It was a hard day at  work. And coming back home to a nice warm family dinner meant a lot to Raina tonight. Usually it was just her and Grammy. But tonight the family was coming over to celebrate yet another occasion that she couldn’t care to remember. But it was good to have some family time. It was  much needed tonight.

The nice warm shower,  accompanied by the mild scent of the dinner of the event held, traveling to her room was heavenly!  As she got dressed into ‘something nice’ as grams had instructed, she couldn’t help but get excited to meet her sister. She didn’t want that of course. “I mean we are not kids anymore to jump around excited,every time we saw each other”, She told herself. But Natasha did mean the world to her . More than she would ever accept!  And every time they met, it still felt like the first. The same happy laughter,the same whispers of stories unheard. All the same,just how it was when they were kids. Which to Raina were parts of very sweet memories of the past that she cherished. The sweet memories did surely have partners of dark scary nights,and bitter tearful accidents, of the past. Snapping out of the thoughts that often haunted her,she came down to meet the just arrived family. The big,  loud,and cheerful family!

After greeting them. She looked around for Natasha. Who was busy with school was what was told . Not thinking too much about it,she walked in with the family.

It was a happy night. And once done with dinner; When the elders decided to speak about something which might interest many, but was exaggerated to be slow poison by the young ones. They decided to go for a drive. They drove into the night,the lot. That is when they saw it. The Carnival. With all its lights and glory. There weren’t many people there though. One might even call it empty. Something about a baby whale being drifted ashore had pulled the crowd towards the ocean. Well that did seem more interesting,but the Carnival needed their attention for the moment. Not a well thought decision of course. But the night was young,and they were in for loads of fun! They hadn’t  laughed so hard in a long time. With the busy lives, And the lemons for the lemonade that life offered. The young ones had forgotten what it meant to be truly happy. So I guess the night would be called ‘ special ‘. The fireworks were on time. Adding more glamor to the evening. And once all the rides were rode,they took a picture. As it was a night to remember. A picture Raina later posted to members of the family. And the night came to an end.

A few days had passed. Raina had heard from all, except Natasha. She didn’t write back to any of her letters. So Raina decided to visit her. Raina’s arrival was surely not as welcomed as expected. Natasha’s parents were a little preoccupied. They looked scared and confused as they spoke to her . They didn’t tell  her much as to why. But she understood when she went to Natasha’s room. It was locked, and dark and quiet. It stayed that way for some time. Dead to the knocks of Raina and the family. Raina stayed over for a few days. But Natasha was adamant to lie in her pool of depression that she created with self-pity. A few days later she allowed Raina in her room.Raina gave her the gifts she brought for her . And spoke to her for a while.But the tears wouldn’t stop. She said it was something about that beautiful night the family spent without her that bothered her. She didn’t say a lot. She just cried. Seeing Natasha  like that was confusing. Raina felt a weird sense of pain and guilt which made no sense to her. Like she could have stopped the tears,or be a better sister. But Natasha’s state was dark,and it wasn’t Raina’s fault.Or anyone else’s. And,no matter how much she tried, or apologized without reason ,Natasha was going to remain that way for a while. That’s how it looked like at least.

What was the reason behind this?  

The question with many unsatisfactory answers. Not the answers Raina wanted to hear!

The reason was surely unclear to Raina. But of course reasoning had left Natasha long ago, judging from her state. Or maybe that’s how she was.

Raina thought of staying longer, or throwing Natasha a party. Maybe that would cheer her up.Meeting everyone.But it didn’t seem so. Natasha was pulling herself into a bad time for something that didn’t matter. And Raina couldn’t understand her, or help her!  It was a first. Maybe she was overreacting. Our both of them were.

Whatever it was, reasoning with logic didn’t help. Raina left Natasha in her sad state for the time being ,as she was asked to,by her. Unaware of what that would do to her. Or what that would do to her friendship. But that’s what she did. And what happened with them,that’s another story  to tell I guess.

Sabah Batul.