Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Facebook Friend - A short story

I had to lie to my teacher.  Or she wouldn’t have let me go.  I told her I am going to visit my uncle.

Only Suraj knew where I was really going.

To this girl’s house.  This girl I met on Facebook.  This girl I had gotten so close to, but have never met.

I was so happy when my class decided to go to Goa for the trip.  I promised her that I would come visit her.

At first, she wasn’t excited about the idea.  Her messages almost seemed like she didn’t want me to come meet her.

She’s one of those really shy girls.  Shy to even put up her photo on her Facebook profile.

After I got out of the camp without anyone noticing, I quickly hired a rickshaw to told the driver her address.go to her place.

It took about 20 minutes.  I walked about to a house. “Ebenezer House” it said beside the old gate.  I pushed it open and walked in.  I was finally going to meet her.

After a lot of insistence, she had finally sent me a photo.  It was a photo OF a framed photo.  I remember what I felt the first time I looked at it.  A pale girl looking longingly into the camera.  She looked nothing like the happy-go-lucky girl image I had of her in my mind.

Standing in front of the door, I pushed away few strand hair on top of my forehead with my hand.  Made myself presentable.  And knocked on the door.

An old lady opened the door a bit and peered out at me.  I instantly recognized her as her grandma.  She had told me a lot about this sweet woman.

“I am here to meet Sarah.” I said.

She looked at me strangely for a few seconds, then said,“She’s not here.” and proceeded to close the door.

“When will she be back??” I said quickly before she closed the door.

She paused for a few seconds, then opened the door wider.  She motioned me to come in.  She then walked straight up a flight of stairs.  I stood there.  Watching her.  Confused.

“Follow me!” she ordered turning to me from the top of the stairs.  I obeyed.

On the first floor, she took me into a room.

Once inside, I started to cough.  My eyes watered.  I was allergic to dust.

I looked around.  There were dolls in showcases.  Pretty dresses around.  And on a table was the framed photo.  The framed photo she had sent me a picture of.

I picked it up and took a close look at it.

Then I suddenly realized.  This was her room!  Sarah's room!  I felt like an intruder.  This was her private place.  I shouldn’t be here.

“She’s not coming back.” the old lady said.  I looked at her, and she was staring out of a window at something in the backyard.

“Huh?” I said putting down the photo and walking towards the window.  Looking out of the window, I saw 2 tombstones.  Side by side.  But one was shorter in length than the other.

“We buried her alongside her mother.”  The old lady continued.

I stood there.  Stunned.

“She was always so lonely.  So depressed.  She never got over her hearing disability.  Never learned to communicate well with anybody.”

The old lady turned to me.  I am standing there, starting to turn white.

I swallowed hard and said,“When did she die?”

“About two years ago.  Were you very close to her?” she said.

I mouthed a very shallow “sorry” and rushed out of the room, down the stairs, and out of the house.

I ran out of the house, and sat down on the ground beside the gate.  Confused, scared.

I finally took out my phone and started writing a text to her, or whoever that was behind this sick joke.

“Who are you???”

I should have realized this sooner.  She, or whoever it was, never picked up my calls.  It was always SMSes or Facebook messages.  Should have realized something was not right.

No reply yet.  I started walking down the road by her house.  As I walked, I could see the tombstones on the other side of the low height wall.  A shiver traveled down my spine as I got a glance of them.  Just then, my phone vibrated:
 “1 new message.”

“I was afraid I would lose you if you came to know about me.  Can we still be friends?”

I stopped in my tracks, and for some reason my eyes were drawn to that window I was looking out of a few minutes ago.  And I saw a pale looking girl with hollow eyes staring back at me.


- Manu and Rejo

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