It had been 15 minutes that I was waiting for my bus. It was my first day at work and I had no intentions of being late. As the bus halted and I rushed inside to find a seat, I was flooded with memories of the first job offer, I was headed to and how overjoyed I was to get it.
It all started a month ago when Anaita, my acquaintance, had offered me this internship at her office. As I wasn’t doing anything great at that moment, I had decided to accept it as it would give my 19 year old self, the first-hand experience of working with a real office with a boss hovering around their heads, targets to be chased and work to be completed and the most important thing, this would be my first step towards attaining financial independence. Also, Anaita would always be around so I couldn’t think of any reason to refuse such a lucrative offer.
With all of these thoughts and my favorite playlist playing in my ears, it was about time that I reached the given address and called Anaita. I was given the directions and I took the elevator to reach the 5 th floor of the building. As soon as I stepped out and looked around, I saw Anaita at the entrance, with her lips curled up in a big, broad smile. That smile, which took all of my apprehensions away.
I smiled back, confidence building inside me, with every step that I took towards that building that was going to turn my life into a new direction. As I entered I realized that it was a spacious office and that, everyone was busy in their work. The walls were painted with shades of peach and yellow, giving out positivity. As I reached the boss’s office, I was greeted by a middle-aged face that had no expression. I was quickly briefed about my work and given my internship letter, officially conforming it and then was directed by Anaita to my small cubicle.
It was a spacy desk which had a computer, and some drawers. It also had a rotating chair and a small rectangular frame near the computer read ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ I was happy to see it, for I realized that for the next two months, this cubicle would be my little space, in the big office that surrounded me. As I sat down on my chair, I noticed that Anaita’s desk was across mine which made me smile, along with the last wave of nervousness being washed away. I focused on the task and started working on it. As the day graduated, I continued and was interrupted by a knock on the table.
“Madam, don’t you have any intention of having food today? Fasting from the first day itself?” Anaita said with a small laugh.
“Not at all. I just had a little work left so I thought I’d finish that and then have my lunch. Here, almost done. Let’s go”
At the canteen table, I was introduced to people I had seen this morning. They all were laughing and discussing things. The fact that people here are snobs that had formed in my head in the morning, seem to slowly fade away. It was when Anaita was passing out her tiffin to Samar, I noticed the tattoos on her hand. I was sure they weren’t there the last time we had met. But it had been 3 years since then and I couldn’t help but admire the Tinkerbelle tattoo on her wrist. The one on her shoulder had a name on it, written in a script that she had never seen before. I complimented her for the tattoos and wanted to ask about the one on her shoulder, but didn’t feel it right.
Days changed to weeks and gradually, I became friends with almost everyone. I enjoyed working at the office and was regularly mentioned by my boss for completing my work well before time.
One evening, as I was ready to leave, Anaita walked up to my cubicle.
“Hey, leaving already?” “Yes, I’m done with today’s work.” “
You know we have a section wherein we have to work together and it has to be submitted on Monday. So, can you come at my place tomorrow? It is a Saturday and over the weekend, we’ll be able to complete it?”
“Okay. You text me your address and I’ll be there by…?”
“10 am. See you tomorrow.”
Anaita lived on the 20th floor of the building, Galaxy Heights. As the elevator took me to the floor, I kept wondering how Anaita had managed a house in such a chic locality. As I reached the floor and rang the doorbell, I could hear the giggles inside. After waiting for 2 minutes, I was greeted by Anaita, whose clothes were soiled with water colors. She was almost surprised to see me, until she remembered the reason of my presence. She welcomed me in the house and excused herself, as she told me to make myself comfortable on the sofa. However, she decided to have a look from the balcony, when Anaita called from behind.
“Meet. Sorry to keep you waiting. Actually Amaya’s caretaker has a leave on weekends so it is just me and her. Today, she thought of painting the bedrooms. It was a hard time trying to distract her. Sit and have your coffee, and by then I’ll put her to sleep and then we can continue with the work.” My mind was brimming with unanswered questions. Anaita seemed to notice the change and said, “Why don’t you come to my room and meet Amaya?” and her reassuring eyes confused me even more.
I knew, the only way to get my answers was by following Anaita. In the 3 years of knowing her, Anaita had not shown any sign of being married. She was always free spirited and in the 2 weeks in her office, I hadn’t heard her or anyone for that matter talk anything about her personal life. As the door to the bedroom opened, the first thing that I noticed was the huge portrait, above the bed. Anaita carried a little baby and they were standing on a beach. The sand and the waves were clear as their smiles. I was brought back to reality by a giggle and I saw a little girl, sitting on the floor. Some water colors and a huge canvas spread in front of her. She had splashed all the colors on the canvas and was spreading them with her hands. As soon as she saw Anaita, she laughed and jumped into her arms. “Meet! Where are you lost?” I was jerked back to reality.
“Nowhere. And you never told me you had an angel living with you. She has such pretty eyes.”
“Thanks”. Anaita smiled and I quietly left the room. After a while, Anaita came back to the living room. Both of us knew what was going on in each other’s mind.
“I knew Sam from my college days. He was phobic of taking responsibility. And even after knowing all this, I continued being with him. I knew we won’t end up together but the fact that he always motivated me, never let me leave him. When I conceived Amaya and he got to know about it, he suggested me to give up this child. ‘You have a great career, a good job, why risk all of this for a child’. That was the last time I ever talked to him. I knew he won’t come back, he had made his decision so I had to make mine. I gave birth to her and the reason why I don’t mention her to anyone is that I don’t want the world to judge her. So what if her father is not around, her mother would always be her support. My Amaya will not need a man’s identity for she will create her own.”
And as I left Anaita’s apartment, Amaya, the night rain, fell upon me.