The strain remained, refusing to vanish like a particularly hard-to-dislodge guava seed in my tooth. Pain. Strain. Remain. I played with the words in my head, as though the rhyme would resound laughter amidst the bleakness of a lost battle.
The texts had tumbled, like the slip of a juggler’s hands. Only that the balls now were fired rapidly back at me. I lit the fire and I burnt in it. Every time.
His text would creep in tomorrow, day after. A reminder of the mess. Of what was lost and gone. I’d be forced to put forth another attempt at war but my armoury would be tucked safely under the bed and I’d perhaps be sleeping when his text arrives.
Unwelcome. Unnecessary. A belated ointment for an old wound. A half-hearted rush of concern to make up for the delay in response, as the air would stink of thick, sweaty drops of apology. A stench that we seemed to carry every time we met.
He’d try to plaster the walls he broke and stitch the open wounds, wounds that he opened, sometimes with an intricate compass, other times with a carefully misplaced scythe.
Hatred would gush and love would bubble. I’d multiply the bubbles and send it his way, quick pecks on his indifferent cheeks: Kindness measured, so it’s not too much or too less but just right lest he rejects it for its overwhelming nature.
I’d swallow the hatred and reopen my old wounds, using only scythes with no place for compasses. Scythes he’s given me from unforgettable memories of being pushed into an abyss, always willing to jump, but never wishing for it.
He’s throw tidbits with the air of a man who throws pellets of puffed rice to the desperate fish at sea- waiting, wanting, willing, wishing- and walk away huffily with a puffed up chest, his generosity impressing himself. The sour taste of battle blood would sink my palette into pain and the strain would remain.
Copyright © Roshni Ramanan