The hot loo from outside kept the curtain alive. The world is going to end soon. Maybe in a month or two or ten, fifteen or fifty years. Every day the temperature has been increasing, and the monsoon clouds are nowhere to be seen. Just long breaths of tropical humidity keep the sweat flowing like waves of tsunamis. Time seemed constant in this weather. A minute feels like a century, and a second equals a zillion frustrating heaves of leap years. Her silhouette figure continued to count these fragments as the wall clock fell silent with each of her faint movements.

“Its too hot today”

I looked at the patches of grey on the moon and exclaimed, “its not going to rain tonight too.”

“Do you want to go over some lessons? We can always distract ourselves.”

“Pretty sure that studying in the dark won’t be a fruitful distraction”. She let out a small gush of air between her teeth. A pretension of attempting to laugh.

“True that. Maybe lets discuss about something?”

“Watch a movie? Or read a book?”

“There’s not much charge in my laptop.”

“What book were you reading that day? I saw you in the hall.”

“Oh. I haven’t finished it yet. Its ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath”

“Lets read that then. You do have a study lamp?”

“Yes. Its here somewhere. But I already read twelve chapters. Do you want to start from the beginning?”

“That’s okay. We’ll start from where you left. Its not some mystery novel.”

The idea of starting over a book irritates me. I know she began with the hope of going somewhere but she knows that it’s not going to take her where she wants. A familiar escape was enough to blanket her thoughts before she put the book away. Hence it has been a week since I saw her holding Plath through silent corridors. She couldn’t move on through this one too. That’s why she avoids the ending of every story or forgets it.

As her shadow juggled through the organized messiness of trampled feelings, looking for the book under faint light, I went up to get a torch for her. I’m not her light bearer but I know that now she needs it more than ever before it’s going to break down into glass fragments.

“Look under the bed. You always leave things there.”

“Found it. How’d you know?”

“Instinct.” I must not tell her that I know her too well. She’ll be trapped.

“It’s surprising how your instinct manages to save me at times.”

This needs no reply and a moment of silence before reality takes over since we both know we’re there but still not there yet.

“You go first. We’ll read alternate chapters.”


Words don’t need to have feelings at times. It just needs to exist as a reminder of our living souls. Just like how he’s reading right now. Ri is an amazing storyteller but even in the dark, I could say that he’s pretending to read. Like he’s been pretending for the last two weeks. Even though we know what happened I’m sure that he regards it as not belonging to his knowledge, and so do I. It’s not hard to forget when you imagine that it didn’t happen but it keeps knocking. This is not avoiding but simply moving on. What I hate is that he’s not being himself. Even though I’m not myself too but I can’t stand him being like that. I may not know how it feels but I know how it doesn’t feel. Yet I’m an optimist so I try to make him relive every moment. It’s pathetic how this space binds us but it doesn’t. Even when I ran my fingers through his hair we knew that we were just trying to make ourselves live a little better. There were not enough options and we both needed to acknowledge who we are irrespective of what we thought we’ll be or what we have become. He knows that life is a big rotten lie and that growing up is not as it seems. Nobody told us how it’d be and we both used to sleep like we’ll be living our dream. But the lie grew bigger and it became more pathetic to accept it. We imitated the people who would post reels on Instagram posing what success smells like. But we know that success is just a marketing term and its meaning has faded somewhere between our childhood dreams and irrevocable attempts to make things right.

As the shadows align themselves in the dark over two exhausted bodies, the wall clock knows that again she’ll be hiding him under her bed. It knows, no matter how many times she relives those moments of togetherness she’s never going to give up for his sake. It has been too long for her to fathom whether his existence is a lie or truth because she’s living like he used to.