The light of the setting sun dimly lit up the twenty fifth floor apartment in a cadaverous glow coming in through the tinted glass wall. The mistress of the house strolled towards the wall. Her silk grey robe kept sweeping the cold white marble floor and her wavy jet black hair flew around her head, like a dark hallo, due to the wind as she pushed opened the glass doors and stepped into the porch. She could smell the saltiness of the sea, hear the crashing of the waves, the laughter of strangers enjoying themselves on the beach. Her apartment overlooked the beach. “It’s waves and waves as far as the eyes can see”, she had boasted to her folks when she first got the apartment some ten years ago. Being afraid that the wind may blow it off, she took a long drag from her cigar, finished it, tossed the remains in the dustbin and closed her eyes. Blocking out the man-made noises, she concentrated on the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and rocks. It always soothed her but it wasn’t able to do the same today. It was a long weekend and both the beach and the street below were overcrowded. She couldn’t tolerate the sound of those people happy and excited. Yes, she was jealous. She has always been this jealous woman. Guess that’s what got her to the top of everything. Jealousy and anger kept her going and pushed her to thrive for more. Closing the heavy glass doors with an angry thud, she poured herself some red wine. The apartment was sound-proof but the sound of the sea still infiltrated somehow. “At least it keeps away the overexcited laughter and screaming of those knaves”, she mused. She truly hated long weekends.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She had fulfilled her dreams, both her’s and her parents’. She even got her degrees from the top Universities of the country, achieved record grades, joined an international publishing house, rose through the ranks and finally settled in the US. It still gave her a warm glow thinking about how proud her parents had been on a spring morning when they first visited her. Her mother was struck with awe seeing her apartment and her father, for the first time, was truly proud of his daughter.
A photo from that trip hung above the 72 inch plasma TV. Looking at it, she let out a throaty crackling evil empty laughter, tear pooled and trickled down. The last time she saw them was on a late November evening in their ancestral home, all decked up for her cousin’s wedding. She had been home for the first time since settling abroad but her parents were not at all happy with her arrival. Rather they started screaming at her for engaging in an illicit relationship with her cousin’s fiancé. No one said a word to the man. The marriage still took place. She remembers screaming back to them, making them remember how heveryone always told her that she deserved the best. Adrish was the best man for her and she should have had him, not her Barbie doll sister. Her parents disowned her then and there. She burned down the gifts, she had brought for them from New York, before leaving.
Seething with anger, with perfect aim she threw her wine glass at the framed picture. The glass cracked and it fell off the hook. “Oh well! The house keeping woman would clean up the mess”, she murmured. Getting up swiftly from the plush black leather sofa, she ran up the stairs. It was a duplex apartment. She stopped abruptly at the first landing that had a framed picture of her from a newspaper. It was about a gala some local charity had thrown in honour of her when she donated a generous amount. The amount she donated came from her parents after they died. She sold all their belongings, through an agent, for that sum. But she never went home even after receiving the news. Her younger self in a gorgeous black gown with diamonds sparkling around her throat and ears gave her a dazzling smile from the newspaper cutting. She snatched it off the hinges and threw it down the stairs scattering minute glass pieces on each stair case.
She stepped down the glass covered stairs. It pricked and bled the sole of her feet. “Ah!”, she welcomed the pain. It was a fine distraction from the void she was feeling inside.
With a wave of the remote a very familiar memorable old Hindi tune filled the high-rise apartment. She instantly went back in time to the cold winter evening that surrounded her 27th birthday, the first birthday since her parents disowned her. She was in New York as the guest editor of a national daily, a position she was offered due to her exceptional work in the publishing industry. “A lonely birthday it will be”, she had thought in the morning. Little did she know that Fredrick would gather everyone in the cafeteria and sing her favorite song to her. Thus began an exotic relationship. Fredrick showed her worlds she never knew existed, from drugs to extreme sports like paragliding, sky-diving to BDSM. Despite their rocky relationship, Fred was her anchor. She felt safe and never judged him for what he was. As she lifted her hand to touch the framed memories of her love, the long loose sleeves of her robe slipped from her wrist and she noticed the fainted scars adorning it. She quickly recoiled back from the photo as if she had touched something hot. Fredrick left her with an aborted child, bleeding wrists and a shattered heart. She had never been the same since then. She started climbing so high up the ladder that one fine day she became out of reach of everyone. She was powerful than ever but she was lonely.
She strolled into the porch again, her bloodied feet leaving imprints on the white marble floor. The happy people had left the beach by then. The sun had set too. She noticed that the dark sky and the dark ocean have merged into each other. It was a starless night, yet she caught the moon winking at her from behind the clouds. She closed her eyes and listened to the waves crashing. Inside the apartment the music changed to,
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone
Featured photo via sup-costarica.com