The Visit

Krisha Bang, Class 10, Hill Spring International School, Mumbai

‘Why. Why did this have to happen to me? What do I do now? I need an escape. I need to leave. I need to – ’
She was cut off by the sorrowful tears streaming down her face as she sobbed uncontrollably for everything; for the loss of her best friend, for failing the exam she had studied 2 years for, for feeling like a failure. The clock ticked with each passing second, as she sat there curled up into a ball, back against the wall.

A few feet away from her stood an incorporeal figure, wearing a mournful smile. Glowing like white light, the shiny, glimmering dust particles stuck to the outline of the hospital gown the spirit was in.

She screamed. Fingernails digging into her palms formed crescent shaped moons reminding her of the nights spent star-gazing with her best friend, the only friend she ever had, who she now lost. Forever.

‘Why? Why did this have to happen to me? Can’t I have one thing that makes me happy?’

The spirit, floating two feet over the ground, glided to her. He reached out his hand, wisps of air drifting upwards, defying gravity. Head tilted in astonishment, he gazed as the hand momentarily solidified against the smooth skin of the girl’s cheek.

She froze. Looking upwards as if in slow motion, she tried to figure out where the cold, loving touch had come from. She saw nothing but the desk; where she had sat for hours every night the last year, in front of her.

‘Was it – Could it be? Is it possible?’

She considerably brightened, a satisfied smile spreading across her face at the possibility that it was her best friend visiting her, calming her. He had always been the caring, composed one of the two of them, contrasting her wild personality.

Something clicked in her mind at that moment. He would always be by her side, for her to see. She just needed to live for the both of them. Fulfill her dreams and his as if nothing had every changed.

With trembling fingers, she tried to grasp at the air in front of her, but her hands returned empty. Inhaling deeply, she smelled a hint of peppermint. He always had a box of peppermints on him, wherever, whenever.

As if tied to an invisible thread, she found herself pulled towards the decade-old acoustic guitar with its chipped paint and rusty knobs, hanging on the wall by the square window. Catching hold of it, she put the strap around her tiny frame, imagining it to be his arms wrapped around her.

She closed her eyes and breathed out, releasing the pent up grief into the surroundings. Her thumb brushed against the strings of the guitar, strumming the first chords of this new version of her. She could feel him smiling at her, thumbs up as he expressed how proud he was of her. She did it again. It felt good. She played more and found herself getting lost in the entrancing music, like she had always seen him do.

She sat there for the next couple of hours, imagining sitting there for the coming days, weeks, months, years, just conveying the learnings, experiences, ups and downs of her life through the welcoming music.

He never left her. He had been too afraid to visit her at first, wondering how hard it would be for him to be around her but be so far from her at the same time. He was grateful that he chose to go.

She found herself thinking to herself again. ‘I found my escape. I am happy now. I know what I want to do, what I need to do. I know.’

May, 2024

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