His mind was like a plain, white paper until he saw her standing on the terrace. Her bungalow was not exactly opposite his but from the rooftop he could clearly see her wide terrace where she would often sit in the evening. She had recently moved into this neighborhood with her mother. He had heard from his domestic help that she was an upcoming Pushto singer and was planning to release her first album. How these servants know every bit and detail about people in the neighborhood. He wondered.
Those days watching her from his rooftop had become his favorite hobby. All day he would impatiently wait to see her. One evening she didn’t show up. He was so upset that he could hardly eat his dinner, he shoved a couple of morsels and left. When he went to bed he was still thinking about her. That night the first lines began to appear on his mind. Those lines took shape of her face. Like a swaying image on the surface of water. He was missing her dearly. At the tender age of twelve those feelings were utterly unknown to him.
She was tall with fair skin and longish, shiny hair. He had noticed her hair because she had the habit of untying her hair frequently, would run her fingers through them and then tie again. He would pretend to read but observe every move of her from behind the book. So many days went by like that. He was having an urge to talk to her, to know her better. One day his luck struck and while he was strolling on the rooftop she beckoned him. He couldn’t believe it! He instantly looked behind; there was nothing other than his own roof and the sprawling mulberry tree in the yard. He smiled and ran down stairs. In less than a minute he was standing next to her house. He hesitantly went inside through the half open gate. She was standing on the veranda. He took a close look; she was even prettier. She asked his name and requested to bring samosas form the market.
From that day onwards she would often call him for one thing or the other. He wouldn’t mind it a bit as he would get a chance to stay close to her. She would practice singing in the basement in afternoon when her mother would retire for siesta. He would often sit during the session; one day he asked her to sing Oh! Beloved tell me you love for him. She sang; he listened with his eyes closed. When the darkness draped his mind the images started to form. He saw himself clad in tight fitted white pants with white shirt and white shoes; like his favorite hero. She was clad in white sari. He held her hands and they danced slowly on the tune of the song she was singing. The two bodies felt ethereal and every step was lighter than the previous. He felt like walking on the clouds. He was getting crazy every minute and the idea of having her had become deep-rooted in his mind.
Once he asked her, “When you are popular, would you forget me?”
“No way… silly. How can I forget my first listener?” She said adjusting the jasmine garland in her hair.
He fixed his gaze on the floor. The magnificence of her beauty was difficult to resist.
One day she called him as usual but no, not everything was normal as she wasn’t alone that day. There was a man sitting in the living room with protruded belly and thick moustache. That day even her attitude felt different. She asked him to bring sweets from the market. He left but his senses were warning him that something was wrong. He had heard from his servant a number of times that she wasn’t of good character. He didn’t know what that meant? He didn’t want to know it either.
He returned within ten minutes. Standing at the door he could hear her stifled giggles and his grunting laugh. A wave of jealousy ran through his body. He gently pushed open the door. Her lips were locked with his. He stood there frozen for a while and then ran out of the house. The words of his servant were hammering his mind, “She isn’t of good character”… “She isn’t of good character.”
(Slightly inspired from a short story Boyhood Crush by Ghulam Abbas)