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Some of Us are Destined to Suffer | Short Story

By Shruti Verma

Courtesy of Pexels

The telephone rings at a distance. The sound of Reha’s footsteps echoes as she makes her way through the hallway. The clinking sound of the jewels she is adorned with can be heard as she rushes down the stairs, past the rooms, ignoring all the members of the family assembled in the courtyard waiting for her. It’s Reha’s wedding day.


Ignoring her family members, she stealthily grabs the telephone receiver and makes her way into the adjoining room. She waits for a while before picking up the telephone. She fights her breathlessness and eventually says, “Hello?”


A heavy voice on the other side of the phone with a slight giggle asks, “Were you running?”


His voice brings a bright smile to Reha’s face. She presses the telephone hard against her chest for a few seconds before replying, “No. I was not running.” After remaining silent for a while she asks, “Have you reached London? Is it as beautiful as you said it would be?”


The voice from the other side of the phone appears more enthusiastic as he says, “Yes. I arrived a while back. I left my luggage at my accommodation and went for a walk. It’s beautiful, Reha. Everything and everyone seems so different but in a good way. It’s not old and shabby like our town. It’s big and beautiful.”


“So you think our town is old and shabby? Is that what you think about the people who live here, too?”


“You know that’s not what I meant. I meant it’s different and I like that. London is a big city with people who dream even bigger. It is a vibrant city with so many opportunities and I finally feel like I belong here.”


“Our town might be small and shabby, but people still dream here, you know. Their dreams might not be like yours, but they still are dreams. Vibrant can sometimes mean chaotic, it’s all about perspective.”


“Are you angry? I would understand if you are, Reha. It’s just that I needed to do this for myself. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.” He struggles to find the right words and thinks about saying something comforting but remains quiet.


“There comes a time in our lives when we can neither hold our feelings in nor let them go. We continue to love hopelessly without expecting much in return. We continue to love people and try our best to fix their broken pieces while collecting our own. Despite that, some of us are destined to suffer. I’ve learned that you can try all you want, but people are going to hurt when it’s time for them to be hurt, and I think it’s my time to be hurt. I am not angry. I suppose I was merely hungry for love. A warm yet passionate kind of love. I wanted to know what it was like to be loved so much that I just wouldn’t be able to take anymore. For once, I wanted to be on the receiving end of it. But I also believe that people can only care for us and meet us as deeply as they’ve met or cared for themselves.” Reha lets out a deep sigh then the silence between them stretches for a lifetime.


With a slight tremble in his voice, he says, “ I never wanted to hurt you. The thought of you beginning your life with someone else kills me. If only you could wait-” His voice begins to crack. He tries to continue, “This isn’t how I wanted things to be…I…you…” His voice can barely be heard over the phone.


Reha takes a deep breath and continues, “I’ve spent most of my life waiting for you. Days, months, and years have gone by. It hardly matters anymore.” She carefully wipes off her tears and tries to collect her thoughts. For the first time, she doesn’t have any words left for him. She takes another deep breath and says, “I need to leave. There are people waiting for me. It’s rude to keep people waiting.”


The voice can no longer be heard from the other side of the phone. Reha presses the telephone one last time against her chest before leaving the room and making her way into the courtyard.


Reha and her family’s voices can be heard at a distance. There is an occasional sound of an instrument being played in the background, accompanied by happy laughs.

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