Threads: A Short Story and Photoseries

 

Threads

Contributor Keya Punja is a second year Liberal Arts student with an interest in photography, writing, and dancing ’til the early hours of the morning.

Translator Mariana Dongo-Soria is a second year History student who loves to write creatively, dance passionately, and dodge pigeons consistently.

The summer breeze blew strong through the wheat making it sing as she walked through the fields back home. She was thinking of nothing important as she ran her hand through the crop; feeling the small golden beads pass through her fingers, their feathery crests caressed her golden skin.  

Her bangles chimed together and she started to hum a familiar tune, one which she would later associate with her adolescence. A song that would remind her of her university days, of the summer nights she would spend with the girls from her hostel. How they would seek refuge on the roof from the rushing heat down below.

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She took her time for these were her favourite days, these long hot days that turned into calm, hazy evenings. The days where her worries were washed away by the rain that preceded the summer. These are the moments which she now recalls from her short life in The Punjab.

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The sun was setting behind her as she made her way through the gate into the garden. Her red salvaar was a ruby set on the golden plate of the sky. For the moment she stood there, she was eternal.

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She walked through the large marble doorway, out of the heat and into the cool surroundings of a home that was no longer hers. Her sisters were there waiting to greet her – but the greeting they gave through gritted teeth was more of a warning than a welcome. The smile that she had been wearing so casually slipped from her face, her eyes all of a sudden dull and full of despair. Just twenty and already her time had run out.

 

She was led through to the sitting room where her parents were waiting, smiles adorned their faces, and pleased nods were exchanged, only their faces were unrecognisable. There he sat beside them, a man who himself had just turned twenty, a man who she was now expected to accept, a man who she must now love with all her heart.

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Their eyes met, and both of them could see the anguish that was planted in their hearts. A seed that would grow into strong and everlasting devotion, but of this they were as of yet unaware. Both of them had entered this house as innocent children, oblivious that they would be leaving as adults.

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She turned and faced her biological parents, as she looked upon her father’s face she did everything that she could to stop herself from crying. The lump in her throat lodged itself so firmly that there she thought it would remain. She did not notice her new life get up and leave, but she felt her old one slipping away all around her. Once such familiar spaces turned blurry and unrecognisable.

The tears that followed were the monsoon come early – they were a relief, nobody could stop them, and yet they did not belong upon her face. Even now in her elder years, she can feel the tears of that time fall heavy onto the smooth and supple skin of her arms.

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Hilos 

La brisa de verano abrió su camino a través del campo de trigo, llevando al sembrado a cantar mientras ella andaba de regreso a casa. Al pasar su mano por el trigo nada pasaba por su mente; las perlas doradas del cultivo rozaron sus dedos, dejando un cosquilleo en sus brazos dorados.

Sus pulseras repicaban entre sí y empezó a murmurar una melodía familiar, aquella que algún día asociaría con su adolescencia. Una canción que le haría recordar sus días universitarios, esas noches de verano que pasaría con las chicas del albergue. Cómo se cobijarían en los techos en busca de refugio del calor apresurado.

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Se tomó todo el tiempo que quiso pues estos eran sus días favoritos, estos largos días calurosos que se convertían en brumosas tardes tranquilas. Los días en que sus preocupaciones las lavaba la lluvia que anticipaba el verano. Estos son los momentos que ahora recuerda de su breve vida en El Punjab.

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El sol se hundía detrás suyo al cruzar la reja hacia el jardín. Su salvaar rojizo era un rubí en medio del dorado atardecer. Por el instante que estuvo ahí, fue eterna.

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Cruzó el gran portal de mármol, dejando atrás el calor y llenándose del fresco entorno de un hogar que ya no era suyo. Adentro sus hermanas la esperaban, listas para recibirla – pero el saludo que recibió apenas lo soltaron dientes apretados, más una advertencia que su esperada bienvenida. La sonrisa que tan casualmente traía abandonó su rostro, su mirada de repente apagada habiendo perdido toda esperanza. Tan solo veinte y ya se le había acabado el tiempo.

 

Fue llevada a la sala de estar donde sus padres la esperaban, sonrisas adornaban sus rostros al intercambiar un saludo placentero, pero sólo sus rostros eran irreconocibles. Al lado de sus padres se sentaba un hombre que también recién cumplía veinte, a quien ahora simplemente debía aceptar, y a quien ahora simplemente debía amar.

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Sus miradas se encontraran, y ambos podían reconocer la angustia plantada en su interior. Era una semilla, que crecería y formaría una fuerte y duradera devoción, pero que aún no conocían. A la casa habían entrado niños igenuos, sin saber que saldrían ya adultos.

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Se giró y miró a sus padres biológicos, y al encontrar el rostro de su padre hizo todo lo que pudo para no llorar. El nudo en su garganta se asentó tan firmemente que ella pensó que ahí permanecería. No notó como su nueva vida se levantaba e iba, pero sí sintió a la anterior esfumarse alrededor suyo. Espacios que alguna vez fueron familiares se tornaron borrosos e irreconocibles.

 

Las lágrimas que siguieron fueron la llegada temprana del monzón – fueron un alivio, nadie las podría detener, mas no pertenecían a su rostro. Incluso ahora en sus años tardíos puede sentir las lágrimas de aquella vez caer fuertemente en la suave y tersa piel de sus brazos.

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