Day 10 of Writing 101: Before She Left

Before She Left

~A Short Story~ 

She was cleaning up the mess in her purse: old bank slips, shopping receipts, bus tickets. She took each out and observed cursorily, deciding whether she’d need it again. Then she tore up the slips in as small pieces as she possibly could and threw them into the bin.

Most of the bills had faded: they were printed on thermal papers.

What’s the point in giving bills which are going to fade, anyway? Aren’t the bills supposed to be permanent documentation?

She retrieved a bus ticket –a six month old one– from one of the pockets. It was from her last trip from her hometown to the nearest airport city. Six months vanished in a puff! Six months since she last visited her parents, her brother, and… him.

She didn’t tear the ticket – it was memory. And it was not on thermal paper. She pushed it into a different pocket in the purse, one she didn’t usually use to put the notes and the coins. There she found it.

It was an inconspicuous looking paper. If she was not scavenging, she would not even have noticed it. It was rolled up like a cigarette and flattened from being put in the purse.

She took it out and unrolled it. There was nothing on the side facing her – a blank page that must have contained how much she had paid at some mall or movie. She turned it over.

There, in blue ink were the lines. It was a written conversation. There were two distinct handwritings: one small, curvy; another bigger, looping.

All of it came back to her. She smiled as she saw herself scribbling it, beside the empty glass of cold coffee and some spilled chocolate sauce. The brown on the edge of the slip was testimony to the playful tiff they had over sipping each other’s coffee. They didn’t care if anyone was looking. They were lost in themselves.

***

He was told there was a parcel for him at the reception. He walked the steps instead of taking the elevator.

The girl at the reception smiled at him. Her name was Tias.

“There’s a parcel for me?” he said, returning her smile. Tias was new here. She matched her nail-polish her with her dresses every single day.

Tias shuffled through the drawer and handed him the package wrapped in shiny red paper. A white paper on top addressed it to him, in neutral print.

“Girlfriend?”

A hint of laughter touched the corner of his lips. He shrugged and turned away.

In his cabin, he opened the wrapper, taking care that he did not tear it off. She would recycle it, if she was here. Or better yet, add it to her box of memorabilia. He did the same, put it in his chest of drawers.

But she had never said anything about a parcel in the past month or week. He was sure it wasn’t another of their anniversaries – propose day, first trip together, first kiss etc.

It was a copy of The Fault in our Stars. Of course it was from her. Who else could it be! He turned over the cover page, sure to find a scribbling – after five years together, many things about her was predictable.

There was no scribbling. Instead, there was a paper, pasted on the inside of the cover page.

“Don’t go, please. I miss you already,” it said in his handwriting.

“I miss you already, too! I love you so much; I could never stay away long from you. Promise me you’ll fly to me every other month?” She had written.

“Of course, I will. Loads of kisses. I will visit you every weekend.” He now laughed at the absurdity of flying a thousand miles every week.

He read on:

“Ummmmm. Kisses and hugs. Love ya, baby,” she wrote in her small, curly font.

“Love ya, Cat! Ummmm.”

There was a doodle of a boy and girl holding hands underneath the conversation. She had drawn the guy. He had drawn the girl.

All of it came back to him. He smiled as he saw himself scribbling it, beside the empty glass of cold coffee and some spilled chocolate sauce. The brown on the edge of the slip was testimony to the playful tiff they had over sipping each other’s coffee. They didn’t care if anyone was looking. They were lost in themselves.

Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick


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About Arpita

Arpita Pramanick is a little, young woman with a bright face (who'd rather not look directly into a stranger's eye) you'll find walking on the corridors of Mu Sigma, Inc. She tells herself she wants to be a properly published writer (by which she means she wants to be published from the likes of Penguin), but isn't really so sincere about writing everyday. So if you see her, tell her to go write. She'll love you for doing that!
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38 Responses to Day 10 of Writing 101: Before She Left

  1. Marquessa says:

    Nicely done Arpita! A little non-fiction mingled with fiction?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rosemawrites says:

    Oh my, Arpita! This is such an engrossing tale and is it only me but I think the girl is… YOU? Or somehow YOU? 😀

    Another great post from you! My heart beats faster when I near the ending. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arpita says:

      Haha. Somehow me sums it up right. I am glad you liked it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • rosemawrites says:

        So it was really you!!!! Yeeee! (kilig) It’s a Filipino word that has no direct English translation so I cannot tell you exactly that your story is just so kilig-inducing! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arpita says:

        No direct translation is okay by me,.but there must be a close enough translation? 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • rosemawrites says:

        kilig
        1. noun. It is the sudden feeling of an inexplicable joy one gets when something romantic or idealistic occurs.

        When kilig, one may experience the following:

        *butterflies in one’s stomach
        *heart melting
        *shivers down one’s spine
        *irrepressible noises from one’s mouth
        *uncontrollable smiling
        *an inner conflict between hope of something wished for and reality

        Kilig may also be defined as that mountain top, floating, on cloud nine, invincible, i-could-keep-smiling, heart aching goodness and feeling which overpowers the mind’s ability to think straight, act straight, breathe properly and articulate thoughts into a single comprehensible sentence.

        There! 😀

        Like

      • Arpita says:

        WOW! No wonder there’s no direct translation! I really love these nuances in different languages – how one word sums up so many things! Thanks for teaching me about ‘kilig’. Now, I am eagerly waiting for an opportunity to use it 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • rosemawrites says:

        That’s great to hear. 😀 That’s the beauty of this blogosphere. It felt like we are travelling into other countries through words. 😀 It is my pleasure to introduce you to ‘kilig’. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kat says:

    They say experience is the best inspiration!! Such a lovely post Arpita!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anand says:

    Wifey does that too. She’s got little slips of papers, chocolate wrappers, and pebbles in a cardboard box. She does that, picks up something from a place where we’ve been happy – a blade of grass, a pebble…so saves something. I don’t. Guess that makes me unromantic 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely. I enjoyed reading that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annie says:

    I really enjoyed this. Like walking down memory lane. I didn’t feel like writing long sentences today, I don’t know why… so I decided to write a poem instead.

    Hope you’ve had a great Friday my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mterrazas32 says:

    Long distant relationship? Each revisiting the past from letters they exchange each stamped in their own handwritting?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. anankhan98 says:

    This is making me go all Moe Moe, if you know what I mean. This one’s sorta hard to explain too, since I doubt it has any exact meaning even in Japanese. But a simple google search could satiate your curiosity (if it’s there) :p
    At any rate, what I want to say is that this is very well executed despite being simple. This sort of stuff eludes me most of the time. I hear my brain go *conflict! CONFLICT!* Every time I wanna write something lighthearted. That’s what happened till now, at least. Let’s see where we go from here.
    I hope you guys have tons of memories so you don’t run out of them! Stay blessed! It’s hard to come by couples who actually get each other these days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. nimi naren says:

    Loved this Arpita..very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

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