“Another Day in Paradise”
It rained. That was all the city could do. Just rain. Dark, menacing clouds hung about the tops of buildings, threatening to unleash a shower of icy water. Or maybe hail. In this city, one could never really tell the difference. The sidewalks were riddles with puddles of muddy water and the rivers that snaked through the roads were occasionally interrupted by a passing vehicle that splashed a very different slushy sort of rain onto the pedestrians that were unfortunate enough to be passing by. The gloom of the city always reflected in the puddles, making it even gloomier. The facial expressions of the people didn’t help. Depressed, “work until I die” scowls filled the streets, making the city just a few shades darker.
He, however, was sure this was just another day in paradise.
At least that’s what she told him to be sure of. As a boy, he grew up on a sunny farm where the wind carried the scent of hay and the warmth of a constant summer, not cubes of white ice threatening to pelt him to death. The city was never his idea of the perfect place to live, but she continued to convince him of it. His blue eyes and golden hair and loose jeans and polo t-shirt were enough of an indicator that he did not belong here. He didn’t and he knew it, whenever he saw the rain-coated inhabitants of the stormy hell-hole haunt the streets. But this was paradise. He met her here.
She left him for someone else.
The day it happened; the day she told him that “there was nothing left” he was angry to say the least. He shouted like thunder and the anger in his words struck like lightening and she didn’t even fight back. She just left. She left him with the icicle he called love wedged into his heart.
And he could never look at another woman again.
This particular woman, however, didn’t give him too much of a choice.
“Sir, can you help me?” She yelled over the rain, “I’ve nowhere to sleep, is there somewhere you can find me?”
He took no more than a glimpse at her –a small, red-headed, freckle-faced girl in soaked and torn jeans and an old black t-shirt that hung off her lime a bag. To her side, a tattered rugsack that looked like it was packed in an angry fit. And her eyes… They were blue and carried the same summer wind. Only the downpour was trying to beat it out of her.
He turned away.
He turned away and didn’t look back and pretended he couldn’t hear her. It made everything quite awkward as he tried his best to blatantly ignore her. He refused to interact with another one of these people. Not again. Not after her. He crossed the street and let a tune escape his mouth in a whistle, hoping it would stop the fluttering in his stomach and the pang of guilty from ignoring her. She called out again and he tried ignoring her again.
But he looked back.
Her eyes were more than just blue; they were bloodshot from tears. She did not smile, but she did not scowl like the rest of the city. She hugged herself with one hand as if it was all the comfort she had in the world and dragged her bag with the other. She limped, as she had been walking for days on end. ‘Blisters?’ he thought to himself as he caught himself turning around to walk towards her.
No. I can’t do this. Not again. But he kept walking towards her.
Tehmina Chaudari, 11 AS
*This story won the third place in the inter-house story writing competition.