Tag Archives: hurt

Pills We Don’t Take

It’s hot and my toes are sweating. It takes a special kind of heat, you know, to even realize that your toes are sweaty. I push my way through the crowd and head towards the balcony. Some ventilation would do me good, do my toes good.

As I reach the balcony, I notice a boy sitting in the corner. I haven’t seen him before. To be fair, I haven’t seen most of the people at this party before; but this boy, this boy looks especially out of place. Like I wasn’t supposed to have seen him before. I wonder if I should step into his line of sight. He seems like he wants to be left alone, at first. But as I linger at the entrance, he looks up at me and smiles.

It’s not so much a smile, actually. It’s a half smile. And a half smile is a dangerous thing. Half smiles hide more than sullen faces ever will. Half smiles come with a sense of resignation, the wrong kind of peace.
He smiles at me, half smiles at me, then looks away, into space, at nothing really – maybe a star, I can’t be too certain. I walk across with my drink and stand at the edge, looking down into the beautiful city, lights dotting the landscape till as far as I can see.

“How does one bring themselves to forget someone who loves them?” says a voice from behind me.

“Nonchalance and distractions, mostly,” I say, still look at the moving specks of light in the distance.

I can feel his eyes on me as I say this. He’s probably hurt. He’s probably aching in love, furiously looking for a profound explanation to justify his pain.
I turn now, to look at him. There’s an interesting expression people have when they don’t get answers they want to hear. A look of confusion mixed with incredulity, a feeling of “How could you!” with a side of “Oh”. His moustache is barely sprouting and his eyes are red with memories of someone who held his hand one moment too long.

“You’re young,” I say, as I turn back to face the city and its specks of light, their anonymity comforting me.

“Until I’m not”

I don’t know how to respond to that. That blatant crisp truth. I’ve been young, I’ve been in love and I’ve been in pain and I’ve been in thought. I’ve wanted to sit in someone’s lap and not be touched at the same time, I’ve wanted to play with someone’s hair and not call back and I’ve been young and I’ve been old and it never really goes away. I don’t remember much but I remember feelings.
And the trouble lies in the expectation. The expectation that someday true love or maturity or destiny will work its magic and you’ll fall into a love that won’t make you claw your insides out. The expectation that things will turn out the way everyone who ever comforted you said they would, the way everyone who ever comforted you wished they would.

So I turn back to face him, determined not to fill his head with false promises of a world that’s fair and a heart that beats one beat at a time. But as soon as my eyes meet his, I know he knows. He knows what I want to tell him, and he knows I won’t.

“I know,” he says. “I know”

A few days later he jumps off the same balcony. I don’t feel anything.

He’s left a note for me, they say. I still don’t feel anything. I open the note that looks like it has been scribbled hurriedly in pencil, rewrites on top of rewrites, and remnants of a chewed up eraser the only saving grace of the words meant to be hidden.

“How could you forget? What kind of sickness of the brain eats up your ability to love someone back?”

Nonchalance and distractions, mostly, I think to myself, as I forget what I’m reading.

In Staccato Rhythm

It’s a rainy day in a college by the road, and my two corridor mates are introducing me to a blend of guitars and endlessness they call classic rock. I’ve heard its kind before, but never when steeped in someone else’s enthusiasm.

It’s yet another rainy day, in an apartment by a different road. Four years of my steadfast indifference has done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. There’s new songs blended in now. One of them now hunts and gathers new music from the scuzzy underbelly of the city. The other has rekindled loves from his past. I still don’t understand it. I’m beginning to suspect I don’t understand music at all.

It’s the wee hours of the morning, and I’m sitting in a shared cab back from work, listening to my borrowed tastes. It fills the silence better than inflicting conversation on my fellow corporate drone. His stop is before mine. I come home to a girl who is no longer here.

It’s been ages since college when we set out to ride back to it. The road is the same, it’s sweltering hot, though. We’ve forgotten most of our CDs. This was before we, as a country, could afford streaming. There’s no classic rock. There’s the corridormate-turned-flatmate’s newest find. He goes on about how we should support the local music scene. For the first three hours of the drive, he insists it’s all alright that we can now recite the lyrics in our sleep.

I’m at the beach by the college by the road. The breeze brings back memories. They say music brings back memories. Places do, too. Smells, sounds, the feel of a place is stronger in my mind than notes in the ether. I’m convinced. It’s not music that I’ll miss.

It’s Sunday and we’re all staring at each other across a wooden table. This used to be a bar for Sunday afternoons, it’s now one for Friday nights. It plays every song you know, smeared into one explosion of sound. It reminds me of clubs, not in a bad way. New people are at the table. They remind me of clubs, not in a bad way. New people bring new music.

It’s a lazy Sunday in a new house, and the rain has obliged. I’m sipping tea with a girl I’ll hurt. She’s talking to me about electronic music. That can’t be good, I tell myself. I profess my borrowed inclinations, scoffing at the idea of anything new being good. Funny that the corridormate-turned-flatmate, in his final months in the city, would wax endlessly about how the goodness of anything new.

It’s the same early morning on another day. There’s no one in the cab today, no one waiting at home. I stumble in sleepily to soundtracks seeping through my flatmate’s locked door. Soundtracks, I understand. I begin to wonder if I’m overthinking this. One of the classic rockers left long ago, the other left less long ago. The guitars are no longer endless where I live.

It’s raining as I bid them farewell, the first time. My flatmates, neighbors, collegemates and the girl. Raining. Rain is a place by itself. I wait for my flight at the airport, watching the drops race down the glass. Drinking seems inappropriate, like I’m tarnishing the memory of the past years with more of the same. I plug in, and listen to more of the same, taking my mind off the last things I’d seen.

It’s a different early morning. I’m in a different cab. It’s driven back from the airport by two grim chauffeurs. I reach home to utter silence. The entire flight here, I’ve drowned anxiety in simple mash seasoned with the occasional weird taste. There’s no filling a silence. That phrase shouldn’t exist. Silence breaks. You can only break a silence.

My second farewell is less charged, if more permanent. I’m back across the oceans. I move from the job with the late night cab and find another one. I move from the city with the job with the late night cab and find a new one. With new people. There is a bookshop under my house. I almost never go. My little portable speaker is still in my boxes. I’ve forgotten the playlist on my phone.

It’s a cold winter’s day as I trot from the bus into work. I rummage about in my backpack, looking for a mouse. I find earphones instead. I plug in. It’s the playlist I’ve built over these years of growing up. It’s every rainy day, on every road, in every house, in every cab, for every farewell. It’s everything silence isn’t. I’m still unconvinced I understand it, but it’s getting harder to believe that.

It’s the same day’s evening. I call the corridor mate. He’s crossed the same oceans as well. We talk like it’s all one day, seven years wide. He has new songs, of course. So do I, now. I hear the new ones, while I finally listen to the old.


This post was originally written by Abhijeet Sathe.
All rights remain with the author.

Voices.

 “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut 

I found this at the back of a notebook yesterday. I don’t even remember writing it.
But the handwriting was mine and it seemed like the kind of quote I’d jot down. You know, just to revisit when I have those long introspective talks with myself.

You ever talk to yourself? I do. All the time. Some days I push and motivate myself. Some days I tell myself it is indeed okay to slack a little. Some days I talk to empty spaces that I wish somebody would fill. The sad truth is that we’re all missing someone and secretly hoping that wherever they are, they’re missing us too. It takes more than you can imagine admitting it, though.

They say it’s perfectly normal to talk to yourself; you’re only crazy if you talk back.

Now I’ve got a little hypothesis here. I feel the concept of geometric similarity is beautiful. I resonate with enthusiasm when people draw parallels to my life, when their perspective and angles match mine. And yet alone, I’m not just one person.

People always have a secret world inside them than the one they show; sometimes two, sometimes a hundred. One day you’re someone, the other day you’re someone else. And you can’t go back to yesterday because you were a different person then, with different parallels and different perspectives and angles.
But we’re all gluttons for co-incidence. So when our worlds collide with someone else’s on a particular day, we’re stoked; heady at the thought of someone to fill the empty spaces we talk to. And when they don’t, we seek the other worlds inside ourselves; trying on different identities like dresses to see which one fits best.
When your romanticism fails, you become a bit of a cynic.
When your poetry fails, you become a bit robotic.
When your boundaries fail, you put up walls.

I am made and remade continuously; different people draw different worlds from me. And every once in a while I feel like I’d make a better ghost than a human being. A better idea than an entity. I lay still on my bed, gazing out the window into darkness full of nothing and yet inconspicuously everything, wondering what it will be tomorrow morning that’ll convince me to climb out of bed and choose the person I will be for the day. Everyone has an abyss of their own, and as I sink deeper into mine, all my opposing worlds combine to become one. And they talk to me as one while my eyes get heavy, recalling incidents from years before, from lunch today, and from a past life – telling me in unison how exactly I feel; who exactly I am.

Sometimes I agree.
It’s perfectly normal to talk to yourself.

Sometimes I talk back.
We have to be careful who we pretend to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Feature Image by Akin Cetine

I wonder if she feels fixed.

Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago, I fell for someone. I found our song today. He doesn’t know it’s our song, but the lyrics go something like…

Baby we both know
That the nights were mainly made for saying things you can’t say tomorrow day
Crawling back to you
Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few?
‘Cause I always do
Maybe I’m too busy being yours to fall for somebody new

I hate that feeling; when you feel hungry, but you don’t want any food you see, and you can’t figure out what it is you’re craving.
Then you realise it’s not food you’re craving.

I’m not one to judge, I’m broken too. Life does that to you, it breaks you bit by bit. And just when you begin to feel like the damage is permanent, it sends along something. Sometimes it’s a drug, sometimes it’s a book; for me it was his hug. Every time he hugged me I felt all my broken pieces coming together. For just those few moments, I’d feel fixed.

There was something about his kisses too. I wish I’d kissed him more, so I’d have more of the memories to hold on to. They’d start soft, like petals playfully parting petals; that taste of cigarette getting me heady, and slowly turn into a storm of sighs and grabs, so intense that it was hard to tell who was breathing for whom.

And the last time he left, it felt like he slammed a door in my face, and I realised, men lie, and they lie to themselves worst of all. The door slam is meant to be symbolic, one last “take that!” to close the argument. But that door never did fit right in the frame, so it swings back and forth, slyly revealing things I shouldn’t know – little things he says and does, how he feels like I’ve always been this wonderful possibility for him.
I feel his eyes apologizing, asking me to believe that I’m the girl he wanted to want, but just not today. Today, he didn’t want to be happy.
Or sad.
Or anything.

Did I make it that easy to walk in and out of my life?

It kills me that he let his walls come down for somebody else. It’s not like there aren’t other men in the world. They’re all there, pretty and waiting, buying me drinks and telling me how wonderful they think my smile is; marinated in cologne and talking and talking. And a few drinks down, after going through my phone and realizing I’ve deleted his number, I begin to talk to these men too. But there’s this gut feeling, that feeling in the pit of my stomach screaming HE’S NOT THE ONE, STOP PRETENDING, ABORT MISSION!

I want to call him and yell. I want to scream, and tell him I decided on him. Doesn’t he get it? I decided on him and I don’t want to go around flirting with other people and then walking around feeling thrilled and then empty or whatever. I like the feel of his arms around me, I like the sound of his voice in my ear, and I goddamn decided on him.

What do you do when the only thing that was fixing you starts breaking you?  While he’s wrapping his arms around her, at that.

I wonder if she feels fixed.

 

 

 

Feature Image Courtesy: Kelsey Heinrichs | Society6

Things We Tell Ourselves

I balanced myself on the lean parapet outside the office. It was raining, and there was a meeting going on inside the office, and cutting his call was simply not an option. So I balanced myself as he spoke, catching bits of raindrops on my eyelashes.

“… and you won’t believe what she said!” He sounded appalled. More amused than disturbed by whatever news he was going to give me, but appalled nonetheless. “She texted back saying ‘Stay out of my life!’ ”

Ouch. That’s a bit harsh. The only time I ever said that to someone was when I was sixteen and I caught my boyfriend texting another girl calling her ‘babe’. Turns out I was right asking him to stay out of my life though, but that’s a story for another day.

“… and this is what I get?” he continues. “Who reacts like that when their ex sends them a nice picture of them? I just thought she’d like to have it.”

It DID seem a little ridiculous. In fact, it seemed downright preposterous that someone would talk to him like that. I didn’t need to be blinded by how much I adored him to say “Oh, chill out, she’s just being paranoid.” (Textbook. Never sound paranoid when talking to the guy you like. Ever.)

My day went on and it rained and poured and I stayed back late at work and took a lift home in a friend’s car. As I saw rain mist up my window, I did what anyone with a decent childhood does on a misty window. I wrote my name and made a smiley face. I think I was really happy. We may not have been in love, we definitely weren’t dating each other, but we were so … connected.

He’d call when he woke up to tell me what he’d dreamt of, I’d call when I’d get bored at work, we’d call each other at night to recount our day and I’d always ALWAYS send him songs I liked and he’d always ALWAYS listen to them. It was comfortable and easy and it made me smile without realizing. I liked being the one he complained to, I think. Or the one he spoke to about his dreams and ambitions.
“I want to be a one mark answer in a history paper,” he’d say, stuffing his face in my pillow because that’s how he slept, all wrapped up in my blanket like a human burrito.

And then it happened. What always happens. Life.
He helped me pack and move and dispose and sell things off and all the while, I felt it. I’d say it was chemistry but that’d be putting it in high school terms. So, for lack of a better word, I’ll say it was warmth. I felt it as he said goodbye and I moved to a new city and I felt it as he told me that just because he never said it doesn’t mean he didn’t show it or feel it and he was right. He did.

I didn’t shed a tear as I left, you know? I was so convinced things would work. We may not have been in love, we definitely weren’t dating each other, but we’d stay connected. Each other’s, at some plane.

Ah, Expectation, you filthy mistress!

I was in a new job. A new city. A new life, entirely. Of course I got busy.  I still called him. I think he got busy too. I think he may have gotten busier than he intended to. And somewhere between the unanswered calls and unread message, somewhere in the maze of new people and old family, somewhere in the spiral of Sylvia Plath quotations and different bed timings, I think I got used to not calling him.

I cut the line when he called today. It caught me by surprise and in all the excitement I cut the line. And I almost instantly called back when something in my head stopped me. I think I had nothing to say to him. I think I’d like to have asked him why he didn’t call or text anymore and heard him say he got busy, all the while knowing that’d be the answer. I know he got busy. I just thought I meant enough to him for that to not matter.

And I had nothing much to do so I opened a book and started reading it to distract myself. Calling him back was simply not an option. I guess that’s the only reason one could have asked him to stay out of their life. He was doing it anyway, might as well make it seem like your idea, right?
So I read my book and got involved in the story as the boy spoke about the girl he loved and I realized… in the end, in love, we all become stories.

And I hope he doesn’t end up just a one mark answer in a history paper.

Strangers With Memories

I watched half the semi-final. Half the opera. Maybe two thirds of the movie at the theatre yesterday. I didn’t quite taste the mint in my pepperoni. We ordered mint pepperoni? When did that get on the menu? I burned my little finger on the stove too. And every time, there was no reply.

What do you tell yourself the hundredth time you check your phone?

You’ve taken a step you can’t take back and Cupid’s demanding back his arrow. You’ve given someone things you weren’t even sure you had and now text message notifications are a game of Russian roulette, and his name is the bullet. Well, sometimes your tank is fueled up, but the track just ends.

He smirks when I talk like this. You’re young and foolish, he says. You’ll get older and realize love isn’t like this. It’s not just a bunch of moments that make you melt in between those of electricity and magic.

Well what is it then, I ask? Is it a convenient place you find once you’re done chasing your career and living it up with your friends?

I guess, yeah.

Well, if you keep letting go of the magic and electricity, that’s what it’s going to come to eventually, isn’t it?

He doesn’t reply. He’s probably on a work call. I wonder what he’ll do with his fame and millions some day. He’ll probably come home to someone who married him for them. Or not. They do say it all works out in the end.

We all do that. Spend our lives building ourselves for our idea of perfection, leaving love behind when it comes without knocking, thinking we’ll find ‘the one’ when the time is right, trying to convince ourselves that it does not matter how the edges of us fit into the edges of others as long as, once smashed together, something that resembles a picture emerges.

How do people start something without the idea of infinity? I don’t want forever. It’s impractical and unreasonable and we’re all adults and mature and know better than to set expectations. And yet, I think the idea is beautiful and I want it. Is it so bad if I want him to want it? Don’t we all deserve that? Some kind of blazing love that sets your soul on fire; that you wish could last but you know it won’t and somehow that’s okay, as long as you both wish it.

And when he says he won’t forget me, I can tell you that’s untrue. Because every day since we parted ways I thought less and less of him. I called him, sometimes; I tried to keep it alive. But you know what the problem with a stream of feelings that run one way is?

You know you don’t have to feel anything at all. But somewhere, deep inside, you want to.

And here comes the feeling you thought you’d forgotten. And you forget to check your phone and you accidentally leave behind the book he gave you; and one day you wake up and you realize the two are you are just strangers with memories.

And you had so much love to give once, and you were so good at it. But maybe that’s not enough. Maybe you need to love someone who wants to be loved. And maybe that’s more difficult than it sounds.

This is the song that I stumbled upon and got inspired by to write the article. The feelings are genuine and the people are real, though. Any writer who tells you otherwise is lying.
We all love like fools.
There really is no other way to love.

Love is such a big word; it really ought to have more letters.
They barely put any mint in that pepperoni anyway.