They were thick friends. Almost inseparable. Even the distance couldn’t keep them apart. They made memories, every single day, even if it was over the phone. They were that sticky, close, inseparable friends.
One day, unknown to her knowledge, he was pushed at the edge of the cliff. He stood there, silently, feeling the gravity pull on to his center. He closed his eyes, feeling the breeze gently push him closer to the edge. He swayed, but he had held on to his balance.
She was his last piece of silky silver thread that he could hold on to and pull himself out of the abyss, if he happened to tip over.
So, his mother sent him away to her. Maybe spending a week with her would help him clear his head, his mother thought. She sent him away to be her, with huge hope nursing in her heart. She wanted her son back. Badly.
Next day, there he was at the airport, reluctantly embracing her in a lose hug. She was disappointed with the lack of his usual enthusiasm. She shrugged it off and pulled him in a cab to take him home.
She tried to get him to talk. But he now preferred long silences.
She wanted to help, but she didn’t know what that worm was that was slowly digging into his brain. She only knew he wanted to talk but couldn’t find the right words.
Her patience was running thin.
She was only 24. She didn’t understand the mighty darkness that he was enveloped into. She prided herself into being practical. She prided herself into believing that everything about her was in the proper place.
She didn’t understand his inability to get out of bed or go for the long walks that they once enjoyed doing together.
He had crawled tighter in his shell. Lost to her, forever.
She failed. The guilt was beginning to build in her. It stayed inside. Suppressed. Closed.
She assumed the air of being practical and fair. He needed to hear the truth. He needed to be shaken out of his numbing tune. But he was gone. Lost in his music. And she pretended to move on as the silence between then grew. It ate into her. Her eyes had grown old.
Time passed into months.
She believed it was love. The idea of love was enticing. She was pulled into it. Dragged to make a decision. A rash one that too. She was encouraged to take it. She was also warned against it. Mostly, she was warned about the reckless risk she was jumping in. It was impulsive. She did it anyway. She thought, “Fuck this shit. I don’t want to look back in regret.”
But she did. She had lost.
It didn’t matter who looked down on her. It mattered when her mother like figure looked down on her. She wasn’t angry. She didn’t reprimand. She just was disappointed.
Hell broke loose.
She was pushed in silence. Her eyes closed. Her mind closed. A wall was built around.
A plea for help was denied.
The pile of guilt and shame kept getting bigger.
She could no longer pretend. There was lengthy silence. Panic attacks in the middle of the road. A mind that was slipping away in darkness.
In midst of this, there was a failed marriage. Battle of ego and pride. Sanctity of relationship was lost. Belief was shattered. Ideology was broken. Her last source of comfort had slipped from her hand.
Panic attacks got worse.
She went down to see him. She had lost him. He was there near her, but not with her. It felt like her heart was socked hard.
Went back to routine.
She was living with constant panic attacks. They owned her.
A doctor treated her without meeting her. Thrusted 12 small pills in her hands. Advised her to take one every night. It will help you sleep, he said. It will help you breathe easy, he said. But it would only numb her muscles and her senses.
Things felt bleak. She didn’t know where she was anymore. Where her mind was wandering, she didn’t know. She grew fragile. Fragile enough to let a stranger’s taunt get to her.
She found herself standing in front of her own abyss. But there was a friend, who had touched her shoulder, and unwitting asked her to stay back. It was a faint, muffled sound. But she heard it and took a step back.
She had reached out to her phone, thinking of giving him a call. She typed his name and then locked her phone. She couldn’t give him a call. Someone, whom she could reach out to at any time of the day or night. She needed to speak but the words were stuck in her belly.
Her mind was losing its strength to hold on.
Panic attacks came with added wandering thoughts. Scary thoughts. Thoughts that gave her ideas. Made her believe in disillusion. Pushed her. She was close to touching insanity.
She was tipped over the edge.
She stood over the end of the abyss ready to make her final lunge.
But before that, she had to speak with him. She had to reach out to him. She had heard he was doing well now.
She plucked her courage and spoke to him. She spoke about how vain she was. She spoke about how she had failed with him. She spoke how the pressure had buckled her down. She spoke about her guilt of not being able to help him. Of all the guilt that had eaten her away. The unspoken love. Trying to me up for the lost time. It had only taken her 3 years.
She felt lighter after speaking with him. With every tear flowing down her cheeks, she felt her chest getting lighter. The pile of guilt seemed to slowly disappear.
It felt like she was getting her business in place before the deed was done. With this thought, she went to bed.
A rested sleep after a long while.
The next morning, it was worth being alive.