The Edge

Kshitija Jadhav

The sky was covered in various shades of orange as I sat there staring at the horizon. Even after seeing it almost everyday it never failed to fascinate me. I could see the trees lined perfectly along the skyline.
It was then when I saw the little girl and her mother for the first time, walking along the skyline. The child holding on to the corner of her mother’s dupatta as she followed her while trying to guess the various colours of the flowers she saw around her. She was so into her own world of imagination that she didn’t even realise her mother had frozen in her tracks, the child continued walking and bumped into her mother.
“When will you learn to look in the front and walk huh?” asked the mom and she sat down in front of the child and tried to fix her hair.
“If I look ahead then I won’t be able to see all these beautiful things around me. And why do I need to look ahead I can just follow you.” Replied the child.
“But what will you do if I am not there? Who will you follow then?”
There was a confused look on the child’s face. For her, her world was her mother. She didn’t know of a world without her. Ever since she opened her eyes they have been together. That’s the only way she knew the world, just the two of them. So the thought of her not being there really confused her. It was a concept she didn’t know of.
“If you are not there then even I wont be there, the world is the two of us together right?” she said.
The mother had a sad look as she said yes, the world is the two of us together.
Years passed and I never saw the little girl and her mother in the same place again until on a day similar to that one I saw them again. It was all the same except the child had grown into a teenager now. The mother for some reason looked sick and weak, her body had become really frail and she had this frightened expression on her face. But the girl was still pretty much the same except that she had become taller now, but she still held on to her mother’s pallu and walked ahead.
The girl seriously had a different vibe to her. She looked like she was not from this world, no one who has lived in this world for this long can be so innocent and well so hopeful. She believed this world to be beautiful. I looked on as I was curious, she kept on asking her mother questions while walking and not really paying attention to her steps. Just like the last time her mother stopped in her track again and the girl bumped into her again. But this time the mother did not turn behind to see if her daughter was okay, instead she looked at the sky with her expressionless eyes. I stood there and watched the girl fall down, during which her hold on her mothers pallu was lost. She steadied herself and looked up but when she did her mother was not there anymore.
The girl was confused in the beginning and didn’t quite understand what happened, and that if her mother had disappeared why was she still there. After all the world was the two of them together. She started to look around for her, but instead she was distracted as this was also the first time the girl looked at the world. For some reason something seems to have shifter she thought.
It was not all bright and filled with beautifully coloured flowers but instead they were all black and white roses everywhere and the world was not just the two of them instead there were a lot more people who were on their own paths. It was rather grey and just sad. For some reason instead of going on with their way the people around her stood and stared at her with their expressionless faces, to be honest their faces had the same hopelessness as the little girl’s mother did.
The girl could not breathe all of a sudden, it felt like the world was spinning all of a sudden. She could feel this weird sense of pull in her gut. She wanted to puke, she had this sudden urge of running away from there. She didn’t know why exactly but all these eyes on her scared her and she no longer wanted to be there.
The people around her quickly noticed this and tried to reach out but before they could she ran. She tripped on the roses on her way but and was covered in wounds because of its thorns. But she continued running till she was at the end of their land. A flat land with a really deep fall at the edge. Nobody knew what was at the end of the fall, she heard of this place from her mother. Apparently everyone was scared of the fall so nobody actually came here.
She walked ahead and looked down from the edge, she immediately fell dizzy. She couldn’t see the end of the fall but could here a silent buzz of some sought and concluded that there maybe water at the end of it. She was so tired from all the running that she instantly fell asleep under a tree nearby.
When she woke up after a while something within her was shifted. She didn’t feel same anymore. Her mind was filled with a lot of questions with no one to answer them. The first thing she decided was that she cant leave this place because this is the only place where other people are scared to come. She’s safe here. She was completely lost and frustrated and had absolutely no idea what to do.
She put her face in her palm and started crying. She cried till she had no tears left. She stood up and walked up to the edge while wiping her eyes, she noticed something on the otherside of the fall. It was a world that looked similar to this one except there were a lot of people there. It was all the same but there still was something different about the whole place. Everyone just looked more happier, its like how everything was when I was with mother she thought. She kept staring at the table under the tree similar to hers and all the people just talking and laughing. In between those people she saw someone familiar, her mother. It took a moment for her also to recognize her. She looked different, there was this weird glow around her and she was smiling more.
The girl couldn’t believe what she was seeing. How could her mother just leave here alone and be so happy. Did she not love her? Did she not think of how scared she would be? How could she?
There were many questions coming up in her mind as she went as far along the edge as she could and started screaming and waving frantically. Calling out to her mother and trying to make her notice her. She tried throwing things she could find, she tried screaming till her throat was soar and her voice just wouldn’t come out anymore, she waved around frantically to catch her attention. But nothing worked, no matter how she screamed the mother couldn’t hear it, infact none of those people could. They just went on about their usual business.
The girl finally gave up and fell down to the floor with tears in her eyes. No matter how hard she tried she just couldn’t make sense of this whole situation. It felt like she was missing something. But she knew one thing that no matter what she had to go to where her mother was. She couldn’t do this on her own, she would fail. The world has to be the two of them together.
As she sat there trying to think of a way of getting to the other side she saw a man walk towards her from a distance. She got scared and hid behind the tree. She saw the man walk passed towards the edge and look down. He had a somewhat determined yet scared expression on his face. He kept on staring down as if trying to figure out whats at the end of it all. She slowly came out from behind the tree and went near the man. The man looked at her and asked her if she knew what was down there. She said no.
She asked him what he was doing there and that weren’t people scared of coming here because of the fall. She also asked him if could see the other world on the other side that looked exactly like ours. He said he saw it as well, infact he came here so that he could go there too. She then told him her story and how she also wanted to go there.
She asked him why those people were there to which the man answered that they were different from us. Although we all started at the same place. She asked him how we were different and he just plainly said we were more selfish. The girl was slightly annoyed at this thought.
She said she was not like one of them and that her being here was a mistake. The man then started laughing and said this is exactly why you are one of us.
Think said the man. When your mother left were you worried about what happened to her? No
Did you try to find out if she was okay? No
You were angrier about the fact that she left you alone, you did not miss her but you missed the person that you were when you were with her. You are just like us, hence why you are stuck here.
The girl was just lost at this point, she lays down and stares at the stars. The man was right though she did miss the person she was when she was with her mother, she missed the beauty of the world when they were together, it all seemed very nice and kind. Her mother was a nice person so if she left her then it was obviously something wrong with her, she thought.
She didn’t realise when she fell asleep while thinking, but when she woke up the man was no where to be seen. Did he jump? She thought to herself. She thought about it and no matter how hard she thought the only way out of this world was jumping.
Maybe the only way to find all the answers and be truly happy was to go to the other side and to do that she will have to jump. But the fall scared her, it was deep fall, so deep that she couldn’t even see the bottom of it but she was determined. She also wanted to be happy and she stood there at the edge with her eyes closed and some kind of satisfaction on her face. She didn’t want to be selfish, she craved for the kindness that she once witnessed. She was done, she didn’t know what was ahead but she was relieved to get away from this world. She stood at the edge and called out to her mother one last time. She didn’t look but there was a smile on the girls face, in her mind she thought it was only a matter of time before they met again.

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