The car’s horn blared. With a jerk she awoke from her blissful dream; a dream full of past memories which stays evergreen. She never needs to be asleep to get those thoughts but just a free moment— anytime. The dusk had already fallen and the headlights were fighting its way through the smog. Things were barely visible outside which added up her free moments. She looked into the darkness and recollected things again. Every single thing appeared before her as if it’s a motion picture. Memories glistened as the thought of going there again struck.
It was 8:30 am and she was still half asleep. She felt someone move over her bed and with her half-opened eyes she shouted. Two of her friends were looking right into her face and one of them said, “Good morning lady, we won’t let you sleep. Wake up!” She got super irritated and playfully started fighting with them. They chit-chatted for a while and everything fit even more perfectly in their lives as the coffee arrived.
Those were the days, she thought. Now, it’s all different. When the sun uncovers itself from the horizon every day she wakes up to a dawn full of worries and pain. She thinks of the world of true friends who always needed her in everything, not only to get things done. That is why those memories had so much of the sweetness hidden in them. She desperately needed to reach her destination. There was still a long way to go to her world of happiness. It felt as if she left her smile back there and has to go back to get it or rather search for the lost ‘smile’. How sympathetic it sounds! She melted into her thoughts again.
The sleepovers were amazing. The burden of studies always multiplied when they were together. But the fact that it was multiplied with zero can’t be denied. She never had to pretend to be someone else. She had her originality and was never mocked at for that. The neighbours had their own way to please her. They were gems. She missed the calm long walks. Literally every bit she missed.
The car took a turn and she found herself in a place of familiarity. Last night she doesn’t remember when she fell asleep with all those thoughts running through her mind. She felt as if she woke up to her dreams. The air smelled perfect, it smelled of memories. She found her favourite statue covered up in weeds. That gave her the realisation of time. She was celebrating even though she knew things were not the same there. The floods had separated everyone. People moved away from that place and never returned back. Her family moved far away too. Her family hadn’t actually lost anything at all in the floods or her friends’ families did. But they all moved in search of a place that promised better earnings. This place therefore never brings in any bad memories to them. After many years, she tried to feel the things and store them in her heart so that she can unlock them and feel it anytime she wants in the future. She found her lost smile.
She got out of the car and found new people everywhere. It was no more ‘her’ place. But it was, in her heart. She imagined her friends and neighbours run towards her to hug and soothe her. But it stopped as people just brushed aside her telling her to move out of their ways. She still loved the place. They had to continue their journey as their final destination had not yet arrived. This place falls on the way, so they halted to get back the feel of crisp memories. She sat back in the car and leaned as her eyes brimmed with tears. She whispered as her voice barely came out, “Mom” and she paused. She could speak no further.
Her mom replied as if she read her daughter’s mind, “You’ll get back those days child, in some other way. Nothing is constant in anyone’s life. Life is indeed a beautiful struggle.”
She grasped that and leaned onto her mom’s shoulders, closed her eyes and fell asleep. She felt a pang of relief rush in.