Friendship: All That's There to It

"There are so many things to do and memories to create, and yet I don't have much time. For you are leaving. Will you promise to come back again? Why are you silent? Stop walking! Wait! Stop!!"

Waking up with a gasp is something you'd normally want to avoid. You are tired. Your entire body aches, as if you have come back from a battle lost. You wish to sleep a little more but then the cocoon of sleep hides the sneer of a nightmare, a nightmare you had just witnessed. Your body wants to sleep, your mind wants to stay awake. And so the day begins - with a battle.

The color of the coffee reflects the thoughts inside your head - Clouded and dark. There are so many things to do and stuff to learn that at one point you wish to leave everything and hop on the next train to that place you've always wanted to go, but somehow postponed owing to the deadlines that roam around like a pack of wolves on a night where you can see nothing else but snow. And you're cold.

The warmth of the cup fails to break the numbness away. Something has died. Again.

The synchronised chaos of the traffic keeps you away from your past, albeit for a moment. But then you will again get free, even momentarily and the anger will seep out of you, even momentarily. A boat without oars in a storm, you float aimlessly throughout the day and come back home, a li'l dented but alive. Your body has given up, your mind wants to shut off, your thoughts lay far away from the pretentious messages waiting for you in the message box.

And then it rings.

In a room with no one else but open windows and the evening soothing breeze calmly swaying the curtains, you pick up the call. It's an old friend. See, the thing about an old friend isn't about the conversations which you may have to fathom. It's about reliving the same conversations over and over again. And instantly, the insanity of the entire day goes away and you are in this cocoon of old memories and laughter. How's that mutual friend doing, when is he getting married? what happened to his ex? Is she still that psychotic potato?

The subtle smile that lingers on your face is something that you treasure, just like that friend from miles away. You wish that person was nearer and not over the phone, so that you could hug that friend. You have been cheated, laughed and sneered upon by the ones you didn't expect it from. You have been alone in a city full of known faces and this one friend is bringing that home closer to you. 

When you're done with the call, you're smiling. You're smiling not because of that known voice who has shared your laughter and sadness, not because you are alone, but because that person gives you hope. And that hope surges from within like a volcano making its way up to the Earth, like a river crushing everything to find its ocean, like the stars shining bright to light up the path of a child feeling alone in the darkness. That friend is the wind that kisses your face everytime you have a sunset staring at you. And at that moment, that friend becomes your life. That's why you smile.

But We have Said Our Goodbyes

Another sun sets. The dusty city enshrouds me like a mother to her child after a long day. She tries to put me sleep, only failingly so. The steam rising from the Styrofoam cup dances with the dry wind, happy to have met her, just like I met you. And like the vapors losing their identity, their self into that wind, I lost myself in you the moment I laid my eyes on you. 

The way you smiled before you said Hi, before you said how much you missed me, before the promises, the fears, before that kiss, the one after and the one I last saw when we met for the last time, come gushing back at me. I am consumed by the sunset only to be reminded of your benign face and that stubborn lock of hair. 

The maddening crowd of this new city is warm, Sweetheart. But they fail, you know where? They fail miserably to give me the warmth your hug gave me. When I held you tight, when I buried my face deep in your shoulders, the warmth you gave me brought me home, something I never had. I miss that.

The smiles, the laughter, your thoughts, your hopes and your aspirations from life and the way you were so determined with your beliefs made me happy. Your insecurities and subdued-possessiveness and your confidence in me, the trust you failing had in me. I miss that.

But we have said our good-byes, there is not a moment I mourn. Another day draws to an end and I don't have my own. The twilight seems beautiful, but not as beautiful if you were here with me, savoring this cup of tea. But you don't like tea, or coffee, silly me! I miss that.

Not a single moment goes by without me thinking about trying to persuade you to come back, but then we have said our good-byes. It's hard to believe it's been so long and yet you are here with me, in my thoughts, running your beautiful, long fingers through my hair. Your perfect face, your perfect eyes, lips, smile, nose. I miss that.

I miss the mornings when I woke up with a smile on my face, knowing that there was this one person who was there for me. I miss the kiss, the hug, your voice over the phone, your questions and the hidden answers in them. But we have bid our good-byes, with you looking ahead while I am standing here with nothing else but my stillborn hope.

It's dark now and the tea's gone cold. Far away, the city runs frantically while up here on the roof, I see a progressively darkening sky.

Do you still look up in the sky when you think of me? Do you?
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Aurindam Mukherjee