Sounds of an engine. Far away but for sure an engine. She looks up eager, waiting for a bus to go home. Whirring too muted for a crowded bus, she resigns hope but looks anyway. Another disappointment to a disappointing day.
The heat wave passes. Summers aren’t easy in rural Jharkhand. Definitely not for an unappreciated daughter. At least not one as thin as her.
Red Handlebars at the horizon. Unusual reticence. The kind that comes before tragedy hits. A glimpse of red. A face she has almost definitely seen. Almost. Somewhere. The red motorcycle now dangerously close. Recoiling, she steps back. Too late.
A searing pain and she can’t hear her screams over her burning face. She recognizes the caustic smell from hospital corridors. She screams again. She remembers the face in the helmet now. Unrequited love. A life changed forever.
She stirs in her bed. Blind in one eye. Scared to look ever look into the mirror. Hydrochloric acid they said. Changes nothing.