You had promised, but I did not…

The sun had gone down, pale light at the horizon fought with the prevailing darkness. Everyone had left, except the two shadows that leaned against the iron railings outlining the place. Sameena looked down, to find herself staring into several hundred feet of darkness. Nikhil stood close to her, waiting for her to speak, to know why he had been called.

Sameena remained silent, her head full of memories of the countless times they had stood here before, hand in hand, warm and content. And also of the countless times she had stood here alone, cold, tears full in her eyes, and her heart.

She thought of the time when they had met, the first day of college. When she was a little, scared girl, who had for the first time stepped out of her home. And he was this rich brat, who had been shipped by his father to this far-off hill station, where he would find nothing but his books, beautiful landscapes and a bunch of tourists. Their college had been one of the finest institutes, and one of the costliest.

From the first academic year, Sameena and Nik had been the talk of the town. She loved him deeply, and he did act real well. They could be seen together in the library, the classrooms, the mess and at the sunset point. Where they would sit for hours, listening to each other’s silence. Sameena was taken care of, she was promised she will never be left alone, she was promised she will always have a shoulder to cry on, she was promised she will never fall.

Promises however, are like castles of sand. One little wave, and they fall. Three years, and Sameena could not know these promises were not just for her.

Nik had left, the castles had fallen. Everyone but Sameena knew they had to fall.

Today, after six months of watching the sunset alone, Sameena had called him here. She said she wanted to talk. Nik was growing impatient, he was not interested to come, but Sameena had insisted. She was a frail, harmless woman to him, someone he had cast off in the dustbin, he was already doing her a favor by being here.

Nik was just about to say something when he heard Sameena was already screaming for help. She had stepped up on the railing and was about to fall on the other side. Terrified, Nik jumped up on the railing to help her. In the next few seconds, to his horror, he found himself yelling for help. He had been pushed on the other side, and now held the railing with both his hands, which was slowly slipping out.

He cried for help, he cried for her to pull him up, Sameena kept looking at him with a blank face.

“Help Sameena, please help, see, I had promised I won’t let you fall.”

“You had promised, but I did not” he heard her say, and then silence took over.

sj

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