Her. Part one.

Do you know how she learned patience? She escaped. It was easier that way and it worked too. Do you want to know where she went or who she ran to? Far from the life around her with gadgets, daily humdrum and never ending self-imposed and socially assigned responsibilities. She ran into the arms of the one who was not going to judge her for anything that could or did cause her all those ailments. Do you know what she suffered from? Acute and heart wrenching self-doubt. It was chronic or appeared so. What caused it, you asked? The answer is ironically amusing but read it anyway. Her constant yet failed attempts on finding what was wrong with her, what was causing her presence and absence zero effects on anyone and everyone around her. What could be that missing link in this not so convoluted story of hers, who knew or who bothered to argue. She caught self-doubt when she learned to comprehend attitudes and slightest shifts in behaviors in her closed ones. She was diagnosed with self-pity when she found herself the odd one out, a left-out and usually alone most of the times when the rest had numerous options for childhood playmates. Didn’t she have siblings to cover her up? Come on, she had 5 of them, each one better than the other, scoring medals and winning trophies while cashing affections every now and then. So what? How does that answer the previous question? She did have siblings and when so many, she shouldn’t have felt what she did in the first place. Wrong. You are jumping the gun here, my beloved reader.

She never scored well in any test, nor was liked by her teachers. Her peers eyed her for her grave voice and long hair at that young age. They never liked her for being left alone anyway. Irony. So her siblings were comparatively better off since beginning. You know what she used to do then for attention? She developed a sense of humor; a silly, slapstick, goofy one. People started noticing her for her lame jokes. She did make them giggle often. So she checked one point.

  • Act silly. They laugh. They accept you.

So all should have been going fine since then, we presume. Alas! No one ever asked her how she felt when they laughed at her jokes. She was basically an introvert and a private person and these situations of projecting herself as a comic relief for others for moments of self-worth and affection were painful. You may be familiar with that feeling of a pulled muscle or a twisted nerve in your leg. The pain was not different and imagine that happening with frequency every other day. Was it worth it, she once asked herself. Then she looked around her and saw people smiling. She thought in affirmation while her heart nodded in negation nervously. Days and months went by, she kept damaging her insides with all those painful pangs and then she fell in love and the news says, it was an unrequited one.

Did she survive it? Wait till you read more.

Her. Part two.

She was scared. Yes, if she tried recalling it now, that was perhaps the heightened emotion at that very instant when she first missed a heartbeat as he caught her eye. Cautious, nauseated, breathing nervously, she went up to him and said, ‘Your shirt is white. I like white.’ ‘What the hell, what did I just say?’ She had started panicking as she realized how stupid she sounded standing in the middle of the cafeteria, holding his sleeve. Had there been a normal girl, with usual emotions, she would have gotten through this and brushed it aside laughing. But that was her. She had lost the ability to keep a straight posture; her eyes were watery and her lips were twitching trying to phrase an apology while he started at her blank. She heard all his mates going into hysteria laughing their wits out, calling her names, Sick, Psycho, Despo, Creep, Joker, and what not. She had just wanted to run away and never look back and just hit a car on the road and never wake up ever again. And then suddenly something happened which changed her for worse and added one more chapter to her book of misery. He hugged her. ‘Calm down. It’s not a big deal.’ ‘Let’s go, I will take you to your classroom.’ And off they went putting all on mute.

Staring at the bottom of her empty glass, listening to their chatter quietly, ‘Are they dating already?’ ‘They are just 15, relax’. ‘So what, they can be soulmates, you know.’ ‘Oh come on, he just wants to sleep around and of course she is a psycho and just got lucky with puberty.’ And the sweeping statements seemed an everyday ritual at school which everyone waited eagerly to participate in every now and then. ‘Does he love you?’ ‘Has he confessed?’ ‘Have you met his parents?’ She would hear these questions every day and still keep her mouth shut as she did not want anyone to ruin her perfect bliss. She knew love came slow but stayed long for a few, ‘I don’t care about any of that.’ But then she was a girl with overly charged emotions and subdued hopes. ‘Does he love me?’ ‘Why would he, I am just a mess.’ Well, that’s how she was. Least bit thrilled about advocating self-worth. Their high school had to finish that summer and who knew what else was going to end with that changing the course of life for many.

And everything and everyone she seemed to love or got attached to surely died or faded away or perchance her pessimism had grown deeper with age. And then one day, when she couldn’t take it any longer, she thought to ask him. ‘Hey, I was just wondering, I mean, you know, I was just thinking…’ ‘Would you speak up?’ and before she could manage to respond, he continued, struggling to keep his excitement unnoticed, said, ‘See I have got to be home early today, you know who is coming back to town?’ ‘I have been waiting for her to come back, she has been a very significant part of my life, you know, like a soul mate, we are like peas in the pod, and she is like my future and I want to give her everything and sooner…’ He was ranting and rambling and continued for quite a while after. She, on the other hand, had gotten numb in mind with every detail he shared till she couldn’t hear more and started hallucinating. She could see death everywhere, or probably human bodies maimed and dragged till their intestines came out on the street, with fresh blood oozing out of their pores. Her pupils were dilated with shock and then she could not remember anything.

Her first unrequited love ended in a nervous break-down with her in intensive care for straight two weeks. She would have stopped falling in love ever again and her self-doubt would have cost her all she had gained that far, you may presume. What if I tell you, that was just a beginning to her search for peace which she gained when she had nothing else left to lose but how, you asked.

Wait till you read more…

Pause.

She touched the corners of that old rustic coffee table again, distracted, studying those scratches over the rim of her coffee cup, consciously letting her mind drift from one memory to another. It was easier that way and much less painful, too, like flipping through an open book aimlessly, not looking for anything in particular. She had always felt too much, even the slightest of heartbreaks or moments of hatred or intimacy would go right through her heart and mind; then there were these preoccupied moments, always recharged her parched self, numbly, retracing the silhouette of her tired soul, outlining it with warm white light. She would always smile at the end of these moments of solace. In human minutes, these lasted not more than 5 to 7 minutes. Yes, that’s how much she needed from life to pick it up where she had left.

Her phone rang breaking her stream of thoughts. It was him. ‘Hey, I am really sorry, honey. I don’t think I can make it.’ ‘It’s okay. I understand’, she smiled or she tried. He hung up in less than three minutes. Only if he could see how dark her face would get after every such meeting where she would wait for him and he would take a rain check. ‘It’s okay. That’s how you love when you love. You don’t charge returns. You just give’, the friend inside her tried to buck her up. She had developed all the missing relations in the outside world inside of her. She had a friend, a guide, an optimist, a rebel and a mad man, living peacefully inside of her. All were her cherished ones and each one appeared when she wanted to just give up and drown herself into the abyss of despair.

What she couldn’t give herself was a lover, so she became one. Her love was extremes and boundless and could suffice the entire suffering humanity. How could she not give it to him then? She certainly could, hence she was, despite him struggling with his priorities and not realizing that she was none of those urgencies he had been so invested in for so long now. ‘Where am I in your life?’ she once asked him, nervously, hoping he wouldn’t snap. He did. He always did when he couldn’t give nor had any satisfactory answer to her obvious questions. ‘See this is what you do. You try defining things, labeling things, and that’s how you ruin it all. That’s how you have always loused up our moments.’ He would blame it on her.

She was now outside the coffee shop, standing on the pavement, head down, eyes on the floor, on the specks of dust and dirt filling up the breaches of those unwashed tiles. She looked up, he was standing before her. She missed more than one heartbeat, ‘what… what are you doing here? How? You said, you…’ she started rambling as she always did when caught off guard. ‘Here, for you’, he smiled warmly and gave her a small neat bouquet of red roses. ‘Happy Birthday, Love.’ And that’s how she was alive again.

 

 

 

 

To Tame or Love or Both or Same?

 

There it was. I knew it would come out again searching for me like I do every morning. I look for it and then the war of stares starts. We look at each other for as long as we can. Last encounter lasted for an hour or so or that is how I presume it was.

‘Hold on. Not today, today we won’t just stare. We must speak. Would you care to step out of this bush may be?’ I tried sounding annoyed.

‘I cannot. I am not tamed.’

‘I am sorry? I do not want to tame you. Why would you say that? I just want to talk.’

‘But why me? Why do you want to talk to me only?’ That was now its turn to sound annoyed. ‘Do you mean to say I am the chosen one, even though there are plenty of my kind wandering this neighborhood? Why is it me you seek to tame?’

‘I do not want to tame you. What’s gotten into you? Why are you mistrusting me? What do you mean when you say tame? I was now rambling as it was getting on my nerves. I just wanted it to talk to me for a while.

‘It is the most common of acts or feelings or both or same,’ it said amusingly.  ‘To tame means to form a bond, to develop a feeling, a connection that is not shared by all.’

‘Like love?’ I could just whisper. I don’t know why I said that. Embarrassing.

‘There is nothing to be embarrassed about.’ It continued, ‘I am nothing to you and you are nothing to me but a mere human like others rummaging around these roads. We do not need each other nor do we seek to be noticed by each other, unless you tame me. I may then stand out for you amongst the crowd. I may then be the only one cherished by you, as exotic as I may seem to you after, I can never be compared then to anyone seemingly or remotely alike.’

‘You do understand despite you questioning it we are actually talking now.’ It was my turn to sound amused now.

‘Ah, well. We share a similarity, too. That fact may help you tame me even better.’ It had started strolling now in her patch of grass.

‘What? We do? What could that be?’ I giggled.

‘Our eyes…’

It stared at me. And in no time, I could sense something surreal happening. ‘You. Tamed. Me?’ I was put on mute.

She was on the pavement now, head down, and shivering while it brushed her shoulder with its whiskers and off she went.

Inspired by: The Little Prince.