To love at all

When you fall for someone, you don’t know about their past and you couldn’t care less about their future. You choose not to pry, and you choose not to expect. You just fall. You just love. You just embrace the present and go with the flow.

You tell yourself that love is all you need to keep the relationship afloat. You build a bubble of your own, in which you decide to reside for as long as time allows. You feel safe and for some time you trick your mind and heart into believing that no hurricane will ever sweep you off your ground.

But to love at all is to be vulnerable.

To love means that you’re susceptible to suffering from heartaches and getting blows from directions you were not expecting. To love also means that you’ll be part of your partner’s share of lows even when you never signed up for it. To love means that you will be dragged into situations that you didn’t even know could have, would have existed. To love means that you can’t escape certain scenarios and that worse, they will haunt you down even if you were a mere passive observer.

Yes, to love means to accept your lover for all they are. And to accept your lover for all they are means to be open to any ache that will come your way because of who they are and what they did. Because to love at all means to stand by the one human being that means the world to you.

But, to love also means to take your stance. To know when to separate yourself from the other person. To know what was your fault and what wasn’t.

To love means to provide support but not weaken your own limbs in the process. It means to be there, but not at the cost of losing yourself. To love means to help your partner get rid of the toxic but not without making sure that you are immune to it. It means to help your partner up when their head’s underwater but not drown with them.

To love at all is to be vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean you walk around bumping on walls and tripping over stones that are in plain sight. It doesn’t mean helping their wounds heal while yours go unattended.

Because to love doesn’t mean closing your senses. If anything, to love at all means just the opposite and if you can’t begin to protect yourself you will never be able to protect your significant other.

To love also means to know when to say goodbye. Because there’s a thing called “too late.”

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Of Monsters and Men

“Do you think it’s going to be easy?”

“I know it’s not, but there’s no other way. I can’t do cold turkey—that has never suited me.”

Hadn’t Maya held the gaze even after she stopped talking, Bini wouldn’t have bought it for the world. But well, it was Maya. She had always had bizarre ways of coping with heartaches.

Growing up, Maya was a brave kid. Whenever she feared the possible presence of a monster in her room, instead of hiding under the blanket, she sat upright on her bed and looked around, attentively, making sure that all was clear.

At 24, not much had changed. Of course the imaginary monsters had been replaced by human beings who stripped naked their demons. But, the way she coped was still the same. She didn’t like hiding away or closing her eyes when a monster lingered around. Instead, she made sure it was in her plain sight. She made sure she knew its every move. She made sure that it knew she wasn’t afraid.

Few months ago, when Maya found a monster in the person she loved most, she was devastated. She was in shock. For days, she struggled to soak it in. For days, she wandered around, completely distracted. Some days, she sat in one corner for endless hours, detangling her emotions that submerged her heart. Other days, she struggled to rise above her misery as the gravity of truth weighed her down.

Last week though, she made a call. She confronted it. Fuming with rage, she attacked her monster with all that she had, and in every possible way she could. And the monster stood still, letting her cause him bruises that would never really heal her own wounds.

It took her 24 hours to realize that the person who she thought brought out the best in her had brought out the worst in her that day.

But Maya was a brave woman. She didn’t want to hide from her monster; she didn’t want to run away from it. She wanted it in her plain sight. She wanted to watch her monster every single day, until it decided to disappear on its own. She wanted to keep her eyes wide open, making sure all is clear, making sure it didn’t for a second think that she was terrified.

“I am sure this is the best way to cope. I want to transition from lovers to strangers. I can’t shut him out, just yet.” She said to Bini.

अभिन्न


२.

फेसबुकको टुप्पोमा सजाएर राखेको रिक्वेस्टको जवाफ खै किन हो, म पुरा २ दिनपछि मात्र दिन्छु|

“हाई, के छ?” नरेन अनलाइनै रहेछ|

“बाँचिएकै छ”, फेरी त्यहि उत्तर| बानी नै पो परिसकेछ मेरो|

“केहि नयाँ-नौलो?”

म एकछिन सोच्छु, के नयाँ छ मेरो जिन्दगीमा? हुन त कुरा नभएका यी तीन वर्षमा धेरै कुरा भइसके, धेरै कुरा फेरिसके, उसले सुन्दा जे पनि नौलो नै हुन्छ होला| तर मलाई भने १०-२० चोटी अरु साथीहरुलाई सुनाइसकेको कुरा फेरी भनिराख्न फिटिक्कै मन लागेन| भने पनि कहाँबाट कसरी सुरु गर्ने|

“केहि नयाँ छैन| बरु थ्यान्क्यु है नरेन! अस्ति राम्ररी कुरा नि गर्न पाइन|”

जवाफमा उसले एउटा स्माइली मात्र पठाउँछ| केहि भन्छ कि भनेर म कुरीरहन्छु, अँह अरु केहि भन्दैन|

“अनि अरु…” टाइप गर्दागर्दै औंला रोकिनछन् मेरा| लेखेको जति पनि मेटाएपछि, निकैबेर मेरा औंला किबोर्डमाथि नाच्छन्, मानौं मुनिका अक्षरलाई जिस्काएझैँ गरी| तर अँह, न मैले केहि लेख्छु, न उसले| ५ मिनटपछि म च्याटबक्स नै बन्द गरी अरुसँग बोल्न थाल्छु|

एकैछिनमा ट्वाङ्ग गरी एउटा नयाँ मेसेज आउँछ, नरेनको|

“सरी, म यो फोटो खोज्न गएको थिएँ|”

फोटो खुल्न अलि लामै समय लाग्छ | एक त ए.डी.एस.एल त्यसमाथि घर पनि रिंगरोडभन्दा कम्तिमा पनि ६ कि.मि. टाढा छ, अनि कहाँबाट राम्ररी टिपोस| तर भन्नु मात्र हो, काठमाडौँको मुटुमै बस्नेहरुले पनि निकै दुख पाएका सुनेको छु| फोटो बल्लतल्ल खुल्छ, फोटो हेर्ने बितिक्कै खुसी लाग्छ, रमाइलो लाग्छ| ४ वर्ष अगाडिको यो फोटो हेर्दा कसले भन्न सकोस् यसमा भएका ५ जिग्रीहरु सब आ-आफ्नै बाटो लागिसके भनेर| कति रमाइलो र न्यानो फोटो| सबैजना कति अभिन्न, कति खुसी देखिन्छन्|

हामी त्यो कलेज मुनिको होटलमा जान पनि दिनकै जान्थ्यौं र दिनकै ग्यांगमा भएको एउटा मात्र स्मार्ट फोनले फोटो खिच्थ्यौं| नरेनकै थियो त्यो फोन|

“तिमीसंग अझै छ यो फोटो?”

“छ नि, अरु पनि हुनुपर्छ| यो चाहिँ अस्ति भेट्टाएको थिएँ”

“कसैसँग कुरा हुन्छ तिम्रो?”

निकैबेर नरेनले जवाफ दिदैन| म कुरिरहन्छु|

“ त्यो दिनपछि? अँह! तिमीहरु नि कोहि बोल्न आएनउ, मैले नि माया मारिदें”

यसपाली मेरो पाली थियो स्माइली पठाउने| भन्नलाई पनि त केहि थिएन|

अभिन्न

१.

“के छ?”

“बाँचिएकै छ!”

सजिलो प्रश्नको कति सजिलो उत्तर| एकछिन पनि कुर्दिन म, एकछिन पनि सोच्दिन, उसलाई जवाफ फर्काउन अघि| हुनपनि उसले सोध्नकै लागि त सोधेको हो| ऊ मेरो हालखबर जान्न त्यति नै थोरै इच्छुक छ, जति म उसको बारे जान्न| मान्छे नै त हौँ|

“तिम्रो के छ”, सोध्न कै लागि सोध्छु म पनि|

“त्यस्तै हो, बाँचिएकै छ|”

“ल अहिले हत्तारमा छु, फेसबुकमा कुरा गरौँला|” अप्ठेरो हुनु अघि टाप कस्न खोज्छु म|

“अँ, म पनि..”

हामी दुबैजना ङ्गिच्च हाँस्छौँ र आ-आफ्नो बाटो लाग्छौं| दुबैलाई थाहा छ, संयोगले भेट त भयो, तर जसरि गएको ३-४ वर्ष कुरै नभई बित्यो, अझै आउँदो १० बर्ष कुरै नभए पनि दुबैलाई खासै फरक पर्दैन|

पार्किंग लट मा स्कूटर खोजुन्जेल, मैले उसलाई भेटेको नि बिर्सिसकेछु| आज फेरी कुनचाहिँले मेरो स्कूटरलाई न्याक्क हुनेगरी च्यापेर पार्क गरेछ| त्यत्रो ठुलो, हेर्दै मरुन्जेल भारी देखिने बाइक म एक्लै कसरी पन्छ्याउनु? वरीपरी हेर्छु, निउरोड़ त हो कोहि न कोहि त भेटिहालिन्छ नि, कसैले त पक्कै सहयोग गर्छ| ठुलठुला ज्यान भएका, दुई तिन जना मलाई आँखा मै हेर्छन तर केहि भन्नु अघि नै फुत्किन्छन्| एकछिन आफ्नो स्कूटरलाई टोलाएर हेरिरहन्छु, केहि समाधान निस्किहाल्छ कि| हुन त म आफूलाई निकै स्मार्ट सोच्छु, तर केहि जुक्ति लगाउन सक्दिन|

“स्मृति!” झस्किन्छु म|

“ ए! हाई, आज त भेटेको भेटै हुने भयौं”

“ के भयो? स्कुटर अड्क्यो कि क्या हो?”

“अँ, निकाल्दिन सक्छौ?”

उसले त्यो भारी पल्सरलाई अलिकति साइड लगाई, मैले स्कुटर नानिकालुन्जेल समातिरहन्छ|

“थ्यांकयु, नरेन”

ऊ हाँस्छ| अरु केहि भन्नु अगाडी नै पछाडीबाट अर्को बाइक आएर ट्वाँ-ट्वाँ र प्वाँ-प्वाँ गर्छ| तुरुन्त हेल्मेट लगाई म त्यँहाबाट निस्किन्छु|

कस्तो अचम्म छ जिन्दगी| त्यत्रो २ वर्ष प्लस-टुमा सँगै पढ्यौं, सँगै डुल्यौं, सँगै बद्मासी पनि गर्यौं, अनि चट्टै माया मारेर आ-आफ्नो बाटो लाग्यौं एकअर्का को अस्तित्व नै बिर्सने गरी| आज भेटेपछि पो “ए हामी त ग्यांग पो थियौं त” जस्तो भयो|

घर पुग्नसाथ, ब्याग हुर्राएर भान्छामा गई चिया बसाल्छु र फोनमा फेसबुक खोल्छु| नरेन ताम्राकारलाई खोज्छु| किन हो झनक्क रिसउठ्छ| ऊ त मेरो फ्रेन्ड लिस्ट मै छैन रहेछ| फेसबुक बन्द गरी टीभी हेर्न बस्छु म| बिचमा खानकै लागि मात्र उठ्छु, नत्र अँह!

“कान्छी, सुत्न पर्दैन? भोलि अफिस छैन तेरो?”

“ सुत्छु म!” निकै ठुलो स्वरमा कराउँछु| एकछिन रिसमा बर्बराई, आमाले आँखा तरेर जानुहुन्छ|

हुन पनि ११ बजिसकेको रहेछ| टिभी बन्द गरी कोठामा त जान्छु तर सिरकमा घुस्रिने बितिक्कै के निन्द्रा लाग्थ्यो र? फोन निकाली फेरी फेसबुक चलाउन थाल्छु| नयाँ फ्रेन्ड रिक्वेस्ट आको रहेछ, नरेन कै|

The Light Year Street (I)

“I know! It is ridiculous and weird and not normal, but it did really happen!” She was still very excited. For a twenty-six year old, she lived a terribly ordinary life. Irregular incidents that made for great stories hardly happened to her. In fact, she couldn’t remember the last time she had a good story to tell. And today, when she was super excited about something, there was nobody who would listen to her story. He still had his back turned to her. She couldn’t tell if he was really sleepy or merely suggesting she should stop.

“Babe, are you listening to me?”

He tossed over to face her before he answered; “Yes, but are you listening to yourself?”

If the room had any more light than the rays from the street lamp that sneaked its way through the curtains, he would notice that her eyes emitted enormous sadness. He stroked her hair lovingly, “Go to sleep please? We both have an early morning tomorrow!”

Would he utter the same sentence if she was making love to him instead of telling a story, she couldn’t tell. He started snoring after what felt like few seconds to her. Perhaps he really was too tired to listen. Perhaps she was in denial. She didn’t want to admit that her story was not worth the little attention she asked for.

While he slept like a log beside her, she kept tossing and turning. She was as wide awake as the story inside her.

She couldn’t really tell if what she experienced was science. She hoped it was not. She hoped it was something extraordinary. Something that only she could experience, something that only one in a million or perhaps gazillion people can experience. Her train of thoughts took a sharp turn of track from the present to the past. A sad smile painted her face as she remembered how she thought she was extraordinary every time she had a Déjà vu. The day she discovered Déjà vu was a normal phenomenon, she was extremely heartbroken. She had tossed and turned all night, sleepless. It was a ridiculously sad feeling that still punched a hole in her heart every now and then.

She had to get the experience out of her system in order to reflect on it. She knew she would fail to make sense of it or let go of it until her thoughts escaped the precincts of her mind. She tossed for the last time and snuck out of her bed. The mid-October midnight chill gave her goose bumps. She grabbed his sweater that lay outside-in on the chair, grabbed her bag from the table and carefully sneaked out of the room. She took a long sigh before she took out her PC to start writing. She couldn’t remember the last time she did this. Her fingers slightly shivered as they hovered over the keyboard to bleed the words out of her system.

“Day 1.

Do you know that feeling when your feet are moving but you are not? Do you know that feeling when you are moving towards the light at the other end but you are still consumed by pitch black from all sides? Do you know that feeling when the street feels like a tread mill that is set to one light year per minute? I know it, I felt it and I’ll probably always live with the feeling. And perhaps there will never be anybody who will just listen and try to understand how extraordinary the feeling was.”

Of trying to find the puzzle you belong to

Dear You,

I know you feel like I will never get you, I will never understand the chaos that is thudding inside you, I will never understand why you behave how you behave and may be you are right. You should be right because nobody is suffering like you are right now, right here. But, if I say that not long ago I was there with the thudding chaos that was almost as loud as yours and if I say that I have had my own share of bumpy roads that gave me heart-sore will you maybe listen to me?

Yes, I have been there. I know what it’s like when you know you are pretty witty but people just don’t get your joke. I know what it’s like when people think your choice of music is bad just because theirs is different. I know what it’s like when people think you’re either too smart or either too awkward to hang out with them. I know the price you have to pay for being brutally honest and I know what it’s like to get bullied for something you didn’t say or do at all. I know what it’s like to bury hundreds of stories inside you because they won’t make others cry and laugh and cringe like they make you. I know that feeling when you crawl into your bed and wonder if you’re wrong because when the entire world is on one side and you on the other, you end up thinking maybe; just maybe you really are wrong.

And that voice inside your head- yeah I am way too familiar to that sound too. You tell yourself something is not right with you, you tell yourself that you need to change and you try but something inside you holds you back. The you on the out constantly fights with the you on the inside. You can’t figure out what’s right and what’s wrong, you can’t figure out if you want to be you or you want to be them, you can’t tell if you should be honest or just say things that they want to hear. Result? You mess up. I did. I messed up big time when I was where you are.

I thought it would be endless. I thought I would always be miserable. I strongly believed that as long as I’d live I would be everything but me. I didn’t ace my teenage. I was a trouble’s child, I got into trouble every time I was unpretentiously myself and every time I tried to be like them. I messed up everything from my academics to personal relationships. I declared that I would rather not have this life. I got very close to giving up ample of times. It was a very dark phase, so I know or I can at least imagine what you are going through.

I wish there was somebody who told me that they were right where I was back then. I wish there was somebody that I trusted enough to confide in. I wish there was somebody who told me it was okay to be me because I would eventually meet people who would love me merely for my sense of humor, for my choice of music, for being blunt all the time, and for sharing the stories that move them too. I wish there was somebody who said Gam Ze Ya’vor – This too shall pass. Because it did.

Before I knew my battle within myself came to an end along with my high school and teenage. Before I knew, the environment changed and so did my life. It’s just that if somebody had told me it was just a phase, maybe I’d rather be shamelessly alone than try be somebody that people would easily approve of.

So, listen up. Stop doubting yourself. Stop questioning your values. Stop thinking that everybody else is better than you. You are your best when you are you and the more you embrace yourself the stronger you become. Don’t try to change yourself unless you see growth in the change.

It’s sad and funny at the same time that most teenagers like me back then and you right now spend their teenage questioning why they are not fitting in. It’s only when you grow into an adult that you realize you were not fitting in because you belonged to a different set of puzzle altogether. You are growing up, and this phase is passing. I promise, there will come a day when you’ll find people who think, feel, suffer, love, dream and do things like you do. You’ll the puzzle that you’ll happily belong to. Until then, be strong and be kind because like they say- Gam Ze Ya’avor.

Love,
The girl in red loafers

Of failure and of strength

Dear Maa,

I don’t know if it’s natural or rather funny that I’m growing into you. I am becoming the woman you are. I have begun to feel like you do.

Today, I went out with friends for a girls’ adventurous day out. It was our first time climbing walls. As interesting as it appeared, the three storey high wall also intimidated me. It made me think small of myself, smaller than I have ever felt before. I dared to take the first few steps but with few more, my legs started trembling. I gave up. I climbed down. I never went back up again.

Growing up, I taught myself that it is okay to let go if something is not important for me. Growing up, I taught myself that it is okay to give up if the goal is not worth the trouble. Growing up, I taught myself to be a sport about both my success and failure. I taught myself to not make too much noise and not be too transparent about how I felt about either of them.

Wall climbing was one of the goals that I didn’t mind letting go of. Wall climbing was something I didn’t mind failing. I had embraced my failure and told myself that I needed some more strength before I gave another go. I was coping with the whole scenario like I had mastered to for years. I was calm and composed.

I didn’t regret the decision until I realized it was a mistake big and fat enough to make big and fat room for people to feel sorry for me.

Today I learnt and lived a lesson that you always tried to teach me. What’s important in life is to be strong and not put yourself in a position that privileges other people to look down upon you. What’s important in life is to not appear weak, because when you do people will proudly feel sorry for you even when you don’t.

Ma, I don’t remember the last time I was so utterly disappointed with my choice. I think I now understand you. I think I now get your need to be invincible, to be strong, and to be in a position where people don’t dare make you think lowly of yourself.

I think I know what I want to be in life. Strong. Like you.

Love,
Chhori

Labyrinth

“What is your problem with her? Something is really off. I can see it. She can see it.”

“No, she doesn’t see it.”

“Oh wow! You think you are smart, only you see things, only you get things? You can tell when people dislike you and other people are just stupid to see when it is the other way round?”

“I don’t dislike her, I just… gah! I can’t explain. Let’s just say, I am tired of her, of everybody… for now”

He just stared at her. There were times when he could not stand her. There were times when he wished he did not love her enough to stay and try and help. She just went back to reading what she was reading.

“T you know this is not healthy. What you do with people, it’s not right”

She couldn’t tell if he was thinking aloud or really not giving up on her. But he was right. It was not healthy. She made people love her, trust her and left them in the middle of nowhere when they needed her the most.

“You think I don’t know that? I don’t need somebody else to judge me. I am enough for myself. I know my flaws. I know me. AND I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TRANSPARENT ABOUT MY FUCKING FLAWS. SO DON’T GO ON TELLING ME THAT IT IS NOT OKAY TO GET TIRED OF MY FRIEND…”

It was going to get nasty. She was getting louder by the moment. He was getting madder.

“You are already lonely, but trust me, if you go on this way you will end up alone”

“I would rather be alone! Why don’t you just fucking give up on me? Stop wasting your energy on me”

He did, for that day. He slammed the door behind him and left.

Today, seventeen months later, as T deleted their last picture together, she thought of the last fight they had. M had come back that day. He loved her and he wanted to save her from herself, only if she let him. If he was lovingly relentless; she on the other had been destructively relentless. Even when he gave her a chance, she destroyed everything with her words. She destroyed him with her words. He left. She never called to check if he was okay.

She had been constantly thinking of him this morning and hence she decided to look him up on Facebook. The last time she looked him up, his page was not available. She thought he had blocked her until Google assured her otherwise. This time his page was available and there were some public posts which revealed that he had grown closer to her friend. It made her happy and sad at the same time. He was a good human being. He had gone on to fulfill the promise T once made to R. He had stood by R in her toughest days when T failed to do so.

T wanted to call him up. Say thank you. Just thank you. She knew saying sorry now wouldn’t make any sense, not after all this time.

She still had his phone number stored at the back of her head. She dialed the number. He picked up.

“ Hello”

“Hi… M?”

“Yeah …Hi?”

“You didn’t recognize me..”

“You wish. It’s difficult to not recognize somebody who gave you enough reasons to hate them”

They were both silent. M broke the silence.

“That hurt eh? Now I feel a little better. ‘Sup, How did you think of me after seventeen whole months? ”

“M, I just wanted to thank you, for.. for coming back that day, for not giving up and .. uh going out on a limb for R, when I couldn’t”

“ But you’re not sorry?”

“Noo. I mean of course I am. I just thought saying sorry now wouldn’t make much sense”

“Of course it doesn’t, but you could have tried”

“Umm.. Sorry”

“It’s not okay”

She took a long sigh. He was not the same guy anymore. M was not there to impress anybody anymore and probably he had lost faith in goodness and modesty.

“ I know it’s not.. listen, umm.. do you maybe want to.. no forget it. I am just happy to hear you after so long”

He chuckled.

“You used to be bolder. Yeah sure, let’s meet up for a coffee? We don’t have anything to lose. And truth be told, I have learnt not to give a fuck about the past. We can always catch up. I’m sure you want to know what happened after that day”

She sighed. She was happy and scared at the same time. She didn’t know what he was thinking. But she wanted to see him. At least once.

“ So, same old place?”

He roared with laughter.

“T are you fucking kidding me? The place does not exist anymore. A new building is under construction in that place”

“Oh”

For the last seventeen months she had been going back and forth between her work and home and elsewhere only when she needed to. Her social life was fucked up. She either socialized with colleagues or family. She was out of touch with every friend she ever had.

But she did travel. Every once in a while, she did what she always wanted to do, pack her bags and just leave to somewhere she had never been before. She always found happiness in places and among people to whom she didn’t belong- because they didn’t know her enough to judge her or intrude when she indulged in self destruction. Detachment was healthy for her.

She didn’t recognize him from a distance. He looked healthier and happier. She had never imagined in her wildest dream that the clean-shaven look would suit him. He looked handsome. When he walked over to her, she didn’t know if she should hug him. He knew that they should. She couldn’t remember the last time she had hugged him or anybody.

“We’re good”, he said with a poker face.

She couldn’t tell if he meant it. Maybe T was looking for more than that. Maybe she wanted him to be mad at her, be sarcastic, fight or yell. Maybe she wanted him to hate her. It hurt even more to see that he was indifferent. As if he had heard what she was thinking, he told her that he learnt the art from her.

“When you got tired or sick of a person, when you couldn’t love or hate a person, you were indifferent towards them. I think I acquired the skill over time. Damn. It feels good.”

“And it feels terrible when you’re on the other side”

He looked at her painfully. “You are lonelier than I remember”

“You bet”

“So, you haven’t been seeing anyone”

“I don’t dare. Attachment is injurious to health”

“You bet”

They both laughed.

“How is R?”

“She is good. She still thinks of you. She says, you would have made her happier”

“Happier?”

“Yeah, apparently I make her happy but not as much as you did. You know what your problem is.. or was? Everybody saw it but you. Everybody felt it but you. Everybody loved you but you.”

She was quiet. The problem with her was that she always indulged in the idea that she was not a people person. She always thought that she could never help people or that she could never take help from people. She always thought that she could never love people back. She could, only she didn’t like to believe so.

“Has she settled or does she still drool over guys from a distance”

He was quiet. She waited for him to answer until she realized what she was going to hear. In those seventeen months, M was not the only one who had gone out on a limb. R did too. They had helped each other get out of their personal hell. Both being irrestibly beautiful human beings, it was inevitable. Nobody would know better than she did how easy it was to fall in love with each of them.

“Oh my god! You guys are dating aren’t you?”

“ For the last seven months. Yes.”

She didn’t know what to say, where to go, how to react. She just smiled. He smiled back at her.

“I was wrong. You were right. You two are far from similar. Always have been”

Although from outside T seemed more sorted, R was always less chaotic, R was more thoughtful, R was more loving. R was easier to love.

“I told you”

“Excuse me ma’am here’s your lemon soda with salt and sir yours with sweet”

They both smiled. The only thing that hadn’t changed between them was their taste for the drinks.

“ I want to see R”

“R wants to see you too. One thing though, R and you might go on to become friends again. She never fell out of love with you. But trust me, if you break her one more time I’ll forget that I ever loved you. At all”

The Wallflower

“Alright, ‘will see you then”

Truth be told, she was not excited about the plan. Day by day, she was increasingly becoming unsocial. She wished people didn’t make plans for her. She wished people didn’t push her to be social. She wished she could say; “I know you guys are being nice, but fuck it I’m just gonna pack my bags and leave for a nice place where people don’t give a fuck about me.”

She couldn’t. On one hand she was not a people’s person. More often than not, she’d rather be alone and indulge in things that brought her peace of mind. But she was also aware that good friends are hard to find and harder to keep. She was not ready to say “I don’t need you, I can do by myself”. Not just yet.

She turned on her laptop and started doing what she had been doing for the last two weeks. She started looking up places she wanted to go instead. Like the Guerilla Trek, Rara Lake, ABC trek but she didn’t have enough time. She would need at least a ten days’ long leave. She could resign at work and just leave. Only she wasn’t ready to.

She turned the device off. She looked at the book shelf that she had not dared look at for the last two months. Earlier this year, she had made a resolution. Read at least 50 books. She had read 5 books and then stopped.

It was like a disease. Giving up came easily to her. Too easily. She gave up on people, places, feelings, and interests and needs too.

Her cheeks tightened, her heart felt heavy. She lay down to stare at the ceiling. A wall lizard stared back at her.

She wondered if the lizards complicated things like people did. She wondered if it was easier to not feel at all.

The Writer

4 am. The alarm went off. It did not bother her as much as it startled her. She had been up for some time now. She couldn’t make sense of what she had heard. But it was loud enough to deprive her of two hours’ worth sleep.

She rolled over. His eyes were fixed on hers.

“I’m sorry! ‘Woke you up didn’t I?” She lovingly ran her fingers through his locks and stroked his face. She planted a peck on his nose before she got off the bed.

His eyes followed her as she walked towards a hillock of clothes that were meant to go to laundry few days ago. She dug out a sweater, sniffed it and put it on.

“You feeling cold?”

He startled her.

“Gah! It’s chilly”

“Mornings can be chilly. Come here you”

He watched her walk to him. She didn’t fit in the sweater. She never fitted in any of her sweaters. They were intentionally oversized.

He sat up as she slid under the blanket. She was small. He could tell she had begun to feel smaller.

“I talked in my sleep again. Didn’t I?”

She just smiled.

“How long have you been up for?”

“Can’t remember”

“Didn’t write anything?”

“Nah, I was still hoping that I’d get some sleep”

He held her tight as if she needed some protection. She quietly stared into the space.

The alarm went off to startle her. Her head struck his chin as she struggled to get out of his arms. But before she could even apologize her eyes fell on the clock.

5 am. She didn’t realize when or how she dozed off.

“ Oh! Fuck. I wasted a whole hour”

As she tried to hurry off the bed, she stumbled. Even in that dimly lit room she embodied profound chaos. He was a sorted human being and had never believed that chaos could be remotely beautiful until he met her. It was difficult to separate chaos from her. It was also difficult to not love her.

“I love you”

“You said something?”

“I said, I’ll make you some tea, you work on the book”

He knew the words hit her ears but he couldn’t tell if she heard. She was distracted. Or rather focused on what she was meant to do.

She had been writing for the last ten years. But, she was not a writer. Her works were not recognized. She was not recognized. She held a day job to make a living because words did not pay her bills. She had stopped calling herself a writer after hearing “oh, how come I have never heard of you” umpteen times from umpteen people.

Last year she finally bagged herself a column- in an eccentric weekly paper with a limited readership. He was not one of her very few fans. He couldn’t even begin to love the way she wrote. He knew why she was not recognized. Out of the forty eight columns she wrote in the last one year, he had barely read five from top to bottom in one sitting. Maybe he knew her too well to find her words intriguing, maybe she really did suck at what she did.

He watched her as she blew her cheeks out at the screen. In fourteen months of their togetherness he had understood what that meant. She was not happy with what she wrote. It also meant that she would be upset all day long if she failed to make it better. Sometimes he wished it was easier on her. Sometimes he wished she knew she can do better- at other things.

“Her words are not even half as intriguing as she is, she should give up writing” he often said to his friends but he never dared say that to her. He loved her too much.

He had to tell her though. He had to tell her how the publishers were willing to publish the work already. She didn’t have to sacrifice her sleep every day to work on it.

The sleep-talking for three continuous nights was a sign. He couldn’t keep it inside him. But what would he say to her. How would he say to her?

The publishers were willing to publish her book. Only, he was the soul of the book. Only, the words were his and not hers.