The Love Filled Eyes
Maliha shifted sluggishly in her sleep. Soon the elongated crooning of her bedside alarm clock forced her awake. She tapped it silent with her thin graceful fingers. As soon as she managed herself out of bed a young girl came running in. She gasped for a moment and stammered out information that breakfast would be set in another thirty minutes or so." Is my coffee ready?" Maliha demanded. The round innocent face of that young girl motioned up and down to reassure her query." Then that will be all" snapped Maliha.
Laboni started making the bed for her 'apa'. With her tiny hands she broomed her way round the lavishly decorated room. A pair of pink palms fluffed the pillows with great admiration and the crumpled bed sheet was replaced by a crisp, new one. The room now glowed with a new radiance. Everything rested peacefully in it's place. Laboni felt a tinge of joy as her tiny heart ticked with hope that maybe this time it would occur to her 'apa' that she was devoted to her work. That she would give all her energy to make things immaculate. Her thoughts scurried like frightened small animals trying to find shelter as the bathroom door flung open in front of her. "What are you looking at?" charged Maliha. Before Laboni could even gather herself Maliha's scream sent her legs wobbling. "Why is not my dress ironed yet?" This particular inquisition was followed by another set of screams. Trembling, Laboni got apa's dress from the dresser- drawer and pressed them with all her might. As the door of apa's room closed with a thud behind her she took brisk steps out of everyone's sight to hide her tears. She sat in a corner of the servant's room hugging her knees. Quietly sobbing to herself.
Thinking of all the dreadful things apa said to her each time she made a mistake. It is not that she never tried. In fact, she tried to make things work. Only fate never favoured her. Things got messed up this way or that way. But that would not stop her from trying any harder. She was not the chucking kind. Suddenly a loud shriek shook the house and for the second time her thoughts scattered like small animals frantically looking for shelter. 'Apa' was screaming at the top of her lungs. Laboni got on her feet and hurriedly made her way to the dining hall. There she found 'apa' standing before an already dead earthworm quivering to sustain it's last few moments of life. 'Apa' crushed it nearly to death with her sandal. It must have come from the flower pot nearby, thought Laboni. " What is taking you so long! Don't just stand there you dimwit! Do something. "She threw an enraged look at Laboni that made sure of the fact that she wanted both the place and the back of her slip-on tidied before she blinked again. Maliha would now leave for her classes. And Laboni would be all on her own without 'apa'. She wondered why apa never realized how much she loved her. How proud she was of her. She would do everything to make her happy. 'Apa' liked to be neat. And Laboni was prepared to live with that. She was only six when her aunt brought her to this house. 'Apa' was about eleven. They grew up playing with dolls and watching cartoons together. As years passed 'apa' started to drift away from her. She became aware of the gulf of differences between them. But Laboni did not fickle. She remained the way she had always been. She had never thought of her 'apa' to be anything other than her own sister. 'Apa' did not even say good-bye to her these days before she left the house. It hurt her a lot.
It was now time for 'apa' to return home. Laboni eagerly waited for this time of the day. It brought more chances for her to let apa know how much she really cared. Shortly after the bell was ringing impatiently and Laboni rushed to answer it. Once she did a weared-off 'apa' burdened her with a heavy utility bag she carried to her university. Laboni did not mind. She switched on the air cooler for 'apa', and gently took the sandals off her feet. "Shall I bring some lemonade, apa? "Maliha made a slow nod. As Laboni entered apa's room Maliha sat up on her bed and took a sip from the frosted drink. After one sip she twisted her face in disgust and her eyebrows narrowed in anger. She put down the glass and slapped Laboni hard with the back of her palm. Laboni was only startled and said nothing. Silently she left the room. Later she found out that she had mistakenly added salt instead of sugar in apa's lemonade. Its not that big a crime, she decided. It was a minute error she avowed and willed to amend. She still had her eyes filled with love for Maliha. Like that of a child's for it's loved one. Everytime she looked at her with those love filled eyes Laboni felt more complete.
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