Tag Archives: help

Of Missing People

The little cafe downtown Larris Road, bears a deserted look. Even though the fog has still not cleared and cold winds brush past every now and then, people don’t stop by for a coffee. She doesn’t want to, as well.

But somehow, she does.

He is there.

The mist has settled on the window panes, painting a rather distorted image of the world outside. Beyond the window, people in their buttoned-up coats and tight scarfs, walk past. She wants to retrace her steps and go back to being one of those busy people trudging down the street, but she’s already inside the warm, little cafe and it feels good there.

With heavy steps, she walks to one of those corner tables and takes a seat.

Her face pulls up of pretence of carelessness. Inside, there is a storm raining down on her heart.

Her lips quiver as she hears a pair of sneakers squeaking down the hallway. A second later, he stands in front of her.

“What would you like-” he pauses awhile. “Ma’am?”

His words sting her. Yet taking a deep breath, she manages to look up at him.

His button-down black shirt is sticking to one side and his dark hair glows under the flickering lights in the cafe. His shoes are worn out, yet he wears them with so much pride.

He is not looking at her. Instead, his eyes are focused on the blank page of the notepad.

“Two coffee, please,” she mutters, with too much care.

He quickly turns around and walks to the counter, without bothering to ask her if she needs something else. It’s as if she has ceased to exist for him.

When he arrives with the two cups of coffee, carefully balanced on the tray, she doesn’t know how to ask him to stay.

As if he can read her mind, setting down the tray before her, he carefully pulls out a chair and takes a seat.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

Her fingers curl around the cup, and she breathes out a slow sigh as the warmth of it trickles down her skin. Bringing the cup to her lips, she gives it a slight blow.

“I miss people,” she manages to say.

Her fingers jerk tighter around the steaming cup as her eyes start to sting. She rubs at the them at the same stupid pretext that he’s grown accustomed to.

He pretends like┬áhe didn’t hear her.

Emptiness wafts around them. She can no longer hear the brisk footsteps of people outside. She can no longer hear the slight squeaking of shoes near the counter. It’s as if the whole world has stopped and is somehow looking right at them, waiting in anticipation to hear the next word uttered.

At the corner of her eye, she can see him fiddling with his cup, his head bent down, probably watching her the same way as she is watching him.

“Why are you here?” he whispers.

At that moment, she bites back her lip to hold the swell of emotion waiting to burst out.

“I miss you,” she finally says. “I miss people when they drift away. These days, it feels so empty. There are people around me, yet, I feel lonely.”

A drop of tear trickles down and she looks up to meet his eyes.

“Why can’t you just let go of things. Why do you have to cater your ego? Why can’t we just go back to being the friends we were?”

“Look-,” he starts to say.

“No,I’m not staying here to hear you push me away. It’s tough to live through everyday, knowing that the people you thought would be there with you forever, are no longer there! I miss you so much! Yet every time I pick up my phone to call you up, I’m afraid that you’d just push me away. I want to go back to the time where things were not so complicated!”

He places a hand on her shoulder, as if trying to calm her down, but it is not working.

“Think of the world we could build! With memories so beautiful! We could go back to being friends again! We could go back to the same old routine of meeting here for coffee everyday! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” her voice breaks.

Inside, his heart breaks into a million pieces on seeing her cry. He wants to hug her, console her and hold her till an eternity, but he knows that the scars will remain. That, things will never be the same between them as they were.

“We can still meet each other,” he says. “Look, here we are now. Everything will be fine again.”

She shakes her head and stands up.

“You don’t miss me. You don’t miss me like I do. And I know you are lying. You are lying when you say that everything will be fine again. For nothing will ever be,” she says and a moment later, she’s gone.

Through the misted glass, he watches her walk past hurrying people. A while later, she’s gone. Her shadow’s merged into the crowd.

He picks up the two cups, places them on his tray and stands up. For a second, he lingers there.

“I miss you too,” he finally says.

Only, she’s not around.

Somewhere, down the street, the girl stops and leaning against the metal lamp-post, slipping to the ground, she cries.

Somewhere, at the back of the coffee shop, against the rising vapours of the coffee mug, he sits and sighs.

Theirs could have been wonderful stories.

Stories that could have been..but never were.

Of The Things We Never Tell

I don’t think I can ever forget the day when I walked into the classroom on the brightest Friday morning to see a friend of mine, fumbling with a bandage roll. As soon as she saw me walking towards her (she was my bench mate), she turned away and (secretly) pushed the roll into her bag.

‘Hi?’ I greeted her, unsure of whether I should ask if she was all right or not. Sixteen years of life had taught me one of the greatest lessons – people don’t want you to ask them anything, especially when they are desperately trying to hide something.

So, I kept quiet.

‘Hi!’ she replied back with feverish enthusiasm. Her smile was way too cheerful. Her hands came around me and pulled me into a quiet hug. And she giggled or hid her sniffles under its pretext.

‘I’ve missed you so much!’

When she pulled back, I couldn’t help but notice the streaks of blood that ran down the cuffs of her red sweater. I felt an uncanny chill run down my entire body on seeing that. Till then, blood had never made me scared. But it was a sight, so painful, that for a moment I felt a sharp pain bubbling through my nose and spreading throughout.

‘You know what-‘ she continued, least aware that I had seen underneath her pretence. Pulling my hand down, she made me sit beside her.

‘He is such a nice guy, I tell you,’ she spoke with a fake happiness. The smiles and blushes never reached her eyes and I couldn’t mistake the way she gritted her teeth every time she drummed her fingers on the table. She was pulling up a perfect game.

‘He offered me roses! And you know what? He told me that I’m the only girlfriend he’s ever had!’

Under the desk, my hands felt clammy and I clenched them into tight fists. For I knew those were lies. Lies. Devastating lies. At that moment, I didn’t know who to be angry with. I was furious with my friend as she was being such an idiot. On the other hand, I knew it wasn’t her fault for the guy gave her false hopes. And she was madly in love with him, nevertheless.

‘T,’ I interjected. ‘Can I ask you something?’

She nodded.

‘Do you really like him?’

Her face twisted into a frown. I had never wanted people to misunderstand me. It so happened between friends that often, they are so caught up in a web of lies and delusional hopes that they refuse to believe you. And I didn’t want that to happen.

‘Y-yes,’ her voice broke and at that moment I realized that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

For the next few minutes, I heard the most horrific truths. There were times when I felt like giving her a hug, but I felt so cold. It was as if I was standing there, watching all this happen to her, yet I couldn’t do anything.

He abused her. Each night. Each day. Them being neighbours, didn’t help at all. Instead, it worsened things. She lived in eternal fear that her parents might find out. And that was the last thing she wanted her parents to know. She told that she can’t let them go through all the grief and pain. So for months together, she kept every emotion bottled inside her. Hurt. Fury. Pain.

There was no one she could reach out to, for she knew people would judge. They’d blame her. And it wasn’t shocking, for both of us had seen some people doing just that. There were times, she confessed, when she wanted to give up – to slit her wrists and distance herself away from all the pain of the world. For months, she took antidepressants, and battled the darkest phases, but everything seemed to be coming back to her.

‘I don’t know what to do,’ she sobbed. Her hands clasped mine and the warmth on my wrists, snapped me out of my trance. Looking down, I rolled down her sleeves to expose the deepest cuts and scars. I gasped.

‘Why?’ I asked; demanded, in fact.

‘He made me feel worthless. He made me feel like I had no right to live.’

‘He,’ I said, ‘is no god! He has no right to decide who deserves to live and who doesn’t.’

An awkward stretch of silence followed and as I looked around, I realized the other students were slowly starting to stare in our direction.

‘Everything fine?’ another friend of mine enquired.

It took me a great deal of effort to nod. I wasn’t sure if shit could be called fine.

‘Do you hate me?’ she mumbled next to me.

‘I-I am not sure.’

Perhaps it broke her, but I knew that I was going to do anything to pull her out of the mess. I was going to do anything to walk her to the lighthouse that helped many a wandering traveller.

We are no angels. We make mistakes. Small mistakes. Big mistakes. But they shouldn’t define our future. They shouldn’t make us give up in everything and consider ourselves worthless. Each one of us has dark days. Cold days when blistery winds seem to cast a veil on the land. At some places, winters last longer. But when the summer comes, it arrives in all its pleasant glory. All we need to do sometimes is, wait for the summers. And we need to believe that they will be there, no matter what.

At times when we feel like giving up, we must not submit to the urges. The universe promises a wonderful life for each one of us. And what a pity if we don’t live it! Why shouldn’t we!

Today, my phone beeps to her message.

‘How are you?’ she asks.

‘How are you?’ I reply back.

‘You rescued me.’

And I smile in relief.

We all need something to pull us out of the mess; someone to rescue us in our darkest days.