Aneesha's first novel!
Life is full of ups and downs, all of which are more easily faced together. Everyone needs someone - to get us through tough times; someone to connect with and talk to; someone who listens and understands. We all need someone who believes in us, and helps guide the way. For Dinesh, Simone, Kwan, Veda, Oscar, Lena and Stan - Music is that someone.
Aneesha's short story got published!
Wherever We Roam: A New Collection of Canadian Short Stories. 2015. Edited by Rachel McCallum. Polar Expressions Publishing. p. 165.
Matters of the Heart
Arya sat down in the worn out armchair, the gray carpet squishing under her toes. She gazed around at the white walls that surrounded the box-like room, then up at the popcorn ceiling, across all the decorative flowers, then landed on a reflection of herself in the mirror. Why couldn’t she get these thoughts out of her head?
It all started a few nights ago, when Arya passed by a group of twenty somethings heading for a night out on the town. There was something about them: they smiled, laughed, and carried themselves, like they were invincible and ready for whatever the night had in store for them and their possibilities were endless. The aroma of too much perfume and cologne, mixed with mint chewing gum and wine coolers, brought an unsolicited bout of nostalgia.
Since that night, Arya couldn’t stop craving a night out to get silly, flirt with some boys, dance like a maniac and drink to her heart’s content. She wanted that rush she used to get when she’d catch someone’s eye across the room, and the excitement when he finally came over to talk to her. She wanted to do whatever she felt like, whenever she wanted. She had forgotten what that kind of freedom was like, and needed to feel it again.
But she was with Harry. It’s not that she wasn’t happy with Harry - in fact, he was great. Sweet, charming, respectful, understanding, and loved her tremendously: he was everything any girl would want. The problem was, right from the start, their relationship was almost too easy. They met at a party, Harry asked her out, she said yes. Since then, everything between them was bliss, and that’s what concerned her. When was the other shoe going to drop? When was she going to see Harry’s true colours?
It’s not that Arya was a skeptical person, but she was so used to being with the wrong kind of guy. The aloof, mysterious one who never called back, and always kept his distance, while keeping her guessing. She was well-trained in complex relationships full of ups and downs, with a side of emotional baggage. But with Harry, it was the complete opposite. He was the type of guy any parent would want for their daughter, because he didn’t have a single bad bone in his body. There was no anger or arguing, but there was also no head over heels love, no butterflies. Their emotional spectrum stayed in the middle. That lack of volatility in their relationship worried Arya because it made it seem like they were both holding back.
Arya’s toes sunk deeper into the carpet as she flexed them. Her index finger tapped incessantly on her thigh, and she had to restrain herself from biting her lip to avoid ruining her lipstick. She didn’t know what had gotten into her. Had she been feeling this way the whole time? She just couldn’t help but wonder if she was settling for something pretty good, because she stopped looking for really great. Was he the right one simply because he was better than those who came before him? What if there was more out there?
The idea of committing to one person for a lifetime slowly overwhelmed Arya. She had absolutely no doubts about Harry and his feelings, but a lifetime was a long time to be with one person - then again, Harry was the best person with whom to spend that lifetime, because she felt so secure with him. She knew exactly what the next 10 years would look like, which gave her peace of mind, but also freaked her out. All she ever wanted was to be in a relationship, but what if she couldn’t actually handle its monotony?
Arya felt guilty even having these thoughts. What did she really have to complain about? She had a loving, caring, supportive boyfriend who adored her. She had friends still playing the field, still living those lonely nights after last call. Still trying online dating, speed dating, dating of any kind. She was free of that world of rejection, insecurity, and false hopes. She was in something stable, real, good, and she was content. But did that mean she was making the right choice?
Just then her sister Sophie burst into the room, giddy with excitement, “So, Arya, are you ready to say ‘I do?’”
The only thought that crossed Arya’s mind: Do I?