As one grows up, one is presented with options that were never on the table before. Life gives one the responsibility to choose and make decisions. As fearful as it may sound, it can be used to one’s advantage to break free of meaningless relationships and duties. One may not change anything or one may change everything about their life. One may live in the same house or one may shift to a new place. One may choose to pretend to be happy or one may choose to be actually happy. As one grows up, one tastes freedom, deep boundless freedom and it may be used to one’s benefit.
“Will you take me to this place for a reasonable amount of money?” Reesha asked the fat taxi driver pointing the address scribbled on a notepad. She was having a hard time trying to stand with a huge bag on one shoulder, her backpack on the other shoulder. Her two suitcases were by her side. The man looked at the address and the other scribbles on the page and agreed.
When she reached the house, it was almost four in the afternoon. She walked through the gravel path and stood in front of the white door. She closed her eyes for a brief moment and thought about all the decisions she had made that led her there, the exams she had taken, the sacrifices she had made, the relationships she had broken. She felt a very numb pain. She opened her eyes and looked back, she realised there was no turning back now. The door opened before Reesha had the time to ring the bell. A blonde girl smiled at her and asked her if she was “Raisha”. “It is Reesha. Yes this is me. You can call me Ree.”
The girl helped her with her bags and told her she was Chloe and that she was her roommate. “The land lady and her husband is not home, you will meet them later.” The inside of the house was clean and white. She and Chloe shared a floor. They had a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room and two bedrooms. The rooms were small but it didn’t make Reesha feel claustrophobic. She hadn’t felt claustrophobic ever since she left her home and boarded a long eight hour flight to this new land.
Chloe left the house at seven while she was in the bathroom. Chloe knocked and informed her that she was visiting somebody and would be back by ten. When Reesha got out of the bathroom, the rooms that had seemed smaller just a few hours ago, now seemed huge and empty. The two suitcases were still sitting in front of her room untouched. Suddenly a chill ran down her, she knew nobody there. She sat down on one side of the sofa and called her mother. The phone was picked up at the second ring as if her mother had been sitting in front of the telephone waiting for it to ring.
“Are you okay?” Her mother asked. She toyed with the frills of the sofa pillow as the conversation went on. Her mother cautioned her about the dangers she may face during her stay in this new place as if it was a war zone and she was calling her mother with a satellite telephone. Her parents had never been in the country Reesha was in and yet they had learned so much from the stories of their cousins that they could visualize the unknown foreign land vividly. “I have to go now!” Reesha said feeling the pangs of hunger. “Don’t forget to visit your cousin.” Her mother said before disconnecting the call. It was then that she remembered that she had a cousin brother living in the north of the country, whom she only saw once in two years.
Reesha wasn’t fond of him, he had a foul mouth and a foul soul. She felt glad that she was in the south of the country separated from him by hundreds of miles. She had come to this new country not only because she had wanted to study literature in depth but also because she had felt that her time on her birth land was over. She had realised a year ago that it was time for her to meet new people and walk on new roads. It was time for her to decide which relatives she would keep in touch with and which friends would get a birthday card from her. She was free from her old self, she could be anyone she wanted to be in this new country without anything holding her back. When asked about why she came to a new country, she didn’t want to say, “I wanted to get away.” She wanted to say, “I finished what I had to do there and it was time for me to be in a new place.”
A month later on a Friday night after completing her school for the week, she boarded a train to go to the north of the country. When she got off, it was ten in the morning and the station seemed busier than the southern stations. She took out her notepad, she had scribbled the address of her cousin brother on a page along with his phone number. The northern part of the country housed big museums and the palace of the monarch. She had wanted to visit the north ever since she heard back from the university and knew she was coming to this country.
She walked looking for a café. Five hundred metres later she came across one. She bought a coffee and a croissant. She contemplated her impending visit to her cousin. She wanted to see the museums and the palace, she didn’t want to waste her train journey on a lunch with people she didn’t like. She had spent two decades of her life talking to people she didn’t like, touching the feet of relatives she didn’t respect, going to social gatherings that made her feel lonely. She had spent two decades of her life trying to please everybody and she was tired of it all. She opened her notepad once more and tore the paper containing the address and phone number. She crumpled it and put it inside her coffee cup, the white paper slowly turned brown, the digits and letters faded away in the liquid. Reesha walked out of the café shaking off the gloom she had been in ever since she boarded the train to north. She went to the bus stand and took a bus to one of the museums.