It is four in the morning and you are sitting in front of your laptop staring at a blank document. Your idea was to write a blog post or a letter or some goddamned thing. But you cannot move a finger. In the past two months, you had got used to this. It pains you differently each day and it climbs up a notch with each passing day. This is not you. This is just a version of you; you tell to yourself. But you are not sure. You are not sure of who you are or who you were. The days just pass by like the compartments of freight trains which pass your place at night. You count them in the beginning, and then eventually you lose interest.
The past two months had been hard for you. But it is not wise to obsess over Murakami’s novels. True! His protagonists are exactly like you. Lonely and have a hard time expressing or acknowledging their feelings. But see what the obsession had done to you. You started reading a story called The Kidney shaped stone that moves every day and now you are here. It is a great short story. But you got to take the right things from a story. You lost your sleep thinking the girl who left you recently was one of the three girls who would have a real thing for you in your life.
The truth is she might have been. But it took a while for you to see it, didn’t it? Your girl was same as the girl in the story. She was a Libran and she needed balance. You are an Arian and you cannot stand status quo. Naturally, you liked her. But the trouble started when you started liking her too much. Nobody could blame anybody. It just happened like a caterpillar breaking his cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly. But you were one lazy caterpillar. She left you.
You tried to reason with her. But she didn’t give a chance. You started cutting down your social media and social connections. You wanted to be alone. That would make it less painful, you reasoned. But it didn’t. You were obsessing over her like now you obsess over this running Japanese novelist.
You buy a pair of running shoes and try to tire yourself with exercise. That doesn’t help. Your body which was so happy with inaction all these days doesn’t take the change kindly. After running four kilometers you are out of breath. You hail a shared auto to get back home. There is two college going youngsters so giddy in love with each other sit next to you. You want to throw them out. Instead, you throw yourself out of the auto. You swear to give up smoking. You try to get a positive body image but it doesn’t happen overnight. You blame your parents. You blame your teachers. You blame your childhood. You blame your social circle and your added responsibilities. You blame the government.
You try to patch up. Your friends are annoyed because you keep asking about her to them even when you have blocked her on facebook. They find that ridiculous. You try to casually walk past her office at her lunch hours or shift end. You try to write long letters but you are scared to post it to her. A mutual friend whom you consider your little sister, even when she didn’t agree, calls you and says that it is too little and too late. She had always sided with you since you have known her. There is no hope.
You don’t sleep at night and make the volunteer in suicide helpline hate his life with your long monologs. At the end of the call, he was as weepy as you are. Once you are on the call you feel better because you told a nice story which made him cry. You wake your sleeping brother by switching on the laptop and start typing gibberish in the name of a novel. You have already finished a novel but you couldn’t go back to edit it or rewrite it because you had modeled the entire story on her. People had liked the story. The character you modeled on her was loved by each and everyone who read the novel. Except her. She didn’t understand your subtleties.
In the middle, you are fine for, like a week. Then your moods become erratic. You shout at your mom. You lose a client who was giving you some money to sail through every month. Your silence and tone of voice indicate that you are suicidal and your co-workers start to avoid you. You start to lose temper with your clients and colleagues. You break down every time you hear a Behag, her favorite. Almost on cue, some serious avoiding shit starts to happen. The people who pinged you to have small talks start avoiding you. You are not invited for most of the parties. You start drinking. You get a black eye because of a brawl. Almost everyone asks you if you are Ok. They disappear before you can answer them.
You try to go out with other girls. It is all nice and cozy at first. You meet a girl in a chocolate shop. It was an ad hoc plan. You meet her on a weekday, grabbing a sandwich for lunch. She talks excitedly about Elon Musk and his idea to colonize Mars. You listen to her for fifteen minutes nodding at the appropriate places. At the back of your mind, you couldn’t stop thinking how the girl who left you would have enjoyed this place. You interrupt the girl you are with and launch a full blown soliloquy about how great the other girl was. After four hours of listening, the girl is still patient but the chocolate shop owner is not. You don’t want to stop talking about her so you walk with the girl who came to meet you. She bids goodbye to you after two hours, changes her number and probably trying to figure out a way to beat Elon Musk in Mars race.
You give the new novel you finished to one of your friends who reads a lot. “Your writing is potent,” she says. Such words go over your head. Later you learn she got admitted in hospital for kidney stones, malaria, and the dengue. The word potent slowly dawns on you. You delete the whole manuscript from your computer to avert an endemic. When she gathered enough strength she reluctantly accepts that the grammar sucked. The story wasn’t great either. You accept it with a smile. It breaks you in a million ways.
Ordering a bunch of roses for her birthday, when you knew you would be disturbing the inner balance you had achieved in one and half months was a wrong move. You were paranoid if she was out there enjoying herself on her special day without you for the first time in three years. You were paranoid whether she would throw away all the roses. And above all that you expected her to call you back. Thankfully the incident also showed how disorganized you have become. Whatever happened to the to-do lists? You didn’t want your name to be in the bouquet but you cannot let the delivery company know. You couldn’t call them because you forgot to pay your freaking mobile bill.
Thankfully your friend came in the evening to discuss a business plan with you (to whom you didn’t listen at all). He lent his phone to make the call to change the words in the greetings. You should have asked the person who picked the call to not write your name. But no, you acted cool and said you are anonymous. There is no real reason to be mad at the person who wrote “Happy Birthday – From Anonymous” in the greeting card.
Finally, the day arrives and you wish you were dead in the sleep. You feel weak in the knees and your breath is shallow. You finish a day’s quota of cigarette in forty minutes and go buy a fresh packet. The bouquet went out for delivery by 9 AM and you stare at the phone hoping to get a delivered message. There is no disturbance. People are busy. They have their lives to go on. Or they are in the party that she and her new boyfriend are throwing. You give up and close your eyes. You drift off to sleep in no time.
Your mother wakes you up by three in the afternoon. She wants to have lunch with you. You feel relieved that at least your mother likes your company. Halfway through your meal, you receive a message that your flowers are delivered. She herself had picked it up. You are happy for a moment. It is a nice way to let go. But wait. What is she doing at her home when she could be out celebrating? Is she waiting for your call? Was she waiting for your gift? You start again from the day 1. You pull your socks and go running. You cannot even run three kilometers now.
You forgot your purse and you cannot take a share auto. Your lungs hurt and heart feels like it would explode any minute. Suddenly without a warning, you double up and start to puke. It all comes out. A retiree who, walks with his dog leash in one hand and a stick in the other, stops near you and asks if you are OK.
“Mejor que nunca,” you say. The man walks past you as if he understood.
“Better than ever,” you tell to yourself again and start running. Your thighs hurt, your calves squirm under pressure. You don’t mind. Pain is the only way to feel better. You clock five kilometers in thirty minutes and walk back home.
That’s about it. In the days that follow you bury your head in work, talk very little but run five kilometers a day. It is good to start again. Because you know in your heart sometimes a start is all you ever get.