1. Too many reminders of how much you love them.
Which only follows into how much it hurts. If you fought over WhatsApp, you’re GOING TO find his pictures on your phone, her emails, mom’s presents, friend’s book. It is almost programmed into us to run into the people and the worlds of the people whom we are hurting with, almost like that’s driving our subconscious!
2. You’ll want hugs. From them.
And it will feel extremely silly to ask for it. Especially if one of you has gone away to clear their head.
3. It always happens around exam time.
In India it’s ALWAYS exam time so this one is pretty much guaranteed.
4. You will question a good memory.
That’s the part where you’re going to hurt yourself more than anything the other person in the fight could have said. This is your cue to go to sleep. Stop thinking, or you’ll end up with a brain warped on itself, feeling even more miserable and your reason will be so far lost that you’ll find no problem with headbanging a pan.
5. It eventually becomes simpler and easier, but you don’t know how much is ‘eventually’.
Everything is awkward and strange meanwhile. Especially talking. You don’t really want everybody to know you’re low but you can’t be bothered to make an effort and sound cheerful. Not while you’re swirling in cold hell.
I am a really good money saver so at most times, I have a stash of money for a good treat. Come hurtful fight, I will dole out thousands on food- creamy pastas and cold drinks and crisp potatoes and fried foods. Nothing available in my house will please me. So I’ll also spend money traveling halfway into Delhi to Connaught Place and back.
7. You know this isn’t permanent, and that you want that person back.
So it’s confusing- do you want to forget all about it and make amends? Make sure the other person isn’t hurting? But that can be bad for relationships, so should you feel this through?
There’s no mind-blowing conclusion to this post (much like its beginning). I only wish that whoever feels like that at any time be blessed with soft pillows and heavy fatigue. Grief can be really exhausting so it’s pretty appropriate to sleep it off.
Note: Thought who have, and those who are going to share this post, I’d really like to know your names, and why you did it. Now to the post-
I didn’t do anything wrong….
She clutched the pillow tightly in her hands, crushing printed flowers of blue between her fingers until the covers were crinkled firm as if they had been frozen. Her fingers pained from the times she had endlessly clutched the hem of her skirt, the edge of the table or a sheet of paper in a desperate effort to control her feelings, and more importantly her words. As long as she was hurting her fingers driving her nails into something, she was keeping her mouth shut. Because that was what everyone had advised her to do, without exception.
There was no-one around right now though. She didn’t need to clutch her knuckles white, or bite her tongue… She didn’t need to hold it in. Different people have different ways of expressing anger. While most people turned red and uncontrollably violent, she just became very thickly terse, like a leather ball stitched with lead and clenched her jaw till her cheeks threatened to tear and bleed. What this extreme pressure also caused was a tightening of her chest, and with the shortage of air and the already rising pressure in her thinking organ, sometimes tears would be pushed over the edge.
She felt them coming now. But this only made her angrier. When the others saw tears, they thought they had won, that they had broken her, that she was nothing more than just another piece of their narcissistic games that they could proudly display on their mantle of lifetime achievement. It made her so much more angry than before. They didn’t even recognize pure scathing, true hatred when it was staring them in their face. Instead, they dared to mock her.
Feeling maddening rage in her heart, spreading outward, fleeing and lashing all inside her body, she pulled her elbows above her head and flinging her arms forward, threw the pillow across the room. The pillow knocked a pencil stand off the table and shuffled some papers on her desk before settling down against the wall, whimpering yet deadly silent. She looked at it and imagined a billion profound thoughts verbalizing which would get her in serious trouble.
She hadn’t done anything wrong.
But since when had that mattered.
But this is unfair….
She drew her breath in. It had been almost two hours since the last relapse now, and she was frightened to have another now. In public, with next to no privacy and a thousand strangers passing her ready with their scrutinizing eye, she knew very well that this would be a bad place for her to get angry. Don’t think about it, she chastised herself. They told me to let it pass, let it pass for now, they’re thinking farther and better, so just stop. Please, she tried desperately to divert her thoughts as flashes of everyone’s faces and snippets of odd conversations started flickering across her mind. No, no, I don’t want to care! Please, she begged her conscience to build a wall in her soul to block the hurt away. I don’t want to feel it anymore.
This was no time to be human, when humanity had given up on her case.
The metro came to a stop, and she fled down the stairs as soon as the doors opened. She hoped her father would understand as he trailed behind her, not as fast as her, but close enough to find her in the crowd. Blow it off, she told herself. It’s going to be okay, you’re going to be okay. Everyone said so.
She wanted to think about everything that had happened. She wanted to tell everyone in the world that she had done nothing. But everyone who cared about her had hugged her and told her she needed to buy time. For now, all she needed to do was accept what was happening and not let it weigh her down. Even ants drown when the current is quick. She was lucky that she had some people holding out leaves for her to hop on, safe from the water.
At this point it didn’t even matter what had happened.
The only thing that was on everyone’s mind was to keep her afloat while perspectives could be rearranged, because it would serve no one’s benefit if she drive herself grey and weary in a day.
She dug her feet deep inside her belles, pressed the ground like she could leap off it with her next thrust and tried to release her internal whirlwind in something other than tears. She was just trying to survive the day. She was just trying to keep it from herself.
Some days are crooked in such infinite proportions that boiling one’s peace for even as long as fourteen hours doesn’t prepare one for the next day’s ordeal. Hence, as she walked down the last twenty steps to the great white doors of her chosen torture chamber, she clutched the hem of her skirt again and ignored her finger when it ached, reminding herself that pain was just as worthless in this world as the truth. She walked in, knowing extremely well that she was right and that it did not matter.
When a familiar feeling of helplessness began to unfurl and creep up her legs, making her step hesitant, she stomped off an imaginary monster, fought back hot tears and pushed herself into the tyrant’s lair.
As far as everyone was concerned, she hadn’t suffered the incident. And there was no reason for her to show them otherwise.
Where am I.
It’s a lonely universe, just a pitiful one planet that boasts of life. That in itself is too much of a paradox, for who is there to boast to, if it is the only one. But Earth is proud, nevertheless, reveling in stupidity like a king without a kingdom. Perhaps fortunately, there is company to be found, when I adjust my lens to see the chaos in this depressing solitary existence. I see lines etched onto land and sea alike, that separate men with a tag of nationality, and clusters of government. What a becoming! That Earth should seem Earths.
Further, the globe shows me too much space. Not enough for everybody, but wide enough to hold the scattered strings of thought and feeling that process inside my frame and travel the world, to embed themselves in distant lands.
For my thoughts are not my own. My heart rebels! Sewn onto me, it lashes towards another that it does not find.
Separated by the one I love by a thousand miles and a million laws, knowing that for one I will sacrifice the other all my life, caught between choices that will punch and shape the lives of me and my child, forever living in the dream of breathing the air of that day when we are one at last… not knowing the width or length of such a utopia, or if I will still have a heart then…
I am lost. Moreover, I am torn.
I wonder if my question is where, or should it be when. When am I.
Am I in the result of yesterday? In the desire of tomorrow? Surely not the pain of today… When sadness is my heart, when longing in my sinews, and a withering rose of my hope dies and desperately blooms with tiny joys, I ask.. Am I alive now?
How can I BE, when pieces of me lie over the world. There is no where, no when, there is no how either.
I just hope I AM. I just hope that I still AM.
And then he smiles.
Everything is going to be just all right. A glimpse, a note, a word is all it takes to make me strong again and wait. I live from mirage to mirage, see through active imagination that fogs out what truly is and shows me what I want to see, and all I want to see is him near me.
Can you love somebody so much that you’re begging to show them just how much. Evidently, it is what Zeus wanted when he split human souls in two and left them free in the world, condemning them forever to search for their other halves. Zeus must hate me, for I find murderous love being tested by time and space. Yet, I wait. In seconds, he will voyage me from failure to flight and my eyes shall dance again. Until then, I shall work the work of brainless brutes and mundane dos, until he unleashes me again.
Not knowing what to ask, what to wonder or what to say, I turn to oblivion. Ignorance is bliss but it’s better served with a pinch of words. I write…No, I try to write. And I walk on.
Sequel to the post You’re Welcome.
Ella walked lazily to the kitchen and tossed some frozen food onto the gas, to make it edible. Or close. The lines of her rough kohl had spread and she rubbed them even more, till the smudges under her eyes became hideous.
The neon-clock wasn’t lit any more… it was ordinary. Just like many things of the night become. Just like their conversation had become. Ordinary.
Whit was dead, and it was ordinary. She had thrown Sam out, and it was ordinary. Probably for the first time in her life, she had woken up in need of an agenda, and with neither of her best friends in a position to talk to, and it was ordinary. Well, it wasn’t particularly new… or special. She had to see it coming… What they had, Sam and Whit and her, it was long gone. And she had known this day was coming.
You don’t just walk away from the people you love. You don’t just let them go either. But Whit had walked away and Elle had let her go, and Sam had been just indifferent. That was when the troubles had begun.
Whitney had taken to drugs. Sam had left them both for Europe, and posted happy pictures with unknown friends regularly. Elle had decided to be just as stuck-up, and she joined the ballet lessons she had promised Whit she would do with her.
It had taken them only a month to see things weren’t going too good. Whit was in hospital every second day, Sam was on the phone with Elle worrying about Whit, and Elle was the arrogant girl in the ward room, acting like it was her job, and nothing more, to get Whit out… only for her to fall back again.
One month and Elle, Whit and Sam had needed those infamous round-the-couch meetings. They had to “talk about it”.
Elle emptied the contents of the pan in the bin. If she ever got beyond the look, she could never get herself to eat that smelly food. She would order out. Again.
The bell rang. Elle cursed. That early in the morning, with her eyes as they were… but whoever it was, deserved it. Everyone has their pace in New York, and hers was slow, big deal!
She opened the door, and peeked outside. It was a delivery. She signed for it, thanked the guy, checked him out and came back in. She recognised the handwriting on the envelope. A fat envelope, green and rubbed around the corners.
She couldn’t place it, but she had seen it, she knew. Slowly, as if the handwriting had sparked need of investigating, she checked for signs on the envelope to guess where it came from. Nothing. She tore it open, and out stumbled some sheets of paper.
There was another envelope, and a long piece of paper, which she opened first.
Elle drew her breath in, as she read the first few words.
It was Whit.
I’m sorry Elle. I tried to say it, to you and to Sam, but I didn’t. I can’t ask you to understand, I can’t ask you to believe in me every time I do something that I KNOW is wrong. So I have decided to do this, and I feel it’s my duty to tell you somehow, though this isn’t the best of means.
Please try, and let me go El.
I’m leaving new York. I’m going East… I’m gonna try and explore… who am I kidding, I’m running babe. I don’t think I can do it in here, where I know you’d be there to watch my back, or Sam to take care of me if you fight me. I’m gonna try and escape, and for that I’m choosing to leave you both stranded. And like this.
I’m sorry El. I really am.
Lots and lots of love,
I’m sorry babe. You guys were my family and I’m running out on you. But maybe, it’s for the best. I have to try.
Elle let the tears come. Whit had wanted to change, Whit hadn’t been lost.
Whit had wanted to fight the drug, to make things better and now she was dead.
The tears had come, even if they were a night late.
Elle wanted to call Sam back. When Whit could want to fight it, how could Elle let it win? How could Elle let her friendships stain?
But now, Whit had died, before she had a chance to make things right, Sam and Elle had fought, and everyone was alone, and hurt.
But the love had long gone. The faith had long gone. And they had let it go.
Tears welled up in his eyes for the fifth time and the day hadn’t even dawned yet. He tried not to think of everything he was thinking but it was too late. As each scene of the previous day crossed his mind, he got hotter and hotter with rage until he was certain he was going to light up on fire. He jumped out of bed and ran away. Away, leaving his house far behind.
He ran and ran. He knew he had to get to that only place that could save him. The familiar fragrance of tulips filled his nostrils as he fell lifeless on the dew-wet grass. Heaven. He didn’t try to get up. He just brought his knees close, up near his chest and tightly held himself in a bundle. Rain drizzled. However much he hated it in the city, the rain was always welcome here, in his field of tulips.
Soft petals tickled his ears. Slowly, he let go. He opened his eyes to the flowers. He sat up and talked to them. Why am I still alive? Why don’t you let me die? All of his questions were answered by the whispering wind. On any other day, the wind would have been enough but not today. Today, he had vowed to do it.
As if to try for the last time to talk him out of it, the black misted spirit appeared on his shoulder with a face hung low. “Don’t so it Jacob.” He said. “Things will get better.”
“You know he’s lying, Jake,” said a cloud of white that descended on his arm and took the form of a little white man. Nestling against his skin, the little white man atrrected Jacob’s attention.
“Don’t listen to him, son. He means harm. To you. To everyone.” “Ah! What accusations. I will let them pass. I’m here for Jacob.”
“You wicked soul. Always trying to lure poor earthlings with the friendliness you pretend.”
“You forget all the time. I don’t have a soul.” The white man was ruthless with his passivity, his snide pretence.
“And that’s why you are always trying to kill others’. Always trying to kill them.”
“And I help them! I show them how painful souls are.”
The white spirit was starting to get agitated. It had wailed out.
“Now, Jacob dear, remember, I’m always here for you. And once you get rid of this black fool, I will be back to help you escape to heaven.” And with that the little man vanished.
“Please Jacob. Try and understand. I know it’s tough but you’ve got to hold on.” And the black spirit disappeared too.
Jacob was mad. His heart was aching. Try and understand? He never understood fighting, and the spirits were not making it simpler.
He fell back among the tulips. The smell enveloped him. He let himself drown in it. Once his lungs were filled, he could think again. Should I do it?
He had already tried asking for help but he was told smack in the face that the world doesn’t sympathise with weak boys. That was it. The world. As long as “the world” was out there, Jacob couldn’t live. Even his tulip field couldn’t protect him. No… no tulips today.
Without letting any more thoughts come to him, Jake got up and ran off and he didn’t stop when he got to the bridge.
Rain poured all night. It was as if everything in the world that was bound, broke free that night.
Next morning, when a fisherman caught a human body in his net down the river, Jacob smiled down at him from heaven.
It was a dark night. In fact it was so dark, Jacko and I held bets on who could spot daddy coming home first. Jacko said it was because there was no moon in the sky today. Coincidentally, the street light outside our house was broken too. I didn’t like that very much.
And then daddy came. Neither Jacko nor I had seen him, even though he must have been right under the window we were peeking through, in my room. As a part of the challenge, we had switched off the light outside the door, mockingly too, because we were both certain we would see him long before that. We were wrong. And that brought disaster.
Something crashed loudly outside the door. Daddy cursed loudly. “They DARE cut our light?!!!! Even when I paid half the bill today!”
Jacko and I ran out to our place at the top of the stairs. We shouldn’t have shut that light. Daddy was inside.
“WHO do they THINK they are?! So what I’ve been late with the bill, THEY don’t have to go house to house selling some ruddy insurance! And those- those- bastards at the company!!!”
I wished daddy would look at the kitchen. A light was on, mommy was working. They hadn’t cut the light. He did see. And in he went.
“What is this?! You! Why is this light on?! That’s just it. You. You make the bills so high. Why don’t you just pay them too if you make them so high! HUH? You hag! You’re the reason of all my problems! What do you do all day anyway, huh? You just sit around all day and switch on the ruddy lights!”
I couldn’t hear what mummy was saying. I went down the stairs. Jacko pulled me back but I wriggled out of his grasp.
“Oh God! Must I deal with you everyday! You’ll kill me with that smell some day!” She was shouting too but her pitch didn’t come close to daddy’s. It was IT. Another one of mommy and daddy’s fight. Those things Jacko didn’t tell me the reason behind. Did mommy and daddy not love each other anymore?
“What?! You have a problem with my drinking? So a man must work his arse off all day and he doesn’t deserve a drink! And that too when he has an old ugly witch for a wife who does NOTHING but makes his life worse, and raises his bills! Tell you what! YOU work from now on right! YOU get the money and YOU run the house! Hell, they won’t NEED to kick me off then, I RESIGN!”
Pans were cluttering. I hoped daddy was not going to hit mommy.
“So that’s what you did now, huh! LOST YOUR RUDDY JOB, DIDN’T YOU! There go all your reward breaks and early releases. You’re just a bum who got fired! You never did anything good anywhere! Not at home, not at the job! You’re just a FILTHY-”
An echoing thud came from the kitchen. Mommy screamed. I had to look in now. Jacko was coming down the stairs himself.
Mommy was on the floor. She covered one cheek with her hand. She was crying. I was scared. I pulled in my breath quickly.
Daddy turned towards me. “YOU NOW! What do you think you are doing! Can’t I talk to my wife without you or that shit brother of yours sticking your stupid head in!!! I’ll tell you what! YOU AREN”T MY KIDS. You are just rats! RATS!”
I cried now. Jacko had come behind me. He ran in towards mommy.
“And YOU! What do you think you are doing? LEAVE HER THERE! I want my wife on the floor, that’s where I’ll have her!”
Daddy took a step towards Jacko. He swayed violently when he moved. I cried out, “Jacko!”
Daddy picked up a knife and turned towards Jacko. “I said- LEAVE HER THERE!”
I was shocked. Daddy wouldn’t hit Jacko! What was he doing?
Jacko was looking at the knife. He was looking at the knife and pulling mommy up behind him. Mommy was really hurt. She kept grimacing and clutching her body- her legs, her arms… She moved her hand from the cheek, and I saw blood trickling down the side of her lip. Why had daddy hit her so bad?!
“You won’t listen!” And daddy made a plunge at Jacko. He waved the knife in front of him. Jacko bent back.
“Dadddddyyyy! You’ll hurt him!” I screamed. Had daddy forgotten he was holding a knife?!
Jacko picked up a pan.
“Jacko, what are you doing!” I was crying hard now. “Are you fighting daddy, Jacko?!” I sobbed, helpless, scared.
“Jenny just take mom to your room, now!” Jacko said, looking at daddy.
I didn’t want to think. I ran and helped mommy get up. I looked at daddy from behind Jacko. He was staring at Jacko. He didn’t look like daddy. I rushed with mommy. I hadn’t known she was so heavy. I rushed and rushed, I had to get back fast. I helped mommy into my bed and ran out down.
When I reached, Daddy had moved closer towards Jacko and Jacko had moved back. The knife and the pan were poised.
And as I stood and saw, daddy growled loudly, and jumped forward right on Jacko and threw him to the floor. Daddy stood over Jacko and kicked him in the stomach. I screamed and ran to Jacko but daddy threw the knife at me. I stood frozen to the place. The knife missed me by an arm, a very bad shot for daddy. But daddy had attacked me. I was stunned. Jacko was getting up, daddy was wresting him.
I was stunned.
Daddy hit Jacko in the face. Just like he had hit mommy.
I was stunned.
Jacko whimpered when daddy drove his fingers into Jacko’s sides and hit him again.
I looked at the jar on the slab. The glass jar filled with water. Stunned still, I walked towards it and picked it up. It was heavy, but not as heavy as mommy. I walked over to where daddy crouched over Jacko. I stretched the jar out over daddy’s head.
Daddy looked up.
I dropped the jar.
Daddy fell like a lifeless mass to the floor.
Jacko breathed painfully. He coughed and gasped.
He got up and pulled me away. He took me outside.
Glass pieces from a half broken bottle lay everywhere.
Jacko cleared an area and pulled me down beside him.
He pat my head and whispered, “It’s okay. Jenny, It’s okay.”
It’s okay? What’s okay?
I looked at the dark. I touched the dark.
I loved the dark.