A tragic tale of a young girl who thought she had found true love.
|“So will you help me?” asked Aleena, her eyes bright with anticipation.
Aleena’s question rendered me completely speechless. I stared at her, not believing what I was hearing. Aleena was too caught up in her own emotions to sit still. She paced the little green patch on which we were sitting and went on and on about her plans. We had bunked our Drama class at her request and were sitting on the grass, away from the academics building to avoid detection. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for playing truant, but now I wished I were inside the classroom listening to the lecture on Ibsenian technique. Anything else would be preferable to this nonsense.
“But, Aleena,” I stammered. “What about your parents? This would kill them.”
“They should have thought of it before they stopped me from meeting him. I love Sameer and I will marry him.” Aleena said defiantly.
I stared at my best friend. She was really a very pretty girl. With pink and white smooth complexion and long,silky brown hair, she was always the first choice for the lead role in any college play. Whether it was the tragic Ophelia or gusty Portia or lovely Desdemona, Aleena always played her heart out. She was truly a talented girl. But this was no stage or theatre. Now it was real life. It was HER life.
“Aleena, you barely know this guy,” I tried to reason with her.” You met him on internet, chatted with him for a while and now you think you can entrust him with your life.”
“I have known Sameer for three months now. And we have met secretly,” she said, dropping another bombshell.
“Just listen to yourself, Aleena. He already has you cheating and lying.” Frustrated by her obstinate look, I went on. “This guy is obviously having a good time at your expense. Do you really think a creep like that would respect you? He has already shown he has no respect for your family’s honour or your parents’ wishes.”
“Sameer loves me and that is all that matters,” she said.
“Your parents love you too. If they have stopped you from meeting him, they only have your welfare at heart. Don’t do this, Aleena,” I was almost pleading now. “Please stop and think. What about your education? You are barely eighteen.”
But Aleena was beyond listening. “I love Sameer and I will marry him, with or without my parents’ permission. I just need your help,” she said.
I looked at my friend for a moment. What is it about love that blinds us so? I wondered. She is ready to ditch her life, her parents, and her education…everything for a guy she barely knows. “No,” I said firmly. “I cannot help you ruin your life.”
Aleena’s expression hardened. “You are jealous, aren’t you?” she said accusingly. “I’ve found true love while you are still stuck with your books. You call yourself my friend.”
I gathered my books. There was nothing more to say. “Good luck Aleena. Something tells me you are really going to need it.”
It was parting of ways then. I headed towards the red brick building, sad and tormented. I had met Aleena on my first day in college and we had become very good friends. I knew her parents slightly. They were rather conservative but very good people and Aleena was the light of their lives. How can she hurt them so? I thought angrily. Parents don’t deserve such ingratitude and deceit…
I did not go to my class. Nor did I see Aleena in college again.
Eight years later
I was shopping for groceries in a departmental store. My daughter kept tugging on my arm while my three year old son was driving me nuts with “Can we buy this? Can we buy this? Can we…?
Muttering angrily to myself, I turned around to scold him and bumped into a slim young woman.
“Oh! I am so sorry. I did not …..Aleena, is that you?”
I stared at the woman in front of me. Gone were the care-free smile and the mischievous glint in the eye. Her eyes were filled with tragic memories and her face was lined with unfathomable worries.
“Aleena?” I said a little hesitantly.
“Yes, it’s me,” she said with a sad smile.
We sat down for coffee in the store’s food court, all shopping forgotten.
“He called me a cheap tart,” she said, nursing a warm cup of coffee in her hands. “We were married for two days when he called me a cheap tart.”
No more explanations were necessary. I exhaled slowly. I felt only pity and sorrow for my former friend. Her life forever tarnished, all her dreams shattered. I held her hand and we were both silent.