WALK YOURSELF HOME
Lying in her bed, Natalie thinks, “Why?” A dark maroon blanket hugs her velvety fair body as a tear rolls down her soft cheek and dies on her pillow. She thinks, “Even the night has the whole moon for it, even the moon has all these stars for it, even the stars have all these eyes looking at them, even the eyes have all these tears for them, then why do I have no one for me?” Suddenly the mobile under her pillow vibrates and disturbs her thoughts. Wiping away her tears, she grabs the mobile at once as if grabbing a hand she has always longed for. “Hey! You up?” read the message. Her heart skipped a beat as she read the sender’s name. It was from her ex-boyfriend who had left her few months ago. Her tears still fell but now with a dim smile on her face. “Maybe I’m not that alone anyway.” she said to herself. That night she did not sleep because his messages were giving her the peace that even her sleep failed to provide her. Next morning, in her college, she ran to her friends who were walking in the hallway. “Do you guys know what happened last night? Daniel messaged me and we talked all night and I think he just came back into my life.” She said without even caring if she is breathing enough air inside her or not. On hearing this, one of her friends said, “Girl you need to chill because Daniel is dating another girl these days and he even posted a picture with her. He might just be messing around with you last night.” “What?” was the only thing Natalie managed to say as she realized that she was only used as a cigarette last night, to pass time and then thrown away when the need was over. Her whole day at college went by as someone was stabbing her repeatedly in her chest. As soon as she came back home, she broke down. “So what if he played with me again? I have my friends with me. I am not alone. My friends are enough for me to have fun with.” Thinking about her friends, she finally got an idea, “Why not go out with friends for a party? That way I would forget about all this sad stuff too.” Natalie picks her mobile up and types, “Hey girls, let’s go out for a party tomorrow. We don’t have much work from the college so it will be fun.” She puts her mobile back, gets up and starts looking for a dress excitedly. “Uh this one? No, I wore this last time too. The yellow one? Ugh no, that is too tight. Ah maybe this grey…” Ting ting, her mobile starts blowing up after a while. She picks up her mobile and reads, “That’s a good idea but I have to go somewhere tomorrow.” “Oh no Natalie, that is not possible. Some other day maybe.” “Honey, I’m sorry but I’m not feeling well these days.” Were all the replies her friends had for her. She looked at the screen for a long time before a liquid crystal feel on the screen. It was her tear. She did not even realize she was crying. “But I was available for all of you when you guys wanted me. I even missed my classes just so I could be with you when you people needed me. And now when I asked you guys to come with me, you all are busy?” She typed and erased this several times but could not send it to them. “All I have always longed for is someone who would stay with me. Someone who would fight for me. Someone who would care.” She sat on the cold floor and cried her heart out. Cried for her lost hopes, cried for the happiness that turned into sadness too quick, cried for her broken heart. Hearing the sobs, her mother knocked on the door, “Sweetie, are you crying?” “Ummm…no mum, it is the movie I am watching on my laptop right now.” “Oh, okay,” says her mom and gets busy in her house chores again. “Only if you guys actually cared about your daughter.” shouted Natalie’s frustrated mind.
Natalie had lost her older sister, Marilyn, when she was only 15 years old. Marilyn was her best friend and they did everything together but after her death Natalie was left alone. Natalie was 20 years old now but was still trying to fill the void her sister left in her life. She became greedy, not for money, not for other materials but for the most sensitive yet the most dangerous thing-love. Natalie would stick to anyone who would show her a little bit of affection. She was naïve but the world now made her look stupid. The thought of being alone scared her to death. She started needing people who only wanted her. She needed friends to have fun. She needed friends to go to the gym with her. She even needed friends to talk to her teacher for her. She needed friends to survive.
“Maybe I am just overthinking. Maybe my friends are actually busy tomorrow. We will go out together some other day.” She wipes away her tears and laughs at herself for being such a crybaby, “You are such a drama queen. It is not that much of a deal though.” She says so to make herself feel better as she does every time after she gets played so she can hide from the reality. Next day, she sees a poster mounted on a yellow wall in her college. A wave of excitement raises inside her as she reads that her favorite band is going to perform in her area. Without thinking, she books her tickets. She contacts her friends to let them know about the concert but the only thing she gets is, well, another heartbreak because her friends refused saying that they have assignments to complete. Natalie now looks at her ticket and thinks of throwing it away, in fact throwing her whole existence away because she feels so worthless. “I have missed so many good opportunities just because my friends refused to join me and now this concert…this band, my favorite band. No, I cannot miss this. Maybe I should just go alone this time then.” She sighs as if she is about to go on a war against herself.
The concert night came. Natalie got up, pulled out her favorite dress form her cupboard and started dressing up without thinking because she knew she would cancel the plan if she thought any further about it. She leaves for the concert, alone, for the first time in forever but instead of being happy her heartbeat raises as she reaches near. Her hands start sweating. She regrets, regrets leaving her house alone but now no other chance is left with her then to go there alone. She reaches the concert and sits on a bench behind the crowd. She is nervous. She wants to go back. “I cannot enjoy here alone, I need my friends. This is going to be so boring.” But then her ears hear something, something musical, something happy. “Oh my God, it is my favorite singer’s voice.” Few moments pass and Natalie realizes that she is no more sitting on the bench, her hands are in the air moving from side to side and her feet are tapping on the dance floor in a rhythm, she is dancing with the crowd. “Is it really happening?” she thinks to herself. “I am having fun all by myself.” “Wohooo” she chants loudly along with the crowd as she lives her best moment.
The concert ends and she goes back home. She could not stop smiling thinking about her night out alone. Her cheekbones hurt from laughing all the time with other people. Natalie comes back home. Something feels different. Like a heavy load has been lifted off her chest. “I did it. I won tonight.” She could not wait to post her picture so she opens her mobile when she sees a picture of her friends partying without her. Her heart tears a little bit. “So this is the assignment they had to complete.” She could feel her chest tightening a little. “Not today, I don’t need anyone for my happiness. I do not need anyone for having fun. It has always been inside me. My peace, my happiness. I wish I had not wasted these many tears on these people.” She felt like a warrior. “I am enough for me. I do not need anyone or anything. My heart had my happiness in it since the beginning.”
She lays down on her bed, scrolls past her friend’s picture when she reads a quote, “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” “True that”, she says as a final tear caresses her cheek. She smiles bright. “True” she repeats as she closes her eyes and falls asleep.
Written by: MARIUM RUBAB ZEHRA