Just the beginning of my new journey writing short stories.
Her phone kept ringing relentlessly. She only got four hours of sleep, after a long night of drinking with her friends. Nevertheless she struggled to find out who this selfish caller was. Squintingly, she saw Mom, Sis. “Aw shit, not again !” she thought to herself. She had been avoiding them for two weeks and now it seemed like they had unwillingly developed a dialling addiction.
She regretfully picked up the phone and mustered a broken and gruff, “Hhe-llo”. It seemed like the call had already begun, and everyone was in the middle of a heated conversation. Her mother was aggressively narrating how her grandmother was being completely selfish and stubborn.
She knew exactly how these calls went. Since she was 24, she had been perfecting her routine: Keep quiet, listen, keep quiet, listen. That was precisely what she was planning to do. She knew at some point, blame would shift towards her, and her mother would say, “this girl is utterly useless ! No matter how many times I tell her about the opportunity, she is stubborn and selfish. All my attempts are futile. Even she wants to go her own way.” All she could do at that point was to keep quiet and listen. She had learnt the hard way that sticking up for herself would not yield any good. In turn if she managed to shield herself in anyway, her mother would retaliate by throwing jabs at her insecurities with more fervour.
Eventually, her foresight would prove her right. Her mother indeed brought up her missed opportunity and made her the target of her vicious attack.
Her autistic twin sister, Ally was on the same call as well. She was the only person who could remotely understand her. She used to hate the fact that her character was assassinated in front of Ally. However with time she grew numb to it. They had an absent father growing up, and she took it upon himself to bring her sister up. She always expected Ally to miraculously support her during these infamous calls, but all she could be was a mere spectator. As she listened to the ghastly charges and accusations made against her, she contemplated for one last time, “Did I really have a choice and was it really an opportunity?”
Author: Siddharth Bala