Dechen's Guilt

Dechen swayed her hair in sideways. Her eyes sparkled beneath the shiny golden fringes. The lone dimple marked over few curves of her face. The gentle breeze kissed her crimson lips as she sat on the bus that was moving. The chilly weather has reached its peak. She shudders with cold as a man who seats next to her gives her an occasional gaze.

At a time rendezvous, she was lost. She thought of the sun and how it sparkled so vast in its limitless power. The rays shone over her silky hair, she kept thinking what a world would be without it. She thought of the birds chirping and lit of the sun as the bus meandered through wavy roads in the woods. She kept thinking on the fission reaction of atoms and the dreadful temperature in the core of the sun. Her face, now woebegone as she overheard a young girl cry. What made her cry? The roars of tractor that came opposite way, two men driving it – one with muscular hinge of audacity shouting “Long live our beloved king”, the other with mere mimic, sucking up all the air he could as they drove off.

She was brought out of the reverie by a sudden shout of pain. The chilly Thimphu’s weather made her wear a muffler. The safety pin she locked in it untangled pricking the guy next to her making him shout in desperate pain.

“I am so sorry”, she mumbled. She couldn’t put herself in position to be normal. Her feeling exasperated with dizziness of unending bumps of the bus ride. She couldn’t say anything more. The guy looked up to her in wry smile. She couldn’t, but sway her head sideways hiding her predicament. She wasn’t sure if he cared much. But in deep inside; she was sorry. The monotonous journey went on as she pulled her muffler from her neck to put it in her bag. She plugged the earphones in her ear playing her all-time favorite list of music.

It never really occurred to her, in her previous travels that a guy sitting next to her; someone of his physique and specimen couldn’t talk on such a long journey. She was by far a very timid girl to start any conversation with.  Someone although admired by many is a girl who kept mostly to herself albeit some rare occasions. She didn’t bother to say hi for the past few hours. Notwithstanding the fact that the guy didn’t respond to her desperate sorry call.

Finally she blurted out. “Where you headed?” The guy looked away in a manner of despise and displeasure. He looked out of the glass dismissing her conversation. He was near choking. She scoffed and asked again, “Are you okay?” He didn’t say a word still looking as far away in the mountains as he could. She didn’t care to bother him then. She never thought she could come across someone so rude as to not give an answer to few simplistic questions of life. Maybe it was her fault asking him. She thought.

As the bus meandered through endless turns of roadways through the mountainous terrains, she could see the span of huge virgin forests. She saw endless mountains and rivers flowing as she passes valley by valley nearing her destination. She kept all for herself knowing her seat partner isn’t up for a conversation. She didn’t mind. She had worst experiences before.

Just as she was about to switch her plays to the Flyleaf, she felt the touch on her shoulder. She felt disgusted. She was shocked to know that someone who didn’t even care to reply for her sorry now touched her.  She couldn’t take it. She was infuriated and out of her rage she shouted on top on her voice, “How dare you touch me”. Everyone in the bus eyed at the guy. He was reluctantly smiling and handing her a handful of chewing gums. He didn’t realize the scene just as yet. Until when she shouted further saying she doesn’t want to eat the stupid chewing gums.

He was still smiling. But in a short stance he realized the trajectory. He folded his hands back and put his chewing gums in his pocket. He didn’t say a word. Neither did she. 

It wasn’t until dusk when they reached their destination that she was guilt struck. As they got out of the bus, an elderly woman came up to receive the guy. She hugged him tight and asked him if everything was okay. He nods twice as he did in the bus. And she overheard the lady say, “Your father would have been so proud if he was alive. You made your first journey despite your disability. I am proud of you even though you can’t hear or speak”. She cries telling him how worried she was.

Dechen was awestruck. She didn’t know what to do. As she garnered her sense of what she did in the bus, she rushed towards them only to see them ride off in a cab. Questions rushed in her mind. ‘Why was he traveling alone? Was he mute from the birth? What made him face this fate? Did I do something wrong?’ all unanswered. She was guilt ridden, and prayed on seeing him one more time.



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