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Every time I think of you, I have to remind myself that if you wanted to talk to me, you would.” – Unknown

She looked down at him and wiped away the tears. His nose was running and he was crying uncontrollably just like kids who don’t know why they’re crying but just love the sound of themselves bawling, I guess. Her heart ached for him and he ached for his mother. He outstretched his arms because he knew she would lead him to his mother. She silently took him up in her arms, his pants stinking from wetting himself. It didn’t seem to matter to her. Him against her chest and holding onto her made her feel loved if at least for a short while. She thought of a future she had envisioned once which now seemed so bleak and more of a fantasy really and this little boy in her arms made her feel so much more alive if not anything else. His crying seemed to stop as she swooped him up in her arms. It’s as though he knew that she would protect him from the evils of the world and direct him towards his mother, or so she would like to believe.

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She finally tracked down his mother who was busy sweeping in the other block and he leaped into her arms. She stared at the union of mother and son and there was this strange emotion she felt which she couldn’t explain, really. It was a feeling of happiness and pain and jealousy all put together. She wasn’t sure who she envied more, the mother or the child. She just felt strange.

She walked into the bus and to her surprise, he had saved her a seat where she loved to sit and he said, “Aap yahan pe bayt jaon.” (Please sit here) She looked at him with the most genuine amount of love she could ever have for a ten year old and said “Thanks.” He blushed a little and turned away and she silently wiped away the tears which were forming at the corner of eyes. Could he read her loneliness? Is that why he saved her a seat? She felt full to the brim and empty all the same time and she cried a little, looking out the window. It is over. There is no turning back. She knew the answer all along but she wanted to stick through it for love, for companionship and for sheer happiness. It is over. Things will never be the same again. Such a mess. She blinked away the tears and she waited for the ache in her chest to stop. Fat chance. The ache is here to stay.

She reached home, walked through ankle deep water, barefoot to get to her apartment and she hit her foot against a stone. The physical pain awoke her from her emotional pain and she waited for the feeling to pass. No tears. No more tears left to cry. No more pain left to feel. No more drama left to be enacted. It is over.

She did everything like a mechanical person. She still didn’t feel better. She ordered pizza and listened to sad songs thinking about every one of them relating to her. Still no tears. No hysterics. No drama. She’s in control. She had some Old Monk with it and then she begins to talk to no one in particular but she is glad to have a similar audience. She talks and she listens and then she talks and then she listens. Pizza and Old Monk and just the right amount of blues. They both share and withdraw. They both know what each other is going through and also know that time is the cure. Hypocrites, she thinks. Time does nothing but make it worse. She knows with experience.

They retire to their rooms and she switches on her laptop to type out her blues. Still no tears. Maybe there’s nothing coming. Maybe there’s a dam waiting to overflow. She just waits it out patiently. She dreads sleep because sleep brings dreams and dreams bring memories. The monsoons don’t help. Life is tough. She’ll get through it on her own, just as she knows she will. Love is a gamble. She totally gets it. Enough. Silence eludes the room. The sound of her typing also stops.

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