When ‘Strange’ is welcome…(Chapter 4)

CHAPTER 4– Past meets present

A push… some jerks…. a pinch…. “Aww…ouch”, screamed Amanda. “Ohhh Jess! What’s wrong with you? It hurts !”, she squealed. Jessica jumped on the bed, and grinned while she pulled a couple of cushions on her lap. “What else could I do ? You were lost in another world and look at the amount of scribbling you have done on your drawing. Now tell me, what happened ? Are you okay ?”, Jessica asked her sister.

Amanda was confused about what to tell Jessica. She feels she knows the stranger and he belongs to her significant past. Yet, today she could not recognize him, in the restaurant. Strangely she does not remember much of him, apart from his name and the incident that led to the accident. Jessica walked up to her sister and held her hands, “Amy, dear what happened? “, she looked concerned.

Amanda broke down in tears. She grasped her sister’s hand tightly and said, “Jess, you know who I met today? I met Edward.” She sobbed helplessly.

Jessica paused for a while and said , “Edward….ummm……. Wait ! Isn’t he the guy who happened to be in your class? Who had that dreadful accident on the last day of your college , that’s him right ? So he survived the accident ? He’s doing okay? That’s great news! Now you can stop blaming yourself for what happened in the past !”

“No, no, no Jess, it’s not that easy. He didn’t say a word to me today. He was sitting right at the table next to mine, and he kept on staring at me. Now I know that was to draw my attention, to make me think of him. Which I did ! He looked like a stranger, but, still seemed familiar. You know I couldn’t recognize him there. And how could I ? it’s almost 4 years now, and he looks so much different than his previous self. Jess, now I know he visited the restaurant to meet me and see how I was living my life with the guilt. He didn’t come forward to speak to me, just kept on staring from a distance. After that incident, I moved into this new apartment, how could he find me ? Nowhere do I have the address mentioned . Ohhh Jess ! What should I do ?” Amanda cried helplessly.

“Amy stop… Amy listen to me. We don’t know why he was in the restaurant . It’s all in your mind . There still is a possibility that he just happened to see you there, by chance. And you know he liked you. May be after seeing you after a long time , he couldn’t , he couldn’t…” Jessica was looking for an appropriate word when Amanda abruptly cut in , “No, Jess. Have you ever seen anybody, visit a restaurant pointlessly, without any friend or guest accompanying him or joining him later. He didn’t even order a drink, he was so busy trying to scare me through his stares.”

Amanda sat down on the edge of her bed. She looked sad. As long as she couldn’t recognize Edward , everything seemed to be fine. But, now the stress from a single memory outweighed her excitement for getting the new contract. She muttered to herself, “I wish I could change what happened that day”.

Amanda could hear music at a distance. Footsteps tapping to the sound of music . She started walking towards the sound she could hear, since, she could not see anything clearly. It was like viewing everything through a waterfall or rather the images that her brain was sensing were all blurry and unclear. She tried hard to at least spot a few familiar faces in the group of people dancing. Suddenly she heard the chirping of birds, and turned her head spontaneously to that direction and now she could also hear the sound of water sprinklers …shhh…tik…tik….tik.  ‘There…., yes, there I can see people, behind the sprinklers. May be I know them”, she whispered. She strained her eyes to see , rubbing them every once in a while. No her eyes weren’t watery. Then why did everything around her look like a painting that has been splashed with water? She could also see the outline of a huge building in the background. She started walking swiftly towards it. As she drew closer and closer to the building , it seemed like some invisible hands moved the layers of clouds that obstructed her vision . Gradually she could see the building clearly. She couldn’t help but smile, on seeing this building, but, is it the same building that she thinks it is ? The entrance of the building was huge with its name carved on top.  She read the name and exclaimed, ” Oh my God ! It’s my college- The Welleby College”.

‘Laughter, chit chats, click ! click! click!’ ……….Amanda turned around sharply. She could see friends laughing and chatting around her and lots of other people sitting in groups or signing tee-shirts or taking group photos. It was the last day of college , time to say good bye and step forward to make your own space in this world. College life was amazing. She is going to miss it forever. She looked around , expecting to see some known faces. She could see a lady standing in a distance talking to someone. A feeling of familiarity struck Amanda. She tip-toed towards the lady, who stood with her back towards her. Amanda touched her shoulders to see who she was. “Excuse me, can I have a word with you please?”, Amanda added, with her hands on the lady’s shoulders. The lady turned…………

A shocked Amanda stood open-mouthed seeing her. How can this be ? Was she hallucinating ? She pinched herself hard and again looked at the lady’s face, and yes, she knew her well. Very well indeed. She was none other than, Amanda herself !

© Sohini Dutta and A weaver at work… , 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sohini Dutta and A weaver at work with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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