It had taken Neha a lot of courage and convincing to come out. Holi was his favourite festival. But an assurance from her friends that he would not be there was enough to ease her anxiousness eventually. Neha was looking forward to going out and having fun with her friends. She had spent a few months in the relationship with Ravi all alone. She needed to reconnect with her old self. A moment or two of fun, to forget the last few months.
When she had met him for the first time, it was his smile that she noticed. The smile drew her in and kept her there. She was swept off her feet and into a relationship before she could think about what was happening. Ravi was perfect for her, he soul mate in every sense. Ravi was her dreams being manifested in reality. And so she let herself be led to wherever he was going. By the time Neha had realised it was a dark dreary dungeon and not her palace of dreams, it was late.
Neha had let him cut her off from family and friends and had her hooked to him for survival. Until one day Neha realised her she could break free and did. But the fear he managed to instil in her was still there. Eventually, her friends and family helped her overcome that slowly by going out of their way and making her experience life again.
This holi celebration was supposed to be just that. And Neha was beginning to feel happy and comfortable in her skin again. That is when she saw that smile. In that moment fear gripped her and she regretted agreeing to this. “He was not supposed to be here”, she screamed aloud in her hear. She did not trust the very people who had brought her here. Someone had to have told him, was her conclusion
“I should never have come here”, Neha watched as Ravi walked toward her. Even with all the colour on his face she knew it was him. Neha knew that smile, the gentle child like smile that had fooled her in the first place. As he came closer she warned herself to not let anything suck her back in. It had taken her a lot of courage to break free.
Ravi continued walking and passed her. Neha was surprised that nothing happened until she felt it. Her face was on fire. Neha grimaced in pain and felt nothing except severe burning. The last thing she saw as she fell to the ground unconscious was a glimpse of that smile again.