Wednesday, March 30, 2011


A red miasma swirled in front of my eyes. I inhaled and zeroed in on what had happened just seconds ago.

Incessant dialing. My digits hurt from the repetitive punching in of numbers on my cell phone, and the bleeping dial tone soon seemed like the only sound left in the universe. I bit back a frustrated cry. And then he picked up.

It had been 8 days since then. Had he known? Had he even been counting?

‘I’m out, busy. What happened?’ he sounded, befuddled.

A red-hot flame flickered inside of me. ‘What happened? Don’t you know what’s happened?! When am I supposed to tell you about it, during all the time we spend together every day?’ I muttered an exclamation of disgust and jabbed the red button.

As much as I tried to calm myself, the conflagration in my chest would not subside. Rage fuelled it, and it ascended to further heights. The anger suffused each pore of my being, until I could feel it along every fissure of my spine.

I hated him so much then. If thought would kill, a mere fragment of an intention could have sufficed, he would have been dead by then.

I detested the fact that he held so much sway over me. Regret, there never was. I had thought everything through, and had always wanted whatever I had done. Yet, it all seemed like some gross miscalculation. As if the very heavens had conspired against me, out to prove me wrong.

Each particle of me exuded the angst that eons of neglect had caused. One blow after another. And then another. For how long was I supposed to pretend that I was made out of rock? Regardless, that rock had now been eroded by the waters of penitence and hurt that had been inflicted on it.

That was how I saw it. The feeling itself was a peculiar, pungent hatred. As much as I tried to get rid of it, it seeped into my bones and clung to me like an intangible wraith.

My temples throbbed, my brain pulsated like some live creature. I knew that soon enough, this anger would dissipate. And the next time I would see him, it would have effervesced to a dull depression. It was difficult staying away from him. What was worse, was seeing him happy and content without me. To hear him laugh in the strange rigmarole of false friends and phony emotions.

I clenched my fist, gritted my teeth, and waited for the anger to abate.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


It was always the same story, only enacted in a different way every time. Outside the window, the sun shone relentlessly as if to mock my state of mind. Nimbus clouds scurried past as if scorched by the intensity of the heat. Muted chattering and shouts rang out. It was strange to see how smoothly things could function in spite of the turmoil within me. I stared absently at my reflection in the window pane and hated myself for it. Stringy hair, sunken eye sockets. Shadows of grey beneath my eyes. I looked and seemed hollow- a mere shell of my former self.

Spring had settled in, and verdant grass sprung up wherever it could catch the scattered rays of the sun. He sat opposite me. Not him, but someone else who had asked.

I sniffed a bit and gulped the lump in my throat.

He had asked why I couldn’t just let go of him.

I wrung my hands helplessly and managed a hollow, mocking laugh. It seemed like a rhetorical question by now. Did he think that I’d never mused about it myself? That this was not something I would mull over incessantly and berate myself for?

A thought surfaced in my dulled brain. Like a bubble emerging from the depths of murky water. Maybe I’m so used to him being around that the thought of his absence terrifies me. Maybe it’s because he is a microcosm of poignant failure in my life, I thought listlessly. I looked over and debated whether I should tell him everything that had ensued. But what would this perfect stranger, this person who had absolutely no idea of my suffering, be able to understand?

I didn’t think I could have risked it. Not when another person was giving me an opportunity to start over. I hated for him to see how I was stuck in this rut. Above all, I didn’t know if I could trust him. Didn’t know if I even wanted to trust him. I couldn’t muster the effort to try. To open up a chasm of invulnerability would be fatal. Human weakness, exposed in its fragile, most pitiful form.

I laughed. It rang out in my ears as one intermittent, sonorous peal. Something inside me shrank at the fakeness of it. He gave me a quizzical, amused look, but said nothing.

Nobody likes a quitter, I had told myself a million times. Try, try, try again. Try until you die, I thought miserably. But wasn’t it important to know when to quit? I exhaled sharply, clenching the edge of the table until my palms hurt. I hated it. I hated it all. Maybe I just didn’t know when to lay down my arms and declare defeat.

It’s like cutting myself with a knife, I thought bleakly, trying to piece it together. What would a manic-depressant feel? The act of cutting, the rush of blood, the relentless mode of exhilaration. But it hurt. It hurt all the same.

He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

I grimaced and looked away. I shrank away from the warmth outside, preferring the cold of my Gollum-like retreat.

Outside, a faint yellow blot stood in place of the morning sun, only minutes ago. A striated grey matted the entire horizon. I got up and pushed open the window. The air was static, as if all the elements had conspired to create the effect of stillness. The amber skies had given way to ochre ones; pearly rain fell at random intervals and imbued the ground with the smell of wet earth.

Just then, the door swung open, and he walked in. I flinched, and tried to make myself as invisible. His very aura was enough to transfuse those pangs of pain. Like a stagnant ripple in a pond that had been put into motion.

And I knew then. I couldn’t bear the fact that he was so happy without me. And I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see how miserable I was. A darkness lurked in a corner of my heart. It was as if the Loch Ness Monster of misery had permanently occupied a space in the deep recesses of my soul. And I hated him so much for doing this to me. For permanently blotting out my sun.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


How would you feel if you were constantly thinking about someone, and he materialized, as if out of thin air?

It was as if my very thoughts had lent the crisp air a shimmery aura and shaped it to behold his form.

I wanted to smile at him, but it froze before it could form on my lips.

The air broke out into a volley of greetings and high fives. My heart hammered in my chest, and I panicked. I felt torn. Part of me wanted to go up to him and say something. Act normal, act normal, I repeated to myself like some kind of mantra. I chided myself for the jitteriness, reminding myself that if I had had the guts to do that in the first place, none of this havoc would have ensued.

The rest of me skulked in the shadows, and hid its face in shame. With the horror of realizing the degree of effort it had taken over the past few days. Weeks maybe. This being tugged at the other half and pulled it down into the depths of misery.

I sat on the cold steps, frozen like a statue, head bent in abject wretchedness. The cold that had already seeped into my bones had nothing to do with the icy draft wafting over us. It had already chilled me and frozen over.

I wanted him to come over and talk to me. I mentally willed him to. And he did.

A pale moon floated low in a purple sky. Some light from it revealed a crescent-shaped glint; a hint of a smile. A shadow moved; the dark of his jacket. He came and sat next to me. My mind went into overdrive, digging at every nook and cranny for a thread to start the conversation. A fucking word, for Godsakes.
I came up with nothing. I berated the helpless me.

He said something inconsequential. Whatever it was, I snatched at it like a hungry animal and blabbered something equally ridiculous.

Deep throated laughter. Matched by a high pitched, nervous one that could only be mine.

Fresh waves of shame engulfed me. I remembered, ashen faced, the last time we had had a conversation. Eyes downcast, afraid to meet his. Even if there was no accusation in his, there was blatant regret in mine.

I hated myself for it. And I hated him for having that placid calm all about him. Because when he had that, I couldn’t figure him out. I couldn’t read him. There was nothing in his eyes I could decipher, because even if I had bolstered enough courage to look up, the turmoil within me would have left me perpetually harried.

I wanted to shake him, punch him, kick him. Or all three. Anything that’d result in a nosebleed perhaps.

But I was too tired, too weary for any of that. The fight had left me, and only despair steeped in my marrow, chilling it more than the cold wind did. I stared at the criss-cross of black and grey shadows that changed form on the ground as he gestured in emphasis.

Confusion suffused my being. What the hell were we doing? Was this worse, this forced cordiality, this block of time where we were forced to pretend that we didn’t hate each other. Correction: I didn’t hate him, but I wasn’t ready to love him either. Forgive him? Maybe never. What good would forgiveness be if it didn’t make things better? Would never make things better?

I had tried my best to fix it. People said that it was ok to try, because even if things didn’t work out in the end, I could be happy that I had tried my best. The thought had comforted me a bit. The notion promised peace at the end, didn’t it? But as with all other things, the theory rebounded and impinged on to everything around me.

The shame burned through me and heated my skin, washing over me in waves. What was this, after all? A mockery? What was worse, salvaging the remnants of a camaraderie that once evoked notably fond memories, or this, this, wretched caricature of drawn out civility? A meeting. An obligation that had to be fulfilled in body if not in spirit. What did he think of it? For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom.

Whatever it was, then, that nameless miasma that swarmed about us- I hated it, I liked it. It comforted me, yet I dreaded it. But above all, I wanted it to be there. And some miniscule part of me regretted it when it was time to leave. When it dispelled itself and let time flow uninterrupted.

How far should one go to save oneself from the perils of regret?

I had no answer for that. I had already transcended everything I thought I was capable of.

The cold swept in and filled in the void between us.
I looked up in surprise, not having picked up the end of the conversation. That meaningless, yet meaningful string of words we had carried forth. He looked up in that instant too, an instant where I had caught him off guard.

As much as I wanted to believe in what I saw then- that wide-eyed, hopeful, remorseful look- I told myself that I’d imagined it. And looked away.