Contest #154 winner 🏆

133 comments

Romance Historical Fiction

Your eyes pour the moonlight on my path as I turn my back to you. In the dead of the night, I walk with my family, away from my home, my street, my town, and what was till yesterday- my country.

There are other families with us. Snaking their way to Lahore railway station. In fear, pain, and certainty that their lives are not theirs anymore. It can be cut, morphed, or smoked out within a matter of seconds. Even if they get on that train to Amritsar and arrive there in one piece, they would just be a wisp of what they once were.

I walk. With a volcano in my chest where my heart used to be. My heart is left crying on that terrace. The terrace where we used to meet under the moonlight. When it was still the moon that lit up the night. When your head covered in hijab was still in my reach. And the moon in my cupped hands was still in your reach.

I carry a small load on my back as others. It will help us in getting to a new nation that is about to be my nation. And build a new life. From the ruins of a life that has been uprooted.

The air is still. A rare gust of wind brings the acrid smoke. And wails. From people unknown. From the far end of the town that I can no longer call mine. I doubt if it would ever be yours either. You may be too numb to its embrace.

My family moves in a huddle. Alone, amongst a sea of people. Clutching each other’s hands. As if we could be more lost than we already are. My father, mother, brothers, and sisters are watchful, looking back every now and then-half expecting the earth they are walking on to swallow them.

We cross the end of the road, the edge of the town, and the border of the wilderness beyond. But I know you are still watching me. With your eyes as dry as mine, your spirit as broken as mine, and your heart trying to console itself on that terrace.

The terrace I can never go back to. And you may never go back to.

All because a man drew a line. Quashing the hearts to choose a side; pulling the threads it had formed till they snapped, shattering it. Brushing the fragments under the carpet of darkness.

I have walked to the brink of what held us together. After this turn, you will not be able to see the speck that I have become now. The speck that has entered the vortex created by time.

Will we ever meet again? I don’t know. But know this, till there is skin on my back and breath in my lungs, the air around me will whisper only one name – Yas…min.

***

When the news of your family leaving town made no ripples in my family, I knew we were never meant to live together.

I leaped up the staircase to the terrace, to meet you for one last time. You were there. Forlorn. The full moon weighed down on us. You didn’t dare to cup him to give me.

You just uttered three words- “Jasmine, forgive me”. It made my world crumble around me, slowly, one brick at a time. I didn’t say a thing. There was nothing left to say.

You left. With your family. Along with many others. Turning your back to me. Walking away from a new nation that had turned its back on you.

You didn’t look back. Till you reached the very edge of the drop from where you could never climb back. Not in near future.

I hoped you will stay safe. When you walked through the rubble and dodged the murderous mobs baying for blood. When you squeezed into the train. Till you reached Amritsar.

I know it will be a hard life for you. You will have to find a new place to call your home. New job to sustain your family. And a new heart to start making threads. Tying you to new soil, people and life.

I wish you find someone to give the moon to. If not on a terrace, maybe by the campfire; to laugh with and share your stories before partition. And never stumble at my name when doing so.

I thought I would never go back to the terrace. But you see, that is the thing about the people who get left behind. They have to revisit the terraces, houses, and streets that led to their hearts shattering into a million shards. And smile, even as the shards pierce their soul.

Time will flow. Upstream. For me. But it will flow nevertheless.

A young woman cannot live alone. Not in this town. There will be talks of my nikah. It will be to a good man. There is no escaping it. I hope I would have grown a new heart by then. One that wouldn’t beat the syllables of your name- Ra-aj. For his sake.

Seasons will change and I will be a mother to the children of a not-so-new nation. They will be taught about how gruesome the partition was and how the other community turned into traitors and had to be driven away. They will grow with venom in their hearts for the footprints you left behind.

If I grow a voice back, I will tell them- no home is more wrecked than the one where brothers turn into enemies.

I will still have hope in my heart. No, not about ever meeting you again. But the line that ripped us apart will become blurred and the angry little men will be lulled in the vortex of time. Maybe not in our lifetime, but someday.

Till then know this. I never believed the moon could be mine, but I never doubted you wanting to pluck it for me. Some things are beyond the reach of lines drawn by the man- moonlight and madness.

July 15, 2022 05:53

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133 comments

Suma Jayachandar
15:28 Jul 22, 2022

Dear Reedsy When I took the road to creative writing in a non-native language, it was purely out of my love for the art. I never thought my work would receive the kind of love I experienced on this site. Thank you so much for just being there!

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J.C. Lovero
22:49 Jul 22, 2022

CONGRATS on the win, Suma! So glad to see your work receive the recognition it deserves! (and you know how much I love me a good romance story)

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Suma Jayachandar
05:10 Jul 23, 2022

Hey J.C. So good to hear you cheering me on! Thank you for all the encouragement along my journey.

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Suma Jayachandar
06:01 Jul 15, 2022

The partition of India in 1947 led to one of the bloodiest exoduses in human history. This story is based on a news clipping about two young lives drawn into the vortex. This is a creative interpretation and has been kept short. I did not add too many details as I wanted to be respectful. This is a heartfelt tribute to Yasmin and Raj.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:37 Jul 20, 2022

Hi Suma, this was wonderfully beautiful and amazing. You did a great job writing this and I thought it worked with the prompt perfectly. It was time well spent, and I loved it!! :)

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Suma Jayachandar
09:09 Jul 20, 2022

Hi Daniel, Thank you so much for your generous appreciation. I'm glad you loved reading it and took time to comment on it. Thank you!

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02:52 Jul 20, 2022

Suma! This was so beautiful and poetic. I loved so many of the lines, but I think this was my favorite — “After this turn, you will not be able to see the speck that I have become now.” That image was so powerful amid the narrative of “ill-timed” love Well done! 👏👏👏

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Suma Jayachandar
09:07 Jul 20, 2022

Hannah, Thank you so much. I wasn't very sure about posting this story as it is very short. But I'm so happy it is receiving so much love😊 Thank you for your kind words.❤️

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12:46 Jul 20, 2022

Don’t ever be nervous because of length, you don’t need a lot of words to tell a beautiful story! You did an amazing job 😊❤️

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Suma Jayachandar
16:51 Jul 20, 2022

Aww thank you!

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Ogbonna Nnamdi
19:46 Aug 07, 2022

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Ogbonna Nnamdi
19:46 Aug 07, 2022

HOW I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK WITH THE HELP OF PRIEST WISDOM CONTACT ON WHATS_APP NUMBER +2348124644470 This is my testimony about the good work of priest wisdom who helped me ... I'm Ann Earnis from North Carolina USA. And am sorry for putting this on net but i will have to, by this world best spell caster that brought back my husband who left me out for past 3 years, i eventually met this man on a blog site posting by one of is client for help, i explained everything to him and he told me about a spell caster that he had heard about and he g...

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Miguel P
15:39 Aug 07, 2022

Very well written. Your narrative brings your character to life in a way that makes you feel she is there talking to you. Keep up the good work!

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Suma Jayachandar
01:08 Aug 08, 2022

Thank you so much for your kind words

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Theresa Jimenez
07:19 Aug 06, 2022

This story is so beautiful, powerful, loved it.

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Suma Jayachandar
14:12 Aug 06, 2022

Thank you so much for your kind words.

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Tp Me
21:28 Aug 04, 2022

I love the story Suma your writing is great

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Suma Jayachandar
01:02 Aug 05, 2022

Thank you for your kind words.

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Andrea Magee
09:35 Aug 03, 2022

Extraordinary story. You are a gifted writer!

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Suma Jayachandar
12:23 Aug 03, 2022

Thank you so much. You are very kind.

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Amanda Lieser
21:14 Aug 02, 2022

Wow! This was such a beautifully powerful story. I thought you made a very important historical moment approachable to readers who, like myself, weren’t as well versed about the event. I also really love how you chose to write it within the two different perspectives with repetition of some phrases to tie it all back together. This was a well deserved win! Congratulations!

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Suma Jayachandar
00:59 Aug 03, 2022

Thank you so much. I'm glad I could bring a slice of history alive to you and make you empathise with the characters. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

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Sanchita Khan
16:28 Aug 02, 2022

Congratulations! Suma, your story took me back to a period which is never possible to forget. You connected me with every word you said. Lots of love. Wish you the best!

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Suma Jayachandar
00:57 Aug 03, 2022

Thank you so much for your heartfelt appreciation. Lots of love to you too.

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Raluca .
13:14 Aug 01, 2022

Congrats on the win! I like how you kept it short and used detail description!

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Suma Jayachandar
13:34 Aug 01, 2022

Thank you for your kind words.

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Lily Finch
18:50 Jul 31, 2022

A great story of hard truths of romance! Congratulations on the win! So sad to have found love only to lose it to ill timing in the partition of India.

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Suma Jayachandar
02:10 Aug 01, 2022

Thank you so much for your kind words.

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Sally Altass
14:50 Jul 31, 2022

Oh my. What a beautiful, beautiful story. Congratulations on the win.

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Suma Jayachandar
02:10 Aug 01, 2022

Thank you so much for your kind words.

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Beth Jackson
07:27 Jul 30, 2022

Suma!!!! Congratulations!!!!! Woohoo!!!! You THOROUGHLY deserved this win, I’m so thrilled for you. This piece was utterly stunning, so beautifully written, masterfully done, genuinely a work of art. Congratulations. :-)

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Suma Jayachandar
09:09 Jul 30, 2022

Beth! So good to hear from you. I'm grateful to you for all those encouraging words you showered on my work when I had just started out. Thank you so much for such kind words❤️

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Michael Danyluk
02:47 Jul 30, 2022

I like your writing style. It wasn't too long either.

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Suma Jayachandar
06:33 Jul 30, 2022

Thank you.

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Michael Ov
12:49 Jul 29, 2022

Hi, Suma! Thank you for the point you have choose for the story. Even in this sorroful narrative there is an obvious but still brilliant thought: it's only love, that connects people and everything else leads to misunderstanding and disharmony. Writers must be into the love - you have made it.

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Suma Jayachandar
13:07 Jul 29, 2022

Hi Michael, Thank you for your thoughts on the story. Appreciate it!

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Leon Salem
01:47 Jul 29, 2022

Post le mac ermsaf trajd

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Carol Nelson
10:13 Jul 27, 2022

Powerful imagery in this story, most original first line. Achingly sad yet a tiny seed of hope remained. Well Done,

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Suma Jayachandar
17:28 Jul 27, 2022

Thank you for your kind words.

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