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‘It’s her. And her new boyfriend. He’s gruffy, you look better than him’, the caption under the image read. The last bit ‘you look better than him’ a ruse to coax you into viewing the image. Fortunately, your Whatsapp was not on auto download, you’re a stickler for making your own decisions and that might have reserved the diminutive progress you had covered towards moving on.

In retrospect, when the curtain was gradually closing there was no fire burning in her eyes. Not an ember. Not a smoulder. Naught. An aberration from her wonted sparkling eyes that glistened under the light. They had morphed into bare nothingness, they didn’t seem to say anything. Nothing you would look at and awe. Her sunny disposition had withered to nonchalance. Her words were just that – words, they had no soul in them. They were as drab as the grim days you guys were having. They stemmed from sheer politeness, never ran deep. Not that you were any better, you stopped trying, went listless and winged it. The ambiences were taut, a razor would slit through. The ship was keeling, you both knew too well what had to be done to stay afloat; swallow the bitter pill, toss your egos overboard and cling on, fingers crossed. That never happened. No one took the high road? You’d think. When you’re in the moment it’s not a feasible option, not to your newly discovered inane self-worth. Instead, you both opted for the brazen way. Sat, each on opposite corners of the ship and a contest ensued, trying to see who needs the other more by taking the initiative. A bad way to die hard.

Many a time there were tiffs. It was such a norm you grew accustomed to that three days of tranquility would imply something was amiss. The spats were like a regimen, at least thrice a week sans fail. There were the occasional colossal tirades, where tempers would go through the roof and a stream of invectives would be hurled at each other. She was a tornado sweeping everything in its course, even the sleeping ghosts from years ago were revisited and broached. Both of you heaving for air at the end of it, even the ghosts. It wasn’t a competition but fat chance if there ever was any of the argument going your way, you stood a better chance turning a lion vegan. Words evaded you whilst at it only to resurface centuries later in a moment of zen; that line would have come in handy, you’d think. Being a man, you always started strides behind. She spewed words faster than a currency counting machine registered notes. They came in rapid motion, almost reflexive, as if choreographed. You, on the other hand interjected with sneers and ‘seriously’. It was a gun fight and you came with rocks like you were the biblical David or something. Amidst the chaos there were breakups. Impulsive breakups that lasted a week tops. Fraught with juvenile passive aggressiveness that would be alleviated by you buying her milkshake, ice cream or the exorbitant chocolates that scream look-at-me on the shelves. They worked like magic, it was what you would call her love language. It has always been you to patch things up, the price you have to pay for fondness.

Save for the sporadic fervent make up sex, general intimacy took a nose dive. She was distant, her waist foreign. Her skin repelled your palms. Even worse, she wore long night wears to bed, an overt sign it was so not happening. There was no making love, but there was scanty sex, initiated only by her; it was more like a chore than anything. Soon, even that was non-existent. You guys were more of roommates than anything; she made food and bought trivial household items, you covered the bills. She slept on the bed, you slept on the couch – oft times playing videogames deep into the night. She gradually degenerated to someone that you used to know.

Suffice to say the peripheries were unequiovocally closing in. The writings were on the wall, vividly. The ice cream and whatnot ploy became redundant. She began answering her calls outside, at times you’d catch her giggles amid the call. There was someone on the other end tickling her fancy more than you did, not like it was on the table. ‘Who’s that?’ You’d ask when jealousy stifled you. ‘A friend’, she’d retort. If she said ‘my friend’ it would have been easy, all good. But ‘a friend’? Boy, that’s a man, the dreaded shoulders-to-lean-on. It sent you to trepidation and deep depths of sullenness. She was right there but so far away. She was a liquid you’d gather but kept slipping through your fingers.
One nippy morning started like any other. A banal uninspiring breakfast of brown bread and a cuppa. She mumbled a half-arsed Good Morning, something you’d pull out of the devil’s pleasantries chest (not that I have been there). The type of Good Morning you say to the side eyeing lass from HR that gives you too much stick for infringing a tad on the dress policy. Her phone rang and a familiar name appeared on her LCD. You saw it, you know it or rather him and she saw you see it. That night you didn’t sleep at home, you booked a hotel room instead, respite from the hell that was home. On that night texts were exchanged, between you and her. The fat lady sang, it was over. You mulled over how everything panned out, drank and mulled some more. The lights from the street below reflected on your window. The somber music in the background lulled you a little.

On the day reality really confronts you the sun rises from the east, so unremarkable. Birds sang and didn’t talk. Water didn’t taste like wine. The cars from the nearby buzzing road honked. The pain stung under the façade of stoicism. He called and asked her what time she was moving out. You pictured his hands on her bum later on that night and her coyly giggling at his advances. The world kept on spinning in its course and not even once sputtered in grief of a love lost. The HR lady chided you. The day was so uneventful. You went glum, bereft, that the forces of the universe didn’t deem you worth noting.

So no. You didn’t consider viewing the image; a stark reminder that you loved and lost. That would be like staring pain in the eye – two pains for that matter. You replied back with laughing emoticons, no words. Just the expressions virtually laughing pain away.


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