“Go away! Leave me alone!”
“No, I can’t. Rather, I won’t.”
“Please! I’m in no mood to talk.”
No matter what she says, I won’t go. This is a battle I need to win; for myself. For her. And I will. I have to. At any cost. It’s payback time for all that she has done for me.
“I’ll just sit tight in one corner. Is that fine?”
“You are one stubborn pest. Inconsiderate and annoying.”
“Say whatever you want. I don’t mind. I’m here to help you. Just the way you helped me once. Remember?”
Carla didn’t reply.
“I know it’s not easy, but you need to try.” Lai closed in. “That day when those cannibalistic crooks chastised me, and left me to die, you came to my rescue. You made me fight through those tough times and didn’t stop till I was ready fly. And today, I am reminding you your words- When you give up, the only one who loses is you.”
Tears of despair cascaded down her cheeks. “I…I can’t forget that horrific evening. Those men… Argh… I can still feel their touch on my skin.” Carla was stuttering. Words were failing to find their way out of her mouth. “Shadows…people, terrify me. I can’t… I’m ashamed; scared. Bruised to the core, and too broken to be fixed.”
“You know what, self-pity is self-defeating. You’ll continue to suffer if you don’t let go of your fear and shame. It’s not your fault. So why punish yourself?” Lai tried to convince her. I hope my words help her to see past her woes and think clearly.
“I can’t. I just can’t. Please…”
“You can and you will. You have to. For yourself, for your parents, and for me too. You have a hole, but only you have the power to fill it. Choose to fill it with hope and strength.” Lai was trying her best. “Don’t let the offenders win by succumbing to your pain. Your parents are loving and supportive. They are ready to walk you through this. We’re friends, right? So trust me. Give yourself a second chance. I know you want to do it.”
Carla was crying in buckets.
Those tears will carry away her pain, bit by bit. She’s in a vulnerable state, but it’s now or never. “It’s been days you’ve shut yourself in this dark room. You haven’t eaten well, you didn’t let your parents in. It’s not fair, right? I somehow managed to sneak in today. And I’m not going out without you.”
After a prolonged silence, Carla walked up to the window, and let it wide open. She then browsed through her clothes, picked one carefully, went inside the washroom, and came out after an hour.
“Let’s go. I’m ready.”
Lai perched on her shoulder, beaming with pride and joy.
The door opened, and she stepped out – barely recognizable in her new avatar.
With moist eyes, her parents gaped in awe. “You look beautiful, Carla! Welcome back, sweetheart.”
Lai- from Aglais io – peacock butterfly
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