“If she does not come out right now I will kick down the door”, Kiah cowered as she heard her husband Sameer thunder. She had run away from home with her two children Kavya nine and Samarth seven.
But he had tracked he to her sister’s place and now was demanding to be let in.
It had started with a slap for speaking in front of his friends and then violence became a regular feature of her marriage. She thought it was normal for the husband to be the man of the house to show his superiority in the most physical brawny way he could.
She often wore make up to conceal the marks. The children were not spared either. They would often sob to sleep and she felt utterly helpless and loathed herself for letting him do this to them.
“He is only good looks, lacks character, are you sure you want to marry him?” Shanaya has asked her. She was like that always calling a spade a spade.
People either loved her or hated her. Mostly loved her, for in spite of her straight forward and often sting full comments she was a great person at heart.
They were soul mates Kiah and Shanaya and shared a very deep physic bond. Shanaya was almost a family member in Kiah’s house.
Having lost most of her family at an early age made Shanaya wise beyond her years. She could see straight through a person’s intention and was very rarely wrong.
But Kiah was in love. She was sure this time her friend was wrong. Besides she was now jealous of her friend’s good looks as she had caught Sameer being extra nice around her.
She broke up with her soul mate to marry a man she revered beyond reason.
Shanaya took it in her stride and anyways she was flying out on a scholarship.
The years rolled into two decades. She had called twice to congratulate her on the birth of her children and asked the usual “How are you?”.
Kiah wanted to tell her she was so right, but her pride amongst other things stopped her.
Once Sameer had given her the look when Shanaya called.
And besides the distance had now grown too much between them. She was too far away simply because Kiah had pushed her far away. There was Facebook and all where they posted happy family pictures (with the makeup on) but there was not much to talk.
He kicked the door and her sister rushed to open the door before it came off its hinges.
Siah lived with her two teenage daughters and did not want that wolf with roaming eyes staying around leeching.
She was in a dilemma, she wanted to help Kiah and her children but did not want to bare herself and her family to the man Sameer was.
Her husband travelled a lot which meant she and her daughters were vulnerable to any revenge Sameer wanted to extract for supporting Kiah. He was a mean vengeful man and Siah would not let herself and her daughters in harm’s way.
“Please go with him” she implored to Kiah, “I cannot hold you here for long. You know him, he has done enough harm already and I have to think about my daughters too. I cannot keep you here. He will wreak havoc on us.”
She had tears in her eyes because she felt so horrible having to decide which of the women she loved to protect.
But she had a duty towards her children too. She was not going to make them suffer for the choice Kiah had made. She had gone against the wishes of everyone and married Sameer.
She had thrown her best friend out of her life to marry this beast.
Shanaya had begged her to stay away from Sameer but Kiah thought her best friend was just jealous that she had found her true love and she had to Shanaya, “A cold hollow person can never find true love, you are forever shunning people”.
That was the last time Siah had seen Shanaya.
She was not just Kiah’s friend, she was a fixture in the house, helping mom, laughing, playing pranks. When she was not present at Kiah’s wedding all the relatives were surprised.
“Where is she? Where is that b*#*h?, How dare she run away from home? I am going to drag her all the way back” Siah was rudely shaken back in the present.
“Please don’t hurt her, she is sorry and she is coming back with you,” Siah tried to calm him down. But he just pushed her away and lurched towards Kiah.
The bell rang again. Who could it be at this hour? Maybe one of her neighbors had come to complain about the disturbance they we causing.
Siah opened the door and was speechless. Shanaya stood there and beamed at her, she looked radiant.
A faint glow seemed to surround her as she entered the room.
She rushed in and there was an eerie hush. Kiah was dazed, Sameer was rattled and Siah simply could not believe her eyes.
“What, I went to your place and no one was at home so I presumed you would be here and here I am, won’t you greet me?” she said to Kiah.
They were awkward meeting after almost two decades face to face so there was obviously no hugging and all.
“When did you come?” Sameer was the first to speak.
“Oh I just landed and came straight here?” “I had posted on Facebook I would be visiting India, did you not see?” she was addressing Kiah.
Kiah could hardly look towards her, she was too ashamed and full of guilt. She wanted to hug Shanaya tight and cry forever, empty her being of all the tears she had been stashing away.
But it was not easy. The distance between them that void it had grown so much.
“Ok before I get any further, Sameer I need your help, I have got Kavya an iPad mini and some toys for Samarth. “Are baba, I have some fine single malt for you too, just help me get it from the cab, I have kept him waiting.”
Sameer’s eyes beaded on seeing Shanaya, he had always lusted after her but found her too fiery as compared to Kiah and he liked to keep his women a few notches below him.
Shanaya would never have gone out with him. She hated the sight of him and he thought she was the big reason Kiah’s family did not like him much.
But she was here and he would try and brush against her in the elevator, it was a small stuffy place and she would not have much room, she looked delicious after all these years.
“Let’s go” he said.
Five minutes later they heard a loud thud.
Siah and Kiah rushed to the balcony.
The street light pole had fallen and there was a man crushed beneath it. People had gathered around.
It looked like Sameer from the balcony, Kiah rushed out. Siah took her keys (the children were asleep in spite of the pandemonium, and rushed after Kiah.
It was indeed Sameer. The light pole had fallen on his spine probably crushing it. The fall must have crushed his skull too.
She could hear Kiah whimpering whether it was grief or relief she could not tell.
“The plane from New York to Mumbai has crashed killing 19 people on board. The plane crashed while preparing to land at the airport. Amongst those killed is a woman who had written a note for her luggage to be delivered to a certain address in case something happened, it was as if she had foreseen the crash”. The newsreader’s report went un noticed by both Kiah and Siah.
No matter what Sameer was he had to have his funeral. He was the husband after all.
After the prayer meeting was over Siah noticed the airline official in the corner. He came forward with a single bag.
After everyone had left Kiah opened the bag, the first thing that caught her eye was the iPad mini.
It was pink as Kavya had wanted it to be. There were toys just right for Samarth’s age.
And there was a dress, a beautiful dress just her size. And a note which was scrawled in a handwriting she could never forget.