ten years ago

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This short story is based on true life events.

Submitted: March 20, 2017

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Submitted: March 20, 2017

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As she waited for the green light, N looked at the number on the license plate of the bus in front—248. She did not remember crossing the signal. She saw the back of an auto-rickshaw. Those were the last things she remembered, before…CRASH! 

 

Her head was in chaos. She told someone her home phone number. Then all went black.

 

A sharp sensation on her head brought her back. “Was that pain?” she wondered. That was the first thing she felt for what seemed like a long time. Groggy, her head fell to one side. Whatever she saw was blurry. She was being rolled away on a wheelchair. She hardly recognized the people that passed by. Were they there for her? And then, everything went dark again.

 

N opened her eyes to a white ceiling fan. She had no idea how she got to the hospital, but she understood there was an accident. The back of an auto-rickshaw flashed in her mind. She recognized her sister, then mother. Her disoriented mind babbled words of wisdom. It is said when you are coming out from under anesthetics, you say things you otherwise wouldn’t.

 

Her aunt and uncle were there too, waiting anxiously. Her mother told her what had happened. She crashed into an auto-rickshaw, fell and hit her head. Yes, she figured that. She lifted her hand to feel the right side of her head and touched sutures. They said a woman brought her to the hospital but was gone by the time they arrived. 

 

She spent about two days at the hospital. The police came around and asked her if she wanted to file a case against the auto driver. She straightaway told them there was no need for it. She couldn’t really see any reason. As far as she could tell, it was her who crashed into it. After all, it is the back of the auto-rickshaw that keeps coming back!

 

N realized something—for the first time in her life she had been unconscious for almost an hour!

 

————

 

Fast-forward to ten years later. It was a Sunday. N was watching TV when her mother said, “Can you take me to the machine?” (machine was a place where you can get your chili and wheat ground). “I forgot to take the coriander when I went there yesterday,” she said. 

 

N had never been to this place before; her mother always goes there with the house maid.  She was a little hesitant—she wanted to watch TV rather than go wait in the boring machine. But she had to, no choice. 

 

The machine was located in a small alley kind of place. Though it was intense, N liked the smell of freshly ground chili powder. There were a few people there, so they had to wait. There were a couple of men working the machine. N had a feeling one of them kept glancing at her. She shook it off and stepped out and paced the narrow alley, which was lined with closed windows of houses facing the other way. 

 

She looked around, “I can take some really good pictures here.” Her thoughts drifted to photography. She looked at the trees above, the narrow spaces between the houses, a group of old women sitting at the end of the street. The dingy alley actually seemed photographic to her!

 

Without warning, the man came to her and said, “Don’t mistake me, but….” 

 

She didn't know what to think, but nodded. He went on, “Did you have an accident around here?” 

 

N went blank for a few seconds. “About ten years ago” he added. And then it came back to her. 

 

“Yes!” she said, “Ten years ago, but how did you….” 

 

Her mother had heard the conversation and asked him if he was there when it happened. 

 

He said, “Yes.” He looked at N, “You were unconscious, I sprinkled water on your face, but you didn’t come to, and then they took you to the hospital.” 

 

N did not know what to say. The moment was both significant and a little awkward at the same time. But she shook his hand and said, “Thank you.”

 

“Oh, that’s alright!” he said modestly, smiling.

 

The three of them lingered in the moment for a while. Then her mother went inside and the man walked away. N got back to her pacing until it was time to leave.

 

On the way back home, her mother said, “This must’ve given that man some happiness, a kind of closure. All this time he would have wondered whatever happened to that girl who did not wake up! Don’t you think?”

 

N nodded. She vaguely thought of that day ten years ago. She closed her eyes for a second and cherished the cool breeze. She wondered—will she ever meet the woman who took her to the hospital?

 

 

the end


© Copyright 2018 Nitya Swaruba. All rights reserved.

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