I sit there on that wooden chair when a shadow asks me what I'd like to have. My eyes drop to my frail fingers resting on the yale blue fabric of my dress, that were once entangled in yours, "2 cappuccinos, please." The shadow fades away and I pull my head back up to look at the empty seat, where you once sat. Water droplets trickle down the glass pane adjacent to my table as I let out a muffled cry.
The last memory that haunts me to this lonely day is when my eyes were attacked by a bewitching smile. Days went by and memories were made. Memory of your hello and ruffled hair; memory of my blush and my eternal stare. Two vagabonds were in search of truth yet promised a lie to each other. My mind and soul were yours just when your voice made me yearn to record it.
The first memory lies in this slim metal box. The voice, recorded, yet the yearning was persistent. "Meet me at the cafe," the calm voice said and the glass shattered from recording and my cup. The hot coffee spilled over the yale blue dress and teardrops grazed my cheeks. The recording ended and someone screamed. I blinked as the heart broke with its pieces scattered just as the shards of the cup lying on the marble floor.
The shadow appears again with 2 cups on a white tray. I smile, reminiscing the last memory of us, waiting as the room grows dark and the coffee goes cold. I play the recording again and the shrill sound comes. Someone screams again and the shards of the cup lay on the marble floor, yet again.
"What a sad sight," they say and once again I reminisce the last memory I have of us. Years go by and my hair is no longer shiny. My skin is no longer soft. I sit there on that wooden chair in front of the seat where you once sat and smiled at me. I smile again at the beautiful memory of us crossing paths and promising a lie. Teardrops graze my cheeks again as the hot coffee leaves another stain on my yale blue dress.
I don't stop hearing the recorded voice because it's a kiss from death who took you away from me. I smile and gush and break the cup and my heart only for me to hear you fulfilling the promise that you made. You promised a forever and I'm here right where you left me in the dim lights, old and gray.
Forever is the curse of being stuck in time. It's a beautiful lie that we promise and do fulfill with the daunting memories that others can't forget. We find peace in their eyes and smile. Their voice gives us the everlasting kiss from death and cycle repeats.
The blessing was meeting you and knowing you. The heartbreak was when I didn't stop kissing death. Perhaps oblivion was indeed a part of the blessing. But I retained the memory of your calm voice before the storm erupted in my mind. Perhaps because it was the only way I would be able to reminisce your bewitching smile and live the forever you promised.
"Pinnacle Mall ke liye kitna loge?" He asks the rickshaw driver, raising his voice a bit not allowing the thunder hinder it. I observe the movement of his stubbled jaw as he continued to speak. A smile forms on his face when he turns to look at me, gesturing me to hop in first.
He follows me to occupy the remaining space and a jolt at the pedals causes the cool breeze fly my lose hair. His fingers automatically reach back catching hold of my runaway hair strands, gathering them so that they can rest on my left shoulder. A sudden bump on the road causes the whole rickshaw judder and both of my hands wrap around his firm right arm. Did I want his support in helping me not to fall off onto the bumpy road, or did I just want to get a whiff of his scent and the soft feeling of his skin on my hands? I'd rather not answer. Another thunder strikes as the rickshaw catches it's speed and a number of cars and bikes pass us by.
I wanted to see a movie the old school way. After a lot of insisting, he complied and we didn't pre-book our seats, nor do we have our phones to disturb the much needed space and time together. We reached the mall in less that 10 minutes and in those minutes he caught a few bangs on his head as the bumps on the road incessantly jolted him towards the fabric on top of us. I couldn’t contain my laughter. And he couldn’t contain hiding his smile from me.
We walked into the mall and the central AC dried off a couple damp spots off my crimson dress. His hand reached out for mine and our fingers intertwined as we walked together towards the ticket counter. "Let's watch something boring." He blurted out raising my eyebrows. After studying my face for a couple of short moments, his face inched closer to mine reaching my ear, and he softly whispered blowing away the tiny droplets, "I'm not in the mood for watching an interesting movie, any movie at all actually. I'm interested in spending time with a certain someone, instead." From the corner of my eyes, I could see the corner of his mouth turn up into a smile. His face moved parallel to my cheeks and layed a small sweet peck that caused my fingers to grip his hand tighter.
The lights dim down and the big black screen starts rolling the credits. Unlike the popular practice of choosing the seats nearest to the exit, he chose the ones farthest from it, the center of the hall. His enlightened reason? "The farther are the exits, the more time I get with you in a dark room." As dumb as it sounded, I couldn't help but break into laughter. And I liked the sound of that.
Our arms shared the armrest with our fingers intertwined, while I layed my head on his shoulder and the scent of his intoxicating woody cologne filled up my nose. With the occasional head turns and hand-tracing, we were soon ready to leave as the horrible movie ended. I barely watched it. I was occupied with thoughts that may or may not have involved him. I couldn’t help it. I was crowded by his earthy scent and haunted by his godsend smile. I wonder what he was thinking about. I terribly hope not about me blushing profusely because that weakens me to the knees and I'm never able to form a comprehensive sentence whenever he points it out.
We gather ourselves and take a long walk towards the exit door. And soon enough walking into the bright light and the gushing crowd brought me out of my thoughts. We walked out of the mall, reaching the road when finally the dark clouds decide to put the parched roads out of misery. He takes my hand, jogging towards a small stall that's selling 'butta'. The warmth of the grilled corn cobs warms my heart and I look at him with pleading eyes. "I do feel hungry.." And his devilish smile breaks into a chuckle that sends me into a peaceful state while the chaos and the car horns surrounding us fade into a realm far away from where I am. "I know," he says and turns his head towards the owner who's grilling the delicious looking butta with butter.
As we wait in the noisy rain, my mind can't help but wonder about how we spent our rather quiet evening. And all I can think of is what thoughts went through my mind this entire time. Every touch unlocked a distant old memory of us loitering around. Every laugh that escaped his lips challenged me to not wrap my arms around his neck to pull him in. Every time his eyes met mine, I was challenged to remember that the world around us hasn't faded as it seemed to. I just couldn't stop smiling the entire time.
With few words at exchange, I possibly had the best time enjoying the silence between us. The noise people made around us never faded. The brisk sharp air flew my hair in all directions. At times he even had to scream so that my ears could select his voice to encode. The movie was beyond horrible and maybe we did waste 200 bucks. The bad roads did bang our heads and it hurt. But even the tiniest shortcomings of the evening couldn’t disturb my inner peace. Our ability to enjoy each other's company without exchanging many words isn't natural. It's practiced. After months of getting used to each other's space and gestures, did we get here. The noise that fights to keep us apart is defeated by the silence we created.
I bite into the hot buttery butta and he tries to make me laugh making his weird funny face. The moments of sweetness from the corn and his cheeky smile, lifts me into a world of my own, away from all the obstacles and thunders. The radio plays a beautiful song that takes us into a ballroom in which we have nothing else to do but dance. Peace and happiness aren't some things that can be found, they're supposed to be created. How? It's easy really...
A simple smile and a little eye-contact is louder than the chaos of our lives.
I wish I had a licence. A licence for a magical car would be nice. The one that can fly. Maybe even transform itself into a rocket. If I had the licence, the key and the magical car, where would I flee? In theory, I could go anywhere. I could go to France and find myself a pleasant spot in a little cafe, all the while drinking tea with a freshly baked almond croissant. Or maybe I could go to New York, turning myself as chic as possible and blending in with the chaos of the city. Perhaps travelling all the way to the Caribbean and floating on the cool clear water would be nice. Or maybe I could escape this petrichor altogether and disappear into a galaxy far, far away.
We talk about stars. We talk about the beauty the darkness holds when it’s lit up by millions of stars. I glance up at the night sky from my verandah, and all I see is the hazy darkness fading into nothingness. I squint my eyes as much as I can, but not a single ray of light reveals itself. The darkness around us obscures deeper and deeper until it plunges us back into our river of misery. We rise again and again, gasping for air. But the moment you start breathing, it plunges you back. You’re incredibly lucky if it’s not winter. In winters, the waters freeze above your head while you’re still inside struggling to get back up. It’s brutally cold down there. You breathe and live because your body keeps you so. As the spring descends, the ice thaws, allowing you to take your first breath of crisp air in many months. You arrive at the shore and sprawl on the gravel since your frame cannot move much because of the stiffness. The sun dries you and there are enough rays of light to comfort your spirit. Inevitably, winters are right around the corner.
The question is not if you can catch a ray of light in the obscuring darkness of the night sky. But, if you can remember to seize a few rays that glimmered on your weary body on that sandy shore as the water gently caressed your toes while you laid there rigid.
I’m deranged, for hoping that I would find tranquillity in this turbulent world. People around simply keep screaming about what bothers them the most, unbeknown to the idea that they could be someone who bothers me the most. People run after so many things all at the same time, desiring that at one point of time in the future, they will be happy and satisfied. They laugh, scream and run with so much force, it renders me weak to even stand. So, here I am, standing with my wobbly legs, eyes wide shut, having the sharp air thrashing my skin as they pass me by. While I can try to overlook all of the thorny winds they leave behind, my mind doesn’t shut down from all the commotion they generate. And it grows louder and heavier with every passing second. If by chance I am successful in barring out the clamor, the lack of it drives me into melancholy.
We live in a world where we want to run elsewhere from the clamor. Interestingly, however, we cannot live in silence. It deafens us so much that we hold our ears open as the roar once again blares onto our eardrums. I want to run away too. If only I had a magical car that could take me to a realm that hasn’t known noise. If only it could take me to a place where the silence isn’t deafening. If only a car like this existed, that could take me to tranquillity for a minute. Just for a minuscule minute. My heart hopes that there is a place out there, where I don’t have to breathe in and out the chaos I live in. A place where I can finally breathe in peace and know for certain that this is not the end.
The fresh scent of the damp petrichor swells up my nostrils. Here we are on a stunning afternoon, with heather grey sky overhead us. "Wear your helmet", you say passing me the ugly pink head gear, as we prepare to ride. "I don't like pink", I scorn with a baby face and you stare at me with a sigh. You gladly exchange the helmet giving me yours that's blue. Then finally we sit on our respective seats, me behind you and together push off our feet from the ground, while you direct the handlebars towards our favourite route.
I just wanted to close my eyes as the cool breeze kissed our faces as we pedalled our tandem bicycle around this beautiful town of Notting Hill. The pathways were damp from the recent showers. This was the one of the best parts; the roads were empty and it was peaceful. The only sound that travelled to my ears was our oddly synchronized breathing and the gentle drizzle. We passed by some of the the Westbourne Grove's local cafes. Ms. Davies pushed open the glass door of her little bakery and the delicate aroma of sweet walnut cake swelled up my nostrils, the second time. "We should stop!" I say with excitement to devour the delicious aroma. You lean back towards me a little as we keep peddaling, "We'll get that cake after a couple rounds; you literally just ate!" One of your cutest chuckles fills the air around us and I think to myself why the sweet aroma of that delectable cake doesn't stimulate your taste buds as well as it does mine.
We go around the Barrette circle twice as a few cars pass us by and suddenly the gentle drizzle gets a little sharp. While the cool water droplets descend dowm on us with bullet force, our pedalling speed intensifies and the air around us fills with our chirpy squeals and laughter. My spectacles become blurred with droplets and for some reason it's hard for me to control my giggles. We finally stop in front of my haven where the sweet aroma yet again swells my nostrils.
I keep laughing like a maniac while you smile looking at my damp face. We're both drenched and you remove your shirt that was over your blue t-shirt, as we walk towards the fogged up glass door. We're welcomed by the shrill noise of the bell and Ms. Davies who practically jumps at the sight of our wild drenched looks. "Oh dear, I'll get you some dry towels. Go, sit over those tables. Don't touch the sofas." She warns with a familiar smirk on her face that cause my cheeks to heat up from the memory of the last time we were here. As I look up at your face, I'm attacked by a guilty smile which heats up my cheeks even more. 'Shut up,' I whisper and give you a soft punch on your shoulder.
We move towards the table just as Ms. Davies hands us our respective towels. Mine goes straight to my hair and we plop our butts on the white tables adjacent to each other. "Well, you're already here, now you must try my new recipe!" Excitement bubbles off this lovely lady and I smile brightly with expectant eyes which she decodes with precision. "I'll get you an extra slice of walnut cake too", she beams and I squeal and hug her getting her apron a little wet while she crushes me into her warm hug. She pulls away with bright eyes and leaves us to bring the mouthwatering goodies. "You guys are so adorable", I look at your gorgeous face and notice how a couple damp hair strands stick to your forehead. "We barely ever have that moment, though. You just find a way to wriggle out my arms" You snicker and I try to hide my awkward smile.
After a couple moments pass, Ms. Davies enters the scene again with a tray filled with one of the most delectable looking plates. A whiff of her famous Caramel Hot Chocolate sends me into overdrive. She gives us the tray and leaves to attend the other customer who just walked in. "I wanna be in an island made from this food", you cry at the sight of the gorgeous looking Banana Nut Muffins, Hot Chocolate, my favourite slice of Walnut Cake and a Tart.
"I agree, it was one my most frequent daydreams as a child after watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I say with a longing that might probably never be fulfilled. "I don't know about you but I'm digging in." How am I supposed explain how undeniably adorable you look when your eyes light up as a child. The hysteria in your voice is just as desparte to devour this tray, as is my yearning for a chocolate island. As I bite in the muffin, both of us let out a moan of satisfaction as the soft bite of the muffin melts in our mouths.
"I swear, one day we're gonna build a house made of this for ourselves", I sigh and laugh. Ms. Davies recipe turns out to be a lemon pastry with a shiny filling of raspberry custard . That woman knows how to bring together opposite flavours with a new kick which bursts our tastebuds beyond our expectations. I look out the window and notice that the gentle drizzle is back on again and we could go home after a couple rounds on our route. But I can't go yet. I cannot miss this. I absolutely will not pack this slice for home. I need it to melt on my tongue, right here where my nose is filled with wonderland flavours and where my ears are filled with laughter.
I pick up my fork and cut out a small portion of the Walnut Cake. I bring it close to my face, and take in its aroma. As soon as it touches my tongue, I close my eyes as nostalgia hits me like a freight train.
I look up at sky from my apartments' balcony, in the hope of gazing stars. It's dark and cloudy with only citylights luminating the darkness that descends down on us. I shiver as the freezing breeze of a December night hits my bare skin. You would have scolded me for being out so late and that too in the cold. You would have brought that Carolina blue duvet from my bed and wrapped it around my bare arms.
I remember the first time we met. You kept arguing with a grocery shop keeper about the quality to vegetables or something. I was just on a stroll with my favourite playlist blaring in my ears. But I had halted to see the man who was giving the bystanders quite the show. I had to see your face, your expressions. I had to see the guy who dared to insult the rude shopkeeper. Then you turned around, your face scorned by a stupid argument on such a beautiful day. Yeah, it was one beautiful day.
I remember that moment when our hands touched for the first time, even though we weren't acquainted yet. I had made plans with my friends to watch a stupid movie that had just been released. While waiting for that attendant to open the door, I heard your laugh for the first time. You were with your friends buying all kinds of junk food at the counter. I remember that I smiled to myself at hearing such a soft noise which had made my heart flutter. A few minutes before the interval, a warm skin brushed against mine on the arm-rest and the Pepsi cup sat in it's holder. As the lights came on, I glanced towards my left, only to find your gorgeous jawline and smile. Perhaps you were enjoying the movie. I wasn’t. And that’s why, I woke up from your shoulder only to see you smiling at me.
I remember our first date. We had rented 2 bicycles which we drove around town and ended up in a secluded place. I remember, as we sat down on the grass, you told me about being F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fan and how you were a mixture of all of them, yet more of a Chandler. We talked about jokes, music, literature and food. You were appalled when I revealed that I despised Romeo & Juliet. I remember us talking and laughing and how all that time, never once had I stopped smiling. It got to an extent that my cheeks were literally hurting by smiling so much. We were close, so close that I could feel your warm breath against my cheeks. I remember you leaning in to place that awfully gorgeous smile on mine.
I remember your tired red puffy eyes, that one horrible night. It was 2 in the morning when I heard my bell ring, only to open the door and find you in a devastated state. Your mother had passed away and you were miles away from her. I remember brewing you a hot cup of coffee with marshmallows dipped, just the way you liked it. I remember you being in your most vulnerable state and I was grateful that you considered me important enough to share it with me. I was there for you that night. I wanted to and never got any sleep. I remember missing your smile and also scolding myself for expecting you to smile after what you had just unleashed. I remember you falling asleep with your head on my chest while I grazed through your soft hair.
I remember our small fights over which movie we should watch that evening, only because your taste sucked. After all the tireless bickering, we ended up vibing with cool music and Chinese takeout. I always used to beg you to play the songs that I love but we mixed it all. We listened to it all, danced like idiots, stuffed our mouths with hot noodles and laughed like maniacs. I remember yelling at you when you stepped on my feet with the constant movement and how you tried to make up to me. I remember your scent that surrounded me and engulfed me in every possible way. I tried hard not to smile and break my serious face, but I always failed. And you always won.
I remember that day when I couldn't take it anymore. I had dodged your calls for a week after our big fight. And you were there, standing, waiting for me downstairs in the lawn. You were scared of the inevitable. You didn't want it to be true and you kept emphasizing that we could work it out, like always. You were there, literally begging me to not do this. At this point love was just a small thing that we were about to lose. Our relationship was more than that. There was love, yes, but we were more than that. We were stronger than love alone. I remember a flicker of tears that you blinked away. For once more in my life, I could see you in your vulnerability. I turned around and didn't look back. Not just because I couldn't control my tears anymore but because I couldn't afford seeing yours, again.
From all the moments that led to us and ended us, I simply loved the memory of your laughter the most. It was soft noise that I could recognize even in a crowded room. It was the noise that always reminded me to breathe. It was the noise that you created so effortlessly while it became the source of my dreams. I was addicted to it. I could never sleep without hearing it atleast once a day. And now, it becomes the noise that I don't remember anymore. Out of all the memories from us, I just need one. It would calm me from experiencing the pain from all the other memories. And that is what I don't remember anymore. Sleepless and starless nights like this have become a part of my life now. Yet, I would trade all my memories in exchange for just one memory. I would trade anything to remember your laugh again. A laughter that was such a soft noise that repleted the life within me.
Cry. I want you to cry today. You've been holding it off for way too long. Or perhaps, you just finished crying. But don't stop, not today, not tonight. What's so special about tonight? Nothing. Other than the piercing pain in your chest, nothing is special. Cry till your eyes run dry. Cry till your headache gets numb. Cry all of it out.
What did they do? What did they do apart from showing their colors? You trusted them, again and they took it for granted again. They try to shut you up. They try to control what you say, what you do, what you think. They try with all their might. But you trust them, because you love them, no matter what you tell them otherwise.
Strangers can anger you, but them? Your tears are their thrones while you just stand their and just hand fan their egos. I understand that most of you don't have any other choice. It's in our blood, it's in our personality, the way we behave is the product of what we've seen. The way they behave is the product of what they've seen. Step back tonight.
What's happening in your chest right now? Can you feel it move gently? Or is it tight as ever? How about your sniffles? Can you hear them? Can they hear them? Most of them can, but they choose to ignore it. Why? They won't bend down to do a 'stupid thing' called apology. How are your eyes? Do they burn tonight, just like mine? Can you feel the dryness that hovers in your mouth? Lie down. Let those tears fall.
I know that you hate to bring your tears for display when they're around. But sometimes, we can't help ourselves. Sometimes the rapid blinking just spreads the igniting burn. Sometimes the clenched jaws move roughly enough to see seen. Sometimes they just see you cry. Most of the times they ask you to stop. But not tonight.
You want to scream. You're screaming inside and you badly need to scream out right now, out loud. But you won't, will you? They're sleeping peacefully, perhaps miles away from you, across your room or even perhaps next to you. The stability in their breath irks you to edge. The ubiquitous silence irks you to edge because all you want is to hear something hopeful, maybe even your scream.
You've been trying to breath in and out to control yourself. But I say, don't do that now, not tonight. Let yourself lose control. Cry, scream, do whatever that makes you vent out the hurt, the betrayal, the agony, the sleepless nights, the disinterest, the pain, their voice in your head, their criticizim, that was imposed by them on you.
Don't stop. Don't care. Are they aware of the gut-wrenching pain you go through every day? Do they do anything about it? No? Then don't care. No matter who they are. You're a human being. And you deserve to be treated like one. Lock the doors if it helps, throw their voices out of the window. Just listen to your voice.
Talk to yourself. Some think it's delusional but I believe it's actually relieving. Talk to her or him. Talk to the person inside you who never let their voice out. Who was shushed on any occasion. Or Talk to the person who never got heard. No matter how many things she or he said, they were never heard. Be there and listen to them, Talk to them. You have a lot to catch up on, you have a lot to talk about.
Their story may not be much different from yours now. Or maybe it is and you're facing newer challenges. But think carefully. How are you here? You grew up from that. You grew up from all the hurt. You grew up from their callous nagging. You grew up to be who you are right now at this moment. Maybe who you are now is not what you really want to be. Maybe you lost who you wanted to be. But, unlike the fact that I stopped using the term 'grow' here, doesn't mean that you have to too. You're still going to grow from this and perhaps one day your future self will talk to you, seeking comfort where they'll get exactly how they want it.
You are in a tough place. But tonight I ask you to hold on. Hold on to your cries. Hold on to your screams. Hold on to their tired young voices. Hold on with everything that you have left. Hold on to me, hold on to yourself. Heaven is place that's not too far away. You will get there. You have my word, you will get there. And when you do, you will remember how you talked to yourself back in those days and how much that helped you to be where you are. Hold on. No matter how hard it is, hold one. It's the only way out. For good.
I walk towards my bed, to finally lay down after a frustrating day. As I stride past my mirror, I halt gulping down all the saliva I can gather and take small steps back in front of my giant mirror. As I gaze at my reflection, I can see a tired woman who worked awfully hard to block out their voices. I put up a small smile and say, “Mirror mirror, on the wall, what happened last year, was it my fault?” A dry chuckle leaves my mouth, as I realize how delusional I am, for expecting an answer. I spin around and reach for my door and my keys. I put on the 2 solid locks that have been protecting me from the doomsday. I pull the handle to check whether the door is locked properly and I smile when I realize they are. I advance towards my windowsill, which views a cold, wet night outside. I seal it as well and drape the curtains after peeking at the lousy weather outside, again. This seems oddly similar. Sigh.
I pick up my nightclothes and change in the bathroom. There’s another mirror here. I stare at my clad body. I make sure that every inch of my skin is secured with fabric. Ever since that day. It’s funny when I think about it now. I wasn’t wearing anything remotely skimpy that day, either. As far as I can remember, I was decently attired. Sigh. My hair is unkempt, but who cares? Right? My hair was unkempt that day too, but it still happened. Why did it happen? I still ask myself every day. I never quite receive the answer, though.
I slip under my quilt, letting myself slowly cover me. Initially, when I slept with my arms and legs bare, it felt dreadful when the warmth of the duvet slowly stroked my skin. As soon as my head hits my pillow, I plunge into a peaceful slumber.
I see him advancing towards me slowly. As he carries a wicked grin, I take a step backward. I flinch when my back meets the mirror, and he discharges a growl that is eerie. My breath at this point matches my heart’s pace. ‘Think, honey, think! You will not be unarmed against him. He won’t do anything, he will just warn you once and that’s it. He’ll leave you alone.’ All my attempts at convincing myself vanished when he shoved me against the mirror and trailed his fingers along my thighs.
He cleared the distance between us by leaning on me wantonly. “You evidently want this, otherwise why would you wear those tight jeans when I advised you not to…?” He hissed in my ear and I could sniff the liquor. At this point, I was shuddering with dread. He shifted his mouth along my collar, and as disgusting as it felt, I knew I couldn’t give up. I roamed my hands in search of something that would stop him, immediately. My fingers clutched a lamp, and I flung it towards his head. As he groaned in pain, I released a giant breath infused with whimpers and un-comfort. With his hands off of me, I rushed towards the door to escape.I jerked the handle repeatedly, but no use. The silly door won’t open. As my breaths grew sharper, so did the fear that it won’t take him much time to recover. I struggled to open the window, just when he grabbed my hair and smashed my head against the wall. I could sense the blood dripping down and everything started looking blurred. I was in pain, but still conscious. I felt his fingers fidgeting with my jeans and soon enough my legs felt exposed. Every minute his skin touched mine was like a cruel sting. I recall crying, ‘no’ several times. But he never stopped.
When I eventually attained full consciousness, I was struck with a throbbing pain between my thighs. I couldn’t believe it. He had his way with me and I couldn’t avoid him. I struggled to stand upright with tremendous difficulty and put on my jeans that were hurled to the other side of this reeking room. It hasn’t struck me yet. I’m still numb. I read into my reflection on the shattered mirror. And as I trace my fingers to my head, I feel the dried blood and tears. I tightly close my eyes as a fresh stream of tears trickles down my cheeks and run. I just run. I run till I reach my home. ‘What will I tell them? Dad will be heartbroken… will he take me to the police station and be my support?’
My parents and brother are appalled by the news that I had just burst. My mother is in tears, and my brother has fear written all over his face and my dada, well he seems angry. And just when I hoped they would support me, my mother pops that bubble by claiming, “Why did you wear that western dress?”, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?”, “Surely, you must have prompted him to punish you!” And that is what severed me. They didn’t believe a word that I had to say. I quickly realized that the scorn on their faces was not towards my rapist. It was towards me.
I wake up abruptly after being haunted by the same dream. My face is drenched with sweat. I pull myself out of my bed and ran towards the bathroom sink, where I splash my face with water, to get me out of my nightmare state completely. I gasp when a fresh set of sobs are released and I drop my body on the floor.
We as a country are advancing in several fields. The patriarchy still prevails as hard as a rock. With everything that’s happening around the world, a 19-year-old girl was gang-raped recently in Hathras, UP. Another rape was committed not long after. It’s delusional to excuse and normalize the rape culture. We blame the victim shamelessly to escape the truth. The simple truth of something wrong is draped with caste, religion and stinking politics. We make noise for the victim but never let them speak. Her clothes don’t give you consent. Her smile does not give you consent. Her mannerisms don’t give you the consent. And honestly, speaking, it is not even about the gender of the victim. Such vile bastards are just looking to gratify their disgusting desires.
And the saddest part of this is that nothing will change. No matter how much you or I scream…nothing will change. If you’ve read this far, thank you. Sadly, I can’t give you a solution, because there is no solution. I am not safe. You are not safe. All I can say is that “don’t make so much noise that their voices can’t be heard.” We live among a sick mentality, and sadly, we can do nothing about it.
Here comes that night again, when I’m the cup brimming with melancholy. I sit by the windowsill gazing at the bright stars and the moon. Stars burn in fire and scar themselves to look so dazzling. The moon is just a facade of the scars of our very own sun. Foolish as I am, I compare all of us and discover quite a lot in common. I’ve burned in fire for as long as I can remember. I’ve shown myself as a lie that everyone remembers. But never have I been fearless enough to illustrate the scars I bear.
I sniffle as the salt trickles down my rough cheeks. I peer up, struggling to stop them but in vain. Today, they demand to come out. They demand to breathe while leaving me breathless. They demand to glisten under the moonlight. They demand to feel the gravity. And I am too exhausted to fight them. I am too exhausted to wipe them off. I am too exhausted to pretend. I am too exhausted to care. I’m too exhausted to muzzle them when my sobs join. I wail incessantly.
I sense your presence when you stand behind me, contemplating if you should nudge my shoulder. My skin itches when it senses yours inches away from me. Your palm meets the skin of my shoulder and I shudder as if a thermal shock goes down to my spine. It’s been several seconds, yet I’m still shaking and my wails get noisier infused with thousands of moments of anguish. This is how I acknowledge your presence while another hate monologue takes place inside my chaotic mind.
My mind is an interesting place. It’s a penitentiary, housing a single but the most treacherous prisoner of all. It’s a torture chamber customized specifically for the most malicious prisoner of all. Her solitary confinement cell is overseen by an invisible demon who tasers her when she tries to flee. Every day is a unique day. Every day the prisoner is tormented by new devious thoughts. On conduct of moral behavior, they allow her to smile. On other days they suck away all the joyous memories from her. She preserves her faith to escape out alive and shields it with her life. And even though she’s been here on several occasions, she fails to recall how she escaped the last time.
I smile when I conform and do what they say. I wail when I don’t and endure the repercussions. You bend your back and wrap your arms around my collar from behind. I exhale an intense sigh when your stubble kisses my damp cheeks. My head pounds even after being inundated by your scent. I try my best to breathe and calm down, for you are here. I find it tough to raise my fingers to rub the tear stains off. My breathing is jagged and you can feel it.
You don’t move, hoping to radiate some of your warmth to me. But it’s vain because I don’t seize it. The magic I believed you could create does not spark. The embrace which I believed to be my medicine does nothing. Your silence, which I thought was calming, turns to be deafening. The soft kisses that made me smile fail to kill my tears. The face, I believed, would secure me, merely pushes me further into the pits of my anguish. You stand here behind me struggling to soothe my shaking body, helpless and overthink if you did something wrong.
I am too exhausted to tell you what’s wrong because it’s nothing different. I am too exhausted to stop you from overthinking when I myself find it arduous to lose myself free from the shackles. I am too exhausted to form a lucid sentence. I am too exhausted to tell you my story all over again because it’s too twisted for anyone to understand. I am too exhausted to make you understand that nothing is wrong with you. I am too exhausted to believe that your appreciation will make me feel better. I am too exhausted to pretend that that my demons can only harm me. I am too exhausted to let you drown with me when I know how vicious my waters are. I am too exhausted to pretend that your love and time will heal my pain.
Because sometimes pain is stronger than love. And love is too precious to be profaned by pain.
As the sun descends the horizon, we occupy our usual spot on my maple convertible with a scarlett woolen blanket draped around our arms, shielding us from the outside chill. We delve into the others' eyes while a stupid action film plays on T.V. in front of us. We never heed to it. As I blabber my senseless notions about the world, you keep a straight face brimming to break into that charming smile of yours. My monologue is incessant and brutal, yet you stay here, with me through all the rants and dramatics since the day we met. Thank you.
Date night at 8, passionately which I hate. Not because of the date but for my display. I toil for hours at job I'm no good at ; 'Maquillage'. Yes, I don't know the difference between an eyeliner and kohl. I don't know the difference between lipstick and lip gloss. I don't know the difference between foundation and powder. I'm traveling on a road without a compass only to look enticing. I stride the floor of my room while you wait downstairs. I finally give up and get down to face you unbeknown to your reaction. As soon as you reach my eyes, your priceless giggle repletes the room. You dwindle the space between us and dig out a handkerchief from your pocket, and wipe my messy lipstick away. I close my eyes in embarrassment when you place your lips against mine and ease the pressure off my mind. "You don't need it", you say as I take a big sigh of relief and deepen the kiss. Thank you.
Unbeknownst to your cheeky ideas, we take a stroll on the soft sand with our bare feet that occasionally dampen with the caress of the sea. You jolt me into the cool waves and snicker on seeing me soaked. I make it my mission to repay your favor. I deliberately walk away from you forcing you to follow. While you're almost apologizing to my indignant facade, I bend down to collect your favor. The classic game of water spash turns perilous as my fingers amass the drenched sand beneath the cool water, that flies onto your bare chest. The disbelief lingers on your face for several seconds and I realize that it may have been too much. Just as I start to apologize, my hair meets with a mass of drenched sand thrown by you. I gasp on meeting those diabolical eyes and charge at you for revenge. The dreadful game continues until we're basically covered in sand. The laughter continues at a childish yet fun moment as we finally wash ourselves up and reach the shore. We giggle like cheeky children unbeknownst to the judging pairs of eyes. Thank you.
I plan our first homemade dinner and prepare for it my best. Your mom gives me the recipe of the dish you were devoted to when a child. All the ingredients with right proportions; the perfect batter with a messy station; the perfect layering; the perfect timing in the oven; the perfect plating and lighting; the perfect dress and light music of the album you loved. Everything was perfect and ready be devoured. Even more so when you knocked my door. I could hear my heart pounding against the chest walls as my cheeks turned amusingly warm. It felt weird to be so excited every time you were around. I open the door to your nefariously charming face which closes the space between mine. It feels illegal with every kiss, which abruptly stops when you take a wiff of your favorite baked goodie. Your face lights up like a child when you recognize your mom's recipe of lasagne. You charge at me for a tight embrace and thank me. I cross my fingers lest our evening should fail as you take a seat in front of the sizzling plate. I wait for you to take a bite after I take my seat, cautiously analyzing your every expression. I hold my breath when the fork places the bite in your mouth waiting for a response. But it's all blank for a couple of seconds without any movement. Finally when you start to chew, you say, "It's so good! I don't have the words to explain it!", and I release my breath and start to devour my plate. Only after I take a bite myself, I realize what's wrong. Salt. I don't even chew it and run towards the dustbin. I wash my mouth till the all the traces of extra salt leave my mouth. Soon after, I'm joined by you with non-judgmental smile on your face while I offer an apologetic face. You wrap your arms around me in front of the mirror and while looking into my reflection, whisper, "It's the effort that counts. Wanna order a pizza?" I flash my embarressed smile and kiss your cheek, and say, "Please!". We both chuckle after with you reach your phone to place the order. We look at each other's reflections again and do our hysterical laugh. Thank you.
Thank you for being someone I bared my soul onto. Thank you for being my hero when it comes to insects and reptiles. Thank you for laughing with me at an awkward situation. Thank you for being the loudest clapper in my single-person audience after a disastrous performance. Thank you for being the only one listening to my endless chatter. Thank you for lending me your shoulder and silence when I just wanted to float in my tears. Thank you for bad mouthing the things we hate, with me. Thank you for being who you are when you had the choice of being someone else. Thank you for seeing me the way I am when I was trying to be someone else. Thank you for being the heart of my heart...
Sorry I connect romance with almost everything. Can't help it Note - I tried to put in an elegant way. Hope none gets offended
The sun sets So that our breaths can unite, when we make love at night. As I write poetries on your skin, passions start igniting from within. Your beautiful face endear as I whisper sweet nothing's into your ear. I spread your hair with my fingers Beautiful fragrance from them lingers. As you lay by my side I write love song with my lips on your hide. You hold me tight with deep sighs. You understand my words with closed eyes. We carry on till the flame flickers no more. And then stare in each other's eyes until the sunlight knocks again on the door.
We both used to gather maple leaves. Me and her. It was mostly Saturday eves I remember. Her smile made me believe that the world is beautiful. Her fragrance enchanted me and it was really wonderful. I thought we were getting close. So I decided to propose And confess my love. Certain day I chose I bought a rose. She arrived wearing dress cherry Looked like a fairy. Seemed to be in a hurry. Hey I think it's gonna be a special day I wanted to tell you there's a guy We are seeing other since long. I want you to meet him I love him and to him my heart belong. I couldn't say a word Came crashing down my world. After a while she left and also took my soul along. On the same day I wrote a song Whenever I read it I loose control over my heartbeat. I collect glass full of tears And with sad heart I say cheers. Since that day it appears that nostalgic feelings haunt . I have submerged myself in disdain Still her happiness is all I want.
Thank you so much for making efforts to reach this story to more people. I have to mention @fajr_fajr@recluse and @gunjit_jain for being more exited than me to share this story. You guys have my heart. Although, there aren't enough likes on the previous post but I am posting the next chapter because I love you all. Please tag all those people you have tagged yesterday and make everyone read this love story. Also, look for any grammatical/spelling errors in the chapter. Look for the word "Birdwatching" in urban dictionary if you don't know what it means. Do tell me if you had any fling/love story in your school or college or office or some place else. I'd love you hear it. I'd be very happy if you take a moment and tell me in the comments what you think is going to happen the next.