“You know those days when you get the mean reds?’

 ‘The mean reds, you mean like the blues?’

 ‘No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?”

~ Breakfast at Tiffany’s

 

She had always known that this day would come. That she would leave. That she would pack up that blue backpack of hers and just leave. Get away from the place she had always dreaded, get away from the place she had always known – home. 

It was only a matter of time. She had known it.  She had known it from the beginning that she would break away. Break away to be a part of something bigger – away from the place that had confined her, the place where no one ever really got her. All the complaining, the accusations, the dissatisfactions – all bottled up and ready to pop – of course, it was only a matter of time. She had known it.

But what she hadn’t known was the way she would feel while leaving. About the sadness, about the unfathomable melancholy that would surround her, submerge her, overwhelm her. That was not supposed to have happened. And what was it for, homesickness? No, she’s not the homesick type. Besides, she had always known she would leave. She had always wanted to. What was it then, guilt? It could be guilt. When you step outside on the darkest hour of the night and start walking never to return, you’re probably supposed to feel a little guilty. Guilty for not having said anything to anyone, guilty for not having given anyone a chance to say anything, least of all goodbye. It has got to be guilt. Or was it the blues? No, she didn’t feel the blues anymore. Not anymore. Not the blues.

 

 

 

Anika Shah is a bilingual writer and translator from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has recently finished doing her Master’s in Literatures in English and Cultural Studies from Jahangirnagar University and is currently a Lecturer at the Department of English and Humanities in the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). She writes and translates both fiction and non-fiction, and takes an interest in literature, music, film, art, and bits and pieces of popular culture.

She is the translator of a collection of short stories from R. K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days, and the co-author of A Tiny Book of 18 Word Stories on Revenge. She also co-edits Prachya Review, a cross-cultural literary webzine.

She can be read at anikashaharchived.wordpress.com and reached at asp.nomad@gmail.com