He asks me if I have I have a girlfriend now, so I shudder and look across to him from across our laptop screens. I guess he waits for an answer now, so I reply, “What is there to say”?. He laughs and changes his question, but I continue to wonder. Am I in a relationship, Have I ever been in a relationship? I am still talking to him, but I think he realized that I intentionally ran away from his question so he apologizes. I say, “What is there to apologize for?”
It is already pretty late to talk any more, so we say our goodbyes. But I get no sleep, so I pick up my notebook and write down the sentences I had hidden, tucked in, deep within. There are about a 100 words that I have scribbled down when I am too tired to go on, and I remind myself that until I have my pen, I can write. I settle down, in the bed, playing Charlie’s first mixtape.
I’ve got one hand on my chest, while the other taps its fingers to the song’s tune. This helps me calm down. I’m 19, and in my second semester at college, unsure about getting up, as a whole, naked and unscarred.
I am still wondering if I could have come up with a better answer to my friend’s question. But I guess not. Maybe. Why did he ask anyway?
These are still better days, at least in comparison to when there is no light at all. When my heart refuses to listen to my brain and I die, slowly, but eventually. But I have found ways to console myself. It has been easier by the day.
Over the past two semesters at college, I have visited modern art galleries and roamed around on the streets of a city I’m still very unfamiliar with. It’s still very pretty, no matter how many times, I visit the same bookshop, that plays by my hours, and allows me to sink in.
Last night, I dreamt about an unknown place, where I sat with my closest friends and drank to these merry days. Dreams are awfully vague, but oh, never too far away.
In reality, I’ve never really gotten drunk, and I wonder, what it is like to be a little out of control, intentionally. And in an everlasting continuation of self-assurances and promises, I make a note of the same. Words consume me, and it’s the most beautiful thing in my life.
Days pass by, and college is only getting better.
I don’t sleep in the afternoon, but even when I crawl into my tiny bed, waking up in the dark is rather common. I wake up to an odd sound the other day and pick my phone up for light. It shines yellowish as if the light was diseased in itself.
I dream of my house the same night, but it’s a completely different place. A river flows down a road covered in dirt and my house isn’t anything like what I remember, I can’t see my sister or my father. My mother sits in her bedroom but does not talk. But I am conscious of it being a dream, so I refuse to fret.
My alarm buzzes at this point and I wake up, almost in a hurry, worried about my own identity.
That night, when I was sure my roommate was asleep, I went over everything I had seen and taken in with a sensitive kid’s emotional intelligence and cried.
There is a story that I wanted to tell my friend, when he asked me that question, waiting for an answer so earnestly. A story that I want to tell every time someone says why are you so quiet, you should really open up a little, trust people more. There’s a story I want to tell underneath every other story I’ve ever told.
You are sitting in a room that is now part of your life. It’s familiar, like your parent’s bedroom, where you went to sleep when you were a little too scared, or like a motel room, where you first made out, with your lover. You are comfortable now, amidst art that is all across your room: paintings of landscapes and of familiar faces obscured in a thick fog.
Outside, there is none of this, but you are still comfortable. In the same dark foggy night, your cries get muffled down, and the universe doesn’t care. You frown
And so you go back to your room, not because the universe fulfills you, but because you are too scared of the vast wide world. The walls define you better. Just the same way, they define me. And because you are complete within yourself, breaking the shell is not important anymore.