He is No More…
He is no more… | Flash Fiction
She was still lazing around and thinking about what to prepare for breakfast and at the same time cursing Mumbai monsoons under her breath.
‘What is Mumbai during monsoon without the rains! This humidity is so irritating and takes away any feeling, if there was any, to romanticize the Mumbai rains.’
She knew it wasn’t the rains or the lack of it that was agitating her. It was his last question before departing that had irked her. Enraged would be more appropriate. But a couple of weeks had passed since then and she kept telling herself that she had moved on from that conversation and it wasn’t bothering her at all.
In reality, she kept going back to that question again and again. At times consciously other times not.
The humidity was too sapping for her and robbed her of any mood to cook anything for breakfast. She was already feeling tired even before the day began. She resigned for a couple of whole wheat bread slices and a little butter.
‘I read the last couple of his so-called fictional posts and I felt they struck a chord with the female psyche. I am not sure about others but I could definitely relate to it a lot. The next time we speak or chat, if ever that is going to happen, I am surely suggesting that he write something about a 30-year-old bachelorette. More often than not he strays towards the married kind, usually the ones who are much older than him.’
‘Maybe he is connected to a lot of them and that helped him write about them or maybe he finds it easy to project his perspective or maybe these are not fictional and he actually puts out the conversations. Who knows what’s the truth…all I know is no matter how much I hate him but I do like these abstract random musings of his.’
‘Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had their 2 am buddy! But sadly too much would be read into it. It wouldn’t be that easy for the married ones – at times the bandages that are holding some of them together would simply come off.
And…She found herself thinking about him during her ‘me’ time. Again.
‘In that ‘the mountain and the tea’ writeup he talked about the morning tea time as her ‘me’ time. My ‘me’ time too is the morning time, when no one is around. When I can have my breakfast and tea in peace. He should write about the younger lot too. They too have similar insecurities and fears. They too have thoughts. They too have ‘me’ times. Maybe he doesn’t get to interact with them that much. Baldness definitely puts one into that ‘uncle’ category.’
She started to put butter on a slice. And kept playing hide and seek with her thoughts.
‘Knowing him for the past 6 months, chatting with him for so long, how can my instincts be wrong? Or maybe they aren’t wrong. Maybe I am in a state of denial after the recent heartbreak. Why is love and heartbreak and pain and all that chaos so terribly intertwined?’
‘I am sure if there was any malice in his heart I would have sensed it. But then I have also been fooled in the past’, she continued wrestling with her thoughts amidst the humidity and was yet to finish buttering even a single slice.
‘He has been a kind and considerate friend. In fact a good one at times. He has been there on most days when I needed him as a well-acquainted friend. I have to trust my intellect, my emotions, the vibes I get, and the energy he exudes. I have to.’
‘I can’t let him continue like this. What if he develops feelings for me? I am not ready at all. I don’t want to be ready ever. I don’t want to be in any relationship now. Ever. What if these casual chats ferment into more serious ones and I end up with feelings for him at a later stage? Why does everything or everyone whom I love be taken away from me? Or is it with everyone? Shall I give him a chance? Shall I give myself a chance? I can’t. I can’t’, she closed her eyes and ended up saying the last two words out loud.
She immediately opened her eyes to check if her flatmate or the PG aunty was around or not. She felt a sigh of relief – she wasn’t ready for another round of questioning.
‘I was the one who asked him not to stop talking to me. I have previously lost two good friends when they suddenly stopped talking to me after their confessions. I can’t let it happen with him. But now I have only told him I will never speak to him. What is happening? What is so wrong with me? Why do I end up hurting people? I have hurt so many. And now, him too!’
‘He is interesting. He knows how to take a conversation forward. He knows how to compliment a woman –- your mystique is intriguing’, she found herself slightly blushing as she remembered his compliment. In fact, she had to use a dictionary.
‘But his conversations often hint about suicide. What if he is troubled? He has shared some of them with me. What if he is faking them…he is a decent storyteller. But what if he actually takes that path’, she shuddered at the mere thought of him being no more.
‘At times his conversations make me uncomfortable and things awkward. I don’t know how to react to them. But this time he crossed the threshold. Maybe he didn’t intend to hurt. But then why did he ask about that? Hasn’t anyone told him that it is inappropriate to ask something like that? Or was it our ongoing conversation that led him or misled him? He should have known that I would not like it at all. I hate it. Why did he do it? He spoiled something which was prospering into a decent friendship. His question has hurt me.’
She could sense a sudden rage grappling her. She felt like holding him by the collar and slapping him hard. She felt as if she was choking and feeling breathless. The bread slices felt like a cactus plant. She knew she had to ask him if he wanted to say something.
‘This quietness is even more suffocating. He should be aware by now that I ain’t going to reach out to him. But why can’t he? He should have messaged me by now. He should have apologized.’
She was getting angry, disappointed, irritated, frustrated and at the same time bemused. She was bemused as she remembered his words where he always prophesied something like this happening to them – ‘If I can make anyone like me, I surely can make them hate me.’ The mere thought of his words repeating this and her imagining this scene helped her quieten her vexation.
She took out her phone from her pocket and messaged him – You want to say something?
But she wasn’t prepared for the response she received.
‘Hi! This is his sister.
I apologize on his behalf if he caused you any discomfort.
He is no more…’
For all those who have had suicidal thoughts,
For all those who struggle with mental health issues,
For all those who want someone to reach out,
For all those who want to reach out to someone…
It’s not a goodbye
But it’s a GOOD BYE
October 10th was World Mental Health Day. Please reach out to those whom you feel are showing signs of mental health issues. Even if you can’t help me at least guide them in the right direction and even if you can’t do that, don’t make a mockery of such feelings when they finally decide to open up.
Reach out. Seek out. Seek within. And hopefully don’t give up.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul