Wordsmith of the month: Pooja Salvi

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 In this touching short story, young wordsmith Pooja Salvi writes about the memories of ‘daddy’s litlle girl’.

Memories longed for

The transparent raindrops poured down glistening in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird dived from the branch it was perched on and landed gracefully on the one that was its dearest. Taking my right hand out of my pocket, I waited for the cold water to touch the once warm skin and make it numb. The monotonous pitter-patter replaced the once cheerful atmosphere that existed in the park. The sky that kept itself sunny and gay during the last three months of summer was unbelievably tempestuous. Monsoon had finally arrived.

The playground which brimmed with excitement for the last seventeen years, stood emotionless in that dark wet night. I stood there, waiting. Waiting for the childhood memories to call me and sweep me off my feet, waiting to relive them, to make me laugh again.

And they finally called for me.

Heaving a deep breath, I stepped on the concrete pavement and was transported to the very first time I visited this place with him.

I walked and walked until I reached our favorite spot. The swing attracted me toward it with the same intensity as it had previously. Taking hold of his hand, I had pulled him lethargically toward the attraction.

“Papa, I want you to swing me,” I vividly recollect him smiling and taking me up in his arms. As he placed me on the swing, my small hands clutched the chain, awaiting the push. He nudged me a little as the warm wind stroked my face. While I giggled, I could sense him smiling.

Our next stop would always be the fountain that stood at the center of the playground. The pouring of the water from the magnificent lion’s mouth was a magical treat to my naïve eyes.

I trudged along the pavement looking around, trying to relive every memory I had of being here with him. Reminiscences of every time I giggled when he pushed me higher on the swing. Reminiscences of running around gleefully for no reason that sadly ended in me falling on the concrete. Memories of the tears I cried when I fell.

As I stood there silently, aimlessly anticipating for him to come and catch hold of my hand and lead me home, I was hit by another bitter memory. They had taken away his numb, cold body to the crematory. It lay there in the darkly serene atmosphere that hung over it. As a tear trickled down my cheek, it dawned on me that he wasn’t coming.

I ran toward the exit and immediately understood that coming here wasn’t a wise decision. Stopping at the gate, I turned back and had an unsettling feeling that he was watching me. There flashed an image of a much happier version of myself in front of my eyes.

And that girl will always be happy for she has him and not mere memories.

That touch, that hug, that peck on the cheek and that love; it will always be longed for.

I sighed and walked back to my house. The mourning was over but the filthy silence entangled the atmosphere. I dragged myself to my bedroom where I would no more enjoy any bed-time stories. I stared at the moon hoping that he was watching me. And somehow, I felt him by my side sitting on my bed catching the tear that fell from my left eye.

 – Pooja Salvi

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