Q.L.C. is proud to present a heart-warming and sensitive story about love, longing and companionship.
N.Sai. Hari Priya
“This is Patricia speaking, from the premises of The Alder Wedding Hall, which is experiencing the first ever love marriage in the city…” The news droned on about how the city’s first ever love marriage was taking place.
“Good heavens! How can people behave this way?” Ella’s mother exclaimed as she watched the news. She said again, another case of love marriage! Atrocious! Did her parents not teach her anything about right and wrong in society?” Ella could not help but replay in her mind, the words her mother had just exclaimed – Love- Atrocious.
Was loving someone atrocious? Was it very wrong? Ella did not think so. Well, not since the past few weeks. The past few weeks… they had been good. They had been fun, enjoyable, thrilling, and adventurous. Ella never knew that she had a hidden adventurer in her. She had always considered cocooning herself in bed sheets and reading pages after pages of novels as the best idea for fun. She wasn’t right, she wasn’t wrong either. The thoughts of all the memories she made in the past few weeks made her smile widely. She had gone to the cinema, made a ruckus by accidentally creating a shower of popcorn, got kicked out of the cinema hall, headed to the city mall, played with Nerf guns, painted many canvases, played a water fight and enjoyed food from Barbecue Nation. All in all, she really had fun, all thanks to her neighbour.
Her neighbour… was a very friendly person in early twenties with short hair which looked chocolate brown under the sunlight, but dark black when not under the sun. Those hazel eyes could make anyone melt.
The land line beeped, indicating a call. Ella realized that it was her father. He wanted to speak to her mother. Ella’s mother answered the call and by the end of the call, she was quite ecstatic. Ella’s father, got promoted and he couldn’t wait to tell the news to Ella and her mother. Ella felt very happy and her mother was beaming with joy.
Later that evening, when Ella’s father returned home, he decided to treat his wife to a nice dinner in a restaurant. The couple left Ella at their trustworthy neighbour’s place and thanked for being kind enough to take care of their daughter.
Their neighbour, being the humble person, waved it off like it was nothing.
Ella sat on the couch of her neighbour’s living room and started surfing the channels on the television, when she heard her neighbour talking on the phone. She went about the house and noticed a photograph encased in a beautiful frame, hanging on the wall. It was a family of three out of which she recognized her neighbour. The other two must be her parents.
“There are my uncle and aunt. They are very close to me- in fact closer to me than my own parents,” her neighbour replied as if they were reading Ella’s thoughts. Ella’s was puzzled. What about the neighbour’s parents? Where were they? The neighbour recognized the questioning look on Ella’s face. “My parents left me because I am different.”
Ella understood what her neighbour meant by different. Though they may not be the same type of different, Ella could understand where her neighbour was coming from. Just then, a realization hit Ella like a ton of bricks. Her neighbour was different, and so was she. Would her parents leave her like that too? She prayed that they wouldn’t. Ella heaved a sigh, looking at the portrait once again and then headed towards the couch where she plopped down.
“Cheese?” her neighbour’s voice rung all the way from the kitchen but Ella was still dazed. “I meant cheese topping or not, silly,” her neighbour chuckled, which made Ella blush. “Yeah, cheese is fine,” Ella replied, understanding that her neighbour was ordering pizza for the both of them.
Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang and Ella’s neighbour went to receive the pizza boxes they had ordered. For the next hour, Ella and her neighbour spent their time watching re-runs of funny sit-coms and eating their pizzas. They then spent their time solving the Sudoku puzzle in the newspaper, and finally ended up doodling in an empty book.
Ella’s mind had enough distraction for most of the day, but, as she sat in silence doodling into the pages of her neighbour’s used book, she couldn’t help but think of her mother’s words – love, atrocious, and she also couldn’t help but think of all the times she spent with her neighbour. All those moments of sweet bonding between them; it was love. It obviously was. Ella did not know how she came to that conclusion, but she realized that she had concluded right. She was in love with her neighbour.
Ella blushed at the thought. She shook her head and giggled, which caught the attention of her neighbour, who looked at Ella, with an eyebrow raised. “What was that?” Ella giggled again, “Nothing.”
Her neighbour had a mischievous look in their eye. “Now, now, Ella. I know that there is something going on in that pretty little head of yours. Tell me what is it?”Pretty little head, Ella repeated the words in her head and blushed again, which led her to giggle again. Her neighbour was now amused, for Ella had never been so giggly before. In amusement, her neighbour also blushed.
Ella just stared at her neighbour, who was now very bashful. Ella’s thoughts were racing and only one thing seemed to be clear to her- Goodness, I love you so much! And if it weren’t for her neighbour looking at her with their eyes wide, lips slightly parted, and a shocked expression on their face, Ella wouldn’t have realized that she had accidentally said it out loud.
Ella’s face started burning up in embarrassment and tears rolled down from her eyes. Her neighbour asked in a sombre voice, “Do you mean it?”
Ella blushed through her tears. She wiped them off with the back of her hand and nodded at her neighbour. Ella meant it, she really did.
Her neighbour’s shocked look had turned into a serious one when they asked if Ella really meant it. When Ella nodded yes, that very expression changed into one of relief and happiness. Ella was confused. She didn’t understand why her neighbour was happy.
Ella’s neighbour understood the look on her face and said, “Remember when I said I was told to leave my house just because I was different? Well, my parents could not accept the fact that I like women and not men. Now, nothing really matters because I, I love you too, Ella. I have loved you for a while, and will love you forever.”
If Ella was to be asked what the sweetest thing she had heard in her entire life, she would say that this monologue by her neighbour was the one, without missing a beat. Ella then remembered her mother’s words from that very morning- Love-Atrocious. She then decided that such love was not atrocious. Not when one falls in love with a person like Ella’s neighbour.
Three hours later, when it was almost midnight, Ella’s parents came to pick her up. They noticed a slight change in her. She was beaming with joy and looked like a ball of energy for the first time in months. Her parents were happy at Ella’s change. Ella wanted to tell her parents to thank her neighbour for the sudden rush of joy in her life.
She wanted them to thank Jane, her neighbour with short hair which looked chocolate brown under the sunlight, but dark black when not under the sun; her neighbour, Jane, had hazel eyes which could make anyone melt and that smile, oh, that smile which was so beautiful; it could light up anyone’s day. She wanted them to thank Jane, her neighbour, who was now, her Girlfriend.