Highly Commended Story - Senior Category
“The Dance of The Rainbows” by Ishani Khemka, Sanskriti School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Ishani Khemka lives in Gurgaon, India. She enjoys writing. She also sings from time to time and attends classes for the same. In the future, she would like to pursue psychology and has an affinity for history. A true introvert at heart, she loves blankets, cold coffee and junk food in particular.
The Dance of The Rainbows
My feet sink into the cool soil, welcoming me as I stride upon it. The village is sound asleep and no one stirs. The breeze blows through the field, awakening the leaves as they dance to the tune of the wind. Dark changes into light as the morning rays of the orange sun pierce the still, black sky. I couldn’t sleep you see, my eyes refused to listen to my aching body. Hours spent contemplating, revisiting and regretting these past few weeks have drained me, so I stand outside awaiting relief.
It all started when I met him.
I was put to work at my father’s shop and was arguing with a woman trying to haggle the price of grain sold at the store, her argument so unreasonable yet so persistent, that I had almost given up.
Then he arrived.
With an amalgamation of simple words and flattery, he won her over and she resorted to the original price. With a curt nod and a shy smile, he walked away. I didn’t even get to thank him.
He was no celestial god and was quite ordinary to look at, but his mind and way with words had the ability to sweep me off my feet. I met him quite a few times over the course of the week, but never spoke to him, just stared. Finally, one day, he came up to the store. Luckily, I was working at the time and snuck in a small conversation, thus getting to know his name.
“I’m Faizal,” he said.
Soon after, we started meeting more often, sharing stories of our childhood, comforting each other and enraging each other. In the meanwhile, my mother fell terribly ill. Bed ridden, she could no longer do any work, so I was put in charge. After spending hours, hunched over a coal stove, my evenings with Faizal felt like a dream.
Like an escape.
He was my rock, my pillar of support when I had no one to turn to, and I loved him for it. In those few weeks, life without Faizal seemed unimaginable. We would often talk about the future, about how we would always be in each other’s lives, no matter what. He reminded me of the very sun I see right now, rising above my eyes, radiating light and happiness. If only I could have told him how much I loved him.
Soon enough, evil struck and I fell sick as well. Our village doctor, the self-appraising idiot he is forgot to mention, although I’m sure he never knew in the first place, that the disease my mother had was infectious. So, there I lay, day in and day out, biting my chapped lips to keep me from howling from the pain. But like every heroin every story, Faizal was there for me. He bought me and my mother food and water. Though he didn’t have the capacity to clean the house, the little he did for us meant the world and more.
Somehow, I slowly got better. The pain began to recede and I could slowly walk again. It puzzled me, for I did not know what was lacking when I took care of my mother, that Faizal had when he cared for me. That missing ingredient fixed my ailing body.
However, it could never fix my mother’s.
The pain was even more unbearable this time, for I didn’t only loose my mother, but when father heard of what happened, he walked out of the house and never came back. Yet again, I was alone. Of course, Faizal never left me, but I was still alone. Not being able to tell him how much I loved him, worsened the pain, until I couldn’t take it anymore.
So, last night I went to his house. I knew that if I kept it in any longer I wouldn’t make it through the night.
I reached his house, his small inconspicuous house at the end of the road. It was just as quiet as the village is now, except then something disrupted the peace.
It was Faizal. His short, brown hair was illuminated by the moonlight, as was his strong, lean frame. “Did he know I was coming to meet him?” I thought. Suddenly, a figure approached from behind him. “Oh! it is a girl,” I murmured.
However, much to my surprise, I was wrong.
The relief, however was somewhat short-lived, when I saw that they were holding hands. Methodically, I looked up to him, my stern expression demanding an explanation. As he put his suitcase down, he explained. He thought I would consider him a freak of nature, an abnormality if you will and said he maintained his façade to remain friends with me. “I didn’t want to lose you,” he said.
I inquired about the bags, to which he replied that they were going on a trip. Apparently, the Supreme Court was scheduled to deliver a verdict, that could change the due course of their lives.
After he was finished, I did what my father taught me to do. I walked away and never turned back. I yearned for him to run up to me and stop me. But, he did nothing of the sort. I didn’t want him to beg, I just wanted him to show me that he cared, despite everything he had just said. Despite what he was.
It’s noon and now the only star in the sky is the sun. A tear streams down my cheek and it falls to the ground. I realise now, how truly alone I am. I cannot cope anymore. My heart throbs from betrayal and abandonment.
In the distance I hear screams of joy, and cries of happiness. My limp body slumps to the floor as the sun begins to hide behind the clouds.
Maybe Faizal didn’t betray me, it wasn’t his fault after all. Maybe my father will be back soon, he always does come back. Maybemother’s death wasn’t my fault, I did whatever I could. Maybe things will be okay but, what if I’m not there to see them? No, no I can’t go now, maybe things will be alright now. No, Faizal help. I should scream. Help me someone, anyone. Why can’t they hear me, why can’t I scream?
The rain begins to pour, and my eyes close. There’s no point in screaming now. I only hope Faizal is able to see a rainbow after the downpour high in the sky, smiling upon him as he rejoices. I will always be there for him.