who he sends money to through his mother every month.
How heroic of him. He definitely made our lives better by only treating us like his charity case. I felt insulted.
To him, the relations he left behind held no meaning anymore. It was now my turn to cut those ties off too.
I kept this chapter short because it was just to show how life was for Pareesay now since Arhem had left. The next chapter will definitely be longer and more spicy. ;)