How They See Sofia-A Mystery


                Sofia Watson

                A very tired and scared Sofia Watson is walking on a dreary road on a cloudy evening. The air is black just like Sofia’s hair. Her heart is beating fast and she is nearly breathless. The 18 years old swimmer is holding an invitation to a swimming contest which was over two days ago and she has gone crazy after that day. The only noise on the road is of Sofia’s footsteps and of those which Sofia could hear coming right behind her. The girl is being followed. She turns around to find no one. She gulps and starts walking again. The sound of her breath was clearly audible and she was shivering. It was getting cold and Sofia was getting colder. She turns around and screams in her powerless voice, “stop following me! Please, I beg you” but again (like thousand times before), finds no one. Her head is full of conflicts and thoughts. Now she breaks out in tears. A bird flies out of a tree and this startles her. She comes across two familiar faces in the way and could easily hear them talking with one of them whispering, “I heard Watson lost the swimming contest” and the other teases, “and this was not the first one.” Sofia knows they are laughing at her but she could not care less. The two people start to call her a loser but she walks her way. The clouds were getting thicker and she feels a drop of water on her sweaty forehead. The air was howling and so were Sofia’s thoughts. She finally enters a medium, not so special house where she lives alone. Her brown eyes are turning red along with her cheeks and she lets out a cry of anger, crushes the contest invitation and throws it in the bin. She locks the door and goes in the bed room. Excessive thinking and headaches lead to utter disappointment. She falls asleep. For the first time in the many last hours, she seems peaceful now but who knows, I believe she is having the darkest nightmares. After a night of rough dreams, she feels sparks on her face. It is the sun shining as bright as it. That is when she gets a call from her best friend Julia who, in a completely worried tone asks, “How are you? How is the fever?” Sofia stays silent. Julia knows that Sofia has been spending much time in the school’s pool, stays sick and bruised. She knows that swimming is Sofia’s life and that our heroine has been overdoing her practice. This girl has been carrying a lot on her mind these days. Sofia assures Julia that she is well. She lets out a sigh looking at the photo of her favorite swimmer and heads out to practice.

         Walt Carter, Sofia’s strict and overly disciplined instructor tells her that he has signed her up for another competition happening in three days. Sofia expresses her happiness. He asks Sofia to practice the techniques everyday but not to the extent of getting over weakened. After a long boring day, she is again walking on the road and this time she is not going home. She hears some footsteps again. There is someone but why cannot she see? The same two familiar faces are talking again, “I heard there is some other competition happening this week.” The other says, “I bet Cristina Forks will win this time. I am not betting my money on some loser.” Sofia sheds a tear and walks her way again. She goes to the river of aches. That is what she calls it as that river has been her friend and rival since childhood. That river has given her bruises and made her the perfect swimmer she always wanted to be. She would fight against the water as a child and would scream about her triumph, “I win, I win.” She is now standing on the bank of the river, staring as deep as possible. She dives in with a huge splash. For a while, she lets her body just flow with the water. She feels paradise, that soothing, that rest. She closes her eyes. She lets herself free and suddenly opens her eyes and starts to swim as hard as she can but feels disappointed. She swims hard, then slow and harder again. At the same moment, a man appears on the scene. He looks at Sofia trying hard at what she wants to achieve. He yells at her, “Stop it you fool, you cannot do it!” Sofia does not bat an eye. She is lost in herself. She tries and tries but the man keeps on telling her that she cannot do it. Finally, after a long time she comes out of the river, soaking. She is crying. The man smiles at her, “Told you, I told you. You cannot do it!” Sofia looks down to the ground and says, “I failed, I failed Again!” It was starting to get darker. A weather Sofia has never liked. As she begins to walk she knows that she is being followed again. Voices of people attack her mind again; telling her to stop swimming, mocking her shattered confidence, ridiculing her about the marks and bruises it has given her. A scared Sofia reaches home and dries herself up but she is starting to feel sick. She is shivering and has Goosebumps. She turns the light on and takes a good look at the photo of a swimmer she has always admired. The photo was the biggest thing on her wall. She sighs, “I want to be like you but why do I feel worthless? How did the things change so fast?” She gets no reply as she was talking to a photo.

She thinks of Julia who keeps on telling her that the desperation to win is killing the joy inside of her. This is the life of Sofia Watson, the once ‘special’ but now desperate swimmer, they say. she goes to this river after being followed all the way and a man comes there every day and screams that she cannot. Three days later she meets the two familiar faces again and one of them asks, “Hey Watson, did you win this time?” The other one laughs, “winning? She did not even show up. She was sitting at home on the day of the competition. I heard that she sat home for two days when she lost the first one.” Sofia suddenly faints. There is a blackout.

Then the same day I get a letter saying,

Dear Destiny,

     It has been nearly a week since I died. My sister Sofia needs help. I listen to people teasing her that she lost the competition. The fools don’t know that she did not but I, James Watson, lost the competition. Society believes everything they hear and makes up false claims. The two guys heard that a Watson lost the contest and believed that it was Sofia. They say that she lost but I know my sister wins everyday. Even today my sister went to the river and tried to kill herself by drowning. Sofia never goes there to practice but in a hope that she will drown. She lets herself flow free, so that the river may drown her but something inside her does not let her die and she starts to swim again. Again today, I went there (to the river) in my spirit to tell her that she cannot do that. I scream that Sofia cannot die but she cannot hear me. She says that she failed as she fails to die but she wins from suicide everyday. She looks at my photo every day in her room. I tell her she will be fine but she cannot listen. She drowns to life everyday. She is reborn everyday. She chooses the river to die because she knows that she cannot die there. She wants to live. The society has so many things to say even when they don’t know the truth and my sister is too ashamed to tell it. My sister shivers every day, she gets ill, she faints, she sits at home they say, she gets fever and she has bruises and marks but not because she swims too much.

I know what follows my sister everyday. Fear follows her at every step.The fear of being raped again. The day I died saving her.The day she lost her confidence.The day of the competition. In the society, those who know this, they don’t redeem and those who just ‘hear’ this make it worse. My sister is living a lie. This is how the victims live. They drown in life. She is afraid she cannot feel the same way again. The fear to not be able to walk freely follows her everyday. Boring is how the people see Sofia’s life as, but only you know the truth inside of her.”



It was my 5,822nd day in this Universe. The grass was shining, hail embraced the flowers and the sunlight turned everything to gold. There I was, a curious human, laying in the garden while my eyes followed the clouds; wondering how I was nearly sixteen. I knew that, some lucky day, I will become one of the stars that I could not see because those shy lights like to hide themselves in the day. I closed my eyes and I tried to reminisce my life but I could not remember much of it. It is not that easy, you see, with all those other tensions gardening my brain.

As I saw the birds teasing my flightless structure, a memory attacked my head like a supernova. As I started to indulge in the memory, the bright day turned into a lightly lit evening in front of my eyes. I was thinking deeply as if my brain took me back in time to that moment. I was reliving the most enlightening time of ‘my time’. That unfortunate evening, I was taking a walk in the same garden that happens to be in my home. My curiosity driven treasure hunt was going just fine or should I say, unsatisfying. My feet took me to a little bush where I saw a bird, wounded and hurt badly; a sight that always debilitates me. The bird was a fluffy little fellow and its mother or some aunt/ friend was flying relentlessly around it (wait! Do birds even have relations?). I think they do as it looked nothing less than a family member to me. I was imagining the bird screaming, “Help!”. The other one looked worried. For some time, I sat there blankly, feeling helpless. The evening was running away and so were the bird’s breaths. It is foretold, foreseen, what it was being dealt with. It was dying and so were the hopes of the fellow bird. It could fly no more. I was so lost in its little eyes, tearing every bit. I was all shaken (blaming the cause of it). I rushed inside my house to bring pen and paper. Shakespeare taught me that writings never die. I wanted to immortalize the bird in the histories but was I too late? When I came out, the bird was shivering to a point that could freeze any heart. The other bird was gone. Did it lose all the faith? Did it go to bring help? I had never seen a death before. It was the first time I witnessed the end of someone’s time and I could do nothing to stop it. Every single day comes to a night. I gazed the bird’s eyes and it begged from mine. The shy stars came to mourn as well. The bird was sighing, trying hard to stay alive and it suddenly it squealed. It grew pale. Did it want to see a friend before it flew to heaven? The wings were almost broken and yes, friend, I understood the feeling as we are all united by souls. We don’t need any language to feel the pain. A cold wind was blowing, spreading a dark atmosphere. I was writing a melody for my new friend. The brown feathers were beginning to turn white, the thirsty tongue was starting to come out. It might be missing its mother. The cruel situation was killing the bird, slowly. A tear rushed down its face. Time and space paused and I could see it living its whole life in those few minutes. That evening sucked every emotion out of us till one of the two sounds of breath, stopped. The bird went away forever and took my friendship with it. That day I died with it.

Death is not the only killer, I suppose. I opened my eyes and my brain brought me back to the present. The day was at its peak and the sun was on my head. It was a memory I loved and loathed at the same time. Now the day did not seem as beautiful as before. Did I mention, I had an appointment with the doctor? Since the past few years, I had been diagnosed with migraine; a pain that was poisoning my head and caused me to drop out of school and stay at home. Those headaches had made my brain a graveyard, where I buried my curiosity. I would dig deeper to find it but all I had was remains. But I was happy as I was alive. I was waiting for the moment which would make everything alright and grant me a chance to be the writer I always wanted to be. Every day I used to wish to be the same again, the one without any disease. I always thought the younger me was the better self of mine as I was energetic, lively back then and now I was just like that bird, waiting for someone to come and help me. Every fair morning, I would wake up and waste the whole day at home; grieving, thinking about the beautiful past and waiting for that ‘One Fortunate Day’ to knock at the door when I will show my talents.

My headaches were getting severe. The next day, while taking bath, I started to feel dizzy. My head was on flames and brain on fire. The geyser was leaking gas. My weak head could not take it and neither could my oxygen-thirsty lungs. As I finished and started to walk out of the bathroom, my legs became weak. I could not walk, I opened the lock but could never get out. I sat there, all sweaty and breathless. My whole life flashed in front of me and I could remember everything which I could never remember before, even if I tried. It was my time to bid goodbye to the greatest chance I had; life. I was shivering but could not call for help. My body turned blue, dryness conquered my tongue. I tried to scream but the voice would not come out. The temperature was falling and I was as cold as ice. My eyes were watery and ready to fall out, waiting for a small glimpse of any friend. It felt like my soul left my body and I was witnessing my departure. I was helpless. Was I the bird now? I waited and waited and there was a blackout.

When I opened my eyes, I squealed and was on the bed with my whole family around me. Mother was crying. The doctor told I was nearly dead. But I know, I was born again that day. That is when I realized that the day that I kept on waiting for, comes every day. This is a golden secret, but I know I met death that day. Maybe I was granted life again. In the state of pure unconsciousness, the death gave me another shot at life. I never looked at life the same way again. Now I see it as a chance to fulfill my dreams because that ‘ONE FORTUNATE DAY’ is today. No one knows when doom will fall upon you. That day I lost the fear of death. I know it is peaceful. The same sun shines every day for the same you. Maybe I had some unfinished business. I know I was never supposed to sit and regret. So, I was fortunate enough to get another chance to live life ‘differently’. Death whispers every day in my head, “You have to bring the day that you wish to live. You wanted to be a writer? I have paved the road for you but stop wishing to bring back the past. Now you wish that you were like the way before but that time, you wished you were something else. A human is never satisfied. These wishes are never-ending.”

Two years later, I am sitting in the small garden. The headaches still live unshaken. I can feel the raindrops making music and the wind howling. In this paradise, I am lucky that I have a LIFE because most people don’t. I like to believe that my old friend gifted me its life. Now I will live it just the way the bird would. I will fly.
By Avneet Sandhu