Read Chapter One, Two, Three and Four Here.
It had only been a day. And it hurt like hell in that particular moment.
When does affection becomes love is a riddle which maybe we are not meant to understand. Maybe the beauty lies within the transition. Where I belonged in the transition is something I wasn’t sure of. Maybe I wasn’t in love with her after all and maybe all I needed was some distance. It had been only one day and I felt suffocated. But maybe, all I needed was time.
And would you believe it? Even the toothpaste ran out on me that day. No matter how much cold water I splashed on my face, no matter how strongly I brushed my teeth, that particular need to just lie in my bed had no intention of leaving me. All I wanted to do was to just crawl into myself.
When something bothers me, there is only one thing I feel. There isn’t much to it, all I feel is a knot in my throat. Whether that’s guilt, sadness or just anger is entirely dependent on context. I guess, that day, it had to be guilt.
Guilt. That’s such a complicated emotion. And I guess, I’ve said it hundred times, emotions are entirely subjective. If any of you ask me whether I love my wife, I’ll simply tell you to go fuck yourself. I love her as much as a human being can love another. I’m madly in love with her. Deliriously so.
Maybe you’re looking at me right now and wondering if I’m a bad man. You know what, maybe I’m a pathetic excuse of a human being. Or maybe I’m just a victim of circumstances. But whatever it is, it was, it just got out of control. Everything is a reminder of my misgivings, I guess, even Sandhya’s smile still haunts me. A continuous reminder which is continuously scratching against the wall of my impenetrable conscious.
Why is it so difficult to move on? Are we too worried about our impressions, our marks, our influence or whatever you want to call it, that we end up losing ourselves in diatribes of others? Our need to influence and our need to matter. If you’ll ask me, I’ll simply say that it is responsible for half the sufferings that we endure. I guess, it’s OK to not be OK sometimes.
You can blame me if you want. After all, I blame myself too.
I didn’t knew whose lies I was living anymore. I ended up torn and conflicted. I was married to one and I was, what I was to her? Seems so complicated, I do not know what it is, sorry, it was. I didn’t wanted to say any of this to Sandhya, I believed I would’ve hurt her even more, even though I didn’t wanted to. How was I supposed to tell Radhika, there was another person who ended up being equally important in my life? Like I said, I didn’t knew whose lies I was living anymore. No matter what I would have done, I would have ended hurting one and maybe the other by association. Our need to influence.
Now it isn’t your usual tale of adultery, or is it? I don’t know, maybe I’m too confused.
Once I was done with my usual morning rituals, I went to the kitchen and made my morning coffee. Once the overbearing smell of coffee filled my nostrils entirely, I poured it into a cup and started wandering slowly through the house, and as I moved around the stairs, I stared at the framed photos hanging on the wall. Me and Radhika, at different points of our four years of marriage. Our happiness clearly evident in the photos. Everything shone in dim light. As I reached the living room, and settled on the couch, I took my smartphone out of the pockets of my trousers. And as I was scrolling through the gallery of my smartphone, surrounded by the aroma of coffee, I was struggling, debating with myself whether I should’ve deleted every reminder I had of Sandhya or should I’ve cherished it one more time. There was one particular picture, the day we first met in the cafeteria for coffee. A coffee. Lot of shit happens over a cup of coffee. Maybe after all caffeine does destroy lives the way cocaine does. I still remember the first time we worked together, every little detail is etched in my memory so vividly.
Secrets, maybe secrets are good, after all, secrets are the framework on which our identity is based. And before you judge me, just look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, how many secrets you have hide. Kabir, my editor, um, sorry, old habit, our editor made us work on one story. That was only few months ago, and if you ask Sandhya right now, maybe she wouldn’t even remember it.
We had just started sipping our coffee when I’d asked her a simple question.
“We write between the lines, there is nothing that we hide from others,” she said in a voice which seemed to reach your mind without actually passing through your ears.
I honestly wasn’t expecting that to be the answer for a question like why did you chose investigative journalism. I honestly wasn’t. I guess, we end up being surprised when perceptions are wrong.
“So, I’ve heard you’ve got a foul mouth, I said, pausing for dramatic effect, “Is that true?” I finished my question chuckling
“Fuck off,” she said and continued, “Have you never wondered why the words we write for ourselves are always so much better than those we write for others?”
See, I told you there was a story there, you do not tell your boss to fuck off.
“I didn’t knew that I was writing my autobiography, I thought I was doing investigative journalism,” I said, taking another sip of my coffee.
“No, you know, what I mean, it’s just that, the way I write is different, when I write an articles, I feel immersed in that, I have to breathe it and feel it to write it, I know it sounds fucked up,” she said, clearly excited. There was this thing to Sandhya, she always ended up giddy when you talked to her about her philosophies.
“No it doesn’t,” I commented, maybe with a hint of sarcasm in my words.
“Well nonetheless, it’s just it makes more sense, when I feel how wrong everything is, it just makes more sense, you know, to write what you know.”
“And that’s why you chose investigative journalism?” I asked, my curiosity honestly piqued.
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t. It’s just the subjects I chose to study ended up putting me on my path to journalism I guess. There wasn’t too much of a planning to it.”
“But you do it so well.”
“Well, that because, um, like I said, when I write, I put myself in the shoes of the victim. I know, fucked up, but it just makes more sense to me that way,” Sandhya stayed silent after that and allowed me to take the reins.
“Don’t you think that’s a rather peculiar way of writing, don’t you think, maybe that’s the reason you feel so angry all the time, maybe you’re living so many tragedies in your head.”
“Don’t worry, I don’t only live them in my head,” she said, her face grave, and continued, “Everything I ever wrote I didn’t just lived it in my head, I lived it in my real life.”
via Daily Prompt: Toothbrush