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Bitter Stone - By Aaroshi Sahgal

Melchior fumbled through the tangled mass of thorny bushes, relying solely on his undying love and faint memory to lead him to the place that he was so strongly attached to. The place that he used to come to every single evening without fail to get away from it all, the place that he kept to himself for fear of intruders in his utopia. This spot had filled him with such joy in the most private place of his heart, the place that he had shut people out of, until Gwendolyn appeared.

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi

Gwendolyn changed everything. More than chipping away at his stagnant, sullen face and extracting the glint in Melchior’s eyes that seemed to have died many years ago, she opened his heart in a way that no one had ever been able to.

He brought her to his beautiful haven that he had kept people away from for so many years, and she only made it happier. He consumed himself in her, in the powerful beat of her legs as they sprung across the grassy land, in her windblown, chestnut mane of wild hair, in her pure and effortless smile.

Soon enough, he never came to the clearing without her by his side. Her mere existence enhanced the beauty and wonder of the place that he once called his own.

But then, she was gone.

Where she was buried, Melchior had no idea. He was left all alone once again, unable to find any sense of direction in this cold world. He stopped going to his perfect haven.

Her presence had defined it, and now that she was gone, he could only sense a crushing emptiness if he tried going again. He couldn’t bear to face the overwhelming memories that emanated from the clearing that he had somehow brought himself to share with her. It was much easier just to leave, leave this beautiful, tranquil place that he had called his own.

He would leave his source of joy, the only place where he truly felt at peace. He was leaving behind a part of his heart, and shutting out the last bits of love that he had left for they all centered on Gwendolyn.

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi

However now, years and years after her death, Melchior’s complete desperation and hunger for some sort of grasp on her spirit pulled him back to the very place that he had been avoiding. He had been afraid to face the beautiful memories that he knew would flood back as soon as he went to the clearing, because it was impossible to experience them again with her.

But attempting to shut Gwendolyn out of his life proved to be an even greater struggle. Melchior couldn’t pretend that he hadn’t met her, that she hadn’t opened his eyes to a new world, or that he hadn’t fallen in love with her. So at last he had returned to the clearing, to soak up every last bit of her, to feel her spirit in the rich ground, to hear her whispers through the breeze.

After hours of getting lost on wrong trails and fumbling through prickly shrubs, Melchior finally came across his old refuge. It hadn’t changed one bit after all this time, and yet it seemed completely different. The towering trees that ruled the area with their old roots extending out, out towards the clear mirrored pool were the same, and so was the fort that Melchior had artfully formed from a few boulders and later shared with Gwendolyn.

However, the feeling of tranquility and pure bliss that Melchior usually came to this clearing to experience so many years ago was gone forever; Gwendolyn had taken it with her when she left. It was replaced with a certain numbness that couldn’t be shaken as his eyes glazed over the beauty of the place that he once called his haven. It felt like a graveyard, a graveyard in which frozen memories were embedded.

Melchior made his way down to the rock fort, which laid just a few paces away from the lake. He parted the leafy canopy and stepped inside, ducking to dodge the cold, slanted rock just above his head. He arranged the canopy in an uneven manner so shards of light could escape through and brighten up the rocks, just as Gwendolyn liked it.

Then dropping on one knee, he ran his fingers along the cool stone of the fort until he felt the mark of the inscription that Gwendolyn had made.

The fish tail ingrained so lovingly into the stone brought back the poniards that he had hoped had been pulled out of his heart with time and strength, but back they were again, piercing as painfully as ever. The words that she spoke, explaining the insignia to him rang fresh in his mind, like a haunting dream.

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi

“The fish tale represents our sensitive side that we normally don’t show to other people.

Capricorns especially are very sensitive people; behind that barrier that they work so hard to keep high and strong, they hide a very watery part of themselves, just like the water signs.

Capricorns tend to hide their emotions because they are afraid of losing the ones that they love the most. They don’t want to get close enough to anyone because they aren’t sure if that person will always be there for them.

Melchior, you are a Capricorn creature and thus you can survive on both land and water- you’ve built endurance through the tough times and you thrive on the good.

I just want to let you know that I’m not one of the people you need to watch out for or keep your untouchable guard up for.

You can let your guard down, because I’m not going anywhere.”

Melchior hurled himself onto the wall. He threw his body against the stone, pounding the insignia again and again. It was as if he had lost all control, all sense of sensibility and reality.

He just needed to destroy the inscription because it was a lie. It was a lie that he had foolishly believed since love had made him weak, and now he had to demolish any trace of evidence that revealed this pathetic weakness. He hammered, beat, thrashed, and screamed even; he put in all the power he could muster to make it go away. He was sick of the hurt, sick of the constant pain that had been hammering him for the past so many years.

Nothing was fair, and he didn’t want to make peace and attempt to be calm anymore. He didn’t want to remember her, because this was all a sick trick that the world had mercilessly played on him.

After everything that he had struggled and worked through, this beautiful, angelic light entered his life and it was all too perfect, too amazing. However, he believed it and went along with the bliss and found a scintillating faith that he hadn’t known before, but then it was all snatched away and everything became worse than it ever was in the beginning.

What was the point of this ruthless game? If the world was so unfair, why did he have to cooperate and be the pitiful lover left behind to despair and cope with the pain?

No, he was done.

With one final thrash and animalistic cry into the rock, the fish tail cracked and Melchior was left with nothing but his bitter, yet satisfying ego.

Aaroshi Sahgal is a sophomore at Mission San Jose High School and lives in Fremont, Calif. She loves writing, fine arts and Indian classical dance.


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