An article and a story written by Saanya as featured in the Blog have been selected to be featured in “Mensa Junior & Teen SIG ISSUE 16APRIL 2017” – “A New Experience” and “Dominoes”.
60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. Just 1 day of 24 hours to go. Just another 86,400 seconds left and then, our days of comfort would be over. And we would be thrown out into a whole new world.
For 9 months (I think that’s what the familiar voice said), we had been in here; our safe haven, where all I had to worry about was not kicking too much, or my friend would get hurt. I hadn’t ever seen them but I could feel them. Their heart beating against mine. To be honest, I didn’t like them very much at first. They would always steal my food and they would take up my space. I couldn’t trust them either, they promised me once that they would move over but instead they just kicked me! Eventually however they grew on me. Literally. They grew on top of me. I felt the little buds on either side of their body grow into long skinny appendages, nudging into me, and the ball balanced on the top of them, grow 4 times as large. And as I grew with them, our friendship did too.
These changes concerned me at first. We were getting too big for our home and I feared we would eventually have to be evicted. One day as I wondered of what fate awaited us, a strange smell wafted towards me. I couldn’t place it but one thing was for sure; it was horrible. Confused, I tried listening out to what the people outside were saying, and they mentioned something like “meconium aspiration”, which didn’t help ease me very much. So, I turned to my friend and started to ask them, when I heard… choking? But that couldn’t be right. I tried speaking to them but they didn’t reply. Were they playing with me? I told them it wasn’t funny but they still said nothing.
So it had to be true. My friend, they wouldn’t lie to me like this. And that meant, they were choking. No, they were dying. And what was worse, I couldn’t do a thing. I felt something running down my cheeks. Something cold; the first cold I had felt. And I hated it. I tried to cry out… but all I could do was gurgle. I cried louder, but, yet another gurgle. I was running out of options, and fast. I felt like I was drowning in the very fluid that gave me life. My head was reeling, my eyes were saturated with that cold, icy liquid. I kicked out, unable to understand what was going on. I kicked out as hard as I could, begging for someone, anyone to help. I didn’t care if I hurt someone, I just had to help them. I had to help the one friend who had been with me since I first came into existence. But the truth was clear.
Some people want it. Some people need it. Most people think they have it, but like grains of sand it always trickles out from their grasp.
One day it’s there, another day it’s not. It compels death yet it persuades life. It pulls you away yet it inches you closer. It’s the only thing I don’t have enough of. The only thing I’m running out of.
And so, I found myself upon a crisp, white bed with the pungent smell of disinfectant shrouding me in its acrid fumes. My family was there. My friends too. Surrounding me, joking with me, telling me stories, hugging me. It would have been perfect. It would have been surreal considering the bleakness of the path that stretched before me into the dark mist. The only problem was, I couldn’t laugh with them. I couldn’t accept their embrace or return it. I couldn’t even open my eyes let alone speak. Such was the pain of the darkness that engulfed me. Such was the pain of the unconsciousness that conquered my every nerve and my every cell. Such was the pain of this coma.
Night once more blanketed the realm in its velvety blackness. I lay awake, staring at the darkness of my closed eyelids and felt the weight of it all press down upon me once more. I wanted to cry yet not a single tear managed to run down my pallid countenance. The monotony of being an observer yet not a participator, the agony of hearing everyone around me cry yet to be unable to give them any form of ease and the incident replaying over and over as though my brain existed only as a broken tape recorder; it was all too much for me. I wanted it to end. I wanted the torture to stop. A ringing began in my ears and once more, I found myself thrown back into the dark abyss that had become my one and only memory.
“Aspen! Wait for me!” my mother cries out. She rests her hands upon her knees and takes a gulp of air as she tries to regain her breath. Her face is flushed and she beams at me when I stop and peek back, “Honey, don’t run off like that. We’re on the road; remember what I said about road safety? And I couldn’t see you for a couple of minutes, I got so worried! Stay where I can see you my child!”
I can understand it now. She was hiding all of her anxiety behind the mask of a smile but did I understand it then? No. To me it was all just a game.
I smirk back at her and reply, “Well then you better catch up,” and I hurry off again, giggling.
My foolishness at the time disgusts me today. She warned me as well. If only I had known, maybe I wouldn’t have been so imprudent and reckless; but the truth remains that the incident is in the past and there is nothing I can do about it now.
I keep sprinting. The spears of wind blow into my face, tossing my hair into a haze of black and brown. The trees sway back and forth, the sound of everything except my breathing disintegrates. I close my eyes and laugh.
It was a moment of madness but it was the one moment that cost me everything.
I take another look back but instead of seeing my mom chuckling as I expected her to be, I see her visage painted with horror. I turn back around to face forward and before I can even make a full turn: agony.
The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed and I have been for 2 years now. My mom sometimes comes to my room and tells me what had happened on that day. How I had run out onto the road and been hit by a car and barely made it alive and how the doctor had said that I only had a few days left but I had proved them wrong…however, she never finishes the story. She always ends up crying towards the very end.
It’s such a strange thing isn’t it? The way it can leave you at your most vulnerable moment. The way it defines what happens and what does not. It’s the only thing I don’t have enough of. The only thing I’m running out of.
By Saanya Verma
Everything had changed. The rolling emerald hills had just become clumps of dirt; the birds’ incessant chirping, just infuriating screeches and the gorgeous butterflies, simply coloured bats. Sheets of sapphires poured down upon me. It seemed only fitting that even the angels cried that I had become the monster I was. My mind was being churned into a pulp of bewilderment and disbelief. Had it really just happened? Had my humanity disappeared into those unfathomable pits staring up at me? The world started to spiral in front of me and soon I was living through the torture once more…
A grin is plastered on my countenance. I shout a farewell to my parents and quickly jaunt across the street and through the avenues bordered by trees standing high and mighty. The monuments of bark wear apparels of gold, orange, russet, and pigments I cannot even describe. The birds sing up beyond, their songs meandering through the alleyways and to my ears.
The bus stop comes into my sight. There seems to be no one there except Jane. My eyes twinkled with excitement. Overflowing with enthusiasm, I run over.
“Happy birthday,” I screech the moment I am in earshot.
She looks my way and, when she sees me, smiles cheekily, “I knew you would be the first person to wish me! This place is so empty huh? Looks like everyone’s dead!”
I giggle, “Well, anyways I got you a special gift!”
Exhilaration seems to pour out of her like sunshine through a thin, white cloth. I can see she really wants this but teasing her is my speciality. I chuckle, “But you have to wait.” She frowns at me light-heartedly.
“That is so not fair!” she says pushing me playfully.
“Yes it is so fair!” I laugh, pushing her back.
And that was when it happened. It was just a flash of red. A scream. A blare of horns. And then silence. “What, Jane where are you?” I panicked, “don’t joke with me!” My heart started thumping. I didn’t dare look at the road. But there was no one giggling, “You fell for it!” It was just deafening silence. I started to cry and fell to my knees. I could hear the muffled shouts of adults behind me, see the shocked faces staring at me. I mustered the courage to look back and I could see her. Her body.
Stumbling, I walk over and barely manage to muffle the strange blend of a sob and a scream that so desperately wanted to escape my lips. Her auburn hair was matted down with blood, her mouth fixed in an eternal yell and her eyes staring up, accusing me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran from there. Ran as fast as I could. Every second reminded me of every breath she didn’t get to breathe, of every dream she didn’t get to follow and of every memory we didn’t get to share. It was over. Everything was over.