My inside voice, I fucking hate it when I lose track of that. Today there is nothing but silence.
Rain has settled the cloak of dust that usually surrounds the skies of cities these days. These days you can almost taste the sulfur in the air. But today a clean and pristine night was awaiting everyone. It was late, and the minutes passed slowly. Evening had been long gone, and yet the time stayed in that timeless hollow of a growing night.
I left Sandhya there, alone, sitting on the stairs. I didn’t had the strength to stand anymore. I needed to leave. I needed to escape the fog that had shrouded the evening.
I still wish, I never knew her, atleast that way she wouldn’t have suffered that way, I wouldn’t have hurt her the way I did. Knowingly, unknowingly, it doesn’t matters anymore, I killed the innocence of someone I so dearly wanted to call a friend and I’ll live with that every single fucking day of my life.
Maybe I’m a plight, a pest maybe. Maybe all I do is destroy innocence.
I just wanted to be nice, for a change maybe, I wanted to leave all the frustration aside and be a good friend to someone.
It had been, um what, uh four years. Four long years before I talked to another stranger. Four years before I decided I needed another friend. Only if I hadn’t.
My wife lives by one motto, “Being creative isn’t a hobby, it’s a way of life.” Well she is an artist, does beautiful paintings, remember that big abstract canvas? Sorry, how can you. I haven’t talked about it. So she could say that, me, no my silent friend, I can’t even draw a straight line.
I still wonder why she chose me. A misfit, a pessimist, a decent human being, even on his best days. I wasn’t anyone special. Come to think of it, I wasn’t anything. Yet she chose me. She loved me, she still does. And this is how I am going to repay her.
But what was my mistake, I never touched Sandhya once, I only tried to be a good friend. I was there when she needed someone to listen. I’m a good listener. I guess, that’s the only thing I’m good at.
Throughout my adulthood, I was often mocked for being different. I seemed preoccupied or distracted by my own little internal drama in those days. It all seems so contrasting now, insecurities, self-doubt, anger, confusion. Each of us moulded by the cast of beliefs we hold dear to us. It took me a while to figure it out, but I did it nonetheless. People will really like you if you act like the person they want you to be, have your own voice and you’ll always be a lone walker.
Yet Sandhya understood that, I guess, it was because she was, um, she is, a lone walker too.
Two misfit souls who seemed to connect. But I knew there wasn’t anything more to that relationship. If that’s what you want to call it. So I never tried to be anything more than a friend. It’s strange how affection ends up becoming something as convoluted as love. Maybe the beauty of it lies in the transition. Maybe we are not supposed to understand love after all.
Was that love?
I tried to soothe the storm that raged in her head, a conflict that had enslaved her mind for months. I tried to calm her tears when she cried. All because I saw greatness in her, I saw beauty which needed a guiding hand. A lost soul which for all intent and purposes needed to hold someone’s hand. She needed a miracle. Or maybe just a friend.
There is nothing more horrifying than a miracle. Unless you let go of your basal human tendency to influence. We all just want to be relevant somehow. My need for relevance ended up instigating a storm. A storm from which there was no moral escape.