Trauma and Love: Side by Side


I woke with a jolt from my sleep. There was a hand touching my chest. My whole body froze. Oh God please not again. I was shaking in fear but tried really hard to hide it. I didn’t want him to know I was awake hoping he would stop soon. 12 years old me still couldn’t believe he’d go this far to molest his own niece. His sister was sleeping right beside me and he crawled into our bed in the middle of the night instead of staying with his own wife and kids. How revolting can a person be? His hand started to move down towards my pyjama. No, not there please. I pressed my hands hard over my clothes to stop him but he was still pushing down. Seeing no other way I turned towards my aunt, clung my whole body to her and hugged her tightly, hoping that would stop him. Please, please stop, I was chanting to myself. He didn’t dare to touch me again that night but I couldn’t sleep at all after that. The whole night passed with me being scared shitless and disgusted at both him and myself. Around sunrise he decided to……

“Oy, you zoned out again” Nafees was shaking my shoulder. A questioning look on his face then he looked at Zubair vaiya on the opposite side of the room filing away a patient’s documents. “Aah, daydreaming about Zubair bhaiya again?” a devilish smile on his face. I fought the urge to roll my eyes at him. Anything happens he tries to project it towards the hot senior. For a short second I had the urge to tell him what I was actually thinking. Aah, the reaction on his face would be so satisfying. The thought made me laugh out loud.”

I told you there’s nothing going on between us. When will it get through your thick skull you dumbass,” I told him with a sickeningly sweet smile. “It’s hard to believe when you both act like couples when you are around each other,” he retorted back. With that we both looked at the hot senior. Do I really? Do we really act like that? I pondered to myself. He’s really hot though. That gorgeous smile, those pretty eyes, lean muscular body, the ridiculously brilliant brain of his, finally the foreign accent, everything about him I found attractive. Plus it doesn’t hurt the way he comes running every time he sees me. Geez, my ears turned hot. No wonder everyone thinks we are a couple. I guess Nafees wasn’t entirely wrong, I was looking at the hot senior but then zoned out to that horrible memory. Ugh that fucker ruins everything nice for me even still.

I decided to take a coffee break with Nafees. Nafees was this extremely quiet skinny tall boy with long hair who liked to keep to himself. At least what we all thought for the past 5 years. Then he decided to come out of his shell on our last tour and showed how funny he actually was. We became fast friends after that. He had this nonchalant, non-judgemental aura that I loved.

We were working towards the coffee shop and he was obviously still teasing me.

“I told you already that I am gay.”

“Not when you are around him.” Oh he was persistent. I looked at him. If only you knew who my real crush was, I thought to myself. He’d either beat me up or feel sorry for me if he ever found out. As we were about to leave the hospital, Aisha was just entering with her breakfast. Without looking inside I already knew what it was, chocolate cake and chocolate cookies. I’ve never seen her eating anything else. Nafees immediately tried to act normal but I could see his whole face going rigid. I however couldn’t help giving her an appreciable once over. That girl had the whole batch worshipping the very ground she walked on. She’s the smartest among all of us. Also one of the kindest, most intelligent people whom the whole batch idolised. The only person to make even the teachers nervous around her. But we were in totally different from groups. I only knew her from her notes and basic hi hello every now and then. I was jealous of her most of the time because my best friend was her friend too. I only got to know her personally a few months back and we immediately felt weirdly comfortable around each other. So much so that one day I just casually told her I like girls and she said she assumed and it’s perfectly okay. Her reaction made me feel so accepted and after that I don’t know when but I started looking at her in a different kind of way. Though I didn’t bother trying anything, not expecting anything out of it.

It was just a harmless crush for me.

“Taaania”, Zubair vaiya called me from behind. He had always pronounced my name like that. Sounds weird to me but okay.

I will told her that I had a crush on her she was really sweet about it and told me she never thought about girl that way but she understand that I do she makes rejections Q2 we laughed a doubt and continued being friends the only thing changed however was at shamelessly flirt with her and she just rolled her eyes also soon after I found out Nafees and she had a secret relationship for a few years and she broke up with him a few months back. A big WTF moment for me.

“So you want to hang out this week? We can smoke together” Nafees asked casually while sipping his black coffee. ”Of course,” I instantly agreed. Smoking outside was fun.

Oh don’t tell your friends that though. Especially Aisha.”

“No, of course not. Why specifically her though?”

“No reason, just saying.”

He didn’t know that Aisha told me everything about the relationship. But apparently he didn’t smoke when he was with her. Makes sense because I remembered her once telling me she absolutely hated it, the whole smoking thing. I wondered what she would do if she knew how much I smoked. I assured Nafees once again that I would keep my mouth closed. I tried to sound as casual as I could but if only he knew that I had just as much to lose as him if Aisha found it out.

I entered the medicine ward grudgingly. The day had been exhausting enough. I was ready for it to be over. But then I saw Aisha, sitting there in front of the table, alone, scribbling away on her ipad. My mood got instantly better to say the least. I happily strutted towards the table, grabbing the chair next to her and taking her hands in mine oh so casually. She looked once but didn’t say anything. Got busy with her studies again. “So when are you leaving again?” I asked although I already knew. She’s leaving Bangladesh next month. Weirdly it wasn’t that sad for me because I knew I’d see her soon since I also plan on going to her country and work in the same hospital for a year.

“Three weeks from now”, she replied absentmindedly. “Why, you’ll miss me?”

“Nope, cause I’m gonna see you soon”

“In Maldives? No I’ll be in the UK by next year”

“Noooo, really? Damn it!” The disappointment was apparent on my face.

“So you and Zubair vaiya, is that really a thing? Everyone’s talking about it.”

I immediately got embarrassed. “Aah, I don’t know how to reply to it. I guess he’s the first boy I got close to so everybody is assuming. But nothing happened.”

“No, I can see it tbh. You two will look good together.”

I had to roll my eyes at that. “Yup, very good indeed. We have undeniable chemistry.”

Right on cue, Zubair vaiya entered the room. His expression told me he was looking for me. Kind of excited, kind of worried, tiny beads of sweat on his forehead. He really was an eye candy.

“Are you okay?” I asked curiously, standing up from my seat.

“Yeah, I am. I have some good news though. Can we talk outside?”

“Absolutely. Let’s go.” I left a curious Aisha behind and left with him. Straight crushes just had to wait.

“So what is it you wanted to tell me?” We were sipping lemon tea. Yikes, I hated the taste but it’s his favourite so he ordered two. And I didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise.

“I’m leaving for the UAE next month,” he said excitedly.

“What in the actual hell? You are leaving too?” I couldn’t believe how sad that made me. Why was he so excited about leaving? I knew the country, especially the med school, put them in so much trauma but still.

“No, see, here’s the best part. You can come with,” his eyes were huge with excitement.

“Excuse me?”

“They are offering really huge deals to the new doctors that wanna practice and you always said you wanted to earn a lot of money first.”

Aww, he remembered. Wait, he’s invited me to come to a different country. Blood immediately rushed to my cheek. Damn it, control yourself, I scolded myself repeatedly.

But then he opened up more about the salary and accommodation and everything and it seemed the best deal there could be right then. And by the time he finished talking, I was halfway agreeing to go there immediately. The fact that it was UAE wasn’t too thrilling to me but the payment and possibility of doing it with him didn’t seem so bad. We’d be cute together, I thought to myself absentmindedly. Nope, too early, I shook my head violently at that. Vaiya looked at me curiously.

“I’ll think about it, okay? It’s a pretty tempting offer. I’ll tell my parents too and will let you know. How about that?”

“Of course. Take your time,” his whole face lit up. God, he’s beautiful.

I woke up in the middle of the night from my nightmare. It’s the same one again and again. I was married to an old guy and he’s forcing himself on me. Ever since those incidents with my uncle, this has been my only nightmare since then. I opened my phone and saw a bunch of texts from Nafees. He’s asking again about going to the ramen place again. . Maybe I should just do it. It’d be a good distraction. I texted him that I’d bring Aspen too and the three of us would go together. There, it’s done.

The next day started gloomy and cloudy. For some reason those kinds of days made me happy and then sometimes incredibly sad. And I make most of my impulsive and regrettable decisions when I’m sad. So that would explain the sudden call I gave to Aisha and asked her to come over to my apartment. She agreed immediately which was surprising. I ordered some chocolate cake and snacks for her. She came in about an hour. She looked kind or worried for me. “Are you okay? What happened?”

“Nothing, just one of those days I guess. You hungry?”

“Yeah actually. I haven’t had anything since last night. I wasn’t feeling too well actually.”

That got me worried and normally I’d just ask her what happened but all I replied with was, “Same.”

She didn’t say anything else, just sat one the floor and started playing with my cats.

“I miss Bau so much. Can’t remember the last time I saw her,” she mumbled quietly.

After their breakup Nafees took custody of their cat, Bau when Aisha moved away. She never saw Bau after that and it’d been a pretty long time.

“Have you tried talking to Nafees so he’d let you see Bau?”

“I tried several times, he doesn’t wanna talk to me.”

“Well, I can understand him tbh. It hurt him a lot and he’s still not over you. Plus he told me about the whole Rahul thing. Makes sense why he’s so pissed.”

“Excuse me?” The shock was apparent in her eyes. “What about Rahul?”

“He thinks you were with Rahul and that’s why you broke up with him.”

“That’s such bullshit. I never did that.”

“Apparently Rahul’s girlfriend thinks so too. She saw your texts. I heard that’s why they broke up”

“Okay, Rahul flirted with me sometimes but that was all it was. It never led anywhere because I didn’t like him that way.”

I couldn’t explain why but I got angry at her for the Rahul thing. Though I tried to hide it but seeing the look on her face I guess it didn’t work very well.

“You know I never hide anything from you right? I shared with you things I never did with anyone. He’s been pissed since the day we broke up and refused to hear any explanation of mine. And he constantly degraded me ever since so I stopped trying eventually. He can think whatever he wants.” She was looking at me intently. Wow she really cares about what I think.

“I’m gonna smoke a cigarette. Will that be a problem for you?”

That startled her and totally shifted the mood instantly. I was kinda curious what she was gonna say. She seemed surprised.

“You smoke?”

“Yeah, a lot”

“Since when?”

“Quite a while.”

I thought she’d be disappointed or pissed but she just seemed utterly curious.

“Well, Risab smoked a lot when we all hung out so I think I’m desensitised to it now.”

“So I can? You won’t have an issue?”

“No, go on”

I moved and sat by the windows and lit a cigarette. She was watching the whole process in a trance. After a few puffs I burst out laughing.

“Do you wanna try it?” I just had to ask.

“I’ve never done it but sure.”

I moved close to her and put the cigarette in between her lips. The whole thing became really intimate really fast. I was just inches away from her face and we both started breathing weird. Then she coughed out loud due to the smoke and I ended up laughing yet again and moved away. She didn’t dare try again. I finished the cigarette and we were sitting side by side. I took her hand and started playing with it.

“You know, every time you play with my hands like that, I feel like falling asleep,” she mumbled with her eyes closed.

“Then fall asleep,” I mumbled back.

Then she looked at me and all I wanted to do was kiss her.

“You know, I’ve been wondering,” I started but then couldn’t finish anymore.

“What is it?” that picked her interest.

Yet I wasn’t saying anything.

“Come on, tell me.”

“Can I kiss you?” there, I blurted it out.

That silenced her. But after a while, she replied “Why do you wanna kiss me?”

“You know why.”

“Uh, can I think about it for a minute?”

What? What? What just happened? She didn’t say no. She didn’t say noo!!! Damn, my heart beat skyrocketed real fast. Several minutes passed and I didn’t say anything. But then I didn’t know where I got all the boldness but I got impossibly closer to her and whispered, “How much longer?”

She gave me a shy smile and slapped my arm gently.

Then I just went ahead and grabbed her face. She didn’t stop me. She leaned closer and I kissed her softly. I thought that would be the end of it, she’d stop me after that. Then I didn’t know how but we were full on making out. I’ve never kissed anyone that way and my brain couldn’t even process what was happening so I just let instinct take over. It was the hottest few minutes of my life till then.

Hi, I’m Willow. I’m 26 years old and my pronouns are she/they. I’m a doctor and a volunteer for mondro. And about my story, it is a fiction based on a period of my life when I was questioning my sexuality whether I’m bisexual or lesbian. To be honest, I still am not sure. Labels just feel so limiting and kind of put you in a box. When I’m with someone, I don’t wanna think about my labels. If there was a non-binary term for sexuality, that’s what I’d call myself.

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