I always wished I was like her. Everything was perfect about her. She slays every color she dyes for her hair. While, I go with my natural color, black. Her body proportion was an inverted triangle, while I am more into the rectangular side. The pouty plump lips suit her very much rather than the straight lips that I have. I always loved her amber-green eyes, which mesmerized anyone in my school. She wore contacts while I wore spectacles that were big enough to hide my entire face. She wore crop tops, while I wore baggy sweatshirts to hide my fat belly. I envied her precious laugh, which always brought a smile to others.
She excelled in everything while I was trying to get average marks. She was a teacher's pet and mingled with anyone easily. My introverted self could never bring that to myself like that. I was someone who loved silence while she loved loud music in the clubs. I always felt the urge to protect her from all those hungry eyes of men in the bars. But I would watch her from a distance while sipping my glass of water without being bothered by the bartender who gave weird looks.
I controlled myself from following her every day to her house to see that she reached safely. I didn't want her to file a complaint against me and label me as a 'Stalker.' I am anything but that.
I knew what my heart wanted, and it ached to be like her. And so, I followed what my heart said. I enrolled in the dance class that she had been practicing. I got into pottery class along with her. I spent most of my time in awe of her elegance and the confidence that she held.
I did spend more money on extracurricular activities, which I lacked. I got my ankles sprained on the second day of my ballet class. No one bothered about me but her. I saw how her dragon eyes widened when she heard me groan from the pain. I remembered her running towards me and touching my ankle where I had hurt. Her melodious voice of concern was like a lullaby to me. I wondered how a person's voice could be this sweet, like honey.
I never expected the school's popular girl to talk to me. And especially befriend me. I wished to capture the eyes of people around us who were shocked and looked like their eyeballs were about to pop out. And the school's nerd and the school's star became friends. Though we became friends, being introverted, I never initiated a conversation. I always found her long and thick legs waiting in the corridor for me after every class. We walked to the same old cafe to get our two cups of hot chocolate. I never had the guts to confess to her about my dislike of that drink.
Times when I hesitated to follow her to her house changed quickly. I walked her home after our little fun exploring the city. Our little cafe stops extended to dinner at restaurants. I danced with her in the club instead of sitting in the corner and admiring her moves. I learned to dance with her help and made myself less embarrassed in front of the crowd. She never failed to take the attention on the dance floor. Her carefree laughter echoing inside the club, her pink dyed hair dancing to the rhythm of the music, and her thick legs tapping on the floor were elegant. Though she reeked of sweat, she shined beautifully amongst the crowd.
We were inseparable in high school. We sat together during lunch break and discussed several matters. Of course, some people tried to steal her from me, but she was home at the end of the day. And her safety home was me. I improved in my academics with her help. We often did night study at my house and ended up continuous singing and dancing. My parents always gave her snacks, and she loved having dinner at my home. I brought her more home-cooked food and loved how she munched on it. But I have never told her that I cooked it.
Time did run fast. We both graduated from high school, and like thin air, she disappeared. I never got a chance to meet her after our graduation day. I thought she had gone on vacation and would return soon. But my hope was shattered when I got no news from her. I enrolled in the college that we both had discussed joining together. And I ended up disappointed to find my classroom without her. She was never there, nor anywhere in the city. The little spark in my life got seized away like it never existed. But the confidence she had taught me during our high school years helped me to find friends. I concentrated on my studies and went out on weekends with my classmates.
I found myself sitting in the same old cafe and drinking hot chocolate while looking at the door. Deep inside, my heart hoped that my friend would be here. Silly me! What else did I expect? I never knew where her house was, nor saw her family. She was a big talker but dumb if it was about her personal life. I knew she liked me because I never pushed her or pressured her. I was aware that she would share if she were comfortable. So, I never showed interest in her personal life. And I realized it was a big mistake. My college years ticked off quickly, and I landed a good job.
She often told me I was a good listener. That's because I never liked to speak much. But I was convinced by her statement. She was right. I loved listening to her singing and rambling about certain things. I never liked to disturb her by interfering while she spoke something excitedly. And I guess that influenced me to take the job as a Psychologist. My life decisions always revolved around her thoughts about me. I loved how people who come to seek guidance from me leave with a happy faces. And I longed to see that one happy face for once in my lifetime.
But I never expected to see her in this situation. I could feel my body badly shaking while I took every step toward her. I hated how the bars were separating me from hugging her. Never in my life did I expect to meet her. I knew I longed for this moment but never wanted it to be like this. And especially, I didn't want her to meet in prison.
It was not unusual for me to visit people in prison to take a case study. I get requests from high-order officials to give therapy to some criminals who were in mental disorders. I talk with them and try to bring them back to life. I have written several case studies and submitted the files to the officers regarding their mental and emotional health. But I wished I had not accepted this offer. I didn't know if this should be a blessing or a curse.
It's a blessing since I got to see my old friend. But it's a curse to see her in this position.
I carefully sat on the chair that was opposite to her. I gulped hard while looking at her figure. She was not exactly how I saw her in the past. Her face was dull with no shine. Those amber-green eyes which held the aura were no more. Her plump lips were chapped and dry. Her flawless skin was with scratches and bruises. She was wearing an oversized blue shirt and pant, which was dirty. I was sure that she was lean by seeing her thin wrist. Her fingernails were no longer clean, and I noted that she had developed a habit of biting her nails. Her thicker legs were slimmer, and it was shaking anxiously. Finally, I looked at her face to find her looking everywhere but not me.
I felt my fingers sweating, and the pen in my hand was sliding away. I forced myself to concentrate on taking notes, but I couldn't by looking at the blurred words. I blinked several times to find the paper on my lap filled with water drops. I looked up at the ceiling only to see the fan slowly rotating. I was confused, and soon, I realized it was my tears. I reached my face to wipe the tears that were cascading my cheeks. I bit my lips which were quivering lightly and controlled myself from crying. I took a few deep breaths before proceeding further.
My old friend was busy tilting her head around and looking at the surroundings. I cleared my throat to gain her attention, but it was a failure since she didn't look at me for once. As I was about to introduce myself, my eyes widened in surprise when I heard her voice.
"Long time, no see." I looked at her shockingly to find her smiling at me by showing her half-broken teeth. Should I be happy that she recognized me, or was she playing tricks on me?
"Y-You remember me?" I cursed myself for stuttering. But I was proud of myself for not breaking down in front of her. If there were no bars, I would run to her and give her a big teddy bear hug and let my emotions break. Thankfully, I was not because there were cameras everywhere.
"How can I not, my dear old friend?" I winced at the word ' Old friend.' I hated how it sounded from her plump lips. That honey-dripped voice was hoarse and bad. For the first time, when our eyes met, I felt those amber-green eyes were soulless. It held no emotions, no feeling and none at all.
"W-Wha-H-Ho- W-Why? I am sorry. Give me a minute!" I regained myself after taking deep breaths. I was happy that she remembered me, but at the same time, I needed to know why she was here in the first place.
I came out of my thoughts when I heard her loud laughter. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion to find her holding her stomach and laughing loudly.
"I am happy that I got a chance to see you. I know you have questions lingering in your mind, but you are confused about where to start. Let me be your guest and save you time."
And who was I to deny that request? I don't think I could ever form a sentence by seeing her in this situation. I was thankful for her, and an unknown smile played over my lips while nodding.
"I was famous in high school, and people labelled me the 'Popular' girl. I was aware of girls and boys going crazy for me and envious of me. But let me tell you a secret."
I gulped hard when she pointed her index finger at me, signalling me to move forward. I leaned my head towards her a little to find her bringing her lips towards the bar.
"I never liked it in the first place. Being popular was not pride or something to be shown off. I was not a big fan of that. But I couldn't tell each one to stop their imaginations. Everyone admired me, and I knew you were one in that crowd too."
I found a blush creeping on my cheeks. But I tried to mask it with a monotonous face and scribbled something on the notepad.
"They made several assumptions about me, but little did they know about me. When people were jealous of me, I was envious of you."
"M-Me?" I gasped in shock to hear it from her. The popular girl in high school was jealous of a nerd who never had friends. I couldn't believe it, but her eyes showed sincerity.
"Yes, you. I know you underestimate yourself. But I wished I lived your life. I wished I had your parents and dreamt I could be like you."
"L-Like me? I-I don't understand. I am no one."
"Exactly. You are no one but yourself, while I am everyone's dream body and dream girl. Do you think I enjoyed getting the attention? Heck, no. I wished people would leave me alone. I wanted to be myself, but I couldn't because of the pressure in our school.
I joined ballet classes, though I cried to sleep because of the pain in my legs and heart. I didn't have parents like you who cooked or cared for me. I dreamt I could shift my life with you and live a happy life. My parents were divorced, and they were married to different people. They weren't there for me when I needed them the most.
I always admired your silence and how you make yourself a little space in any room. Taking up the centre space was never a good idea. I have felt the urge to explain to you about my personal life and wanted to cry it out. But I was afraid of you leaving me after knowing my truth.
People loved me because I was carefree and cheerful, but I was anything but that. I was walking on the glass with every step I took. No one wanted to understand me but you. I knew that you were someone whom I could trust. I wanted to join you in the college as we planned. But everything went downhill when my parents denied it. I never liked to argue, but it made me furious to hear them rejecting my only option to be with you. To be with someone who cares for me.
All the frustrations that were pended up in my mind burst out. I killed them with the knife placed on the table to cut the steak. That was the costliest steak I have ever tasted in my life. Lots of emotions were running through my mind, and I failed to realize that my family were in a restaurant.
People called the cops, the judge called me guilty, and doctors called me crazy. Yes, I do agree with that. I am a crazy girl who was longing for something which you had. You might not understand me, but I do. I loved every moment that I spent with you and your family. I have tasted the delicious foods only in your house.
I know this is not how I imagined my life to be. But looking at you all successful makes me happy. I owe you a big apology for leaving you alone in this. Trust me when I say. I wanted to escape this torture but only to get caught by the guards. I know nothing is wrong with me except for the fact that, I murdered my parents.
But should I even address them as such when they never liked me?"
I jumped a little on the seat when the door on her side opened with two guards walking inside.
"Mam, your time is up!" I saw her getting up from the chair and the guards cuffing her hands. I felt my heart ache at the sight of her in handcuffs. I looked at her achingly when she walked to the door and stopped before looking at me over her shoulders.
"Goodbye, my dear old friend. I hope you visit me more than once."
I tightened the grip on the pen in my hand and felt my knuckles turning white. I licked my dry lips and left a heavy breath which I didn't know I was holding. I was sitting there numbly without moving an inch.
My eyes traced over the closed door where she had left. I could still feel that longing in her eyes and the regret for her actions. I longed to be her, only to realize that she had an abnormal life. I thought she was happy, but she was anything but that.
Yes, I tried to be like her in the past, but not anymore. Now that I look at my life, I am happy with where I am.
I softly gasped when I heard my phone ringing. I reached for my phone in the pocket only to smile at seeing the caller id.
"Honey, where are you? I don't want to reheat your food once again tonight. It's bad for health, and you know it." An unknown smile played over my lips after hearing the concerned voice. I slowly got up from the chair and let myself out of the door before answering the call.
"I am coming home, mom."
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