This is a short story that I wrote as a part of my writing course. Hope you will like it.

Departed Friend

One afternoon, an extremely beautiful girl walks into my class along with my teacher, Miss Shaikh and is introduced to us as Nina Kaul. Out of the entire 43 students in that ninth grade class, she chooses to occupy the seat next to me and that was a beginning of our friendship and each passing year strengthened this bond. Our lives were incomplete without each other.

One summer, in the college, she suddenly announced that her father was opting for a voluntary retirement and they would move to their home town in Srinagar. Within the next few weeks, Nina, along with her family, left the town with a promise to remain in touch constantly.

During my college years, I kept writing to her, calling her. Initially, she would reciprocate and keep telling me how much she misses me.  But eventually, she would neither reply my letters nor answer my phone calls. In the meanwhile, after my graduation, I got a job at a leading publishing house and got busy with my assignments and then the marriage proposals and finally the actual wedding. I sent my wedding invite to Nina but she didn’t even bother to call me on my big day. All I received was a greeting card written in some shabby handwriting. I felt hurt and betrayed. I knew that I had lost an extremely dear friend which was difficult to digest.

When Ankit asked me about my dream honeymoon destination, I immediately screamed like a kid…Kashmir. During our flight to Srinagar, all I was thinking was how to get to the Kaul residence.  It wasn’t difficult with the help of our local tour guide.

And there I was…standing at the huge gate with a signboard ‘Kaul’s’.  When I knocked at the door, Nina’s mother opened the door and she gave me a lean but an assuring smile. A smile that said she was expecting me. I took a step in the house and….and suddenly I collapsed. When I got back to my senses, all I could stare at was Nina’s photo clad with a garland of fresh flowers. Tears just wouldn’t stop rolling down my cheeks. Nina’s mother handed me an envelop with my name. This was Nina’s last letter written only for me. It was even difficult to read it as it was written by her during one of her last days..

“Anoushka, I knew you would come one day looking for me. But I would be gone by then. I am sorry. I betrayed you. While I was in the college, I was detected with blood cancer and the doctors said I wouldn’t live for more than a year and hence we moved back to Srinagar as this is where I wanted to breathe my last. It’s a medical miracle that I am still alive. But I know that I shall be gone any moment now. I avoided your phone calls because I had become too weak and fragile to talk. My body wasn’t supporting me anymore. I did receive your wedding card and I can’t tell you how happy I was for you. I knew you would have wanted me to be by your side on your big day. All I am asking for is forgiveness. I am sorry.

God bless you…

With love,

Nina”

And there I was. Speechless..in front of my dear friend. Ankit and Nina’s parents decided to give me some quite time with my departed friend.

 

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