A shooting ray piercing through the little crack in the old and disintegrating windowpane forces me to open my eyes. I don’t want to; my eyelids feelheavier than usual. My vision is hazy, the darkness of the room blurring with the light of the sun. I try to recall events of the previous night, only finding snippets of memories, patchy images that give an overview of what happened but do not form any concrete, cohesive narrative.

I recall opening the University website, fighting the sluggish nature of my internet connection to check my result. The joy of seeing an unexpectedly good result comes back to me. It is after this point that my memory begins to distance itself from me. We had sat together, I remember, drinking, celebrating my graduation. I drank, laughed, enjoyed, and before I knew, I had lost touch with my sane sober self and become someone else – a version this world of wisdom would be vary off, but I daresay, there is something about letting yourself go that cannot be understood unless one is intoxicated.

I am welcomed by an irritating headache now; I feel like shutting my eyes and sleeping till this annoyance of a hangover is passed. But I have to wake up. Pushing my pillow away, I sit up, still half-asleep. I look down, noticing my clothes strewn about haphazardly. I don’t remember taking them off, but now, as I rest my arms on my skin, I feel a feverish warmth, an unexplainable desire to revisit those moments of passion, orchestrated by a perfect blend of love and lust.

Groggily stumbling towards a desk, I reach out for my packet of cigarettes. It is a part of my routine: I wake up, have a smoke, often contemplating some philosophy of the world or of myself, as I see the puff of smoke rise into the air, losing its identity in a matter of moments.

I take out a cigarette and hold it between my dry lips; reaching out for my lighter. I slowly move to an armchair. It is beautiful, to sit crossed-legged, a cigarette in my hand and the gladdening news of the result still fresh in my mind.

With the last drag, I smile proudly, and start gathering my clothes. I felt a strange hesitance in me as I looked at the clothes I held. They were for me a second skin, to be the girl I appear to the world; right now, as I rested my hand on my leg, I was myself. Truly. Completely.

I turn my face towards the bed, finding him lost in slumber, his left leg pulled up slightly and arms cushioning his heavy head. He looks adorable in the innocence of sleep, how extraordinary are those pursed lips, silent and serene. We’ve been together for almost a year now; things have changed since then, of course, but by and large it has been a joyride.

But what is this bond all about, I wonder, feeling the fiery warmth of the cigarette still in my throat. What have we grown into in the past year?

Standing up, I glance outside. The world is busy with theireveryday whims, no one stopping to take in that which is around them; they have all lost the ability to introspect. And so it is true for us too, I think, once again turning my eyes towards his sleeping face.

Maybe it is the times we live in. No one really knows anyone. It is all pretence; every emotion futile and transitory.

I hate this. It is always bad to begin a day with such sour thoughts. But I can’t help it. I have wasted my three years of college in search of myself, and what have I really gained? Perhaps the search for an authentic self is never to be achieved, only to be desired. The ideality has to remain apart, not to be reconciled with the reality.

I think it is wrong on my part to expect him to understand me when I am myself exploring new layers, fresh aspects about myself every day. Maybe there is a part of me that I detest. I smoke cigarettes, find solace in sex and drugs, but it is all an escape.

But then why do we pretend to know each other? Why give an impression that we are in control of ourselves. I crush the remains on the ashtray he gave me on my birthday a couple of months ago. I can just be like this, let things pass by, let life happen at its own dull pace, but can that be?

I remember that younger version of me. She was so passionate about making a mark, so confident of doing something worthwhile with her life. Slowly, almost predictably, that optimism has declined into a feeble entity, but that vehemence remains. I come up with some phrases or two-liners, sometimes at the oddest of moments, and through that my love for story telling remains intact.

Memories of last night are still fresh in my mind, though a bit too patchy. I’ve always enjoyed having sex with him; it is one thing that has kept us together for a year. He’s good, gentle and understanding, both in bed and otherwise. But there is something inherently wrong with how things have panned out.

He doesn’t know me – the real me. What he thinks of me is an illusion, an alternative identity I adorn in front of the world. I always hoped he would find his way through the dark and gory lanes of my inner self to catch hold of who I really am. But that never happened; he never cared enough to peel off the layers and get to who I really am.

Maybe there is something with me, maybe I am too complicated; but that works for me. I know he’ll eventually leave me. The day I cry in front of him, showing my vulnerable side, I know he would not want to handle that.

That is life, I guess. It’s not about him; it’s the fast-paced world we live in. This kind of a hollow, soulless relationship might work for a few. People make friends who don’t care enough to know each other; my parents have spent a better part of three decades together without knowing each other. But I’m different, and I don’t feel the need to conform to what is demanded of me.

I put on my clothes, slowly, almost reluctantly, and after taking one last glance at my defeated, deformed face, I walk away. I look at him once again. He’s still sleeping. Should I leave a note for him, I ask myself. But I dismiss the idea almost immediately. I cannot explain this to him. I cannot explain this to anyone. Ever.

With a deep sigh, I take off. I don’t know where I will go. But maybe, with solemnity, I will find that ambitious essence in me which has been closed off lately. Far from people, society, companionship and all the rules that I feel chain me, perhaps I will find that rudimentary part of me, a cascading stream of ideas and inventions that it used to be, once upon a time.

 

Featured Image Credits: http://queenmobs.com/2015/12/the-economic-duality-of-san-francisco/

About The Author

Rachit Raj

Conjurer of words, ideas and stories and lover of books and movies

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