It’s rather strange.. one day, you are talking with a person like there’s no tomorrow, trusting him/her with your secrets, throwing your head back and laughing, unaware of the uncertainties that the future holds. That day, you are telling him/her about how much they mean to you and of how you’ll remain friends forever, ignoring the very existence of irrational forevers. That day, the sunset doesn’t matter, for you know you will meet him/her again. But the next day, the person is gone. Just like that.
There are no more pages to be flipped open. There are no more chapters. The story is over. The book is closed with a rather quiet sound. The lamp beside your bed flickers as you remember your cherished laughter. A cool breeze brushes past your face, drawing two lines against your scarlet cheeks.
You learn never to trust forevers. You learn that fairy tales are never real. You learn that people will leave – leave you more broken than ever.
Every next day, you wake up with a fear of losing someone else. Your lip quivers every time you think about the people who left you. And yet again, on rainy days, you remember them and smile. They hold a piece of your heart.
Now that they are gone, you know, it will never be the same again. Just like that.
The story is over. There’s no one to write it further.
And the book sits on your dusty shelf, drowning in memories of its own.
The story is over. Just like that.
Something that came loose from my diary today..just today.
Have you ever had one of those days where you felt sick and slow?
Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to fall asleep and wake up to a newer dawn?
Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?
Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to be in the middle of a crowd?
Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to write till the end of the world, yet you couldn’t?
Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like calling someone, yet you wouldn’t?
Have you ever had one of those days when you sat in the dark, no matter how much it scared you?
Have you ever had one of those days when you felt lonely and blue?
Have you ever had one of those days when every breath felt painful?
Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted someone to hold you?
Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?
Have you ever had one too many days like that?
Have you ever noticed a person closely? Yes, they do look different; they have different tastes; a myriad mindsets… but look closer.
Inside, their souls, you’ll find yourself.
They are running scared; fighting for a place; living through each day, smiling and crying all the same. Inside, they are confused. Every time they find themselves lost amidst a crowd, they panic. They have dark days. They have brighter ones as well.
And look at you! Amidst the chaos of the city and dwindling light, you sit and watch the world go by. You are looking for your world. You are looking forward to a day when you’ll own the stage and the spotlight will be on you. When you have dark days, you are not afraid to cry. And when the sun shines bright, you rejoice.
You have goals like them. You have dreams gleaming in your eyes. You are as beautiful as the merging colours of the sky. You are looking for your moment to shine; they are looking for theirs!
Amidst the crowds that buzz past you, you take a breath and look at every person closely. You are blurring more and more into the crowd. And they are blurring more and more into you.
And as the sun drowns against the city line casting silhouettes across the horizon, you take a deep breath and stand up. Indeed, you looked closer and what did you find? That there’s a piece of you in those blurring faces in the crowd.
He never understood why she had to look perfect. He never understood why she had to spend hours in the mall, shuffling through a thousand dresses. He never understood why she had spend so much time gazing at the rearview mirror of his car, trying to fix every strand of her hair. He never understood the girl that she became after stepping out of his car and entering the school premises. He never understood why she’d scurry off in another direction and leave him alone.
But the day he walked into the cafeteria and found her sitting amidst the bunch of popular kids in their grade, he understood why. He understood that she no longer wanted to be his friend. So, he stayed away.
Each day, he would see her walk past him, chattering merrily with her new friends. He would see her flashing smiles and laughing endlessly with them. But he could tell, those smiles were not hers. During lunch breaks, he would see her skip her meals along with the dozen other girls in their group. Every day after school, he would see her at the bleachers, cheering for some boy he didn’t know she knew.
He wanted to tell her to stop being the person she was not. He wanted to tell her that she looked all the more beautiful without the make-up. He wanted to tell her those people were not real – their façades his a hundred truths. Their lives were not so perfect. The people they were were not the real them. He knew because he had been there.
But he kept quiet because clearly, she didn’t want to hear him.
One autumn evening, however, he met her on the street. Her hair was messy and her eyes gleamed. As they walked past each other, she held him back. Words never left her throat. Instead, she broke down next to him.
Amidst busy people and muffled voices, he held her as she cried. She spoke things which made no sense. Yet, he listened. Her shoulders fell and she sobbed against him.
The lights above then rippled below their feet on the slippery, gravel road, breaking into a million rays.
“Why?” she asked, her gaze burning into his. “I listened to them. I was there when they cried. But why was there no one when I needed them to be?”
How he wished he could tell her all the things he wanted to, ever since the day she left him! How he wished he could tell her about her friends’ sheltered lives! How he wished he could tell her all this and more without causing her more pain!
“You,” she continued in a broken voice, “are the only person who has always stayed by my side. But now, I’ve lost you, I guess. I was so stupid to leave you for them!”
He smiled, but inside, he was breaking.
“Everything about them is like a carefully scripted play,” she complained. “I don’t want to be them. I’m just happy being whoever I am.”
“They are nice people,” he said. “It’s just that, at times, they are misunderstood.”
Shock spread across her features.
“I know because once upon a time, I was one of them,” he spoke carefully. “I went from one party to another and drank till dawn. I laughed to jokes which were so bad. I did all that because I wanted to fit in in their group. The popular group. But half way down, I realized that there’s no such thing as that. I didn’t need to be in that group just to be popular. I could be popular in my own league!”
Amidst the bright city lights and increasing unrest, they sat in silence, thinking of things which made no sense.
“It’s getting late,” he spoke, first.
She nodded and stood up and began to walk.
A pang of sorrow ran through him. How he wanted his old friend back! He waited for her to turn around, but she never did. So, he turned and walked his way.
Only, she called him back.
“Did I really lose you?” she asked.
He didn’t know how to answer that one. So, he kept his back to her.
“Can we go back to being the friends we were? Will you forgive me this time, please?” she said.
He turned around and saw her smile.
“That’s what friends are for, after all,” he smiled too.
Only recently, I happened to come across a notification on Wattpad where the wonderful Rup had tagged me for a 30-day letter writing challenge. Now, I don’t really write a lot of letters. In a world where most of our time is spent on chatting and social networking, it’s not much of a surprise that the trend of writing letters is slowly vanishing into the abyss of nothingness. I love writing letters, though. Someday, I’ll send those letters to the people they are meant for. So for the first challenge, I had to write a letter to my best friend which reads something like this:
Dear Best Friend
or rather the best friend I never had,
Has anybody ever told you that you are perfect? No? Then, hear me now, you are. I’ve never seen a person as strong and determined as you. I’ve never met a person who knows how to put things back together; it’s almost like you have some crazy magic tricks up your sleeve! I’ve never come across a person as intelligent as you or as beautiful. You present yourself like the complete package.
I remember the sleepless nights we spent fangirl-ing over some Hollywood celebrity. We’d add too many ‘a’s to their names or too many ‘e’s. At times, we would be lovesick over virtual anime guys, already talking about future plans in case we happen to meet someone like them in real life. I still hold a hope that in some undiscovered dimension, anime people exist and someday, they are going to come on earth and meet us. We’ve been sending them way too many crazy brain signals and someone told me that hard work never goes into waste.
Then some days, we’d talk about books.
On cold evenings, we’d argue over trivial matters. Though they seemed heated, they had a tendency to cool down too soon. I never wanted to lose you to some silly argument and perhaps, you didn’t want that too.
I tell you, I don’t remember when we started drifting apart from each other.
Someone had told me that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I still don’t find any truth in it. Of all the instances that have happened in my life, the first lesson I’ve learnt is that, absence makes things worse. Time is a culprit and it makes every precious memory fade away. I have only managed to have grasp a handful of memories and store it somewhere safe in my memory vault.
Sometimes, I feel that I was the only person who considered you my best friend. There was never any reciprocation from your side and it breaks my heart whenever I think of it. There are some things in life which you can’t have, no matter how much you strive for it. As for me, I’ve always struggled when it comes to making a best friend. It’s like a game of playing cards, which I’ve never been good at.
Whenever I see two bubbly girls walking on the streets, laughing to something, I tell myself that that could have been us.
But the right moment has gone by. No matter how much I try now, no matter how much you do, some things between us will never be the same again.
We do talk a lot these days, but do you notice that we hide a lot too many things?
We do laugh a lot, but those smiles are not true.
We do try and pretend that things had never gone wrong between us, but the truth lingers somewhere in the background – the very fact that some things have changed between us. We have changed. Our interests have changed. Our social circles have changed. Back in those high school days, you used to be the social bee and I used to be the shy, little girl in a corner of the class. I had always, desperately wished to be like you. We talked back then. But I thought that if I could somehow fit into your group, we could become best friends.
Now, the roles have changed. I play the part of the social bee and you tend to stay in the shadows.
Still, we are not best friends. Perhaps, we never were. I was just crazy and a little too desperate.
But I don’t regret it. I wanted you and only you to be my best friend. Who wouldn’t want a girl as perfect as you as their best friend!
But I guess, I forgot to take in consideration the fact that may be nobody wanted me as their best friend.
So, as I write this, I am still best-friend-less.
I wonder of the things we could have done as best friends. We could have those girls happily running down the streets. We could have been those girls spending hours in a mall. We could have those girls who never had any secrets. We could have been so many things. Only, we aren’t.
But we’ve come a long way without being best friends and a few more miles doesn’t really matter anymore.
Time may be a culprit, but it heals wounds, doesn’t it?
The Best Friend Who Never Was.
…So one fine night, I asked her something.
“Have you ever had an instance in your life that has changed you?” I said.
“No,” she replied.
“Anything interesting or inspiring?” I pressed.
“No,” she said again.
“Something?” I asked.
She kept quiet. Her eyes wandered momentarily, staring into the far horizon. The evening sunset gleamed in her eyes.
“Interesting,” she mumbled. “My life has been way too interesting. I have been broken to pieces and have managed to glue it all together.”
Her reply surprised me. For all these years I had known her, she had never been like this – so lost. She had always been the bubbly teenager who knew what to speak and when; how to dress right and for what; how to live life and for whom. She was this tiny quantum of energy and never before had I heard her so … defeated.
“You don’t sound like you,” I told her.
“Wow, that’s new,” she said. “Why?”
“It’s just that deep, dark, sad has never been you,” I said.
She sighed. A ghost of a smile flickered on her face. A sad smile.
“If only someone asked,” she said in a low whisper. I heard her, though.
For most of my life, I’ve wanted to be alone – far away from the drone of noises crying excitement; away from the blaring horns of buses and cars; away from the busyness that surrounds life.
At times, I’d wish the ground would open up and swallow me inside into a world of maddening oblivion. In those times, everything felt hazy. Every step I took made me feel immensely tired. Yet I wanted to run away to some place where nobody could find me.
“I want to be alone,” I’d tell them when they’d coax me to attend their parties.
“I want to be alone,” I’d tell them when I’d be fighting the adamant tears from escaping.
“I want to be alone,” I’d tell them when they’d ask me if I were okay.
“I want to be alone,” and they’d quickly scurry off in a desperate attempt to give me some space. They’d always respect my decision and desire and wouldn’t bother to ring me up until I did so.
Now that I think of those times, I find myself wondering if I really wanted to be alone.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, a part of me feverishly craved for someone to stay behind an offer me a shoulder to cry on.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, I wanted someone to stay behind and hear me out.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, I wanted them not to leave.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, I meant, I didn’t want to be.
I agree we have complicated notions. Complicated emotions.When we are, in fact, bubbling with so much to say, we cut short with a simple ‘Nothing’. When tears prick our eyes, we blink them back and smile. When we are hurting deep inside, we still manage to pick ourselves up and walk.
It is about knowing what those sweet nothings hold. It is about knowing what those smiles hide. It is about knowing that no matter how strong a person pretends to be, they still have a vulnerable side.
And how I wish, back then, each time I’d uttered, “I want to be alone,” someone would have pulled me into a hug and whispered, “No. I know you don’t want to be.”
Perhaps that would have solved half of the problems of the world…
I remember waking up to Facebook notifications.
It wouldn’t have been a surprising thing if it hadn’t been 20 notifications at once. For a person like me who has always maintained a low profile in the school, I was surprised someone or a few people even took the chance to visit my profile. I presumed the notifications were those of people liking my posts or something, but when the Facebook app finally managed to load completely, what I saw… scared me.
Mornings were supposed to have a schedule. I used to leap out of my bed, faster than a rat in trap and rush into the shower before anyone else occupied it. The usual clanking of metal utensils downstairs confirmed that Mom was busy cooking breakfast for all of us, and at occasional intervals, she’d shout to me and ask me to come to the table. Everything in the morning happened in a rush because no one was willing to wake up ten minutes earlier.
However, something was strange about that morning. Either the house was unusually quiet or I was too lost to keep a track on the drone of noises. The sky wasn’t amber but grey, exactly like how I was feeling when I scrolled through the notifications.
“XYZ Confessions tagged you in a post.”
“R commented : This is precious.”
“T commented : Check this out! That girl deserves this!”
“S commented : Lol.”
“P commented : So fucking true!”
Even before I had opened the entire post, I knew it had to be something bad, because the comments came from people who I really didn’t like a lot.
I remember my lips quivering as I clicked on the post and waited with bated breath for the post to load. A hundred apprehensions clouded my brain and suddenly, the schedule of the morning was forgotten. When Mom called for me to come downstairs, I lied and told her I was dressing up, when in reality, I was still sitting on my bed, chewing on my nails, waiting to read the post.
Every second of wait was killing me.
And when I happened to finally read the post, it killed me. Goosebumps arose on my skin when the slightest wind brushed past me. The comments started blurring and when the pain started settling across my nose, I realized I was on the verge of crying. Questions shot through my mind. Who could have written something like that? Why would anyone hate me? And why have some of my friends liked the post?
Mom called for the umpteenth time and after getting no response, she decided to come upstairs herself.
The moment I heard her footsteps on the wooden staircase, I took a deep breath and slipped under the blanket again, burying my face in the bulges of the pillow.
“What?” she asked, entering my room. “Why are you still in bed?”
“I’m having a headache. I don’t think I can go to school,” I mumbled.
“But you have a practical test today!”
As much as I didn’t want to go to school that day, I knew I had to. I couldn’t miss my practical exams. But a part of me was okay with the prospect, if it meant not having to face the students in the school that day. I was afraid that they’d talk about me in the hallways. I knew my classmates were going to have a questionnaire ready for me. And I knew I couldn’t take all that.
However, after Mom’s constant persuasion, fifteen minutes later, I sat in her car.
“Do you still have a headache?” she asked when we reached the school’s parking lot.
I shook my head and managed to give her a convincing smile. After her car had left the school premises, I walked slowly towards my class.
Yes, they were talking about me. Everywhere. Be it the crowded corridors where group of girls sneered and made dirty comments or bathrooms, where everything was discussed in hushed whispers or my class where the recent post on the confession page was as trending as hash tags on Twitter – they all talked about me. And it was tough to put on a pretence. It was difficult to behave like nothing had happened when everything written in that post, affected me a lot. I acted like it was okay with me, but deep inside, I was breaking.
Over the days, though the discussion died down, I found it hard to face someone or to talk with them, because at the back of my mind, I always had a perennial fear about what he/she might be thinking about me.
All my frustration started to build up. I lived in constant fear and doubt. Each night, before I went to bed, I thought about the people who hated me and could have posted that. Too many names came to my mind. Every minute that I was free, I whiled away my time on the Confession page, stalking every post, refreshing the page every five seconds to check if there was another confession about me.
Then one day, I decided that it was enough. I couldn’t live my entire life with my face glued to some stupid Facebook page. Once or twice, I took out my frustration on posts, commenting on how derogatory certain things on the page were and that they must be stopped, but I was faced with even more criticism. Some told me that I was plain jealous because there were no good confessions about me. Others retorted that it was none of my business.
I deleted my Facebook account. I knew it was no use talking to deaf ears. And I never visited confession pages anymore.
Until last night.
One of my friends happened to forward me a link to a post on the same confession page. The post called a girl too fat and that she must get a life. Below were several comments, criticizing the girl on her weight and making cheap remarks on her clothes.
It made me sad. Depressed. To think about what the girl might be going through.
We all have flaws. Perfection is something that can’t be achieved. So what if someone is someone, they could never be? Does it give them the right to tell her whatever they wish? Does it give them the right to bully her to a point where she starves herself to fit in someone’s books?
As I happened to scroll through the various posts, I wanted to know WHY? HOW? How could people be so rude? How could they be so insensitive to post things like this about another person?
Confession pages were supposed to be fun. But halfway through, they presented a darker picture to all of us. People started using it as a platform to post rude and derogatory comments about someone and to spread rumours. Seventh grade girls were called “sluts” and senior girls were the so-called “bitches”. Are these called confessions?
I was frustrated.
Just because confession pages allowed the confessor to be anonymous, didn’t mean one could bully someone to no extent?
And what about the people who actually run these confession pages?
The few posts I saw were pretty rude and the admins of the page were quite okay with it, even joining the line and adding a few more shameful remarks!
Amidst a hundred positive things, a person will only remember the one negative comment told about him/her. That one negative comment, destroys a life. People drown into fits of depression. There have been cases of suicide due to instances of cyber bullying. After how many such incidents, are people going to learn something?
What have we done to the social networking portals?
Is it always going to remain such a scary place?
I’m travelling in a crowded bus as I write this. And no, it isn’t like they always describe – sweltering heat and grumbling people – in fact, though it isn’t that great an experience, it isn’t that bad, either.
Sandwiched between the metal rods of the window and a heavy woman who is reading a Stephen King book, I watch the group of teenagers in front of me. One of them, a short girl with raven black locks, in her pair of faded jeans a loose shirt, is busy pulling away the earphones from a boy who is probably one of her friends. Beside them, there is another girl who is talking feverishly with the girl who sits cuddled in the furthest corner, pressed against the window. She is hearing but her eyes are trained on the duo who are arguing over the earphones. An occasional smile lights up her pale face, causing her friend to smack her on the head and demand her to listen.
I quietly turn away from them and look outside the window where the scenes are gradually fading from ordinary reality of the town to infinite possibilities.
The crisp late February air hits my face, almost numbing my senses, but I can still hear their voices, loud and clear. Though I can’t figure out what they are talking about, the one thing that is clear is, they are happy.
It reminds me of those days when school had been a daily affair. I find myself remembering that perhaps the only reason I used to wake up with so much enthusiasm on winter mornings was because of my friends. Each day, after returning from school, I’d wait eagerly for the next day so that I could get to meet my friends again. Though very little things happened in a span of six hours, at school, I found myself talking with my friends for long, discussing every insignificant detail of the day. It was strange – of how we always used to have something to talk about, no matter what.
As the bus moves over a bump, collective groans rise from everyone. The bunch of friends in front of me make dramatic noises, and then burst out laughing at their antics. A smile crosses my lips as I remember the days when I went for picnic trips with my friends. The miles never bothered us. Hours were spent gossiping, singing like badly trained artists, pulling out pranks on each other and laughing on senseless jokes! Before we would know it, the journey would have come to an end.
I see my friends in them. I see us laughing and crying and calling each other at night, discussing boys and homework and what not!
A silly grin lights up my face and I shake my head, remembering the weird conversations we used to have.
Almost immediately, it is replaced by a frown as I remember the bitter memories I’ve had with them – when they broke my trust; when they left me alone.
The bus wobbles slightly and the woman beside me, almost squeezes me into the damp corner, but I don’t mind. I’m too lost in my train of thoughts to know that the bus has come to a halt and the conductor is calling to me.
“Madam?” he shouts in his thick Bengali accent, causing me to snap out of my trance.
“I-I am so so sorry!” I tell him as I pick up my bag and manage to make my way to the exit door.
Before stepping down, however, I turn around and take a look at the bunch of friends and find their eyes trained on my movements. A smile threatens to burst, but I press my lips together tightly and get off the bus. It would’ve been so weird to smile at a bunch of teenagers!
As I walk down the street, the gravel scratching against the sole of my heels, I remind myself never to wear those shoes again.
I cross a nursery school and the little children, loitering around the gate, wave at me and I wave back.
I don’t have schools to look forward to. In a few months, I’ll be heading for college and the entire idea of a new place, of new people, makes me nervous and afraid. Having changed so many schools, I have learnt that distance does make things worse. Your friends will start fading away and then, there will be a day when you meet each other at a shopping mall and there will be no excitement.
As a teenager, I’ve always had a problem in placing my trust on people. It does take a lot of time, because after so many betrayals and the so-called “backbiting”, you know, for a fact that making friends and keeping them is a tough job. There are times when the people you trust the most, will leave you at your darkest times. And their places will be taken by utter strangers who will come to mean something more.
Now that I think about the friends I have who are still my friends, very few faces come to my mind. Along the way, I have lost people – so many beautiful people and my heart breaks in painful realization. A part of me wonders where they are now and if they remember me sometime. Then, I find myself thinking about the friends I’ve lost to numerous rumours and misunderstandings. I hope to find them some day and ask if things can go back to being the same again.
I realize that it’s not like you can protect yourself from getting hurt. Sometimes, unknowingly, you are going to hurt others. And then, there comes a point in everyone’s life, where you sit and think about all these times and what you could have done to keep those people close. Regrets. And that’s all a part of growing up, I presume.
Mom had once told me that friends are not people who will stick by your side always, but they’ll have your back.
Amidst the share of misunderstandings and hurt and happiness, I’ve come to realize that friends not only deserve second chances but also thirds and fourths. At times, we have to take a leap of faith. At times, we have to forgive them for all their mistakes and go back to being friends again. At times, we have to trust them with all our heart.
They will disappoint us.
And once upon a dark day, they will surprise us.
The sky is winter white. The horizon gleams with a thin streak of grey clouds. The grass below us is wet with the first few drops of the summer rain. A slight northern wind caresses our skin, whispering strange dreams. Against the backdrop of mesmerizing beauty, somewhere behind us, crickets chirp to some unheard tune and the poor little pigeon, flaps its wings and flies off to find some food for her kids. The few stale drops of rain trickle down the calloused branches and seep into the thirsty ground.
He tugs at my shirt and his eyes burn into mine as I look up at him. His dark pupils gleam with curiosity as he studies me.
“What are you thinking?” he asks.
Shaking my head, I push myself up and stand beside him. His fingers intertwine with mine and he pulls me lightly, urging me to take quicker steps.
The circus is here in the town, again. He wants to go to the circus. He had once told me that he held a special liking for the circus. And I had never bothered to ask him why.
As we walk on the bare grass, its tips pressing against the bare soles of our feet and flicking drops of water, he tells me that the smells will entice me. He tells me that the place will feel warmer and so better than that under the blue, infinite sky. I don’t believe him.
He tells me that the faint aromas of cotton candy and apples will tease my senses to no end, until I join them. Then, as I will walk to the stall, the magnificent smells will couple with those of the wet asphalt and lift me up to the clouds. He tells me that that is happiness. Absolute perfection.
As the noises become closer, his steps become more frantic. He pushes past the hordes of people, dreams glistening in his radiant blue eyes that have never failed to amaze me. They hold a sincerity, so profound that I can feel myself live the stories that his eyes hold.
He begs me to join him on the Ferris wheel. Amidst the howling chaos around me, I hear him tell me that the sunset from veranda will make my life perfect – that the streaks of orange and purple merging into the abyss of blue will enthrall me.
I watch him with awe, demanding to know how he knows so much about circuses when he had never visited one.
I’m afraid of clowns, but I don’t tell him so. My heart sinks when the acrobats defy gravity. And I am afraid of the fire that the ringmaster holds. I want to stand up and walk away quietly, slipping from his hold. I want to hide somewhere – far away from the world where no one will ever find me again.
“What are you thinking?” he asks, yet again, his lips parting slightly.
Before I can answer, he turns back to the stage.
The circus is over; now he wants me join him on the Ferris wheel. Grumbling, I follow him to the stands.
We are ushered into a cheap, gold painted cabin that sways to the slightest wind.
The clouds are gone. The sun is peeking out from its golden robe, spreading warmth all around. Though the darkness is descending, the sun stays there, perhaps, determined to present me a sunset.
Resting my elbows against the window, I lean out and watch the Ferris wheel slowly picking up speed. We are leaving the ground, floating up with the clouds. The sun spreads its arms, waiting to embrace us in its golden light.
From up there, the people look so tiny. I’m not afraid of them anymore. The lights that flicker on the street below, seem like iridescent orbs and fireflies. I glare back at the mocking swirls of colour, wondering how a sunset can bestow so much beauty all around me. The sunrises are supposed to be the ones filled with hopes; the sunset carries a plethora of hopes as well. The radiant glow sings the legacy of the sun. I find myself being lifted higher up to a world unlike others. It feels like I’m sitting on a cloud. It feels like I’ve finally found my place in the world – here. It feels like everything I have never ever felt until now.
This is the world I had dreamed of when I had been a kid – where sunsets don’t bring pain; where one can stand on the sidewalks and watch the world go by; where one can see the silhouette of the cityscape against the backdrop of fiery red.
“What are you thinking about?” he demands this time, his gaze not leaving mine. He raises his thick eyebrows and clasps my hand, begging me to tell him.
I don’t admit anything aloud.
As I stare into the distance, watching the daylight linger and a hundred possibilities emerge, I say, “Nothing.”