Move on, chanted a friend. Holding on will only send you packing into the doldrums, sneered another. Honestly, you don’t wish to move on and are happy being unhappy, reproached a third. Mridul knew they meant well; they wanted him to clamber up the wells of despondency, to let go and move on. But how could they assume he was happily dwelling in an abode of perpetual pain? Did they undeniably believe he revelled in the funeral chimes of misery ringing about him? He was unhappy, couldn’t they see it, and not overtly pleased about it? It was not rosy to live a life where distress prevailed, not pleasing to wake up dizzy from a daze that sleep had morphed into. Mridul wished for normalcy, yet he was, undeniably, terrified of moving on, of erasing it all, the time that was, the life that was. He was, consciously and subconsciously, holding onto a past that should have been his present, his future, and his permanence; there had been no alternative and there is no alternative.
He must stay put. If the winds were to change direction, if the tempest were to end, if the storm clouds were to give way to clear blue skies, he should be on the sea and not shored up, even if that meant drowning oneself in the ranging storm, submitting to the rough waves, that crashed upon his soul, braving the raging wind, that tattered his sails.
I will be found, the memories will keep me afloat, torn but alive, until I am found and restored, Mridul resolved. I shall be found, shan’t I? He was convincingly uncertain. Faith, faith, he screams at his baffled heart and unbelieving mind. How could permanence end?
No forewarning, no squabble, no hint, only an abrupt end, a single irrevocable conversation that ended a love that Mridul assumed was irreversible. Had the love ended, was it not strong enough to keep them afloat? Mridul keeps questioning, dissecting, ruminating for the imponderable answers, losing his senses, his abilities in the vortex of despair thus. Should he have read the signs? But there were none. Should he separate the days that were for any change, trivial or not? Mridul knew his shortcomings, his failures, and his indispositions, and loved the impermeable truth that he was loved heedlessly despite his afflictions. It was not, he has learnt now. A shabby veil of truth was strewn around his weak shoulders, not impervious to the fury of life, real and raw.
Mridul had always been solitary, correcting everybody who ignorantly christened his solitude loneliness; he cherished conversations with his own self, and preferred a quiet walk alone, his own unscathed thoughts keeping him company, until love found him and left him bruised soon after. Now he treads upon familiar territories lonely, a mind turbulent, detesting the company of his tempestuous thoughts. He cries behind a smile, loses the strand of a conversation, nods mechanically, goes about restless but hides it behind a facade of quietude. They do not know, they think he is at peace wrapped up in his solitude. The ones who know are tired of his repetitiveness. Come out already from the vicious cycle, they shout. He chooses to keep his thoughts to himself, walks through the shadowy lanes silently screaming, clenching his fists, mistrustful, angered, terrified, hurt, trying hard not to dwell on the past but fails miserably.
A song, a familiar word, a photograph takes him spiralling back to the time that was. The voice, the cadence, the idiosyncrasies, the smell, the touch are embedded inside Mridul’s head. He invariably slips into the trenches of his memories, smiling at the time they had and is suddenly saddened that the memories can never be recreated.
The last conversation. The opaque look. The resolute eyes. The voice echoing conviction.
I had to do this as an act of self-preservation. I loved you no less and will always.
But the love we shared was not strong enough to keep us together. He wanted to fight for them, for the affection they shared, but he was no David against the Goliath of life.
Succumbing, hiding, faithless, weary he slowly gathers the despicable pile of bricks scattered around him to rebuild the fortress that guarded him once. But the bricks are broken and chipped, and the cracks will always reveal the scared and scarred heart within.
Image Credit : Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels