A week later, Friday evening:
I never knew my friends’ names. I had recognised those different voices but had not been able to give them a name. I had visited some of the houses in those flats, which had once belonged to them. I felt like a new person.
That evening, I spoke of my schoolmates. Their mocking pained me, and I failed to understand what qualified me as their target. I was sad, depressed really, and angry. While I cried and questioned my fate, I could barely hear them speak. I wanted an answer, but none had it.
It was then that I heard a voice stronger than my mind’s voice. It said, “You are so similar to her.” I paused. This was our first encounter, and I just knew she was different. The pain in my heart had suddenly ceased, and I now tried to focus on her.
“I don’t quite understand”, I thought to her.
“She lives up there on the top floor- that apartment behind you.”
“Does she know me?” I asked.
“Seen you, yes, but you haven’t met.”
“Why? I don’t mind talking to her,” I thought.
“She is very shy. Doesn’t like meeting new people. But if you say you don’t mind, I think I can get her to talk to you. I will take you to her,” she replied enthusiastically. Everyone around had suddenly become silent.
I followed her directions, leading me to the top floor of a building. One of those apartments on that floor didn’t have a door. This was the one through which she led me.
Like every other apartment of this area, this one was small too. The door led into the hall with an attached area to the front that could have been the dining room. A door to the right led into the kitchen. The path across the kitchen led into a small area that connected with the bathroom, and two other rooms. She led me into the room on the right. There was nothing there except, maybe, a plank in the corner, covered with a white cloth. She asked me to remove that cloth. What I thought to be a plank was actually a faded, age-old mirror.
“Where is she?” I asked.
“Hi,” a new voice spoke into my head. It was stronger than the ones I was used to speaking to, and I could distinctly feel her presence, more like an actual human. I immediately felt a liking for her. She looked like a hazy apparition when I saw her with my eyes closed. She must have probably been just an inch taller than I am, with about shoulder length hair, and was wearing a pink frock.
“I am not as scary as I must have seemed to you,” I spoke aloud. “Why do you say so?” she asked. Unlike the others, her voice was so intense that it actually felt like someone speaking. She felt more real.
“The one who brought me here said I sounded similar to you. She also said that you had seen me but were too shy to talk,” I spoke out again.
“Yeah, I don’t really like talking to new people. But I liked you when I first saw you. Just didn’t know how to talk to you,” I heard that fully framed sentence in my head. “Well you can talk to me now. I am Alia.” “Alisha,” I felt her smiling. This meeting was getting more and more exciting. She was clearly different from the others. She was intelligent, and kind. Her presence seemed soothing.
While I left her for the rest of the night, I was reluctant. She was such an amazing friend; I just didn’t feel like leaving her side.
Alisha and I became the best of friends in no time. I started spending more time with her and gradually forgot about the others. Alisha would be with me all evening, but she just couldn’t accompany me home. Nevertheless, I was very happy.