September 30, 2017.
A suburb in Central New York.
Faith stumbles and falls, her eyes blinded by tears. Affection was fickle. Faith was silly enough to hold on to love for dear life, and now, the hold is slipping.
An obscure movie theater in Mumbai.
Two people move exceedingly close to each other. Two people who are supposed to be “best friends”.Two people who should not be doing this: for the sake of morality, and ethics, and all that is good in the world, if not for faith. Malicious intent hangs in the air. He takes off his spectacles, a welcome signal. She moves in.
“Am I speaking to khyati patel.. ?”
A voice crackles over the line. The network is weak, the voice is surprisingly calm and excruciatingly tragic, but it sounds loud and clear in her ears. It is a phone call from 7700 miles away, but the intensity surpasses the distance.
“Hello, this is Faith, can I talk to you for a moment?”
“Uhm, can we text, I really can’t talk.” She says, trying to wriggle out of the destruction she caused, trying to get off easy.
“You ruined my life! You destroyed it.I was there for you through all your ups- and – downs, because you were his best friend! Why did you have to do it? What had I ever done to you?!” The voice goes numb after this tirade, and the line is silent.
“I am sorry. I wont apologize for kissing him though. I am sorry that it hurt you. We both are.”
Her guilt makes her blabber,” He loved you.Your relationship meant something to him. What happened between us does not change what happened between you two.”
The voice on the other end finally speaks up.
“What about the memories?How do I cherish even those now, when all I see is you kissing him everywhere I go?!”
She is silent, for what seems like an eternity. The voice continues, after that pause, a sniffled sob evident in the background. “Anyway, yeah, that’s all I had to say to you. Have a good day.”
The line goes silent.
They were good, they were braving through it. Faith had resolved to win over fate, to fight against all odds and emerge victorious. She would have. Only if Affection had been stronger.
The funny thing about Faith is that it holds on: for love, for life, for matters that cannot be resolved, and for hearts broken beyond repair. Affection, on the other hand, is selfish.It makes an appearance only when it is convenient. Affection is not steadfast, loyal and true, like Faith. Affection disappears over time in surprising manners, only to resurface elsewhere.
Faith did everything in her power to save the one relationship she had anchored her entire life around. Meanwhile, Affection began experiencing withdrawal symptoms: he would not sacrifice something as important as his sleep to talk to her. He never called, he never initiated conversations. The declarations of love became infrequent and felt forced and fake. Faith sensed it in the pit of her stomach, thousands of miles away.
Not even a month had passed, and this was the time when Faith needed her anchor the most: she was in a new country with none of her loved ones around, at her most vulnerable. Affection did not care. He was busy thinking of ways and manners to break it off, to be free of all obligation.
One day, he decided to talk to her about it. It must have been the first time he had initiated the conversation: He asked her about her schedule. She had a class to attend in an hour. Nonetheless, he pushed on. He wanted to break up, he said. She nodded, and smiled, hiding the tears. He hadn’t expected that response: He asked whether she was okay. She responded that she was not, but she could not force him to be a part of the relationship he no longer wanted.
“I’m sorry. This distance is suffocating me. I think of you all the time and that doesn’t sit well with me. I am becoming a sad person.I want to be happy, with or without you.”
“Is this going to make you happy?” she asked, with a gulp in her throat.
“If it doesn’t, I know who to run to.” He said. Faith hung on to that thread of hope.
She asked him to reconsider.She spent her entire day trying to remind him of his own words and promises, of the way he had proclaimed that he was silly and she should not let him go when he tries to run away. She assured him that she was ready to handle the hot mess that he was, because love mattered more than all of that.
Affection is fickle.
He missed the attention, he missed being the center of someone’s universe, he missed how happy talking to her made him feel- He did not care about how she must be doing. He missed his happiness.Again. So he decided to text her, one drunken escapade later, asking her to take him back. Her heart had been broken, but she was a fool in love.
“I freak out because I am afraid of the future, I don’t want to settle down.I can’t commit.”
She try to crack a joke. She wasn’t a funny woman when she was sad.Or relieved.
“I might freak out again, I might screw up again, but have faith in us.You have to hold on to me even when I freak out.”
” It is all about you now. I love you.”
Two weeks, and zero phone calls later, she woke up to his text message saying “Do you think I take enough efforts for our relationship?”
“No” she replied without a moment’s ado. She was tired of his ways and mannerisms. Faith did not falter, but faith crumbled. There is only so much pain one can take.
He told her he wanted them to go their separate ways. She fought against the dying light, screamed and cried and lamented.
He did not care.He did not care about giving her day a splendid start. He did not have the time to control the damage he had done, to reduce the havoc he had wreaked- he did not even try: because talking to her might have made him want her back.
A week passed, with them cutting off all ties.
Faith did not cry often enough now. It was just her pillow that witnessed her tears, and just her dreams that portrayed her tortured soul. One day, she texted him, out of hope, and faith, and love, not knowing what to expect.
“Why did you text me?”
“You tell me…”
“Maybe because you are missing me?”
“My head hates to admit that but my heart agrees.”
“Well, you should move on.I did.”
“It hasn’t even been a week yet. How?! Tell me, maybe I should try it too.”
“You don’t want to know.”
“My best friend confessed that she liked me.”
An ominous feeling grew in the pit of her stomach. She should not listen any further. She couldn’t not listen.
“I feel like I owe this to you. We kissed.”
Her world came crashing down around her.Again. Was it so fickle, that he forgot years of love in one week, only to run into her arms?! He had trampled upon her broken heart, but her annihilation was not complete yet. She trudged on, with blurry eyes, still talking to him against her better judgement. Asking for details. Asking for the image that would be branded on the insides of her eyelids forever. Asking, crying, wondering, breaking, loving, crying and breaking.And, still loving. For how does one convince a heart to fall out of love?
He helped. By saying that he did not want to talk to her anymore, because he did not want to feel bad about it and himself. He tried to sneak in a consolation prize by saying that he would feel like getting back together if he continued talking to her.
“It’s cliche, but it’s not you, it’s me. I am messed up. I don’t want you to handle it. I meant every single thing I said to you.I did not lie. I just changed. I don’t feel it anymore because of the distance. I changed.”
” How is it that you are going about your life splendidly while I break into fresh tears every few minutes?!”
“I don’t let things like this affect my life. I didn’t see a future with you, I don’t see one with her. I am not with her either. I am not in love with her. I am not in love with anyone.”
“How do I convince my heart that, when you keep going away and coming back.”
“Maybe this helps. Life is not fair. You get what you get. And crying about it is not going to help, nor is pointing fingers. So I suggest you just understand that it was great while it happened but now it has ended. Move on.”
She was numb. She did not understand her fault. She did not deserve the pain and the agony. She felt it anyway. Every minute of every day.
She would never love again.She would never trust again.
Affection is superficial. Faith suffers.
Affection jokes around, and lives like a saint. He is a funny man. He always was. He does not care about the incident much.Except maybe getting upset over the muck his shoe caught as he was busy trampling over a heart and a soul.
Faith tried to forget it, to move on, but how does one revive a dead soul?
On a windy day in Central New York, as she was trudging through the snow,keeping to herself, she came across a planeterium, and the memories came rushing in. Tainted by agony and heartbreak.
Absentmindedly, she walked into the street, feeling everything and nothing at all,all in the same moment, until a resounding screech relieved her from her misery.
It was a Tuesday night in India. Affection was attending a popular comedian’s show with his beloved best friend. They held hands as she looked at him, starry-eyed, memories of her five-year long relationship already forgotten. His other friend, the one Faith had reached out to, to try and talk some sense into him, looked at them and exclaimed that they looked adorable together. They laughed, unfazed.
A stupid pedestrian who walked straight into speeding traffic and to her eventual death made the afternoon news in that sleepy town in New York.
The worst things in life come free to us. Broken faith lay bleeding in the snow, covered in white, alone, unloved, away from the people who still adored her, devastated by the affection she had hoped to cherish all her life and haunted by the image of them kissing, in the final moments of her sad beautiful tragic life. She had once been in paradise. She had now been in purgatory.
“Toota toota ek parinda aise toota
Ke phir jud naa paaya
Loota loota kisne usko aise loota
Ke phir ud naa paaya
Girta hua woh Akash se
Aakar gira zameen par
Khwabon mein phir bhi badal hi the….”
Might as well be based on a true story. Pinch of salt advised. Or not.
PS: Read part one here. I apologize for all the emotional material I have been publishing these days. Happier stuff might just be around the corner.