She had admired him from afar throughout her life. Till a hit and run severed her ties to the earth. Her body was gone but her soul remained. The soul of a seventeen year old girl who died before she even started to live. And the soul still ached for his love.
What happens when you see people you have known all your life in their ugliest colours? Just because they thought nobody is watching...What happens when the bare beginnings of an untold silent love turn to hate?
One day on a lonely lane...
What happened to me?
I looked around, confused. As far as I could see, I was standing on the side of the lonely road that leads to my house. There was no sign of my school bag, which was very odd considering that I had been walking home from school just a little while ago. And my notebook…I was sure I took it out before…
Fear struck me like a hammer. I couldn’t remember…What happened during that walk home?
Suddenly, I heard someone cry. A heartbroken cry that echoed loudly in the nearly empty place. I walked towards the sound almost mechanically. Curiously, I wasn’t shocked. It was as if some part of me knew…Knew what I was going to find just beyond the turning in the road.
Lots of people were crowded around something. A girl was kneeling down, crying her eyes out. As I moved closer I realised who she was.
My best friend. Her house is right next to mine. We used to walk back together after school but today…she said had something to do and stayed back. I had been alone on the walk back home.
“Ophelia…” She was wailing. “Please…Please open your eyes…”
Ophelia…I started on hearing my name. I called out to her, told her I was here and not to worry. But…Even as I said those things, I knew. A small voice had started to whisper in my ears that no one would hear me…No one will hear me ever again…
“Ophelia…Ophelia…” Maya cried again. There was something beside her. Something pink. My bag…I recognized the stickers I had put on it. My notebook lay next to it. Both of them were stained with something dark red…
The crowd parted a little. I could see what they were all looking at. The broken, crumpled body with thick black wavy hair, covering her face…On her left wrist, there was a watch with a black strap. Something was written on it in elegant white letters.
“Ophelia…No…No…You can’t be gone…”
Her voice made tears start to my eyes. I sobbed for my poor desperate friend who was calling out to a person who was dead.
The truth, the cold truth, was staring at me in the face. I was gone…Ophelia was gone. The thing that had been Ophelia to my parents, teachers and friends, now lay on the middle of the road – broken and unfixable.
But why was I here? Why hadn’t I gone to heaven or hell?
To be continued...
I’ve seen many people take death as an escape route. I’m sure if they knew what was coming, they would never ever do that. My house loomed in front of me, a well of sadness. My mother’s wails came from inside, piercing me like a knife. I could see my father, standing near the door like a statue, a mere shell of his former self. Tears glittered in his eyes but they refused to come down. It was as if he was swallowing his pain, trying his hardest not to fall apart. I wished I could hug them…Tell them that…Tell them that I loved them and that seeing them so hurt was tearing me apart.
My friends stood in a group. Maya looked utterly broken, leaning on the wall for support, not bothering to wipe her tears. She kept saying she should have been with me and it was all her fault. I told her it was not and put an arm around her shoulder before suddenly realizing that she couldn’t hear or feel me. Never again… Never again….Never again….
It was when I looked at the group a little closely that I noticed someone was missing. A person with the most charming smile in the world. He wasn’t a close friend, just a classmate, so I suppose it was not that big a surprise he would miss my funeral. Yet…my heart, already so full of bleeding wounds, ached just a little more when I realized he was not there.
Mathew…I shook my head. Did I mean so little to him that… Why did it matter?
Mathew was a secret dream I cherished. A ghost wasn’t supposed to dream anymore.
Everything ended for me on that road when a car hit me and sped off.
There was a loud sound of an approaching car. It stopped just in front of our house. Three people got out. I didn’t know the man and woman but…the third person.
“Why do I have to come?” Mathew said. “I barely knew that girl…”
“She was your classmate, Mathew.” The woman, who I assumed to be his mother, said sharply.
“So?” Mathew said, not bothering to lower his voice. “She was weird…Almost never talked. Always had her nose buried in her book…I don’t even know very well and you want to me to pretend to be all upset?”
“Shut up, Mathew!” His father hissed. People were staring at them. I heard someone say softly that he was a brat.
As to what I felt…Numb might be the right word. So, this was what he thought of me. A weird girl…If I had been alive, these words would have hurt me beyond measure. Now, they felt comical. I had longed for him to notice me while I was alive. I had remembered every little thing about him. If I had known it would end like this I would never have bothered to even look at him. Anyway…There are plenty of things I would have done differently if I knew my life would be cut off at 17.
He stared at my corpse for a few minutes and walked away. I scanned his face for a hint of sadness but saw none. The tiniest pain slashed at my heart. Why? Did I expect him to cry considering what he just said?
When he got into the car just five minutes later, letting out a sigh of relief, the pain made me weep. I tried to think that it didn’t matter but….
Something hadn’t died with Ophelia. The affection I developed for the person who just called me weird. From my now detached perspective, I knew it had been a mistake then. But it was a mistake I loved with all my heart.
To be continued...
The pitch black night sky was filled with stars. If it had been a normal night I would have stood at the window, feeling the cool night breeze on my face. My black notebook was still on my desk. It looked rather forlorn and bleak, as if it was waiting for me…for the gentle touch of my fingertips…
I let out a sob and instinctively started to wipe my tears. The cold I felt…the absence of the salty tears…They reminded me that Ophelia was no longer on this earth. I would never again lay down on my bed. I would never again hug my mother and father. I would never again joke with my friends. Why? I…I…I didn’t want to leave them…I wasn’t ready to die.
In her room, my poor mother was sobbing. My Dad was silent, but inside he was shattered. Everyone had left. How long before life here returned back to normal? How long before they forgot about me? My heart ached at the thought. I was nothing but a memory now. After a while…No one would bother even thinking about me.
I sat down on the bed, crying loudly for about half an hour. More than anything in the world, I wanted my mother. I wanted her to hold me close, wipe my tears and tell me that everything was all right. Why? Why did I lose my life? Who broke my mother’s heart by taking away her daughter. Who was the reason my Dad was lying broken and sleepless?
Suddenly, the image of a speeding car flashed before my eyes. Now, that I was alone and my head was clearer than during my funeral, I realized that it looked awfully familiar. It…It was the same car Mathew and his family came out of…
I got up abruptly. Another image flashed in my head. I was lying on the road, barely able to see, drowning in pain. My faint cries of help did not stop the car speeding straight ahead. I writhed and wriggled, the smell of my blood piercing my nostrils. After a long time, a merciful numbness took over and everything was cold.
I clenched my fist. They left me to die. They could have saved me but…
Anger as I’ve never known before boiled inside me. Why wasn’t I in heaven or hell? That question was answered now. They had to pay. For what they did to me and my family.
Just one question remained.
Who the hell was behind the steering wheel?
To be continued...
I was looking at that car again, the same one that shattered all my dreams. It glinted in the full moon, it’s headlights emitting a strange eerie glow. I could feel it winking at me and saying, “Yes, it was me. What can you do about it?”
The house was dark and at peace. The only sound I could hear from inside was the mewing of a cat. Why was I even here? Am I supposed to go through the house, looking for clues, like some sort of ghost detective? I didn’t know…But I wanted desperately to be there, to once again look at the three people who could have caused my death.
The first bedroom that I walked into was a deep shade of red. It made me feel oddly uncomfortable. The black desk on the corner was piled up with notebooks, A4 sheets and sketch pens. A photo, buried in the mess, told me at once that it was Mathew’s room. His grinning face looked at me from the photo, surrounded by all my classmates. Everyone except me.
My heart ached and I felt the sudden urge to sob. I still remembered walking into school the Monday after the big birthday party to learn that I had been the only one not invited. He…He avoided my eyes all day, while everyone else talked in loud, over-the-top voices about the party. Odd…They weren’t so loud about it before the party took place. Only my teeny tiny circle of friends stood by awkwardly, refusing to answer my question of why they didn’t tell me about it.
I shook myself. What was the damn point crying about it now? I wasn’t the nerdy highschool girl anymore. But…Wasn’t it strange that I would give anything in the world now to be that outcast, nerdy, picked-on, girl? She may not have had many friends but at least she was alive. She had everything that I want now.
Mathew grunted in his sleep and turned around. He murmured something that sounded ominous to me. I stepped a bit closer to hear. It was one word. Just a simple word.
To be continued...
It felt weird to walk into the school with Mathew. To look into a huge picture of me adorned with a flower garland. I was gone but the school was the same as usual. Except for a moving speech by the principal during which he called me a fine young woman and talked about what a loss my death was to the school. I laughed so loudly that I was afraid of people actually hearing me. Did he even know me? I tried to recollect the number of times we had actually spoken. Nope…He had always been the grand principal who existed only during the morning assemblies.
The visit to my classroom was torture. My seat was empty and everyone shuddered as they passed it. Even my dearest friend, Maya. She had moved away from her seat which had been right next to mine. Her red eyes refused to even look…Why? I was a friend Maya…Your best friend…Why in the world are you so scared of me?
“At least you are free of her now, Mathew.”
I turned around on hearing the poisonous voice. She was there, just as beautiful and perfect as I remembered. Her clear blue eyes and beautiful curly hair made every girl in the room insignificant. Her voice, pure and sweet, mesmerized everyone. Veena , the most popular girl in our school. The class beauty queen.
This was the girl I had competed against for Mathew’s affection. How foolish of me to believe I even had a chance.
To be continued...
GHOSTS OF THE PAST
As Veena and Mathew walked home together after school, I noticed that Mathew looked very, very down. He snapped at her four times when she brought my name into the conversation. Why did she she have to do that though? Was it really worth it, hating a dead girl? I was never a competition. Mathew wouldn't so much as look at me when she was with him. And after the awful gossip started to spread...He would never stay in the same place as me.
I was always a person who kept my secrets to myself. I never let anyone see how I really felt. Didn't it seem foolish to believe that a closed up person like me would reveal that I had a crush on Mathew to the whole class? Apparently, it wasn't foolish to Mathew. He really got it into his head that I was a horrible girl who was clinging to him.
"Is she really worth mourning for, Mathew?" Veena simpered. "It's sad and everything that she died but really? You didn't even know her."
Yes...He never knew me. The Ophelia he knew was a distorted painting done by my classmates. I wasn't that girl. He would have liked the real me. I am sure of that. Pathetic, I know.
"SHE IS DEAD, VEENA!" Mathew exploded. "Do you even understand how I felt when I heard the news? I didn't want to see her...I..."
Dissolving instantly into tears, Veena just walked away from him. For a moment, Mathew looked stunned. But he made no attempt to go after her.
"Ophelia..." He muttered. Then blinking furiously he walked in the direction of his own home.
To be continued...
For a while I could only watch him incredulously. Why? He looked like he couldn't care less when he arrived at my funeral? Was that an act? And was the mask slowly falling off? Or...
It had always been complicated between me and Mathew. Or at least as complicated as teenage drama could become. Now, almost detached(I couldn't say fully detached) from my life as Ophelia, I could see how absolutely silly so many of my choices were. He was nice when I first met him but there was absolutely nothing special. It had been silly of me to crave his attention.
Well...Teenagers can be stupid.
Heck! Even teenage ghosts can be stupid.
The horrified glance he gave his Dad's car filled me with a dark dread. Yes...There was anger in me for the one who ended my life but...
What if it was the same person whom I nourished a soft spot in my heart? Someone whose dislike for me made me determined to win him over(I never did anything to win him over. People like me never do.)
Yes, I was all kinds of stupid and pathetic.
But that realization didn't make my feelings for him go away. I suspect I would have never forgotten him if I had been alive...An older me would have laughed at this particular episode of life and called it the most irrational thing I ever did. But Mathew would have always been there, in my thoughts and heart.
My Silent Love.
Could I murder him? Could I murder him anymore than I could kill my affection for him?
To be continued...
Somehow, I couldn't find the courage in me to go in with him. The confirmation that my Silent Love killed me was minutes away. Or so I felt. And... That would mean...
I had been a loser in life. A doormat who willingly let all the bullies in school stamp all over me. I chose to hide myself behind pleas and tears rather than confront the people who made it their personal mission to make my highschool life a living hell.
I've turned out to be a coward in death bound by the affection for a boy who had nothing but contempt for me.
Loser in life. Loser in death.
I could hear their taunts now. Exactly the kind of thing they would say to me if they could see me. It shouldn't bother me, I know that. I'm not the highschool girl anymore. But it did. It did because some part of me will always be the vulnerable insecure highschool girl.
It took me a while to realize that, lost in thought, I had wandered into the lonely road where my life ended. Someone had hung a huge picture of me on one of the tree, complete with a tearjerker caption. It felt eerie standing there, knowing that I had been walking that way, unaware of my impending demise.
I walked over to the precise spot where my broken body had lain. What had I been thinking? Minutes before the car crashed into my back? My mother...I remembered suddenly. She had said there was a surprise for me when I came back home.
It was then that...
Lying in a pool of my own blood I had looked up. The car was just ahead. It had stopped. Then...It went in reverse and ran me over...Again and again and again.
I screamed like a kid awoken by a nightmare. But there was no mother or father to hold me or comfort me. And this was no nightmare. Someone murdered me...
One blurred picture popped into my head. Just near a tree there was a figure. It was a girl, I think. I remember the hair. And I also remember a high pitched scream.
"There was a witness." I muttered the obvious.
To be continued...