[Short Story] Fish Tales

Posted: April 26, 2017 in Short Stories
Tags: , ,

They had lunch at one of those fish places at Arat Kilo, the ones whose business’ bloom during the fasting season; where people conflicted about religion come to indulge themselves in some good ol’ protein, a break from their usual vegan diet. Fishes are animals, no matter how much you convince yourself they are not. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that, she thought.
They asked her about school first and she couldn’t master the courage to tell them that she quit.
“Its fine” she said, her mind drifting to when she decided to drop out. It was supposed to be a regular day; she had a Criminal Law class in the morning and psychology and forensics science in the afternoon. She would have had lunch at the usual place a few walks from the campus and would have went back to her dorm to rest till it was time for the next class in late afternoon like she has done for the past year and a half.
But she woke up with this feeling she, still to this day, cannot name that morning. Usually she had an argument with herself in the mornings, trying to decide whether she should keep sleeping or reluctantly drag herself out of bed. She would weigh the pros and cons of staying in bed or going to class, more often than not the weight tilting in favor of the later. But that day was different, she didn’t need to have an argument, no convincing, no pros and cons to mentally list down, she just knew.
So she stayed in bed the whole day, only getting up to drink the beso her aunt insisted she take with her when she went back home during semester break. She stayed in bed not because she was depressed, but because she was free, free to catch up on the sleep that she’s missed out on for almost two years. She slept till it was tiring to do so. The world was continuing around her and for once she did not try to catch up.
“Are you gonna eat that?” her sister asked pointing to the crispy fish tail on her plate and snapping her back to the present. The crispy tail used to be her favorite, the crunchy sound echoing in her ear as she chewed on it. But now, seating in the over crowded restaurant with the smell of fish in the air so much so you could probably smell it on your cloth days after, all she can think of is how much she wanted to get out of the place.
University was supposed to be the place she was supposed to “discover” herself, and instead she found herself drifting into a shell she never knew she had. She’s never been away from her parents and completely on her own before. She was thrilled at the freedom that came with going away from home so the first semester went by like a breeze. She was too drunk off of freedom that she didn’t care that she had to drag buckets of water from the tap to her the bathroom on the 4th floor to take a shower nor did she mind the long walks in the scorching sun to get to the restaurant outside campus. She was finally doing things on her own, away from the prying eyes of her parents.
But like all drunken nights, a hangover soon followed. The endless bickering of her dorm mates, the tiring trips up and down the dorm block, the hot days and cold nights, the virtual in existence of the concept of personal space hit her with crystal clear clarity. And she hated it. She hated every moment of it.
Law school was worse; it was filled with self-important kids and unimaginative teachers. There was a clear divide between the City kids, the ones from the other parts of the country and the locals. When she was a senior in high school, some people (mostly relatives that always wanted to jam their opinions down her throat) told her that she should study business or accounting because there are so many banks that hire college grads, others told her to study a 3 year course and get married or become a hostess, “you’re pretty enough” they used to say, while her parents firmly believed if she was stuck in the social science stream, she might as well study something prestigious like law, as prestigious law can get for a celebrated engineer and a physicist. All choices that put into consideration what they wanted for her rather than what she herself wanted: whatever that is.  Her parents decided for her that she was going to study law and that was that. Like every single thing in her life, she accepted their choices without batting an eye, and if she did, nobody noticed.
Her grades were fine. They weren’t great but they were fine. She occasionally went to the library, and made a point of not staying there a lot. Some of the guys with their laptops that always sat on the library steps at all hours using wi-fi always took it upon themselves to make inappropriate comments about her hair, her body parts and anything and everything. She was used to it, and with the help of her dear friends “earphones”, she avoided hearing their nasty catcalls.
“… so this lawyer friend of a friend of mine, you remember Aster right? Well, her friend has a law firm and I am going to talk to her about giving you an internship this summer. you will have something to do during the break. I think I can find you a spot at the AU for your externship in your senior year as well and your father talked to Dr. Brook and he said he will review your senior thesis for you. I know you still have three years but still it’s good that you pick your topic now”, said her over achieving mother, always thinking months and years ahead.
“I quit!”
“I withdrew from college and I am not going back”
And at that moment the crowded restaurant went quite, a you-can-hear-a-pin-drop silence engulfed the room as if time was frozen. And the only thing you can hear was the crunchy sound of the crispy fish tail as her sister chewed on it.

  1. Fro101 says:

    Ohh wow, picture perfect description! amma share it with friends if u don’t mind. And one favor, can u also design my page?

    Liked by 1 person

    • wondersabg says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂 This is the first short story I have actually finished. Share away, I would love that actually. And also, I didnt design my page….I just picked a free template from the ones available on wordpress.

      Liked by 1 person

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