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‘Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick…’ went the clock in the most nonchalant way as it did eternally. But it did bother Kelley*, for she was at once nervous and excited. Excited because she was to attend the party tonight after
a long, long while! She was more than happy to receive the invite. Life had ceased to be a celebration for her,
off late. She was not the one to give up however… For she was the warrior not just for the sake of her name but at heart too.
The other half however was shaky and was mired in doubts. It kept her on the edge. Will they accept me with this look? How will I face the curious eyes? Can I shield myself from the unspoken words and heavy sighs? These and many such vexing thoughts swarmed her mind.
“Keep yourself engaged Kelley”, she reprimanded herself every time the bothering thoughts drained her energy. “Be engaged” was made the anthem for the day and soon she was busy figuring out the best dress to wear. Her eyes laid on to the little black dress. Fortunately,
it fitted her well even today. “Accessories, where are you?”, she chirped. It was a sure sign that she was returning to her elements. When she could not find the gold chain with a heart shaped Swarovski Crystal, she raked up her memory.
“Gotcha”, she said in exuberance when she realised that she had packed away all jewellery in the suitcase kept overhead the wardrobe. The suitcase was brought down with much efforts but she was not complaining. “Time to step in to my life again, sweeties!”, she remarked as she opened the suitcase and held the red velvet jewellery box in her hand. A tear tried to cross the brim of her eye, but the sparkle of the necklaces, rings and bracelets held it back!
‘Tick-tock, tick-tock…’ sounded the clock. “Oh yes, Mr Time, I know, I know…Don’t pester me. I will be getting ready in jiffy! Stop nudging me. I will reach in time!”, murmured she while closing up the jewellery box. The Sun by now had reached the western horizon but seemed to have lingered on, just to have a good look at Kelley! This cogitation gave Kelley a tongue in cheek, as she stepped out of her home. She headed to the garage. Standing next to the scooter, she made herself feel at ease.
“I trust you and believe in myself. So, do you, don’t you?”, with this reassuring monologue, she took the scooter out, adjusted her helmet and was seen on the drive way and then on to the main road. As she drove past the neighbourhood, she spotted birds returning to the
nests on the trees in the community garden. The school, where she worked as a primary teacher earlier, had a deserted look courtesy the Christmas vacations. Now she was about to enter the busy street. A heart beat skipped, but the flow of the traffic did not give her chance to stop. Good riddance, she thought!
The red of the signal however made her put the brakes, both to her thoughts and to her scooter. The glinting billboard advertisement
caught her attention. It was rolling out the advertisement of baby food. She wished to take her eyes off it but the cherubic, chubby face on the billboard held her captive. This time she could not hold back her tears. She got the lump in the throat. The green of the signal failed to catch her attention. She froze on the spot, in the middle of the road with a gaze fixed on the baby. The baby soon vanished
from the display, bringing her back to present.
The traffic policeman was standing beside her. He looked concerned. Kelly looked at him little lost and without realising turned back. The curious motorists stuck up behind her had just one request in their eyes… “Move on”! ‘Oh, there’s a traffic jam and everyone is held up because of me’. Flash of this thought made her quickly apologise the traffic police man and she steered ahead. Getting hold of the situation, she looked around and knew that she was almost there.
She found the place to park the scooter at a stone’s throw from Brad’s house. Brad was her assistant teacher in the school. They both made a good team. It was here that her colleagues from the school had arranged a pre-Christmas party. As she rang the doorbell, she grew little leery. She could not hear any hustle and bustle nor could see any light emerging from the windows. ‘Are you sure the party is today? Have you read the invite carefully?’, doubt ridden, she questioned herself.
Long before, Brad opened the door and had a wry smile on his face. He seemed to be holding his right hand back. She was perplexed. “Oh gosh, Brad, sorry I goofed up. I think…”. Before she could complete and contemplate, all the lights were turned on. The loud outburst
of claps and cheers were herd for long. The shower of petals startled her. As she looked up in amazement, she sensed a tap on her shoulders. It was Brad again. Raising his eyebrows in most animated way, he brought his right hand forward.
“Welcome back to life Teacher Kelley!” said Brad offering her a rose.
Tears rolled down her cheeks steadily, draining out the painful memories of losing Keith, her husband and her unborn baby. They had met with a horrific accident on their way to the hospital for the final check-up. She had to undergo multiple brain surgeries to regain control of self. Left side of her face was marred with umpteen stitching marks. The mop on the head had started resurfacing recently. For the first time after the dreadful incident, she had ventured out of the confines of her house.
As she settled and the party grew warmer, she reflected to self… “Life goes on. Enjoy till it lasts!”
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All pictures courtesy Pixabay
*Kelley means Warrior
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers
Prompt was to write a story using the words Traffic Jam – Billboard – Suitcase – Rose – Clock – Baby – Celebration – Teacher