I am a feather. A white feather. A clean white feather.
I was not all alone always. I had a family, a family full of feathers. We were all part of a white pigeon. It felt great to be flying higher and higher in the skies.
With no boundaries to stop us, the world was our home. Sometimes we were in the cool breezes and at times, it was the blazing hot air.
But that is all in the past. Today, I am a feather with no one to care for me. I no more belong to that pigeon.
I am moving, rather flying, in the direction Air pushes me. I am afraid, not because I am falling, but, because I think when I will be on the ground, with humans trampling me under there feet, I will not remain the bright white feather that today I take pride in being.
Here is another breeze and it has pushed me towards a window. An open window. I can see plants on the window sill. The plants that I will join in a while.
I am too close to the window now and I detect some movement there. Now it is not just the plants there. A girl has come to stand there. She is looking at the street below and she looks sad.
She, the girl at the window I mean, did not stay long. Till the time I reached the window sill, she had left. And I sat there for hours and hours wondering what might happen to me further.
I did not even realize how fast time moved. It was nearly sun down when I saw that sad face again. Thegirl hadcome back to the room. And she saw me sitting there on the window sill, came to me and picked me up. I may have been a long lost precious something that she has found back.
For some unknown reason, I felt safe with her.
She, with me in her hand, sat down on the bed and lifted me. And she started speaking to me, maybe she thought it was safe to talk to a feather, that does not hear and does not speak back.
From her little one sided conversation, I learnt that her name was Alina Ali and she was a student in some university (the name i did not really understand). She, with her family, has recently shifted to this new city, Karachi. With all her friends and half her family (extended family) left behind, she was having trouble starting it all once again.
From what I can recall, she said
I am all alone in here. Nothing to do. Life, I never knew, could be that difficult to restart. Getting to know nw people is Ok but then there is the fact that contact with a lot of people, left behind, will have to be severed. Distance does have a negative impact on the strength of relationships.
‘For instance, today when I went to University, I felt a bit out of place. The atmosphere there was totally different there from what I am used to.
She sighed and closed her eyes. She sat like that for some time and then opened them again. This time she was smiling. She looked at me again. It seemed that she was looking at me, properly for the firsttime. Her smile deepened.
What a cute little thing you are! And here I am sitting telling you all downs of my life. Maybe upsetting you a bit? Oh, little one, forget about that. We will talk about something else. For a start, I could give you a name. Yes, that is what I will do. Lets see. What should your name be? I know the right name and from now on you are my “Quilly”
And thus I was named Quilly.
Alina’s a loving friend to have. I, who is nothing more than a feather, am treated with love and care by her. She takes out time for me everyday. Talks to me. About herself and about me too (as if I was a human like her).
I, Alina’s Quilly, am no more a mere feather. She uses me as a quill. She writes with me for the subjects she likes best. She says that is because I am her friend, a true friend, and she would never use me for something she does not really care for.
And this makes me feel special.
Everyday, I wait for her to pick me up, to write with me. When ever she does this, It gives me a sense that I am not altogether useless. There is something I am capable of.
And in this manner days passed. Alina was adjusting well in Karachi. Though she has loads of friends now, she calls me her best friend still.
Then one sunny day, Alina decided to go to her aunt’s for a week. From what I could gather, her aunt lived in Lahore with her husband and two kids. Alina was very excited about meeting her young couisins (Adnan who is 20 and Hammad who is 13).
Once everything for her travel was settled, she started packing her bag while I lay on her desk wondering, giving in to my insecurities
Has she forgotten me, now that she is heading back to the people ofher past? Will she leave me lying here only? On her desk? Was I just a something that she kept with herself just so that she did not have to be all alone?
My thought process was interrupted as I felt that I was being lifted. It was Alina, who has come to take me with her. She told me that she will keep me in her handbag where there was more space and I could sit there comfortably.
How was I ever to predict that my happiness and my life had numbered hours left.
All thanks to Alina’s couisin, Hammad, I had had a terrible time since Alina walked in her aunt’s house.
I was in her hands when she entered and Hammad snatched me (from her). It was a new and painful experience for me as I was never really hurt physically before.
Maybe Alina loved him more than she loved me, because she didnt ask him to return me but let him keep me with him. (All my insecurities returning).
Hamamd’s grip on me was really tight. Though Alina was asking him loosen his grip but there was a huge smile on her face that may very well have suggested that it was upto Hammad how best to treat me as he (Hammad) is who matters.
Hammad was a brutal person to be left to. He did not seem to grasp the idea of what a quill is . What he wanted with me was to distort me. This I am sure of because he kept on murmuring the following words as he worked towars sending me to my doom.
I know she calls you her best friend now but I am not going to let that happen. I was, am and will remail Baji’s bestie. I wont let a good for nothing feather replace me.
His rage was uncontrolable and it made him look more scary.
When he was done with me, he crept into Alina’s room and threw me on the bed for her to find. Not long after Alina, who I thought really cared for me, walked in and sat down on the bed. As I cam in her line of sight, her smile was wiped off her face and shee seemed to be in shock. She picked me up. Her touch was as usual very soft and, at present, soothing to my aching body.
Again, I realized, I was wrong in thinking that Alina did not care for me anymore.
Since then, though I do not look the way I used, Alina has kept me safe with her. Never again did she ever let me into hands other than hers.
I may be gone into nothingness in some time, but I will never forget the time I have spent in Alina’s care.