Krishna grabbed Sayyam’s hand in shock and Sayyam stiffened. “What do you mean, lung cancer?!” he almost shouted, “She’s ten years old, only TEN YEARS OLD!!” he took a deep breath, “you must be mistaken, she’s just tired, she’s not sick, she does not have…” he swallowed thickly, knowing that he was just avoiding the truth. A lone tear rolled down Krishna’s cheek.
“When was it discovered? Does…does she know?” Krishna looked up.
“She started showing symptoms 6 months ago, but she was still too young for treatment at the time…she’s a smart girl, she found out from the reports, she handled it quite well though.” The girl’s expression softened, “I’m sorry you both had to find out this way”.
Krishna turned her head to look at Sayyam, but he was motionless. “Shall we go tell her we’re leaving?” she coaxed.
Sayyam turned away. The volunteer, sensing that she was not needed anymore, quietly left. “I can’t face her” his voice cracked. ‘I can’t say goodbye now, not when I left her at the time she needed me the most”. Krishna wiped the tears off her cheeks, deciding Sayyam needed to be alone for some time.
She had only known Anjali for short time, visiting her whenever she could before college started, and Anjali was such a sweet girl…she took slow steps back into the room.
“Anjali, why didn’t you tell us?” Krishna whispered when she reached Anjali, tucking a few loose strands of the girl’s hair behind her ear.
“Tell you what, didi,” Anjali said hesitantly, her smile fading slightly.
“Oh, Anjali…” Krishna bent down and hugged her, a few tears springing to her eyes. When she leaned away, she saw that Anjali’s eyes were glistening, “everything will be okay; you’re a strong girl.”
Anjali frowned, as if she’d just realized something, “where is Sayyam bhaiya? Is he angry with me? I shouldn’t have lied to him.”
Krishna smiled at the girl’s innocence, “He’s not angry Anjali, he loves you a lot, you know? He’ll be back soon, he just feels guilty…he won’t be able to stay away from you for long.” Anjali smiled through her tears and the duo sat in the silence for a short while. Krishna glanced at her watch, realizing it had been one hour since she had left the house.
“Anjali, me and Sayyam bhaiya need to go home,” she smiled weakly; it broke her heart to leave Anjali like this.
She hugged Anjali and held on to her for some time, before reluctantly letting go and laying the girl back down on the bed. Krishna kissed her forehead and walked out, but not before glancing at her and letting out a soft sigh.
Sayyam mindlessly walked through the hallways of the orphanage and out the front door. He sauntered over to his bike, took his helmet and was about to put it on, when he went into a fit of rage and threw the helmet to the ground, screaming in agony. The helmet rolled a short distance and fell at Krishna’s feet, but Sayyam did not acknowledge her presence, and sat down on the ground next to his bike, hugging his knees to his chest and rocking back and forth. Krishna knelt next to him.
“Sayyam, Listen-” she tried to calm him down, gently patting his back.
“What did she ever do?” Sayyam took a sharp intake of breath, “She doesn’t deserve this; that should be me!” he held back a sob, his body shaking with pent up sadness and frustration. “I should be the one on that bed…” he abruptly turned, clutched Krishna, and pulled her to him, resting his head in the crook of her neck. “I’m a horrible person…I left her alone…I’m a horrible person.” Sayyam pulled her closer, tears had started falling from his eyes.
Krishna froze. Normally, if this was Yuvaan, she would’ve found a way to escape this proximity- she would’ve made an excuse; but this was Sayyam, and he was different. He was worth it. She felt like this was right; she felt like his hand belonged on her waist, his head on her shoulder.
It was then that Krishna realized how much Sayyam meant to her. In her black and white world, he was the color. Ever since she had met him, he had undeniably added so many different shades, hues, and tints to her otherwise monochrome life.
She was so used to his cold demeanor and stern looks, that when tears started to fall from his eyes and onto her sleeve, she was alarmed. He was broken beyond repair, she realized, slowly wiping the tears off his face. She placed her hand on his back and tried to soothe him.
“You have to be strong for her. She looks up to you for guidance; you’ve always been her Sayyam bhaiya,” she desperately tried to comfort him, “she’s your princess, right?” she said as a last resort, quoting what Sayyam had said to Anjali inside the room.
Sayyam’s head snapped up, realizing she had been listening to his light-hearted conversation with Anjali. He pushed her away, a scowl on his face. This was the first time he had been weak in front of anybody- not even in front of Suhani had he ever broken down like this. He had completely and irretrievably broken the promise he’d made to himself when he was a kid- to never show his weakness to anybody. Today he’d disappointed himself.
“You will forget everything that just happened”, his voice was raw, filled with shards of pain. “Don’t talk to me either; I don’t want your sympathy” He stood up and walked over to his helmet, roughly picking it up and pulling it onto his head.
“Listen to me,” Krishna pleaded, not wanting Sayyam to misunderstand her.
“Why?” Sayyam’s voice was strained, “why should I listen to you?”
“I’m your friend-” Krishna tried to make him understand.
“Friend?” Sayyam laughed harshly, “We are not friends, I don’t have friends” Sayyam emphasized. “Whatever I have done for you or have ever said to you was just out of humanity. You mean nothing to me.”
“Just stop!” Sayyam roared, “Why don’t you understand? If you made the mistake of thinking that I’m your friend, then you’re blo*dy wrong! I don’t give a damn for you,” Sayyam yelled in anger, not realizing the impact of his words. He mounted his bike and revved the engine. Krishna was frozen with shock. He gave her a last look, his eyes bloodshot, and sped away, not turning back again.
Krishna stood where she was, unable to move for a moment as everything came rushing back at her. Now she remembered where she’d seen those eyes. Sayyam had the same auburn brown eyes she’d seen in her dream.
What was going on?
I’m gonna stay where I am for a second while you guys load your guns..hehe…
Sayyam reached his breaking point and he’s set up those defenses around himself again…this is where the road gets rocky! Strap in your seatbelts and get ready for the ride 😉
Thanks for reading!
Love you guys!
– Shreya <3