Tuesday 10 August 2021

Alice Lydia, ShortStory 2021 Magazine

Childhood Cuteness

“Be safe Zia, tomorrow you need to go to school,” said my mom as I bent down to pick some flowers from Royal Poincina tree in the marshy surface. It had these Red flowers with green sepals which had this red layer which can be peeled and stuck in nails (as their inner layer would be sticky in nature) .I wore a red dress which matched these flowers . It was the last day of my annual leave and I need to go to school the next day. Deep down I had mixed thoughts even though I was happy to head back to school again, I don’t know who will be my new class teacher , will my friends be in my class and I’m going to higher class of 7th standard all these gave a happiness-mixed nervy feeling which I felt in my stomach.

My sister Irin was collecting flowers on the other side of the tree, she was on her 5th standard. She was pretty in her pink frock and shouting my name showing better flowers for me to take.

“Here Zia have this,” said Jordin , I turned to his voice and my eyes just brightened as I was filled with complete joy and awe when I saw the flower bunch which he gave me. It had 12 flowers, 7 buds and small leaves around it. I got it from him with all my smiles and delight showing all my teeth out which was completely uncontrollable and screamed “Wow Jordin , this looks so beautiful , Thank you!”. Jordin was doing his 9th standard he has a brother who is my classmate named Danish . Since we are family friends we used to hang out in the evening of Sundays from 4PM to 7PM , the time when sun sets and moon comes up with both our families together. This flower bunch from Jordin made me forget all the worries I had regarding school and made me enjoy the time in park.

Jordin said “I plucked and made this beautiful bunch just for you”. It was really so delightful to hear as we always used to fight from childhood and suddenly he is doing something really sweet to me. I felt there was a change in his voice as I could feel it was different from how it used to be regularly. I asked him “Why is your voice breaking? Are you having a cold or something?” He smiled at me and replied “They say I’m getting matured that is why I’m having this voice break”. I remembered the time when I had my puberty and people called me matured I smiled and replied him back “I’m too matured but I don’t have this voice break”. He replied back “See I have beard too coming out” .I saw small hairs peaking out his cheeks and I said “Yeah Jordin, you are matured now” and we laughed out and our parents called us to get back home.

Luckily Danish was in my class, I really loved my 7th class. Jordin used to come to our class during the lunch breaks for seeing his brother and we will talk and have fun. Our school uniform was dark blue shirt and white shirt for girls and dark blue pants and white shirt for boys. Jordin looked handsome even in our school uniform. He was in our school football team and the way he plays will be so good to watch. He was moderately tall for that class. Since we were in our middle school we were not allowed to talk too much with boys so we just gave glances when we passed by.

It was Sunday we were in the park with both our families together as usual. Even though we were friends from childhood these days (from that matured conversation we had) I stared to have a different feeling which I couldn’t define. Whenever he comes to see me I become more cautious, there is a different kind of happiness which makes me forget everything around me, kind of seeing him even for few seconds would make my day so beautiful. I used to think of the old funny things he used to do and laugh alone.

In the park we decided to play hide and seek, Irin wore a black long full frock and Danish wore a black t shirt and they were pinching each other saying “Same Pinch”. Me and Jordin was pulling them aside and we fell down as they pushed us away and we both giggled.

The hide and seek game started Irin was the one who needs to find us so she was counting. In the park there was an old building which used to be a church I went beside that and sat to hide , suddenly I heard a noise of someone running towards me and it was Jordin. I silently yelled at him “Why do you want to hide in this same place where I am hiding , go somewhere else Irin is gonna finish her counting and come. Go somewhere else and hide, GO GOO..!!!”

Jordin replied “ I want to tell you a secret” I was in a Question mode which reflected in my face “ What secret? We can talk after the game I don’t want to get out in this game now”. He insisted “No Zia I want to tell you now”. Then I replied in a serious tone as all my intension now is not to get out in this game that too to my little sister, ”Sit down Jordin so that we won’t get caught”. We had our backs resting on the old building wall and he was sitting beside me. I asked him “What is it about?” he replied “What do you like the most in this world”. I’m a great slave to music. I just can’t pass a day without it, I would skip my homework too but not music. I replied him “ Umm… I love Music , it is my favourite thing in this world” then he paused for 2 seconds and said “I’ll become a musician , will you marry me?” I just can’t see his face again , I don’t know what feelings I had for him but whenever he was with me I felt happy and good but what he said now was too hard for me to handle as we were friends from kinder garden. I replied “ I’ll ask my sister and tell” and stood up from the place we sat and I voluntarily got out . Irin shouted “Zia got caught ahhh you are the first one to get out” . Danish came dancing and shouting “ Out ah Out ahh” . I turned to Danish and Irin and said “ I don’t feel like playing anymore , I am going to sit with Ma” . They shouted “Looser” but I did not care . All I needed now was my mom’s hand. I held it tight and was listening to what aunty , uncle , Ma and Pa was talking.

Jordin came with a dull face , my mom asked “ What happened to you Jordin? You look so dull” he replied “ Nothing aunty , just tired of playing”. After we reached home I just can’t stop thinking of what he said, those lines just kept running in my head.

It was the beginning of winter and we stopped going to the park as it was cold outside. Also Jordin stopped coming to visit us in class. I missed him but did not want to show it out. I did not smile at him when he passed by at school nor went to see any of his football matches. On the week of Christmas we got a call from Aunty (Jorden’s mom) she said to my mom“ Can we plan for a family outing as its been long since we hanged out as a family together , and even our kids are on their half yearly vacation” , my mom too found the idea to be delightful and we planned for the trip and booked a sea view resort in Mahabalipuram.

The day of the trip has come we went in a tempo and our driver drove us to the resort. In between we stopped at a grocery shop to buy eatables. I sat with my mom and shared my greeting to everyone with a smile except Jordin. Jordin ran down before anyone could and came to the window where I sat and said “ Do you still like the Red Lays (it was the spicy tomato flavor) or did you change your mind” I replied “I always love Red Lays only” in a low voice with no interest to talk. He went to the shop pulled out his black leather purse took a 20 rupee note and got red Lays packet for me.

Then Irin and Danish stopped him and asked him to get for them too , so for my sake he need to treat them too. I was extremely happy inside but did not show it out.

We reached the resort and with our families together played in the beach. We had a complete fun after a long time. It was a happy time so I did not want to show my attitude with Jordin so I splashed the sea water on him and we started to play just as we used to do when we were kids. After a long time I felt a complete burden free happiness inside me.

At night we 4 (Irin , Jordin , Danish and me) lied down on the sea sand with our heads meeting together and our bodies in the North , South , East and West direction respectively just like a plus sign. We saw the stars and spoke about stories that happened in our class. Irin said spider man was someone true who lives in New York and we laughed so much telling her what spider man will do if he comes here to meet us like webbing us 4 together in top of the pine trees which was around us. It was a pleasant night indeed.

We went to our beds , our family and Jordin’s family had separate rooms . By morning 6AM we heard someone knocking at the door . My father was quite annoyed and he asked” Who is it , so early in the morning?” as it was winter morning it was little dark outside . “I’m Jorden uncle , can I have Zia and Irin to the sea shore to see the sun rise” . My dad replied “Take” them and went back to sleep. Gorden couldn’t wake up that early, we saw him sleeping at his room. Me and Irin in our pink night suits went with Jordin who wore black trousers and maroon t-shirt . The sea had a dark sight and there were no signs of sun coming out. Irin and Jordin sat to my right and left respectively. Irin was kind of sleepy so she was rubbing her eyed while waiting for the sun. I was having an exciting feel as I get triggered up with happy emotions whenever Jordin is near me. Slowly the sky turned out to brighten with the birds flying across. I saw Jordin’s face with a smile he nodded with a sign of agreement that the sun rise is going to happen soon and we saw the sky with the sun coming up slowing and it was the best sight ever.

I was in the most beautiful place I couldn’t move at all. I smiled seeing the waves , cool breeze and the new born sun . I said to Jordin “Thank you for this view” He smiled and replied “ Always” . I don’t know what he meant but loved what he did to us in the morning. He also pampered the sleepy Irin back to the room which made me admire him more as how he cared on my sister.

We vacated the resort after our lunch and we got into the tempo , I went to the back seat ,since Irin got up early she wanted to sit with mom as she can lie on her and sleep . Danish sat next to me and Jordin sat next to Danish . I was seeing outside the window but my thoughts were of Jordin as he never did anything related to what said on our hide and seek conversation we had in the park. This time I liked him more as he really acted so mature. I wore a full hand black t shirt and 3/4th camouflage pant. I saw Jordin glancing at me then and there as he had never seen me in these type of dresses and he looked very handsome in his blue shirt.

Jordin said “Why are we silent for a long time after this we don’t know when we will be meeting again , can we 3 play passing the secret game? “ .It was funny to hear , passing the secret game with only 3 people but I just want to give a try so I nodded my head in agreement . Danish too said“Ok” Jordin said “Ill pass on a tamil song you should find” . Jordin passed the first secret to Danish’s ears , Danish then said that in my ears “Even if you don’t love me truly , tell a lie girl ,my life will live , if your love is true” (miayaga nee ennai virumbatha pothum poi ondru sol kanne en jeevan vaalum nijam unthan kadhal endral ) I laughed with happiness as I came to know he still had that feeling inside him but I gave a sarcastic look at him and said “ I won’t tell lies and all” (as that line had something related to not truly) . Danish confusedly said “ Don’t do too much just sing the song. Jordin blushed and said to Danish “ Come and sit in my place Zia is out now so you start the secret now”. Then Jordin sat next to me and said “ Ok don’t tell lies tell me the truth what do you feel now?” .I blushed at him in return, this blushing part was uncontrollable. It was getting dark outside and I felt the warmness beside him.

Since it was Danish’s turn he whispered in Jordin’s ears and Jordin whispered that in my ears “There is no time to tell my love , you need not tell your love , there is no words to tell my love , as truth hidden cannot be hidden..” ( en kadhal solla neram illai , un kadhal solla thevai illai , nam kadhal solla varthai illai , unmai maraithalum maraiyaathadi) . Then I saw Jordin's eyes and gave a puzzled look whether was it really a song passed or message from Jordin to me. Then I saw Danish and sang this song , Danish gave a confused look saying “ Who is the culprit who changed the song what I sang in Jordin’s ears” . I said “ This is what Jordin sang” . Jordin gave a wink at Danish and laughed and changed the situation telling that he did a change of song for fun. But I know he was trying to convey something to me , also Danish understood there is something fishy happening and he said “ I’ll sit inbetween you two” and it was my turn I was thinking for a song to sing then I sang on his ears “You are the reason for the tear drops on my guitar..” it was a Tylor swift song , but Danish said something else to Jordin , Jordin became very angry he was so tensed and his eyebrows went up. He asked me whether I said those lines to Danish. Danish looked at me and he is my classmate one good friend at school and I said “ Yes whatever Danish said is what I said to you”. Jordin asked me to promise , I said “I can’t” and turned to the window. Jordin went front and sat with his dad, behind the driver seat. My thoughts were fully around him I wanted him to come back but he never came till we reached home.

One fine afternoon in the month of March we got a call from Aunty saying that Uncle (Jordon’s dad) has got a job offer in US and they will be moving there as a family in the month of May. I was completely broken inside . They called us for their farewell party and there were so many people. Jordin served Briyani to everyone and also for me but he was so formal to me asking “Do you want more Zia” I replied “ No” and he just moved to the next person as if I was nothing to him. It broke me inside but I never said a word and we returned back home.

They left to US and I was in the school feeling so alone as Danish used to be my best friend in class and Jordin also is not there in the school which affected me more. All the places around the school gave the memories we had together . Pinky was the girl who sat next to me in height order arrangement of seating in class and in a few days she became my best friend. I shared about Jordin to her and she felt so amazed and also funny as she teased me saying “You could have said Ok right??” . I replied her telling “But something was stopping me because of my age or Aunty and Uncle’s love on me , I really did not know”.

Days rolled by now I have reached my higher secondary it was the happiest year as we finished our 10th standard board exams and our main aim in 11th standard is to enjoy a lot. We had a girls gang with 4 people Tinku , Mini , Pinky and me. Pinky and I remained very close and we had a separate fun always.

There were new boys who joined our class but we girls had no interest in them at all , our main aim was to remain single and have fun. Pinky used to tell me that the class is teasing me with a new joinee named Ryan. Ryan was a North Indian fair , tall and with a spiked hair , a cool looking guy. Following days I too noticed that he looks at me during the class time and when I notice him back he would smile and turn and act as if he is listening to the class. His friends would push him on me when I walk through the corridor during the breaks and I used to get angry but took it funny as I had no clue on why they were doing so. I was the class captain so I was undergoing some bullying and it made me strong that I wouldn’t mind these. I would be bold and give a strong stare which would make them quite.

It was on Children’s day , our teachers went to prepare for the celebration , 12th standard students came to mind our class. They had a game in which each person should say about the person whom they pick from the lot which they kept in the front of the class. When I picked I got a silent girl named Shalu and I said “ I don’t know whether you are in this class too lets become friends soon” and it was Ryan’s turn he went and took the sheet from the lot and it had my name . He read “Zia” and gave a blushed smile looking at the sheet. The class started to scream “ohhh” and “ahhh” and “heyy heyy heyy…” our seniors could not control the students. I really don’t know what was happening and the back benchers were tapping the bench too. Ryan started “As you all know I like Zia very much. Zia hope we grow old together” and gave a smile at me and walked back. The whole class was screaming and laughing except me and my classmates called my name and gave a nodding look at me.

I never took this incident serious but as days went by Ryan took special care for me. He had extra lunch box for me when his mom made something special , once he even made omblatte for me all by himself and gave me , he used to carry my bag when I stayed at computer lab waiting for output after the last bell. He used to hide chocolates inside my books and once when we had long jump exam I got hurt in my knees and he had tears in his eyes and ran to PT room to get first aid for me.

At a point I felt he was true to his feeling and was really a good person to me , who really cared about me. I said to Pinky “Ryan is being sweet now a days I think if it continues I’ll tell Yes to his lets grow old together plan”in a funny way in no means of real attraction , Pinky replied “ What about Jordin?” It was like going to the flashback and how all things happened, all the incidents just flashed before me. I got this weird feeling in my stomach. It has been so long that I have spoke about him , hearing his name itself gave me so much of emotions. I became pale. Pinky said “ Hey sorry Zia , I was not aiming to hurt you”. I replied “ It is OK” but all the memories just rolled on , I couldn’t even smile I don’t know where he is , how he is , no news on him for the past 4 years.

That day Evening at home mom was sick so I was making Dosa , I heard mom’s phone ringing so I picked it, it seemed like a different number so I thought it would be a spam number but had an eager to talk in phone as I don’t own one . I attended the call and said “Hello” then I heard Jordin’s voice telling “Papu…(which means small girl in a dearly way) How are you?”, my eyes were filled with tears. He said “We lost all our India contacts now only got number from Raju uncle. We are in Atlantic city now.” I had no words to reply my brain was so much struck to his voice that I just want to listen alone. His mom got the phone asked to give to my mom our families spoke and I never slept a single second at night. I had the joy of talking to him but also not sure on what to wait for.

The next day I said about this call to Pinky and said “I have fixed my mind , I’m for Jordin only and nobody else can replace his place, even if we don’t talk or see I feel like he is the one for me” Pinky replied “Your life , your decision”. Ryan was coming to talk about some exam details I said him to ask someone else and never gave attention to him from that time on. He was strictly prohibited from my life.

Years just passed by , I finished my college and now I work for a software company. Just found Jordin’s facebook profile a year ago and we became friends there. We did not talk much just asked how our families were, saw him posting with his friends and all, he lived a happy life there. Last month I saw Jordin posting a post where he singing in a concert with his guitar and band . Thousands of people were around him enjoying the way he sings and plays music, so much of cheers and cry outs. He proposed me at a very young age that he will become a musician for me , for that he would have not done this . He had the talent so he did. All these conversations were happening in my head.There were few pictures with girls which had the description like, A good day spent , One sweet soul etc. So my mind said he would be dating any of them . And last week there was a concert notification that Jordin is coming to India . That day Aunty called and informed my mom that whether they can stay at our home. My Mom happily agreed and I was having butterflies inside me. We went to the airport to pick them and Jordin looked so lovely, he would be 5.9 in height , well maintained body and US had made him more fair. He had small beard that made him look more handsome , he wore a black jerkin and coolers . He acted very formally with us. He shook hands with all of us and said “ Nice meeting you’ll again”. Danish has not come it was only Jordin , Uncle and Aunty.

I had a conclusion that nothing is going to happen he has forgotten everything that happened in our childhood. He spoke so well with my parents , actually he spoke more to my parents and completely forgot my presence too in the house. My sister gave him a handmade craft and he was very happy and said “Look Irin what I got for you and gave a Spider man doll and also few girl’s accessories” . He remembered the Spiderman conversation too but he did not care to get something for me too. I felt like a fool waiting for him in this world where people change with time. The memory cells of neuron disintegrate with age and I just trusted the old memories like a foolish girl.

I saw him in the hall talking to the concert people he had no time to talk to us at all ,he went out for practicing. Next day evening was the concert and immediately after that they are flying back. I want to take a chance to talk to him at least once before I move on but never had an opportunity . Yet I have goosebumps whenever I saw him or heard his voice.

Suddenly at 10 AM in the morning when I was in office I got a message from an unknown number it said “Let’s meet up at Phoenix mall by 12PM” another message popped up telling “ It is me Jordin” . I blushed seeing my mobile , a happy feeling just ran inside my body. I went to the mall with so many questions he called and asked me to come to the food court. He was there sitting , I can just see him alone and not anybody else, I rushed to him and slowed down my steps when he noticed me. He wore a light green shirt which looked so elegant on him and brown pants , well groomed and also a black big watch on his left hand. He looked so stunning I just can’t take my eyes off him but I maintained my attitude. I wore a red salwar matched long ear rings with double sided shawl. Jordin asked me “What can I get for you?” I said “ Ice cream is enough I need to get back to work , it is just an hour permission.”

Jordin acted so formally , he ordered ice cream and said I need your help in setting up the music software that we use as I heard from your mom that you work as a developer and he started to explain about the software and nothing entered into my head. I felt like hitting him but just nodded to whatever he said , he then asked about my college and work and I felt really odd I just cant tolerate anymore. I wanted to run off as this was not the Jordin for whom I waited for years. I just couldn’t tolerate anymore I held his hand and he blinked at me and I said “ This is not the Jordin I knew , he was different and I miss him now” saying this I broke down with tears running down my cheeks . I couldn’t stop crying all the attitude I maintained just broke down to pieces and I left the seat wiping my eyes.

Suddenly a group of people came dancing around from the entrance of the food court. It seemed like a flash mob. Then someone turned me to the other side , people surrounded me from all sides and kept dancing and I saw Jordin with his guitar playing my favourite song ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran “We were just kids when we fell in love not knowing what it was I will not give you up this time…” I started to cry more and my body started to shiver. People are dancing around me and he is there like a star playing his guitar singing for me with his beautiful voice. I ran towards him and hugged him tight. He whispered in my ears “ I became a musician now , Will you Marry me?” I just nodded yes and he took my right hand holding his neck and went on his knees and put on the diamond ring and hugged me back telling your mine now.

Today we are getting engaged officially and both the families are happy about this and he is the same caring Jordin who he was years ago I love him more and he loves me more than that. This wait had its worth

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