A heaviness falls on my chest as I hear him say the words again, for the umpteenth time today.
“Stay.” He begs, with a pleading voice.
“I can’t, not anymore.” I say, with an icy chill in my voice that puts him over the edge as his eyes go small and his face falls. I wrap my arms around his frame one last time and as I wait for his arms to find their way onto my back, I can’t help but contemplate staying for a little long. But I don’t wait. I don’t wait for him to hug me back and I walk away.
There are days when I hear those words ringing in my mind in a litany, when nothing else makes sense. There are days when I hear those words ringing in my mind on loop, where everything seems to have fallen into the background, like a motley of colours splashed on a canvas haphazardly. On either one of those days, I wish that you were here, to calm my ocean down and tell me that it will all be okay. The truth might be far from it, but just this once, I might actually believe you.
I have been keeping this under wraps for long, in fear that once these words roll off my tongue, it just might be real. There is no going back after that. It takes only one to fall in love and I just might be the testimony to that, just like it takes only one person to wreak havoc and orchestrate loss. There is definitely an odd comfort that comes with being in the company of strangers; where no one knows you, knows your truth, the scars under your sleeves or the voices screaming inside your head while you walk with calm and staccato in your steps.You were not Hawkins’ Jason and I could never be Jess. I don’t know exactly which moment or date I transcended from Rachel to Jess, or if I ever did. I watched you from a distance each day, in groups or by yourself and at that moment I could only ever think of you as a magnificent piece of art I wanted to claim as mine. I talked to you as though I had not observed every little detail of yours and how you turned my apathy into something I did not know. As the distance reduced to endless talking all day on the phone, I realised you were not what I had expected you to be. What a fool of myself I have made, thinking that my imagination could trod over into reality and gain life.
We were thin glass, you and I – fragile yet iridescent. This is the only thread of similarity running between us.
Running away was easier, holding your heart in mine and listening to your heartbeat could never be easy. I am Frangipane’s muse and you’re the boy from the garden state. A catastrophe underway, grenades in hand. When I left, I took the grenades away and blew it up on me.