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Of Twisted Tales Of Pain

She wanted to live a happy life.

But each night, after the enchanting chaos of the city had dwindled and the orbs of light blurred in her vision, she found herself walking down the narrow bridge. At times, she’d stop abruptly and lean over the wooden rails to see her reflection in the dark waters. The planks under her feet would creak slowly under her weight as she’d gaze deep into the fading reflection of herself. Her eyes lacked mirth. Her lips were always twisted, painting a frown.

At other times, she’d walk and walk until she’d reach the willow tree at the end of the bridge. Leaning against it, she’d quietly slip into the gravel road and watch the world walk past her.

As the night would slowly merge into darker shades, the tears that she’d been holding would give way and into the silence of the night, she’d scream out all her sorrow. She loved the way the night hid her pain. Never did Darkness let anyone know about the one poor girl who cried into its embrace. Alone.

When the colours would slowly start to melt and dawn would arrive, she’d pick herself up, wipe away her tears with the back of her hand and pretend as if everything with her was just all right. With that brave face of hers, she’d face every dawn, no matter how much she was breaking on the inside.

One Friday night though, when the neon lights at every club were bright and high and oven timers pierced the thick air, and she walked down the bridge, she wasn’t alone. For Darkness followed her step.

When she stopped to look at her reflection, Darkness looked down too.

“You are here, every night, without fail,” it said.

“This is the only place that never fails to make me feel lighter,” she answered.

“And you are the only person here,” it said again.

“It probably seems like I’m the most disappointed person around, doesn’t it? A broken family. Unsatisfying life. A stressful job. And when I get back home, there’s nobody to hear me out. So, I come here, thinking that someone will understand. No one does. They sleep silently, tucked inside their blankets and wake up to loud alarms in the dawn. And they face the day. As for me, each morning, I wish to go back to bed and sleep away forever.”

“It wrenches my heart, dear, to hear you say like that. How I wish I could tell you otherwise. How I wish I could tell you of the stories that hide in the light. You see people, walking straight, heads held high, their shoulders straight, and it is as if they’re afraid of nothing. I’ll tell you a different story – they are afraid. Deep inside, each one of them is a mess. When they talk, they are still thinking of a hundred different things in their brain. When they laze back in their beds, they think of the world. They have broken hearts. They are lonely people. And they hide their true faces under the bright light of the dawn, pretending that nothing’s wrong.”

“It is okay,” it continued,”to be a little sad, to a little frustrated and to be a little broken. Each one of them is. Some of them keep telling themselves that there’ll be brighter days, holding on to the minuscule glimmer of hope in their hearts; while some of them come here on fateful nights and end their stories. What you need to do, is face the dawn. It holds surprises for each one. But if you are busy grieving about the night, you’ll never relish what the dawn has in store for you.”

“It won’t make my life any better, will it?” she said.

“You’ve to hold on to hope and live yet another day to find out.”

That morning, when she walked amongst the crowd of people, she didn’t feel lost. Deep inside her heart, sorrow lingered, but just like the rest of them, she knew she had to keep going on. The very hope that she held was that, the next day was going to be even better.

Of Finding A Piece Of Yourself

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.

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.

Of Scars That Remain Behind

People are always looking for ways to get rid of scars. Who wants to carry a bundle of sad memories anyway?!

They try the best creams, visit a doctor, obsess too much over the broken skin. I really don’t understand why everyone needs to have flawless skin.

Perhaps the creams might heal the skin and a few tablets and a dash of make-up may get rid of the slight bump, but there’ll always be the ghost of a wound there. The wounds heal but they never go away completely.

The scars hold the stories. Just like a person’s eyes gives away a lot about how they are feeling, scars are like secret road maps, holding painful histories.

The scars remain behind for a good reason, though. To remind. Maybe the skin pulls up a new face with each passing year, but we still remember our scars and everything that has ever hurt us.

When we are down and the sky is dark, the scars remind us that we can live through that, for there have been darker days. They tell us to hold on, for light awaits us.

The scars remind us to have strength in our darkest hour.

They sketch blurred vignettes of our life. The painful ones. We remember where exactly it hurt and why.

And how it healed.