I sipped my hot chocolate watching the cold breeze come in through the door. The warmth of the cup kept me alive, considering the cold month of December. But there was something else about the month of December. Everyone around me was happy – there were families, couples, and friends.
And then there was I. I was happy too, in a way. My life is more stabilized and sorted, in a way. I had accomplished before I came here. There were ups and downs. Yet there was something missing. A missing step. Every time I step on it, I skip a heartbeat. An anxiety that I could not shake off. A fear that I could not resist. They said that flipping your switch off makes you immune to all kinds of emotions. But that does not seem like a possibility. For fear is also an emotion and a strong one. Being apathetic does not mean that you do not care about anything in the world.
“Hey, sipping all by yourself.” He suddenly interrupted my thoughts.
“Manav, you do not need an invitation ever. Or do you?” I mocked. Clearly, I was not interested in talking to him at this point in time. Being in that coffee shop gave me solitude at least till now.
“Let me guess, you want to be alone. But you can do with me a couple of times.” I smiled at him meekly.
I have known him for the past 5 years. Where I am the immature one, he seems to be the sensible one. Where I am haughty, he seems humble. Where I am indecisive, he is stable. And to add to it, he is my best friend. Although, at times I feel like killing him. But that’s what friends are for. They can be adorable and unbearable at the same time.
He looked at one of the couples on the other side of the table “It’s so peaceful when you have someone with you.”
“Oh, I don’t think so.” I told.
“You’re so fragile!” he snapped loudly.
“What do you mean?”
“I have seen people from your generation. Fragile, vulnerable and impatient.” He took a sip and left the topic abruptly.
“I know what you mean. Yes, we’re fragile and vulnerable. We are so scared of falling that we do not walk. We would rather stay fallen than try to walk again. We let an incident define our lives. A dark tunnel doesn’t scare us as much as the word “Love” does. We think that falling in love is the worst possible thing to happen to any human being.” I looked away as I said that.
“Why do you fear being in love, being loved, someone caring for you?”
“Because it is not going to last long. Because when you love someone, a part of you becomes vulnerable. You make someone important in your life. It’s like keeping a king sized bed in your room. And when that bed is gone, the room looks vacant. It creates a pain.”
“And what does flipping the switch do to you?”
“Oh, it’s still the same. The only difference is that you don’t care about anyone and so you do not feel anything. No pain. No guilt. Problem solved.”
Although I was not satisfied with the answers, I knew that I was just protecting myself.
“I know you’re supposed to feel” I continued” You need to feel things, want things, and at some point lose them. That makes life going. But as you said we’re fragile. We are so terrified of having a broken heart that we do not give love a chance. We would rather watch the person we love walk away than let them know what we feel about them.”
“He left today, didn’t he?” he looked in the eye and asked me this for which I just nodded.
“I let him go! He deserves better than a girl who cannot express what she feels.”
“And do you deserve this for yourself? To lose a person you love so much? To be so scared of this feeling, that flipping your switch is the only solution?” he yelled.
“What do you expect me to tell him? That I love him? That I care about him? That he matters to me? That I have reached a point in my life where being without him makes me miserable? That he is a part of my life now?”
“Yes.” He had a calm smile on his face.
“I’d rather wish he left. For good. For now. Forever. I’d rather never see him than be in love with him and be with him every day.”
“Yeah. That’s one way of doing it. But think of it. You had one chance of having that life. And you lost it because you were too scared. Tell me something Ayana, what do you lose by telling him the truth? You don’t have to change yourself. Just tell him what you feel? It isn’t too hard. You’d rather lose him, but lose him giving a try. At least you would not have anything to cry about or feel sorry about.”
I look at him and think I wish I could try that. But my pride is too much for me to handle.You were right. We’re just a bunch of fragile and delicate people.