“Anne is my best friend. I share all my thoughts with her.” As Rhea continued her extempore on the topic-My Best Friend, Sheela stared aghast.
Rhea had never mentioned about Anne to Sheela. Horrifying thoughts engulfed Sheela’s heart. Would history repeat itself? Manoj shook her shoulders from her reverie.
“Manoj, Rhea is showing the same symptoms,” Sheela said petrified.
“Our daughter is absolutely fine. You amplify her actions and exaggerate her emotions. You should be called Ms. Hyperbole,” Manoj chuckled.
“Stop laughing,” Sheela stared in dismay.
“Let’s discuss this later. Our daughter is competing for the first time. Please concentrate,” Manoj silenced her.
Though Rhea didn’t win, yet the whole family was ecstatic at her attempt. To orate in front of an accomplished audience in itself was a feat to achieve.
While returning home, Sheela tried hard to stay calm. Flashes of her past sneered away the glee from her face. An action replay of dreadful events haunted her.
Sheela’s childhood straggled between doctor visits and school. One moment, her mother was jovial, and the next, she would turn callous. Her father existed physically but, was a mentally drained man. Her mother’s schizophrenic episodes accelerated in due course. By the time Sheela reached college, her mother was admitted to an asylum.
Sheela met Manoj while pursuing her masters. She found a great friend in him. Eventually, she fell in love with her best friend.
Sheela visited her mother a few years ago when she shouted and ran berserk. She brushed the security and rushed upstairs. Before anyone could fathom the situation, Sheela’s mother plunged from the terrace. Her mother was never true to the word, but Sheela felt half-orphaned.
“Manoj, let’s take her to a psychiatrist,” Sheela said anxiously.
“Come on Sheela, don’t be silly,” he fumed.
“Rhea doesn’t have any friend named Anne. She is not a kid who would go about bluffing.”
“This is proof that you are insecure. So long, Rhea called you her best friend but now she has found a new friend.” Manoj mocked.
Sheela thought that it was time to confront her daughter straightaways, the melange of emotions was driving her crazy.
She dashed into Rhea’s room, furious, “Rhea, who is this new friend of yours, Anne? Does this person really exist?”
Rhea understood that this wasn’t the time to play around, and pulled out two books from her drawer.
“What are these?” Sheela snatched it from her. A bright smile blossomed on her face.
Rhea pointed to the first book, “This is Anne Frank: Diary of a young girl; the book you gifted me. And this,” pointing to the second one, “is my personal diary. I write them as letters to her, Dear Anne.”
Sheela quipped at her foolishness, “Indeed, a personal diary is a special friend.” And the three burst out laughing.
While going to bed, Rhea kissed her mother and said, “I saw grandma the other day.”
“What?” Sheela looked shocked.
“In my dream mom,” and Rhea ran to bed.
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