Story Contest 2017 #2 - Outstanding Stories (Senior) »

Beauty of the Beast

“Beauty of the Beast” is one of the outstanding stories of the second biannual International Short Story Contest 2017 written by Mulinti Dakshesh Narayan, Montessori English Medium High School, India.

Beauty of the Beast

I haven’t witnessed how a real happy ending looks like. But often read about it. I’ve watched it on the screen too. Technically not the whole of it but how the writers claim their story ended and the rest we are to conjecture (the data remains encapsulated!). So what really is this happily ever after?

In the delineation of somebody’s real life it is difficult to predict and how can anyone if our protagonist were a rape victim, a child of murdered parents, the mother of a kidnapped son, an individual infected with a fatal disease; my list is endless. And with such a commotion going on my mind, I met this girl, my friend, for the first time. With a swift goodbye, she separated from a guy and then turned towards the side facing me; few tiny droplets were emerging from her really sore eyes and quickly tricking across her cheek thus creating route for new ones. I was perplexed. When closer, I asked her, “Something wrong?”

My sudden interrogation may have startled her for she tottered, regained her balance and spoke, “We had been together for years and landed up for our degree in the same place too. But suddenly he has started feeling he is better off without me. He doesn’t want to be with me anymore”.

”Is that even a reason?” I continued, “Hit him on the face, will you? It’s unfair”.

She shot a weak smile and spoke, “It just taught me not to let people easily in my life. Love is a lovely thing. If it is for me, I’m certain to find the right person. ” I frowned.

Later that month I discovered that the girl was brought up solely up by her widowed mother. “My father was a noble person, left for heaven. My mother could have never figured out how strong she was until I became her responsibility. She became an inspiration later, for the women of my place, who think they are vulnerable and repressed. Everything happens for a reason, you see.”

One day when she was sick, “What can this good for? “I inquired.

She murmured, “Well the effects of my antibiotics shall last this month so I can give my exams without any fear of viruses.” I laughed my head off. She was right.

When there was a power cut the night before our exams, for her it meant, it is an indication to be sincere and be prepared for exams early and not wait till the last moment. That night was meant to be to be spent resting.

“How about devising strategies for surviving tonight?” I interrupted, “Oh!” and with the wicked smirk, she withdrew several candles from her drawer, “Reward for being ordered to leave work late during Diwali.” We survived the night.

Another day she entered the class with a fresh set of bruises and casually stated that she was inches close to being hit by a car but luck was on her side. In fact, it was a good day for the driver as he slowed down was saved from colliding with another vehicle with no horns!

“And this contusion is a blessing, of course.” I said in a sardonic tone. “Aren’t you ever tired?” I finally asked.

She was silent but she knew. I didn’t elucidate. “I don’t want to be, ever, and I am thankful such a state never arose. I don’t want to regret and feel sorry. Nobody has a perfect life. I make it and control it when it goes astray and if I am unable, I go along with it and greet those impediments like they happened for a reason, the answer to which I shall uncover sooner. Only death, luck and loss are beyond man’s control. Crying makes nothing easier. So, why don’t I, you, make the most that is present, which we have? It’s a pity people take their lives away because they know living is more difficult. The times I fail, I cherish my hard work behind it. When I lose something, I am content that somebody else, too, must be in need for it and shall make a better use of it. The nights I am groaning with pain every month, the kind a girl has to go through since her puberty, confronts me with the fact that I am capable of giving life. It is a gift. This thought gives me the strength to endure it. Every pain, every struggle has a positive face hidden somewhere. All we need to do is just reach for it.”

She left. I came to present. I rang Dad. I apologized for being rude the other day when he said he would be too busy to come and see me graduate. He understood. He always does. The sun was beaming brightly above the water in the lake where my eyes drifted now. It looked like a sheath of myriad diamonds was strewn over it. It was indeed a beautiful day!