I have a keen interest in writing articles, essays, short stories, and fiction. And I love to share them here.
This short story is written in response to one of the prompts in Moe Wood’s article, “100 Short Story (or Novel) Writing Prompts.”
Moe Wood’s Prompt I used for the Short Story
I modified Moe Wood’s prompt a little by changing the first person of the main character to the third person and changing the main character’s rival’s name to Bobby Mannan instead of Bobby Monroe. Here is her prompt after the changes:
For the first ten years of her life, Julekha always imagined herself as a princess. Then in the eleventh grade, Bobby Mannan called her a hag and she realized she wasn't a princess after all. It's amazing how quickly someone can defeat your dream with the utterance of one word.
Twenty years later, she cringes whenever she hears it and is immediately brought back to that rainy afternoon when her love for herself diminished. That’s why when she opened up her mail and found an invitation to her High School reunion, she …
Julekha, Will She Be a Queen?- The Response
That’s why when she opened up her mail and found an invitation to her High School reunion, she cringed in agony again.
She had no wish to confront Bobby once more. She quickly put the invitation away, not at all sure if she would attend the reunion. She thought she would later see to it if she would change her mind.
There were still two weeks to decide about it. She went to work, did her tasks, and chatted with her colleagues, but she didn't disclose anything about the reunion to them. She had her lunch, carried on the second shift, and drove back home.
A week later, on the weekend, she sat down with the invitation again. She didn’t feel so bad about it, and she changed her mind. She wondered if classmates from that time could be contacted, and she decided to go through Facebook.
She found one or two, but they weren’t online. So, she signed out of her account.
When the grand day came, Julekha decided to put on a burgundy dress and a burgundy flower in her hair, looking good and feeling satisfied.
She told her Dad in the living room that she was leaving. As usual, he warned her to be careful on the streets.
She drove away from home onto the streets and moved along cautiously, putting on light music at low volume.
Julekha drove on two miles before she saw the familiar gates of her old High School. She parked in the parking area. There were already several ones parked in the area. She got inside the building. There was nothing here, but voices and music came from the first floor.
She climbed onto the first floor, and several girls from the back came up front, whom Julekha recognized and realized how much they had grown from their kiddish selves. She started to enjoy the party, further finding old friends.
There were several corners in the area where music bands played music and sang. She guessed they were hired by the organizers of the reunion. She felt really, really good. Not only that, it was beautiful to watch the large pictures and flowers they had decorated on the walls. It was so fascinating to the eye.
She never saw Bobby. And she was pleased. Sometime later, they all sat down in the dining region and began to eat.
Julekha said “Hi” to one or two teachers who passed by and had taught them when they were in High School. It was enjoyable to talk, eat, and relish the dinner that was served to them. They were mixed fried rice, mixed vegetables, sizzling beef, roasted chicken, salad, and cold drinks.
After dinner, they toured the place. It was beginning to get dark. Julekha was going back to her car on the ground floor when someone called her name.
There was a tall, sprouting-bearded guy that she didn't recognize. He said he remembered her from High School in another batch. He had been meaning to talk to her throughout the party, but he didn't get a chance. She apologized, and they exchanged phone numbers as he said he wanted to be friends with her.
She left the place, got into her car, and drove away. Again, she scampered by two miles back to reach home. Her Dad was already a little worried, and her Mom was in the kitchen washing up.
Her Dad asked, "How was the reunion?" Julekha narrated him everything about the party, including the guy, Rizwan, who asked for her phone number and wanted to be friends with her.
"That's interesting", Dad remarked. Julekha changed to sleepwear, removed all the makeup from her face, and hopped onto the bed. She switched off her smartphone and fell fast asleep.
Two days at work went by. She had reached home and taken dinner. When she was about to switch off her smartphone, she thought of Rizwan, not understanding why he took her phone number when he didn’t call her at all. At that very moment, her phone sprang to life and buzzed. It was Rizwan.
Rizwan and Julekha chatted for a few minutes, talking about their daily lives. He seemed a little hurt that she didn't recognize him from their High School days. But eventually, they smiled and said their goodnights. She was soon fast asleep.
Another two days later, to her utmost surprise, she got a mail from Stuttgart University, Germany that she had been accepted into their university in Information Technology program, and she should be starting classes in October 2017.
She was over the moon. The next day at work, this was the news she broke to her colleagues.
She got busy getting a German visa from the embassy. It would take a month to know if she would get the visa or not. She would have to give an interview at the embassy after they had gone through the application, and then, everything would be finalized.
Rizwan called in between, and Julekha gave him the news. He didn’t seem excited or happy. She wondered what was on his mind.
Anyway, she had barely time to think. The interview day came. The interrogator asked who would sponsor her and what assets he had. Julekha then submitted documents to her for that. She seemed happy. She asked other questions too, and Julekha answered them all honestly.
A month later, Julekha got a message on her smartphone that the visa was ready. She jumped over the moon in joy.
She called Rizwan in her happiness. She was jubilant when she gave the news to him. But Rizwan showed no emotion. Later, when it was time for Julekha to say goodbye, Rizwan said finally, "Wait Julekha. I had something to say to all this. Don't go. I think you are a good person, and I always had a crush on you. I would have proposed to you shortly. What do you say to that?"
Julekha kept her mind straight. “Well”, she said, "I am surprised to know that. But this admission that I got is hard to get. So, I will be going abroad. But we will keep in touch, I promise.”
Rizwan cheered up, and they finished talking on a merry note and said their byes.
Julekha updated Dad and Mom with all the news. Dad especially chuckled at Rizwan’s approach. “Let’s see how he keeps at it”, he said.
Soon it was time to leave home and make way for abroad.
It was a 12-hour journey with two stops. Julekha finally reached the destination airport. After collecting her luggage, she, along with four others, was directed to a shuttle, which took them to the Stuttgart University dorm area.
The room was for Julekha only. But if she desired, she could have a roommate to share the rent of the dorm. After looking over the leaflet on the table, she decided she could afford the whole rent and didn’t need a roommate.
She started her classes. The homework and assignments were quite inticrate and timeconsuming. But she managed to make friends and studied with them in a group. So, the pressure started to ease off. A term passed away. She didn’t do excellent but quite okay. She was in constant touch with Rizwan on the phone.
At this time, Rizwan said on the phone, "I cannot hold it out any longer. Let's get married by phone. It is possible. I will get the details about it and let you know. Are you with me?”
Julekha replied, "Certainly, Rizwan. After we get married, you can come and visit me if you like."
Rizwan said happily, "Yes, I guess so." And soon, he hung up. Both Julekha and Rizwan were feeling very elated after this conversation.
It was settled by Rizwan that Julekha and himself would get married with the help of a Kazi at home, both keeping two eyewitnesses at their side. Julekha found a junior close Bangladeshi friend and an elderly in the vicinity of Stuttgart University whom she knew and asked them to be eyewitnesses to her marriage by phone. Then accordingly, on the second Friday of the next month, January 2018, Julekha and Rizwan got married by phone merrily.
Friends in Stuttgart told Julekha that after the 2nd term, she could go to her country for data collection for her thesis, come back, and complete it in the last six months.
Julekha jumped in joy again. She quickly called Rizwan and let him know the news. He was excited this time. He didn’t say much but couldn’t conceal his delight.
Soon the 2nd term was over, and Julekha was prepared to go to her country for data collection and for uniting with her husband for a while.
But as it happened, her husband’s original family would not leave Julekha without cerebrations and marriage ceremonies. Time flew fast. Rizwan was happy. So was Julekha but with a bit of anxiety for not having been able to collect data at all for her thesis. She went back to Germany, praying that her supervisor wouldn’t be too mad at her and rebuke her.
She reached Germany and her dorm, unable to think or do anything further. At that instant, Rizwan called and asked her not to be nervous. “Just tell everything honestly to your supervisor. He will understand.”
Julekha replied feebly, “Yes, I guess so.”
Soon she faced her supervisor and told him everything honestly. In the middle, she started crying helplessly.
The supervisor finally said, "That's okay. You can collect data here also." And he mentioned a few places in Stuttgart where she could collect her required data. Julekha quickly noted them down in her pocket notebook. She left and started an adventure with renewed vigor. It took her exactly five days to collect the data. She would soon be analyzing them, studying them further, and writing a thesis.
She told briefly her husband everything and asked him to visit her for a short while. She would then give time back to her thesis.
Rizwan was more than happy. He took leave from his office and bought the ticket for a round trip to Stuttgart. It was not long before Julekha and Rizwan met and hugged in a warm embrace.
Julekha led Rizwan by train to her dorm. They were both thrilled. He came only for a week not to delay her thesis. It was understood between them. They visited places around Stuttgart, and at night they made love in Julekha's dorm.
A week passed away. Both had to face the harsh reality of life. There would no more be this kind of joy and ecstasy, but they will be united again hopefully after her thesis and graduation.
After Rizwan left for home, Julekha worked hard on her thesis. There were lots of corrections to make every time she met her supervisor. But eventually, it was final, and she could print copies.
The graduation day came, and she took lots of photos in her graduation costume. Her batchmates and herself had lots of sweetmeats and cold drinks to relish. The day ended with speeches, refreshments, photos, and a fresh round of goodbyes.
While Rizwan was waiting for Julekha patiently across the globe, she let him know that initially, she would go for a Europe tour and then return to Dhaka.
Accordingly, brave Julekha went for an enjoyable Europe tour. She visited England, France, Monaco, Italy, Austria, and Poland and took lots of selfies.
Soon it was time for her to leave Europe and take the plane to Dhaka. She made way for Rizwan’s home, looking here and there, feeling overjoyed. When she saw him outside of his home, she started giggling and laughing and fell into his arms.
Rizwan was smiling and laughing too. But soon, he said, "I have a surprise to give you.” Julekha became serious. “What is it?” she asked.
"I am immigrating to Canada in two months where I have a good job and a nice place to stay. I invite you to join me within a year. This is the time it would take for the application to process if you apply now."
Julekha was surprised all right. “How come you never told me about it?” she asked curiously.
“It was meant to be a surprise”, said Rizwan.
“All right, honey, I get it”, said Julekha.
Julekha and Rizwan hugged again in a deeper embrace. She was Rizwan's Queen. Her infatuation with being a princess as a child was not so wrong after all. Certainly, she proved Bobby Mannan wrong, wherever in the world she might be now.
© 2022 Rosina S Khan