"You are supposed to be broken Anisha.. How are you so calm?" Shalini looked at me inquisitively.
I looked at her and smiled. I had known Shalini for nearly as long as I can remember and she had stood by me during the worst of times. I had fallen into and out of relationships several times in the past and even Shalini had, but then each time is a different time!
"Sally", I said quixotically, "Am I required to feel something?"
"No dude. But atleast you are supposed to cry it out and let go- once and for all", she said almost ordering me in a funny way to feel bad.
"Sally, first stop saying "Supposed to" like it were a part of some unwritten post-breakup bible. And secondly, I don't know why or how, but I can't feel a thing. I know it is strange, but that is how it is" I said emphasizing on the last few words of my sentence.
"Anisha, will you atleast think of some way out? I mean he has to give you an explanation. He owes you one, big time! That ....." Shalini said angrily more than anything.
"Language Shalini!", I howled, "He is a nice guy" I replied without even thinking of him.
"Stop defending him, will you? What you both are doing is not right. Atleast you of all the people don't deserve it!" she said with imploring eyes.
"I am not defending him, Sal. I am telling you the truth. He was the best guy I could ever find. Everything about us was perfect, except my fate and my destiny perhaps", I said not even philosophical or contemplative.
"Anu, you gotta stop being so harsh on yourself", Shalini said and looked me, expressionless.
"Shalini Madam, if you haven't noticed, I have never been more happier in my life. I am not being harsh on anyone. I just want to be alone and happy in my own place, so thank you very much" I replied grinning.
"Don't you even feel an iota bit of anguish in your heart? Atleast one bit? I mean it must be piercing you somewhere still right?", she said out of concern.
I carefully considered Shalin's words for she knew everything about me. She had consoled me when I sobbed over wasteful, failed emotions in the past. But, it was different this time. I didn't feel anything. The more I dwelt into my deeply seated emotions, the more they evaded me. I felt a cold disconnection from my own heart at once. As I took time to come up with a reply, Shalini continued to stare at me.
"I think I'll have another glass of Whiskey" I said totally out of context and signaled to the usher for the same.
"Anu, why are you doing this?" she asked authoritatively. Shalini was more than just a mere friend, she was almost my sibling and a god-sister and we spent an unhealthy amount of time with each other.
"Doing what Shalini?" I asked, eagerly awaiting for the waiter to act quickly on his charade.
"You know...Acting distant and cold..What should I call it? Yes.. Why are you living in denial?" she said.
"Listen Sally, I am neither delusional nor in denial. I do admit the time I spent speaking to him and being with him was the best time of my life and I would do the same a hundred times more even if I ended up with the same result. He was perfect, I was not and that clearly was the problem. You can't mend broken things. I admit I was fractured initially, but I have every right at happiness, don't I?" I said and was suddenly reminded of him. Me and him. Us.
When we first met, he was nursing a bruised heart, just like I was and that clearly was the reason we hit it off without any second thought. Everything was going great and then cracks started to appear when I flew of the handle and acted irrationally, without even thinking twice about my actions. That made him drift away from me and by the time I realized, I had lost him.
Suppressing memories, I spoke again,
"You know Shalini. There is always some person waiting for you someplace else, even when you think you have no use living a wretched life anymore. That person we oft end up ignoring and superseding them with someone else. They say, people come and go into our lives. Its not true. They never leave. You just learn to repress thoughts of them from surfacing" I said mixing Sigmund Freud and Slyvia Plath.
"But, how can you not feel anything? I mean a lack of emotion at the time of trauma may manifest later into severe emotional distraught", she said elevating the importance of emotion and being.
"Look Sal, I have to tell you this. Our relationship was wonderful, I must have told it to you a several times. I was always happy in keeping in him happy, for that's what mattered. However, at times, we were pretty turbulent and then it became more ironical than a cigarette kiosk outside a cancer hospital!" I said.
"I am not sure I follow your allegory" Shalini said and looked at me with distate.
I laughed and replied again "People enter relationships, not for the sake of sex or to socially flaunt their arm candy-better halves, they seek happiness. I realized I was defeating this very purpose when I started hurting him and stealing away his happiness. If I had to choose between letting him go, watch him being happy or cling onto him and keep him unhappy, I'd choose the former, any day. Who cares if he isn't with me. His being happy is the only thing that matters and I can't dictate his unhappiness, can I?" I looked lost for words.
"Anisha, don't you feel some kind of resentment?" Shalini asked and the waiter arrived at the table.
"Neither of us were looking for a relationship when we first met, it happened by chance. I wasn't thankful then, so I don't deserve to complain now! As I told you, I have outgrown the immobility of emotions and realized there is more to life than just all this plaintive b.s." I said, for the first time feeling some vague regret.
"Are you that broken Anisha?" she asked. Ah, friends. You can't fake emotions infront of two people - your mother and your bestfriend, they know you like a street smart kid knows his street.
"Shalini, I am not broken. I am not that great or unique, people get a worse deal than I have and still they yearn and progress to find happiness. It doesn't deter them one bit from becoming what they want to. And in the case of him, all I wish is happiness. His eternal happiness. I don't want to speak to him and hurt him further. I want to watch from a distance and see him evolve into a better person" I said meaning every word of it.
"I don't know what to say" Shalini said looking sad.
"Cheerup! Wow, you were supposed to be the shoulder I should've cried on and now I am cheering you up!" I said, smiling.
"I really am perplexed at the way you are taking the whole thing.." Shalini said.
"I know, it is like that. All I pray for is his happiness and success for him. The day he does what he always wanted to do, I'll be the happiest for him. Happiness doesn't lie holding on, it lies in letting go and that is what I intend to do" I said and thought about his child-like smile and his magnetic eyes.
"Will you love again?" she asked with a sudden childish curiosity.
"Yes. Of course, I will love again. Just because you fall and scrape your knee once, doesn't mean you stop walking. Life doesn't come with a set of rules, it is like freestyle existence and you lay your own fate as you continue to walk along the road." I said
"Will you able to give yourself so much to someone like you did?" she asked.
"Ah, Shalu, stop being so poetic about my breakup. Shit happens. And frankly, to answer your question, I really don't know. No matter how obstinate the world is, we all need a bit of love. Crazy, weird love. And I guess I am progressing towards being reborn." I said thinking about writing something.
"What do you plan to do next?" she asked
"I don't know, I can't figure out. I want to write about him, but I know he'll get angry. He is not the villain in the story, he is infact the angel who gave me a chance. So I guess, I will wait.."
"Wait for what?" she asked curtly
"I am learning loneliness and learning from loneliness. I am waiting.. Waiting so that he finds happiness and I find mine" I said and sipped the golden colored liquid, smiling.