A deep breath. She scrounged for air in all the wrong places, where she could not find any.
What about angels? She had none, or so she believed.
What about love? She found it, for a brief moment in time.
The only time she seemed herself was when she took pictures of others being happy because she knew she wanted to feel so herself. For a while, at least. It was a feeling she thought never existed, at least for her. She had forgotten how to feel anything. She was numb.
Everyday she wished she wouldn’t have to wake up to or go back to such an empty and silent home. Home. She wasn’t sure if she could call it that – an almost broken home hanging by the thread of guilt. Feeling trapped in her mundane existence, each day felt the same, as if reliving the same nightmare day in and day out.
Love didn’t let her feel any different than what she already did. Instead, it made that gaping hole inside her gut grow wider with the baggage of her ‘other half’. So she knew she had to let go of that, too. Every day she put on a mask for the rest of the world so that she would not have to explain to people the same things over and over again. She was making a fool of herself when she thought that everything would be okay.
She stayed up countless nights listening to people telling her how miserable they were. There were several times where she wanted to let those people know about her share of pain, but she didn’t want to scare them away. As a child, some nights she would hear voices in her head and sometimes her own parent, peeved over petty issues, arguing noisily and incessantly.
Nobody could truly know what it was like to be her- to be in her shoes. Always knowing the right thing to say, her words could save a life, yet she could never save herself. She possessed quite the humour. It was her way of coping.
“It’s nice to be ignorant,” she said.
Neither asleep nor awake, she was somewhere in between. She had built walls around herself, and they were slowly closing in on her. The higher power, if there existed any, as she thought, always found one way or another to stir trouble into her brief trysts in paradise.
She was the kind of girl you would not even realize was in a room, even when she was. A trait she had since she was an infant. It worked well for her now, because it helped her shut everything out when things got bad at home. She never held something against somebody and forgave people ‘too easily’.
At eighteen, she realized she could not do anything about the mess she was in since that ship had, well, never arrived, let alone set sail. She had learnt to coexist with it. Some days she wished she could wake up with amnesia, but the universe wasn’t that kind to her.
At eighteen, for the first time, she was only thinking about herself. She had now stopped finding ways to run away or die to get rid of everything; as she drew up some courage and closed this chapter of her life. She was beginning anew. She was reborn. She had to gasp for breath a little lesser now because she was finally leaving this life behind.
(Illustration courtesy: Varsha Chakkera. Made specially for this story.)