Story Contest 2016 #1 - Outstanding Stories » A Walk Down Memory Lane

“A Walk Down Memory Lane” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2016 written by Gayathri Vipin, Bahrain.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

My morning started with the romantic relationship between me and my bed interrupted by the annoying beep-beep of my alarm clock. Groaning and complaining, I stumbled out of bed, only to bang my head against the wall. ‘Morning Problems’, I thought. Cursing, I tried to steady my wobbly head, when as if to make my day worse, my phone screen lit up with a reminder: ‘Rosey’s B’day.....!!!’ That’s when I lost it. I’d been trying for a while to forget the incidents of that fateful day. Now that this reminder has popped up, I don’t think my task is going to be any easier. My head seemed to become heavier and I plopped down onto the bed and lapsed into a flood of memories:

That day was just like any other sunny, pleasant day of April. I and my best friend Rosemary Smith were walking together to school. It was a Friday; the long awaited weekend was just a day away. Rose and I lived in the same building, a 15-minute-walk away from our school. We had been best friends since kindergarten, and our families had also become very close. Since we were always with each other, many often mistook us for sisters, though we weren’t much like each other.

Rose was an amazing and awesome person and the battery charger of everyone around her with her unending stock of energy. She was quite brave and loved taking up challenges, never losing the will power to complete something she had started. She also looked pretty with her blue eyes, wavy brown hair, and sweet round face. She was the best in athletics (with none of us being her equal), winning tournaments, championships and practicing for hours on end. She was more of an outdoor person .She also excelled in academics and was compassionate, but above all she was a great friend. She was a bundle of fun, but could also be deadly serious when the necessity arose. Altogether, she was an all-rounder. Her teachers praised her, her parents were mighty proud and her friends considered themselves lucky to have her.

I, on the other hand, was quite different. I was more of a bookworm and less of an athlete. Not that I disliked athletics, but I couldn’t resist reading atleast once a day, while she could go on for months without reading. She was also slightly tanned due to her outdoor interests.

Back to the point, we were both walking towards school. It was Rose’s birthday and though I was beaming with excitement from inside, I tried best to look nonchalant, like I had forgotten her birthday. My plan was to feign forgetfulness, then surprise her with a party in the evening with our friends. I would present her with a pair of branded, good quality sports shoes for which she had been saving up. All throughout the way, she was indirectly trying to remind me of her birthday, believing I had forgotten it, but I didn’t budge from my plan.

At school, she looked dejected because no one wished her. Later, even she forgot about that and everything went normally, until the shaking started. Everyone was still and paralyzed for a moment, until somebody called out, ‘Earthquake!!’

That shook them and raised confusion and chaos. It was at that critical stage that Rosemary displayed her presence of mind by rushing out of the building towards the empty playground. Soon, others followed her example and within a short time, almost the whole school was in the ground, safe and sound. After a few minutes, the trembling subsided and the Police, with Fireforce vehicles and members of the emergency rescue squad arrived at the scene. They said that we had a narrow escape and were lucky to survive. We were all praying, grateful to God for protecting us. The authorities asked us to stay away from the undamaged, but shaken and unsteady building.

None of us had a problem with that, except Rose. Suddenly, on hearing a terrified cry from within the building, without second thoughts, she sprinted off. None of us had been quick enough to stop her, not even the elders present. We all tried persuading her to comeback, but in vain. Presently, she entered the building, determined to save the person at all costs. We were all anxious, screaming, and praying. After 5 anxious minutes, she stepped outside with a small girl, about 6 years, in her arms. The kid was whimpering and was badly shaken. Everyone cheered on seeing Rose. But that was the last cheer she received. The Earth shook suddenly, and the building collapsed, burying Rose underneath.

We were shocked. What would happen to Rose now? Would she be safe? I ran forward, crying and praying, “Lord, please let my Rose be safe. Please don’t let anything happen to her.” Desperately digging for her amongst the debris, I was joined by the rescue squad. Suddenly, I discovered a bruised hand and pulled out a body that turned out to be Rosemary’s. I was beside myself with happiness feeling a weak pulse still throbbing in her veins. I knew that she was a fighter and wouldn’t give up easily. I only had enough time to gently kiss her forehead when the doctor arrived and asked me to step aside.

He then examined her, said that her pulse was dropping and took her to the ambulance. After some moments of panic, the doctor came with the devastating news which shook me harder than the earthquake, “I am sorry, but we couldn’t save her.” Everyone cried out, including the girl Rose had saved. She was alright, except for a few cuts and bruises, because Rose had protected her, risking herself. Tears welled up in my eyes, my head was spinning, everything after that; I don’t quite remember.

Now I am sitting on my bed, enveloped in memories. As the tears start flowing, I console myself saying, “God might have required her presence in heaven.”