‘Chechi? Are you here?' I whispered; panic rising in my voice. Some angry crickets and nocturnal birds chirped. I felt a chill down my spine when realized that I am alone in the room.
"Please sleep next to me, I am so scared of dark, please", I had pleaded to her for which she sweetly replied "Trust me dear, I will not go anywhere, I will be right beside you" and hugged me tightly.
But she had broken my trust; she has left me in this dark and went somewhere.
Mom always used to tease calling me a coward that I was scared to sleep alone. "What a shame, you are already ten years old and you can’t sleep alone in a room?" I used to feel all humiliated when I hear that my cousins who are much younger than me sleep alone in a room. But I simply couldn't The thought of sleeping alone would make me terrified the whole day and as night approaches I would find some reason to sleep with mom.
My only relief was Anu chechi, who would occasionally visit our house. I adorned her for her beauty, composed nature and humbleness. I didn't know how she was related to us, she used to stay in a village far from our house and mom refrained me from asking anything about her father. I have seen her mother but never her father. Anu chechi was everyone's pet and I always wanted to be like her.
Tightly closing my eyes, I got up from the bed. I tried to slowly open my eyes and walk towards mom and dad's room. While sneaking in the dark, I was wondering where Anu chechi must have gone. There was no sound coming from the toilet and no lights were turned on. Where she went leaving me? I felt deceived. On reaching mom's room, I banged on the door frantically. Mom woke up and came out hurriedly.
"Anu Chechi is not there in the room. Shall I sleep here?" I asked sheepishly.
"Where is Anu, where she went?" The question made dad come out of the room as well. They looked into each other’s face for a moment before dad asked me to go inside.
I could hear mom waking up grandma and others. Everyone was calling out Anu chechi's name. I too went in search looking for her behind curtains and beneath sofas; maybe she is playing a game with me.
"Is she there? What happened?” Grandma was walking fast towards Chittapa's room. I could hear mom asking too many questions to chittapa. And he was not replying a word.
Grandma's whispers turned into shouts that revealed that Anu chechi was inside chittapa's room. My effort to go near her was stopped by dad who ordered me to go to bed straight away. I caught a glimpse of Anu chechi bending her head and crying.
"You will never set foot in our house again, Asathu" Grandma's anger and contempt reserved for street dogs came out that night. "At the break of dawn, you will take the first bus to your house, understand? I will come and explain your escapades to your mother myself". Mom tried to calm down grandma by saying something, all I could hear was whispers.
I came and lied down on the bed and felt so sleepy. I wanted to see Anu chechi, what if she never comes again. But I felt angry towards her, she had cheated me. She promised she will be with me, but she left me in the dark.