Listen.

Listen to me, please.
Calm down.
Just take a deep breath.
And listen.

You are the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. You’re so talented and so caring and so nice because – you know what it’s like to be down. You know what it’s like to feel worthless, pathetic and hopeless. Which is why you make sure no one has to go through the things you do, which is what makes you a human, something most people forget they are. It’s what makes you you.

To that side of you I must say this:
take care of my best friend. Feed her. Shelter her. Hug her. Make her feel more like the person she is and not the one she isn’t. Scold her when she makes mistakes but also give her room to correct them. Explain to her how caring for herself is not selfish and how she must accept the fact that she’ll have to learn to do so because there will be times when the world will seem like a dark dark cloud with no escape – but if she knows how to put on her oxygen mask she will be safe. But most of all, teach her how to love herself so we have something in common.

There will be times when she gets uncontrollable. Times when unpleasant things start coming your way and things seem to get out of hand. It is in those moments that you will be needed the most. Hold her. Remind her to breathe, and then call xxx-2583xxxx(my phone number), you’ll be sure to get help there.
Remind her of her weaknesses, but also give her strength so she may overcome them.
It pains me to realize that I may not be there at all times in the future to look after her, which is why you must learn to take care of her for me. You’ll do that, won’t you? Look after her. She’s very important to me.

Excerpt from one of the many conversations we’ve had in the recent past. She’s been battling severe depression for a long time, and it just keeps getting worse. I try my best but… it just doesn’t seem enough…

Her.

I haven’t written much lately, and it’s only because there’s so much going on and so much to keep up to, that I simply haven’t found the time. Don’t worry,  I haven’t forgotten about you 🙂 . I need you now more than ever.

You must help me. I’m lost (yet again). Bear with me.

I’m in love with the most marvelous person in the world. Her voice is like the song of the sea, her touch the gentle warmth of the rising sun, her heart the biggest gem in the world and her soul, a raging fire.

But of course, that’s just a few things so wonderful about her. I could go days describing her.

As my luck would have it:
a. She’s In love with someone else (who happens to be the perfect human minus the emotion known as love)
b. She also happens to be my best friend.

So, as you can probably guess, I’m in a continuous cycle of frustration, bitterness and guilt.

I will never be the one. I’m her best friend, I know her well enough to know I’m never going a subject of her feelings. There’s nothing that can be done.

What do you do when the only thing your heart really desires is deemed impossible, even by yourself – for even if , by some miracle, this desire were to be fulfilled, you would inadvertently screw it up, for that is your nature?

That’s not all, unfortunately. 

Her monsters are back, stronger and more dangerous as ever.

Trains.

You know that feeling in your chest when you know you’;re running out of time? You’re in a dark and desolate station, with no one but your loud footsteps on the marble-tiled floor and the giant clock on the other side, glaring at you disapprovingly, to keep you company.

Tick-tock. Tick – tock.

The trains will leave as soon as that bloody clock strikes one. Which one’s yours? You look around and you see a dozen trains in every direction – none of them seem familiar. This is not what you had in mind. Your shadows grows in size as it weighs expectations, helplessness and loneliness down on you. You scream for help, in vain. The echoes bounce off the walls and come swooping back at you like eagles diving for fresh prey.

Tick – tock. Tick – tock.

It’s a beautiful night. The last time you remember seeing the stars so bright was on that road trip you guys had all those years back. Fun times. Suddenly, you realise you don’t know what that’s like anymore. You’re friends are probably out there, having the time of their lives, while you’re stuck here, trying to catch the only train to Your Dreams. You’re slipping, stumbling, and having everything except the time of your life.

Tick – tock. Tick – tock.

You’re afraid. Very, very afraid. Are you afraid of missing your train? Yes, you are. But that fear is overshadowed by the fear of getting on someone else‘s train, eating someone else‘s food, sleeping in someone else‘s bed, going where someone else should be going, and living someone else’s dream till it becomes your nightmare. A chill grabs your spine and yanks your neurons into a frenzy. Your legs turn to stone, and the invisible disappointed glares sear into your back. Amidst all this, you can still hear your heart beat.

Tick – tock. Tick – tock.

You knew this was going to happen. Deep down you know you did, don’t deny it. “You think this is some kind of work of fiction isn’t it?”, your reflection sneers back at you from the marble floor.”You really think some angel’s going to drop down from heaven to save you from yourself?” You shriek as the voices in your head throw curses at you, tugging at your innermost fears.

Tick – tock. Tick – tock.

You take your teary eyes off the ground and you see me, standing there, watching you. You crawl to me and, almost like a prayer, a plea of mercy, you say to me “Please…please just make it stop.” I pick you off the ground, and hold you close – only to whisper in your ear, “Welcome to my world.”

And then the clock struck one.

You

I could say you’re mine
but I’d be wrong.
because you’re not.

You’re a raging fire,
running wild,
destroying all that stands in your way.

You’re a sad song,
A ballad, a poem,
The tears of a heart.

You’re a calming wave,
music to the soul,
relief to the mind.

You’re a person. A human. An entity. A star. A moon. A whole new world.

Everything you were
Everything you are
Everything you will be
Is because you,
are yours.

And so am I.

– A.

First Time.

January,2015

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

I walked up to her silently. The class was in pandemonium – but I could hear my heartbeat perfectly. It was P.E (short for Physical Education), the last period of the day. A few of the students had permission to skip P.E for extra classes. She was one of them. This was my last chance.

She was jamming her stuff into her bag. The bell would ring any minute now, and their teacher hated latecomers.

“Hey.”

She turned around.
“Hi! Sup?”
She smiled, even though she was clearly stressed out and in a hurry.

I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t –

“I was…uh wondering if you’d … like to go out with me?”

Lame.

I tried putting on a smile.

Eesh. Creepy.

The bell rang. I saw her expression change from utter confusion to surprise, and then to panic.

“Got to go, sorry!”
She turned and ran, her bag bobbing dangerously behind her.

I sighed. Blew it again.

***
“And what would you do if I said yes?” , she asked, faking an expression of intense scrutiny, making her look cute, not scary.

What was it with all the riddles? Wouldn’t a simple yes or a no suffice?

“I’d be with Santa Claus. Right on top of the world.”

Her smile broke free.

***

 

Unsent letter #1

Dear Ex,
I’m sorry. For a lot of things. I’ve never spoken about them to you, the reasons for which, will be made clear. But it was wrong. I should have.

I’m sorry you had to deal with 15-for-a-month me. I’m sorry he was a bit too… serious about you. Too conscious. So scared of losing you that it never occurred to him that he had lost you, way before he actually did. In his defense, it was his first love. Years of rejection and living in shadows were erased the moment you said yes. And to be honest, I think he really was  crazy about you.

I’m sorry he didn’t realise what the relationship was becoming, sooner. How you seemed reluctant to go on, but needed the love he gave you. How he gave it willingly,  even though the dark spots of reality grew day by day, at the back of his mind. How he showered you with whatever he could manage, and expected nothing back, though he did question it at times.

I’m sorry that, after ending things a month later, he reacted the way he did. The things he said, the way he behaved. The way he decided to shut you out and withdraw completely. The boy was hurt. The one who he’d loved like no one else, for whom he was ready to give this world and many others, had just told him she’d never loved him at all. That she thought it was “sweet” that he tried.

Was it fair? To lead someone on for a month before crushing all his hopes and dreams in a second?

Perhaps it was.

I agree it could’ve been worse.
Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for that one month, he’d have never grown up. He would never have learnt that those three words didn’t mean as much as he thought he did. He would never know that saying those words could never convey even a fraction of the emotions behind them.

The boy tried. Do forgive him.

A.

Fear

First week of May, 2016
I’m scared. It’s nothing new. I’ve always been, of one thing or another. Is this really anything different? Perhaps not. But that doesn’t change anything.

I’m scared of losing my best friend. I’ve got to say, I’ve had plenty of experience in this matter, but that’s what makes this all the more scary.

Back in 7th grade, I had a really, really really close friend. We were practically inseparable. Being avid readers and writers, we never ran out of things to talk about; We could finish each other’s sentences even before we’d done so ourselves. We ate together, sat together did almost EVERYTHING together. This one time, the principal made it mandatory to get a note signed from our parents, if we wished to stay in class during lunch break. Both of us preferred the calmness of the shaded classroom to the hot sun outside. We also had this thing in our school where the whole school ‘participated’ in a drill, of sorts – neither of us were in favor of that either. Unable to explain this satisfactorily to our parents, we resorted to other measures – we wrote each others notes and signed off as each others parents! We never got caught.

Soon, people started to talk. The other guys giggled every time they saw us. The girls asked me where my ‘boyfriend’ was when I walked to the bus stop, alone. They called us gay, acted like they thought it was normal, and snickered behind our backs all the same. I didn’t care what they said; since when did the tiger brood over the opinion of the sheep? I didn’t give a damn. But he did.

As I look back today, I curse myself for not talking to him about it. For doing NOTHING as I watched him drift away. We were young and I guess these things mattered then: what people said about you, how people saw you. It took all of us time to get over all that. I promised myself that I will NEVER stand by ever again, and do nothing as I watch people close to me drift away.

And here I am.

My best friend is going through depression. And I’m scared I’m going to lose her.


Last week of May, 2016
I sit on the green wooden bench next to the tennis court. It’s getting dark. A notification message flashes on my phone’s screen, telling me how much the hour-long conversation we just had cost.

My best friend had to go to the doctor because her blood pressure was dropping. She didn’t tell her parents the real reason behind it – the blame was placed instead on the side effects of a rather harmless medicine. She’s losing her appetite, along with her interest in life in general, and her bursts of sadness and negativity are more intense and frequent. I call or text her almost everyday to check on her, trying my best to understand her, doing whatever I can.

I always considered myself a positive person: I could always manage to see the good side of bad situations and to learn from the worst. Thus, when she tells me what it is that’s troubling her, I tell her exactly what would go on in my head if I were in that situation: about the positive aspects and what I could learn from it.

There are times when she refuses to listen to anything I say due to utter distress, and I find myself wishing I could just hold her, look into her soul and convince the stubborn little thing that everything would be alright.
Partly because I know I have a mission: to make the lives of the people around me better and worth living. And partly because no one held me when I was down.

I know she will get through this.


Mid-June,2016
She’s better now. Shaky at times, but her smile’s back. God, how I missed it.

The term started with piles of work being loaded on to us, making it harder breathe. But as far as my concern went, it kept her busy. An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.

That still didn’t mean her bursts of negativity were gone – but they weren’t anything I couldn’t bring down.

Last week of June, 2016
It’s been a while since I saw her grinning at me the way she did today – Hopping about, dimples punctuating her smile, eyes shining brighter than ever from behind those heavy glasses.

“The piano recital was so amazing! Everyone was there! and guess what? My hands didn’t shake a bit! And oh. My. God. Thomas was there and he was so good. Did you know that he…”

All I knew was that I promised myself, right then and there, that this was how I would remember her forever.


July 1st, 2016

My phone vibrated aggressively , demanding my attention. My screen flashed: New Message.

“Can I tell you something that might sound weird? But like, I mean it in the most innocent way possible.”

“You know you can.”

“If something goes wrong and I tell you, sometimes it’s like…
Like just by telling you, it’s taken care of  🙂
And sometimes I feel like…
This boy is my bestest friend and he can fix everything wrong in the world for me just by listening to me.”

I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.

P.S:- 1 down, 7.1 billion to go. 🙂

Lost

I cried myself to sleep the other night. It’s happened before. Once in about 3 weeks or so, I burst, hardly ever seeming to know why or how. Of course, I never stop myself in these moments. Sadness, rage and envy are beasts that mustn’t be caged when hungry – better to let them out, so they may sleep on a full stomach, than to feel them all night, tearing at you from inside.

I suppose I do have an idea where all this is coming from.

I feel lost. Out of place. Wandering through the dark, dark woods with nothing but the sound of my breath echoing through the mist, the light nowhere to be seen. Counting down the seconds to an uncertain future.

“It’s okay to be confused at this age,” They say.

“You must choose a path for your life in the two years you have until college.” They also say.

Okay, maybe wandering isn’t really the best word to use. I DO have a goal. A very vague and idealistic goal that doesn’t seem to give any hint to the path to be taken. One thing that I am certain about, however, is that this goal is a heartfelt one.

I want to make lives matter. I want to make them worth living. I want to help people realize that each of the 7.1 billion souls that flit about the surface of the earth has a purpose – some kind of a ‘destiny’ to fulfill, a part to play.

I may not remember the first inspirational speech I ever heard, but I remember it changing me. I remember watching the speaker in awe, spellbound by the optimism and energy he generated. I could’ve watched the entire thing without audio and still felt his words come alive, begging me to heed their wisdom. And I thought to myself, “I want to be like that guy. I want to be able to make people feel important, because they are. I want to help people realise that they’re not alone. But most of all, I want to be able to talk to people without saying a word.”

“Oh my god, that’s so noble” my best friend says when I tell her about it.

More like a pain in the butt. A clichéd goal like that? Good luck finding a path to it.

I realise I’m going a bit off track.

The thing is, I look around, and all I see are achievers. Three of my friends have started NGOs of their own, other two have started a game distribution company, while others are either busy winning national level awards or directing their own musicals. None of them are older than 16. While you might say that I’m just plain jealous, it’s not entirely true. Part of me is thankful that I’m surrounded by over achievers – the lone frog in the well sees himself as the king of the world. The other part of me, however, is sad. Not because I see my friends better off than I am, but because I know I can do the things they did. I can sing, I can draw, I can write and direct stage plays, and I’m good at academics. That, however, is where a problem arises.

There is a fine line between a talented person and an achiever, and that is a line of action. A talented person is one who CAN achieve a million things, while an achiever is one who GOES OUT THERE and tries his/her best to achieve a million things.

In the past, when I was way younger with way too much enthusiasm in me, jealousy was a step towards becoming better. “Look that guy’s good in art! Maybe if I try hard enough, I’ll become better! Look! That girl’s so good at singing! Maybe if I try, I could sing better than her!” And so on it went. Over the years, the jealousy remained, but the action did not. “I swear I’ll do it later” has become my kryptonite. Much like everyone else.

Now that I think about it, that last phrase has started to define me.Much like everyone else. Less like the boy with noble dreams, much like the one with none at all. Less like the boy who could do anything, much like the one who did nothing. Less like the boy who turned jealousy, much like the one who let jealousy turn him. Less like the boy who couldn’t care less, much like the one who cried himself to sleep.
Less like myself, much like everyone else.