A bed-time story
Confessions of a broken heart, in a haze of alcohol and tumbling memories that refuse to go away even in the cold harsh light of day
It’s 2 am on Thursday.
I wake up with a terrible headache, courtesy of all the drinking of the past few days.
It has started to rain, crazy mid-November winter rain. I am already losing this fight with myself.
It’s 3 am on my Fastrack watch.
I don’t know why I am writing to you.
After all these lonely nights (after you slept every night), the countless lonely days (where you always spoke about your insecurities about someone else) that have passed since I last saw you, the you I first met. I can’t remember all of you.
They say when you start to forget someone, the first thing you forget is the sound of their voice. I don’t remember the sound of your laughter, like the time when I accidentally spilled the soda can on your French fries, I was too busy staring at you from across the table. But I do remember how your brown eyes turned hazel when the sunshine hit them at the right angle, or the smell of you when you used to wake up in the morning light. You smelled of sleep and love and…I can’t describe it.
I should get back to bed, get some sleep. But my bed doesn’t smell like you anymore. It smells strange, unfamiliar. I can’t sleep without your scent. Do you know? I didn’t keep any photographs of you, nothing to remind me of you… who we used to be. We used to be beautiful. Don’t you see? I still believe that we could have been what we had set out to be.
It’s 4 am on Thursday and I miss you.
I don’t know if it is because I never try to find anyone after you left mentally, or because I chose not to let anyone take your place even in my imagination. Of course, there have been flings in my mind to avenge your conduct, at least in imagination. You know me, can’t do that in real life. But none of them mattered. It didn’t hurt as much when they left in my thoughts, I didn’t feel the skies falling down, didn’t feel my heart shatter. I didn’t ask them to stay, didn’t remember their faces even after I woke up from my slumber. I failed to love them the way I should even in my imagination, because I tried really hard to fill your place with someone like you.
I should have known that I can’t compare. I should have been happy with what I could get in my head. I should get married, it’s time for me to make a home. What ‘home’? I had a home. Now there’s dust and empty space where it once stood.
It’s 5 am on Thursday. The sun is coming up.
I wonder where you are now. Did you get enough sleep? Who are you sleeping next to, who will wake you up? I’ve run out of cigarettes. Insomnia has always gotten its way. I can’t lie about you. So I don’t talk about you.
It’s useless, they say, keep moving on and don’t look back, that’s the way. But I’ve spent a lifetime in your arms, and a lifetime all alone, and I don’t know the difference between warmth and cold.
It’s 6 am on Thursday and I’m a little scared.
A new day has begun but I’m still standing there. Along the crossroads, beside the bus stop where I last saw you. Those eyes that said you loved me. Those hands that didn’t stay. And to be honest, I’m a little scared. Coz I’ve been stuck in your eyes for so long I fear I’ve lost my way.
It’s 7 am and I’m waking from the dream.
Making calls, checking mails, wearing an ironed shirt, polished shoes (a bit new for me).. I wash the blood off my wrists, roll my sleeves down over the bandages, quiet the screams. Caffeine and pills to get me through the day, ocean full of people, people waiting to relieve their pain, late night masquerades …
I am doing great. At least, that’s what I tell myself. But to be honest, I don’t care about happiness, and I’m not scared of being on my own. I don’t care what they say, I am okay if I feel this way. I don’t care if they say I need to move on, I need help. I am only 29, feeling like 70. And I can only be myself. All I have is myself. That is the only way.
(The author is a dentist by day and a writer by night)