Zombie | #AtoZChallenge

You are recounting more tales of your philandering. I stop listening after story number three. You are oblivious to the fact that I am hurting. That I still think of you and me as us, in spite of what I did, and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary you’re serving, story by story. Are you being deliberately hurtful, or just painfully insensitive?

*

It was our first official date. We were still tiptoeing around each other, like it was a dance, anticipating the other’s move, responding accordingly. At one point, you turned away. I leaned back, slightly tipsy, and I touched your elbow. And just like I knew you would, you kissed me. That was our first kiss.

*

After our first fight, we couldn’t stay angry at each other.  We kept apologizing, the argument then turning to how it was not the other person’s fault. Then we laughed with relief and fell silent. Until, we were both conscious of how heavy it was. It doesn’t matter if it was you who leaned in first or I. But I think of that too as a first kiss – a second first kiss.

*

It is different now. I’ve stopped listening, but I’m searching. Searching for a sign of that love in your eyes. I find a graveyard there – dead love, dead dreams. The words were yours; the crown of glory you were placing on your head with these shallow tales was yours. But the life, the joy you pretended to have was not.

We decide to take a walk. Through the old lanes, where each corner held something of us, the place I refused to return to after what happened. You point out familiar landmarks, as the fallen leaves get crushed under my shoes. We reach the spot where you park your car and I look in; there’s a flask on the dashboard. You’ve changed the brand of car freshener you use. I don’t know what your car smells like now. The passenger seat will always be filled by someone who isn’t me.

You ask if I have to leave in a tone that suggests you want me to stay.

I look up, taken aback, gauging the amount of sincerity in your question, and finding none. You misread my silence, and lean in before I can stop you. I realize even in that moment how forced it felt from your part, like you were fulfilling something. But I don’t realize it until you move away that I didn’t return your kiss. I don’t realize it until then that only half of me is present, the rest is numb.

Maybe we did this to each other. And maybe there won’t be any more first kisses for us. Because this feels like the last one.

 


 

Hi everyone! This is the last installment of the minimalist fiction project I’ve been working on all this month during the #AtoZChallenge. The story was shared in snippets, and the events occurred non-sequentially. I’m grateful to you for staying with me from A to Z. If you’ve missed any posts, you can find them all here

Z

XIX | #AtoZChallenge

It was impossible to ignore the grace with which she danced. Later that evening, we sat together and compared our music playlists, and talked about the songs we both loved, which were many. But the dance or the music isn’t why she had caught my attention.

She had three scars on her arm, just below her wrist. Possibly from a history of being a cutter. You know who else had marks exactly like that? Of course you do.

*

Did you know that you laughed in two different ways – one, short, harsh, rough, like a bark, if you were tolerating someone, if they weren’t particularly funny but you wanted to indulge them nevertheless; and another – intimate, soft, a laugh that embraced the person it was directed at. 

Having been on the receiving end of both, I had an inkling of what she meant to you when the tone you used with her was the tone you once used with me, and you laughed with her in that gentle way. It wasn’t that she called you at eight in the morning that ticked me off. It wasn’t even the tone or laughter. It wasn’t the number of minutes you spoke. It wasn’t that one kiss you gave her over the phone, that you tried to brush aside as a joke because you knew I was listening. It wasn’t the three completely random facts about her you told me to avoid answering my one question about who she was to you. 

It was the one question that she asked you, and while I only heard your end of the conversation, I knew right at that moment that there was more to the story than you wanted me to know. 

I thought of all the friends I’d had over the years. None of them ever cared about whether or not I had breakfast, and if yes, what I had. The right to ask that question is a privilege we give to few. When she asked you, I realized the lies had probably begun a long time before I even noticed.

*

The dancer I met had scars that reminded me of her. When I looked closely, she even looked quite a bit like her – the same jet black hair, the same height. And each time a song came on that made the two of us squeal in joy, I wondered if she had been with you on the night you died.


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

X

PS: The numbers in bold add up to 19 (XIX). Also, the first line of the song is: This song is not for the living | This song is for the dead.

Sedated | #AtoZChallenge

When the numbness takes over, I find myself sitting in room after room with only clocks for company.

I never think about it, but I never let myself forget.

We died. We are no more. We went up in flames.

Never you. We.

It hurts less that way.

It tears me up from within and turns me inside out.

But it hurts less that way.

 


 

Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

S

Alternative titles: Anesthetize. I also considered Stay High, but it’s a different genre and doesn’t fit in with the theme.

New Day | #AtoZChallenge

Engulfed. That’s how I felt during those first few days. By the toxic fumes of what was left of us.

I’d go to sleep with my breath and unshed tears getting caught in my chest like a tumor.
I’d wake up and you’d be my first thought even before my eyes opened to face the dawn, and the pain would press down on me like I was drowning.

I couldn’t throw my thoughts into a suitcase and throw them away like I did with so many of my things when I couldn’t bear to see them.

The ticket stubsA receipt from that one time we got matching toothbrushes. The sunglasses I bought because you recommended them.

Sunshine. How do you escape sunshine?
Do you know it falls differently during different times of the day? It’s golden yellow around 2 PM, bends around buildings, and alters your shadow. After what happened, the 2 PM sun turned into an enemy I couldn’t bear to look at, one that reminded me of all the times we met at that time, one that made me angry, one that made me scream.

Everything made me scream.

There were days I wished I could scream with more than just my throat and lungs. I wished I could scream with my hands and the tips of my toes. I wished my skin could scream and shed and erase every last trace of you. I wished I could stop wanting to see you at every corner I turned in the street. I wished I didn’t break down in to tears all the time when I thought of you. I wished the day turned to night at 2 PM and I didn’t have to face that shade of gold that carried your name. I wished my heart would just explode and kill me, instead of letting me carry on and suffer.

I wished I wished I wished.

Then one day you weren’t my last thought before falling asleep. Another day, you weren’t the first when I woke up. The sun was still my enemy, the tears still came uninvited. And yet, with each new day, it hurt a little less and a little less.

I was guilty that I didn’t think of you that often.
I was relieved that I didn’t think of you that often.

It hasn’t stopped hurting. It may never stop hurting, and on days like this when I write about it, it returns like that first day.

But time goes on, and blood eventually stops burning.


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

N

Make This Go On Forever | #AtoZChallenge

It’s on nights like these. When dinner’s accompanied by laughter and wine. When I’m the one laughing the loudest, and sharing the most number of stories. When they tell me all eyes are on me. When I know all eyes are on me.

It’s on nights like these that I force myself to remember. To hold on with the last broken string. To never let go of what’s already gone.

Self-destruction comes on so many wings. It enters through that brief moment of silence.

In little ways I remind myself you’re gone.
In little ways I keep you alive in me.

 


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

M

This post was originally titled My Immortal but I heard this song yesterday and knew no other song could be more apt for this series than this one. The lyrics gave me goosebumps!

 

 

Like A Stone | #AtoZChallenge

Often, I can accurately remember which year a particular event occurred, and if my brain’s feeling particularly sharp, even which month. An annoying habit that I can’t help. Or useful, if that’s what you’re going for.

It’s easy when every year has an identifier. A highlight. In childhood, it was the year I learnt to sing or the year I learnt the alphabet.

It’s when the years blur into one that my mind refuses to tell the timelines apart. Did the trip to the beach happen this year or the one before? Did Kate’s wedding take place two years ago or four?

You could say I’m on a train, one of those super-fast ones, and I’m sitting in my sea of calm. The scenery and the landscape constantly change, but I don’t move. And somewhere, many miles later, it dawns on me, the knowledge of lost time. The wasted moments.

Has it been like that for you?

I wake up to a text from you. All those lost days, all that time, all of it, comes crashing down to the tips of my fingers in one instant. In my haste, I’m unsure of what comes pouring out – so much of what I’d held back during these blurred timelines. The long lonely months dissolve, as I’m back in the moment where we were, where the nightmares hadn’t begun. I expect the same from you.

Mistakenly. Prematurely.

I learn it hasn’t been like that for you at all. I try to recollect, once again, how much time has passed. It seems longer and shorter when time is a dull band. When you want to count time by moments and can’t recollect any – time seems to have rushed past you, and at the same time it hasn’t moved at all. I think of the moving train again, how I absentmindedly noted day changing to night. Flashes of grey stars behind night-lacquered leaves make fleeting appearances in my mind.

I have been still this whole time. The world has been moving on.

And you have turned into someone I don’t recognize anymore.

 


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

L

Alternative title I considered: Late Goodbye

A version of post was shared on my Instagram page a while back.

Call Me When You’re Sober | #AtoZChallenge

It’s a dingy room with a low ceiling that your head could bump into if you weren’t careful. The smell of soot covered every inch of the house, every crack in the red lacquered floor and every cobweb in the corners. You forgot about it, until it nudged you as the steam rose from the large pot where Grandma brewed tea all day long. Another thing snapped you back to attention in this old house, with its old soul and old soot – the cats. Constantly forming figure eights between your ankles as you sat in a low chair sipping the stale tea.

 

I’m brought back to the present as I watch your ginger cat stretch languorously on his pillow. I want to approach him, pet him, but I hesitate. I’ve never had pets. You bring him over and place him in my lap. He seems comfortable as I stroke him. He purrs, which is a funny sound to my ears. A few moments later, I lift him up and walk around the room. It comes so naturally to me that I’m surprised. I see wonder in your eyes too.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Nothing,” you reply with a small shake of your head, “It’s just that he doesn’t let any of my other friends carry him around like that. Or even pet or stroke him, for that matter.”

You mean nothing by it, there’s nothing between the lines, nothing beneath the surface. You’re quite simply amazed by your cat’s behaviour, his liking towards me     someone who is not even a friend to you anymore. I wish it were more. I wish you would say that the cat sensed our history. It is foolish of me, I know. But I find myself wishing nevertheless. You say nothing of the sort. It does not cross your mind. Something else does, because you ask, “How come you’re not at work this morning?”

I look up, wondering if it’s a joke. You seem genuinely clueless. It stings.

“You texted me last night telling me to meet you in the morning. Don’t you remember?”

“I didn’t text you.” You pick up your phone and go through your texts. You see the text I’m referring to. I see shock wrap itself around you as you realize a mistake has been made.

“I’m sorry… I was… it was… I was drunk,” you fumble. It’s a lie. What you mean is, “That text wasn’t meant for you.

My cheeks grow hot even as my mind desperately tries to reconcile the man you’ve become and the man you used to be.

 


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

C