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The International Writers Magazine:Stories from the Attic

The Voice
• Michelle D'costa
Sanjana sought refuge in the house attic on days she needed his company the most. She hadn’t told anyone of his presence. Not yet. She valued his company too much to risk losing him. She loved sneaking in to get him books to read and midnight snacks too when he had bouts of imsomnia.

The Attic

She always preferred the lights off in the attic whenever she came to meet him. That was her only condition. She would allow him to stay, give him whatever essentials he required only if he respected her wish to keep the lights off while she sat beside him.

 She had a lot of things to tell him. So many things. She enjoyed suspending her words, into the darkness of the attic, that were only meant for his ears. She wanted him to imagine her expressions. She wanted him to hold onto her words and at the same time be anxious about her expressions without which those words were incomplete.

 She wanted to leave him unsatisfied so that he had something to look forward to and she counted on the suspense she had created for her lack of expressions. 

 Before he came into her life or rather her attic she didn’t know what to look forward to other than the boring soap operas on TV.

 Her favourite drama on TV was ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

Whenever the show ended she didn't know what to do with her idle time. The walls of her bedroom would close in on her when she needed someone to talk to the most. 

Why walls you ask?  For she had heard that walls have ears.

 Since she had found him. She didn't need the walls to listen to her tales. 

At least he didn't gloat like them for just listening to her. 

Or did he? 

She would find out some day.

Since she wanted the lights off she also couldn't see his expressions. But she just had to live with it. There was an excitement in the way they conversed.  She accepted his presence like a mother accepts her baby’s presence in the womb after years of struggle.

He was just as clever as her. 

He wanted her to hold onto his presence as her patient listener while he kept her in suspense about his voice.

Yes, just as she didn't grant him the right to her expressions he exercised monopoly over his voice. But he wasn't merciless. He granted her lots of other reactions to make up for his lack of voice.

His endless listening, almost breathless when she had something exciting to say.
His heavy breathing, when she preferred to remain silent or pause for effect.
His crunching in the silence, whenever she offered him her packet of Lays chips.
His yawning, whenever he was bored of her repeating the same sentence again and again.
His biting of his nails and spitting them in the air, whenever he wanted to annoy her.

She wanted to hear a word from him just like he wanted to see an expression of hers.

They enjoyed their mutual dependence. When they were not in each other’s presence they wondered about each other.

Sanjana wondered about Akhil’s voice. Was it husky like Alex Karev’s? Or was it kiddish like George O'Malley’s?

Akhil wondered if Sanjana’s facial expressions were just as animated as her voice. Did she roll her eyes? Did she stick her tongue out? Did she have dimples? Did she play with her hair like most girls?

He decided to prank her and put himself out of his misery. He would pretend like it happened unintentionally and since he would see her expression she would be granted with his words


Sanjana was talking about how she had begun to explore herself spiritually since she met him.  She was finding difficulty in finding the right words to explain her happiness. As she fumbled for the right word, he couldn’t wait any longer.

He flicked on the lighter close to her face. She let out a scream, her mouth contorted in a wide O but he didn’t let out a word. The flame danced in front of her eyes just before the lights in the attic went on.

Her parents looked at her with pity.

‘Sanjana why are you here? You’re talking to yourself again. Why do you have to come here for that? Don’t you do that in your room also? Dr Derek was right, you need to be kept under observation. Come.’ Her Dad said and flicked off the lighter.

Sanjana blinked in the attic light looking around for him.

She should have been happy that McDreamy wanted to see her again.

But she was only thinking of Akhil. He never showed up when others were around but she would never forgive him for tricking her.

She still hadn’t heard his voice.

His face was just as it was the last time she saw him. A long time ago.

But his voice…

So when she was admitted in Dr. Derek’s clinic she kept murmuring, ‘Alex or George? Alex or George?’

Author Bio: Michelle is 22 yrs old.  She never imagined she would be writing so much someday. Follow her fiction/poetry here

Michelle D'costa

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