She hated packing up and moved houses. So many memories with friends, school and drawings on the wall she grew up making to leave behind. The new house was a bigger one; she would finally have her own room. Yet it felt appalling to leave a piece of herself behind. One final look across the room, and it was time to leave.
Her parents were thrilled. It would be a new beginning for all of them, a better one they hoped. Nabiha wished that she could share their excitement. “You’re going to love it there”, they kept on repeating. All she could hear was her best friend’s muffled sobs when they said their goodbyes. She put her headphones on.
It took them a 7 hour drive to reach Sylhet from Dhaka. She was barely awake when their car pulled up in front of their new home. It had a lawn with trees and didn’t remotely resemble the apartment building that they used to live in. It was a home. She fell in love.
Her room had the opening to a shared balcony with her parents’ and it opened up to a blissful morning facing the hills with waterfalls peeking out from a distance. “That side is covered under the Indian border, mamoni”, her mother almost whispered from the back. “Where is this place? It’s unreal!” she gasped. “Jointapur”, replied her mother before adding “we’ll roam around Sylhet once we are done with the furnishings in here. You will love it”. She believed her this time.
It didn’t take her long to realize that Jointapur was a very quiet place. Not much to do, only the maid’s daughter to chit chat with, mostly in a dialect she didn’t understand. She started to miss school now, her friends and even that teacher who never let her sit beside her best friend in class. She would continue her A levels from Sylhet and there were tutors from Sylhet town she would need to visit every other day. She was actually looking forward to the long drive to the tutors’ and back. At least she would get to meet new people there.
She met him for the first time and fell in love for the second time in Sylhet. It’s the place, she wondered, that made her fall in love ever so often. He spoke softly, but had a roar of a laugh with his friends. She learned quickly how popular he was in class and the rest of the girls at the tutors’ place were always competing for a glance. He came to her house for the housewarming party her parents hosted inviting all their new colleagues and her new classmates over. He asked her out soon after. She was having the time of her life and was glad that they moved to Sylhet. He moved to Malaysia for his bachelors’ degree a year later. They vowed to keep their relationship alive but he started avoiding her texts a few months down the line. She eventually declared to move on.
Seeing his picture on the front page of the newspaper shot dead by the police and bathed red in his own blood brought her down to her knees. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to hold back her tears the next time their paths would cross. After three long years, she never knew it would hurt as much.