My Best Friend

Nothing can stop her. She’s been like this for a few weeks now. And though she’s been living like nothing has happened, I know better than to believe what she wants me to believe. Today is the day; I can feel it. She’s been piling up a lot lately and she’s finally decided to write it all down. I’m a bit scared for her, though. She never knows how her write up is going to end. And, she gets too worked up if it doesn’t have a happy ending. I just hope…oh, there she comes. No wonder she’s chosen this day to write. Nobody is at home and the speakers on her computer have finally been repaired. She looks serious as she selects her songs for today and sets the volume just enough so she could hear the music but not the words. She has brought the words today. She opens a blank MS Word Document and begins to type:

“Everything’s going to be fine.” That’s the most wretched lie that mankind has ever devised. Combined with a sorry, sympathetic, seen-it-all face, this lie is spoken with such finesse by certain people in our lives that we can’t help but believe them. But why can’t we see the truth? Why can’t we see what’s right in front of us! People will always leave and things will always go wrong. We’re all going to repeat our mistakes for the rest of our lives. We’ll believe in happy endings. We’ll trust people and our own feelings. We will tie our wishes to things and people we think are our own. We will dream with closed eyes and a heart full of hope. And if we don’t luck out, we’re going to survive to see the dreams shatter and the wishes being trampled upon. We will cry with all the broken pieces of our heart because we know that everything is never going to be fine again. Ever. Yet, even in that pathetic moment, all that our heart will really want from deep inside is for someone to say “Everything will be fine.” How fucked up can we really be?”

I wish I could talk to her, you know? It’s at a time like this that I really miss her. She’s shut me out. I have tried reaching out to her, but she just doesn’t want to hear me out anymore. I know what she must be feeling like. It breaks my heart to see her like this. It’s as if she’s giving up, you know? She no longer feels anything. She laughs so much through the day sometimes; you’d think everything is great in her life. But as the night comes closer, you begin to notice how empty all that is. How empty is everything that she does or says. She’d tell her friends how happy she is with them, how good they make her feel. But really, she doesn’t care one bit. She knows that, like everything else in her life, they too will leave. And the fact that it happens as often as she thinks it will happen, doesn’t help. She pulls back right at the moment when she begins to get close to someone, right at the moment she begins to trust and think that may be she really can be a friend and have a friend.

“Screw second chances. Screw the bloody struggle to live each day. Screw the self pity. And screw each one of the phonies who tell me that everything will be fine. It fucking won’t. What do they know anyway? They won’t ever know what the feeling is…to be able to touch your dream and not hold it; to see it and never get to touch it. To…to live with that feeling of loss, to live that life all day, everyday knowing in your heart that it’s never going to be; that you’ll never be good enough. I am never good enough. Everyone has to leave with another fucking lie. “It’s not you, it’s me.” Bloody hell, it’s you. And then there are all these dreams and expectations. God, I feel so heavy in my heart. It hurts so much to even think of everything that I am supposed to do in this life. Everything that I know I’d never be able to accomplish; all that disappointment that I’ll bring to the people around me and more than them, to myself – it scares me to death. It’s like my heart is clenching itself so tight that it’d choke itself. I feel as if the burning inside would consume me. As if the cold inside would freeze me to death. Am I really that helpless, that weak? Do I really have no chance to change the end of my story?”

Hey, come on, sweetheart. You do have the chance to change the end of your story. You’re stronger than the rock, remember? You…you can’t let the tricks that life plays get the better of you. Listen to me, for once! God, I don’t like it when she’s like this. That’s the problem with the books. You think they’d make everything alright; but for how long, really? They can tell you how to go on with the rest of your life but they can’t teach you how to spend that silence without them when working isn’t an option and sleep is a mile away. I just hope she listens to me. It’s okay, sweetheart. Just let it out. It’ll help. And don’t you worry…because everything is going to be okay and –

“But there’s a long way to go. Surely, I have a chance at changing the end of my story? I can go on. I can make the best of the life I have. I don’t have to drag the past along everywhere I go. I don’t always have to think about how I am going to spend my next ten years. I can live in the present. I can take one day at a time. I am not old enough to stop making mistakes and fear getting hurt. I can never be old enough. What am I, like, 21? I’ve got a place to stay, food to eat, a family to call my own. And I’ve never remained without a friend in my life. Who am I kidding, I have everything one needs to live. Everything.”

Now, that’s my girl! See why I like her so much? She always comes back. I can see her smile. Hell, I can feel her smile. And now that she has saved the Word Doc and cranked up the volume, I can finally feel that I have got my best friend back. Phew! Oh, oh! She’s opened my favorite folder! The photographs! She must have wanted to thank these beautiful people in her life who have brought her back, yet again. I feel so good, watching her like this. She smiles every time she remembers a story about her friends and family as their pictures come. Perhaps it’s my cue; she’d be here for a while. She’s happy, what else do I need? She doesn’t need me; time to go! Or… Not. That was pretty quick. She’s done with the folder, already? I watch her as she walks towards her bedroom. My heart quickens its beat. May be…may be she wants to talk to me. I wait for her with my eyes full of dreams and heart full of hope. She comes and sits in front of the mirror. She looks at me. She smiles at me. And right at the moment when I begin to smile back at her, she cuts my throat with a knife.

Of Mirrors, Beds & Curtains


I twisted my head to the right as I observed the 9 year old boy in front of me do the same. But he seemed to do it towards his left. I remembered what we had learned in science class yesterday- our images in the mirror display left and right in reverse to our relative movements. The mirror was rectangular in shape, the long length ensuring the mirror’s longevity with my growing age. This made we wonder, why doesn’t the mirror perceive top and bottom in the reverse directions? Why doesn’t my reflection get smaller as my body gets bigger? I noted that down as a possible question I can ask the teacher tomorrow. In the mirror, I could see two other people behind me. They were discussing whether to buy furniture made of teak wood or medium density fiber board. ‘Teak wood’ I could speak in a flutter, but it was difficult to learn the other word; I always end up messing its letters. I know their correct positioning in my mind, but whenever I intend to speak it, they somehow jumble with each other. Father says it will get better with time, but mother is always worried about me. But then again, I’ve begun to realize that she is a worried soul in general. The other day I overheard her crying on the phone. I didn’t want to overhear the conversation, but some of the words just fell on my ear as I passed by. She was telling the other person that a particular ‘he’ has not responded well to the treatment, and that she sometimes worries whether things will ever improve. I wonder who she was talking about. I wonder about a lot of things, it’s like my brain has a life of its own. Things go around it in circles and circles, sometimes only breaking to form bigger circles. But within these circles, lies an effortless clarity of thoughts. It is as if the complexities form a network of the most simplified shapes and sizes. I’ve tried explaining it to the teacher and sometimes also to my father. But like with other things, I can’t really describe my thoughts as I perceive them. I looked at my notepad, mother made sure I wrote a lot of things in it. I had written on it a reminder to ask the teacher the mirror question. I looked back into the mirror; my parents seemed to have made a decision. I couldn’t help but admire the ease with which they could argue over such an insignificant matter. Didn’t they care that their image in the mirror performs differently on the vertical and horizontal axis? I think it was because they had already figured out these onerous questions, and hence were now worrying about the more trivial aspects of life. I hope one day I become as knowledgeable as they are, and then use this intelligence to contemplate the colour of my new sofa. I looked at father and wondered if I should just ask him the question right now. After careful thinking, I decided against it. He always encouraged me to think for myself, and I knew he would ask me to do the same now. He doesn’t understand that I can’t figure out everything as he can, and the curiosity of waiting just kills me. But if I mention my impatience to him, he will stress even so more on asking the teacher. No wonder the teacher pays extra attention to me in the class, I’m sure mother and father put her upto it.  My eyes shifted their view to the wooden bed that lay beside the mirror. It was a simple box of wood with nothing but black straight lines to beautify it. It wasn’t flashy, but I like it when things are ordinary. Also it cost less, way lesser than the beds mother had chosen for me. They didn’t appreciate my choice, but like always, they let me buy it anyway. It wasn’t the simple design that troubled them; they were instead against my choice of the bed size. I wanted the queen size, the one that’s meant for one person to sleep alone. They wanted me to get the king size, so that I can eventually share my bed if I have to. But I don’t need someone to share my bed with me. For every sleepless night I’ve spent in my old bed, I’ve also had one where I had a wonderful dream. And I couldn’t explain it to them, but I don’t intend on sharing these dreams. Like father always says, I have to be able to do things on my own. It is how we face our fears and shape our challenges that define the person we see in the mirror. I don’t want mine to have a looming shadow over it. I want my mirror-image to be the reflection of who I am. The worries of my mother, the ideologies of my father and the supervision of my teacher need not be reflected alongside me. Father and mother had now moved to the curtains section, and I knew this was my window of opportunity. I took out the pen from my pocket and starting writing, on the bottom-left corner of the bed, my right to its possession. The new wood was tough to scratch through, but I managed a neat job. The bottom-left corner of the bed now read- “MY DEB”. I smiled at the perfection of my work. I put the pen back into my pocket and proceeded towards the curtains section. I had to make sure I get curtains that have straight lines on them.

– Tushant Juneja

When we help people, we do not necessarily make it easy for them. Because while we are simply helping them cross a road, they are lowering their ego and hurting their self respect by accepting their need for help. So remember, sometimes their acceptance is their thank you.