She knew she was facing her first love, as she stood a valley across from the snow clad mountains. A river swiftly flowed between rounded white boulders, a few meters below her feet, as she stood on the edge of the mountain.
The scene in front of her eyes transported her eight years back. When she was in a similar place, in much simpler times.
She couldn’t help but reminisce about her life back then:
She was a happy soul.
She hadn’t yet realised the permanence of dysfunction in her family.
She did not worry about a thing, but cared about everything.
She was not in love with anyone particular, but did love everyone in her life.
She was surrounded by her closest friends, who cared.
All her loved ones loved her back. And shared their lives with her.
She had a plan for her near future.
She had no idea how fucked up relationships could be.
She was unaware of what life had in store of her…
To break her train of thoughts, she consciously moved her gaze away from the snowy peaks and turned right. And there he was standing patiently for her to finish her coffee. Small beady eyes resonating innocence , he smiled as he noticed her shift in gaze, running down his hand through his silky smooth hair. It had been a long long time since she met someone so sensitive and considerate of others. He reminded her of her past self. Spending time with him encouraged her to be that person again. Or even better. He was a better person than she had ever managed to be.
Maybe the magic was in the place. How could anyone not be the best version of themselves in this utopia?
‘Sorry’, she said out loud to him. ‘I was a little too mesmerized by the sight.’
‘Take all the time you need.’, he replied courteously.
She beamed as he had said the exact same thing for her every earlier stop as well.
‘ No. I’m done. Take me directly to the snow now.’ She said.
‘ Take me back to that heavenly snow.’
She realised nothing in her life was going according to the plan,her plan.She closed her eyes in an attempt to stop tears from rolling down.She could feel her ears heat up.She felt an uncontrollable anger towards everyone in her life.She hated the fact that when she needed someone to just be with her,no one was around. She did not need advice,or sympathy…not even apathy.She just needed someone who would hold her hand and give her a warm hug, keep her thoughtless for sometime at least.But there she was,sitting in a crowded cafe,music blasting in her ears,somewhere she was only because she had nowhere else to go. No one to go to.People around her had driven her to a situation where this odd place made her calm and at the same time she feared someone might recognise her here and start a conversation…She longed for a heart to heart conversation with a friend,but did not know who to turn to.So the idea of conversing scared her.It was all confusing for her.She wanted and feared the same things.
She had started detesting people she once loved dearly.Staying with them seemed futile.A waste of energy,time and patience.She sometimes smiled in her head when she tried to listen to what was being bombarded on her all the time.She wasn’t mocking them or laughing on them,not even in her head.It just amused her how insignificant the banter was to her and how ignorant everyone was about it,about her..her feelings,her opinion…her existence!
But it wasn’t a total waste,the bombarding.It did affect her.All the constant pressure and negative thoughts that everyone immersed her in,they did manage to depress her,every single time.And yet she cared about them at the end of the day.She did not want to hurt them by her unworldly ways and that’s why she stayed,stayed but stayed away.On a minimal interaction basis.But they did not even understand that.There was no way she behaved that would prove to be non-offensive to them. So once in a while she laughed and cracked jokes and gossiped with them,to make them feel better.And they did,but that was all that they cared about.She was never their priority,never was anyone’s.But they needed her,to keep them entertained,to do their little charades,to keep them sane.And so she did.Because when you love someone,there is no other option but to do whatever works,whatever works for them.
Since childhood, she had been always fascinated with tunnels.But unlike others, the fascination did not wear off with childhood. As a child, the darkness scared and excited her in strange way. Acting like day had turned into night in a wink and back to day just as quickly became one of the things she looked forward to in any travel.As she grew up,her fear turned into admiration and wonder, as to how man had managed to carve out this void into mammoth of a mountain. Even when that mystery was solved,the tunnels remained enigmatic to her.The amber coloured lights flooding the tunnels made her feel magical They were like charming small suns minus the harsh heat.They made her smile and filled her with unrealistic optimism, as if this were the moment when all the darkness in her life was to be lit up with beaming golden hope.When the lights bounced on her whitish skin,she felt beautiful,like the light was washing away all the ugliness in her, mending all the blemishes..leaving just purity. She did not know what it was about them,they were just ordinary lights after all. But it wasn’t about the fixtures, or the colour of the light,but the idea of something bright piercing the monstrous darkness,making everything in the journey visible,clear and uncomplicated…it was this idea of darkness being slain to reveal beauty that was always the core of her fascination.It inspired her in to believing that we can overcome every difficulty,every frightening thing can be fought. It was always about hope, golden hope.
How young were you when you first heard the line : ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.Throughout our childhood,we have been taught in school,at home to choose friends wisely,to read a person.And during that discourse we more than often were bombarded with the ‘in need indeed’ saying. Did we really understand at that time what it meant?What did we take from it?
I definitely learnt something from it,to help your friends and be with them no matter what the situation.Was it because of this that it got imbibed or that I met such great friends over the years that it came naturally I do not know.But over the years friends became most important part of my life.But only recently did I realise that this line has a different lesson altogether.It does not (only) guide you how to be a good friend,but guides you how to identify your true friends.
Because there comes a time in your life,when all you need is a true friend by your side,to tell you that everything will be ok..and you find yourself starving for friendship.This is the time when you realise that a friend in need is a friend indeed.And like a reinforcement to what you already knew,comes the truth…that your friends sitting across the seven seas are closer to you than the ones that you rub your shoulders with.It’s amazing that with their own set of problems, issues and umpteen amount of work,they still think of you,sense your needs and care enough to make you feel less lonely.
So how much do the others matter really? The ones that don’t care about anything but getting together, having a good time.Or when they are in need.Are they not good friends?May be they are,just not close enough.May be not friends in the real,deeper sense.May be they are better friends to someone else.All you can do is hope, that they indeed are,and treasure your own close ones!
She looked at herself in the mirror…she tried to see what was left of her.
After days of not feeling anything,of starving beyond consciousness,of abusive outbursts and carelessness,she realized something was wrong.I was never like this.Now she looked at her reflection.She had lost all of the little weight she had managed to put on in the last year.The only little fat remaining was on her stomach,and it still bothered her.He waist had become waif thin and her wrists were negligible.Her black vest lay loosely on her drooping shoulders and her frayed grey shorts were slipping down her diminishing waistline.She moved closer to the mirror to see her side profile.She moved even closer and saw droopy eyes drowning in a pool of dark circles staring back at her. Suddenly she realized she was a mess.But the next moment she thought that she knew that already,didn’t I?
She played with her hair that fell lightly on her forehead.She crudely twisted them around her finger,like the thoughts that were twitching in her mind.She did not realize she spent 43 minutes doing that until she saw the wall clock in the mirror and turned around to check if the mirror wasn’t lying.As she was turning around to check the time,she heard a soft knock on the door.Her left eyebrow raised in irritation almost as a reflex.He knocks now.He is afraid of me.Her mind was beaming at the thought, but it did not cross the thick layers of skin.And indeed the person on the other side of the door was afraid of the effect his concern might have on her.She cautiously moved across her room and took her copy of her favourite Milan Kundera’s novel and opened it to page 42,exactly the page that she was reading 3 weeks ago.
Her dad walked in to the room after waiting for another 30 seconds.Her dad was her only family left and probably the only person in the whole wide world that loved her.She looked up only for their eyes to meet for a second and then went back to pretending to read.She was afraid even a second more of eye contact would start a conversation.Even she had not heard her voice in three weeks and wanted the mute phase to continue.She was afraid to hear how it may sound after all these days of hauntingly soulful silence.He walked up to her,kissed her just above the forehead and left wordlessly,leaving the door ajar on purpose.She immediately got up and closed the door and returned in front of the mirror.In an instant all the anger and frustration in her melted in to tears and started flowing down like a constant stream.This was the first sign of her normality in a long time.But she did not want to be normal.She buried herself into her bed and fought back her tears.She did not intend to lose all the anger in her.She did not intend to relieve herself with the tears and go back to being herself.No,that couldn’t be it.She knew she couldn’t bear another hurt and she did not want to make herself vulnerable to it,again.She needed strength…to hold back all the emotions and feel nothing.The mirror made her vulnerable.That day,she decided to engage into an eternal war with her reflection…her conscience.That day,she became a rebel.