Pihu, took out her clothes from the cupboard and packed them in. She was going on a holiday, a much awaited one. Her busy life as a teacher on weekdays and a volunteer at a old age centre on weekends, filled up her time. Not that she was complaining, she loved her job and she liked the time that she spent in the centre, interacting with older people. Pihu, lived alone and she was in a good space in her life. Her relationship status had been ‘complicated’ for a long time. However, she missed companionship and easy banter. She had changed cities and houses, and currently in the name of friends she had a few colleagues. Pihu, did not want to mix personal with professional relationships and so even though she did socialize with them, she guarded some chapters of her life from them too!
After familiarizing herself with this new place, Pihu planned a holiday for herself. She had taken six months to plan out this trip. The schools were on a mid-term break and she requested leave from the centre. She was to take a train and then a cab to reach this resort, set up high in the mountains. The place was touted much on the web as ‘secret escapes’.
The next day Pihu reached the station in time and got onto her train. The journey was picturesque, with green fields, changing into meadows, up the hill, past colourful cottages and quaint villages to finally stop at this tiny station. Pihu, checked the name, ‘Aston’. The resort was only 2 miles away from the station but Pihu had booked a cab ahead, as she was not sure of the surroundings.
The cab dropped her off in front of a wooden log cabin marked ‘Reception’. Pihu had just one suitcase and a handbag. After initial enquiries, Pihu found out her accommodation. It was a beautiful one bed cottage, right next to a gurgling stream. If she stood near her window, she could see the hills beyond and also the cute hanging bridge straddling the stream.
It was evening by the time she had arrived at the resort, dinner would be served in the dining hall in an hour’s time. Pihu, quickly freshened up and went to the hall to have her dinner. She was looking forward to a sumptuous meal, a break from instant noodles or sandwiches that she made for herself, mostly.
The dining hall was spacious and there were some people, mostly families, having an early meal. The buffet spread was good and she picked and chose the food that she wanted to eat. Two tables away, she noticed another solitary person like herself, a dark haired, tall man, with his glasses on. He looked to be in his late thirties. Pihu, could not help but smile at the thought of a ‘holiday fling’!
After dinner Pihu retired to her cosy cottage. With a book in her hand, her pajamas on, she curled up on the bed, from where with the curtains apart, she could see the distant mountain, tall, dark and imposing! Her eyes fluttered shut and she was elsewhere, on another mountain, playing with snow.
They were nine and full of life. Inseparable as two peas in a pod! On a vacation with their parents, during the school summer holidays. Kuhu would approach Pihu with a snowball fight, they would run and shout, they had ventured out too far. None had noticed. Mom had instructed them to stick close to the hut. The snow was thin here, Pihu chased Kuhu as they ran after each other. Kuhu ran ahead, very fast, she was always good at running, then she disappeared, right where the hill sloped. Pihu ran up to find that the snow had given away to a sharp ledge and a steep drop. Kuhu, was nowhere to be seen. Pihu was drenched in tears and sweat, she was scared, ‘Kuhu’ she shouted again and again and then shivering she blotted out. Later she remembered was a grim funeral, Kuhu’s body was found by the mountain search and rescue team. The dream ended…..Pihu woke up drenched in sweat.
It had never been the same for her ever again, after all Kuhu, was her identical twin. Even after 15 years, her soul was not there, she abused relationships, nothing lasted! For her ‘Life was unpredictable’! Her job was her solace.
Pihu packed up her bags and left the resort, this holiday lasted briefly, too briefly!