You shouldn’t have done it. You really shouldn’t have.
Even a few months after we said goodbye, and I think that your imprint could finally be washed away, I still go back and check once in a while. I had to peel you off of me with great effort, with great misery and yet there remains resin that refuses to leave. It baffles me. I spent months out in the wild, alone and scared, sternly telling myself that I must not fall again; that after all that has happened, I cannot fall again. There aren’t enough people out there who will help you get back up.
On a bored Sunday, barely managing to get ready after cursing and screaming in traffic for over an hour, I almost wanted to cancel. When I realised I could want to end the night with a bang, I left booby traps around my house so that I would never have brought you back. I knew better because I knew I wanted better than that. Walking towards a boat, I remember feeling a little nervous because I didn’t know if I’d be fun enough. And I waited a little nervously, wondering if you were a serial killer because your display picture on whatsapp hadn’t changed in months.
When we got onto the boat and floated through the evening, I thought, well, this isn’t too bad at all. I still owe you 10 rupees because West Indies won (I was so sure they wouldn’t!). And for the first time ever, I stayed out past 10:30 for a stranger because I had so much fun. I had heard that kissing under a street lamp is something worth writing about, and I’d never kissed a stranger in a car before. I was slightly surprised when your fingers took mine ever so gently. I had only known hands that took my body, not anything more.
Despite the booby traps, despite knowing I wanted better, despite everything the year had taught me, I found myself riding back to my house with you behind me. You kissed me like I’d never been kissed before. You said things I’d never heard before. And for hours and hours, you were right there next to me, wide awake as I was. I was numb, because I’d never believed it to last. Severely damaged girls don’t get fairytales.
I reminded myself of that often for the first week. I refused to believe you happened to me. I wrote about you though, a few times. By the first weekend, I knew it would be make or break. I knew it would decide us for a little while. I went into it shaking. Severely damaged girls don’t get things their way.
When you opened my phone and looked through my messages, no red flags came up. You told me you felt bad about it, and I brushed it off. Later, you told me you could see my hickeys as we were having beer, and flashed me a little grin. I thought to myself that you couldn’t be real, could you?
Back home, in your arms, you told me you were so close to falling for me, and all I could think was that severely damaged girls don’t get love stories. I calculatedly sabotaged the following day, and I had no idea what I was in for. I let it all go and for the first time ever, someone saw the damage that went all the way inside me. It must have been ugly. I babbled, cried, told you things I shouldn’t have, was unable to kiss you, I came completely undone. You saw a shade of me that even I didn’t know existed.
You told me when I got home that your house feels empty. I felt the same. I decided that severely damaged girls could still be happy, and I came to kiss you furiously on a Wednesday night. Guys like you don’t happen to girls like me, but there you were. I was a girl hard at work to fix whatever damage there was.
And before I knew it, your words became smaller and your messages became intermittent. And before I knew it, I was hurled back to 2011 when someone else had done something similar and I didn’t know how to handle it. And before I knew it, working on the damage became a lot more difficult when the silences became longer.
I met you one last weekend, when we talked it all out. It seemed pretty evident that we could be happy together but Time didn’t sit right. It sat on a chair too small, it didn’t fit. You thought we could continue. I thought so too. I even believed it for a really, really long time. We had beer, watched another cricket match, completed a circle. We said goodbye.
The silences maliciously stretched out my days for two weeks. You should have warned me of what was to come. You shouldn’t have been so quiet.
Before you left for your 6 week long trip, I asked you if you’re sure you want to continue. You’re gonna be gone for 6 weeks. You have barely talked to me. I don’t know what’s happening with you. You said yes. You shouldn’t have.
You also said you wouldn’t talk to me for a while, that you need to sort things out for yourself. But you kept me on a hook. You’d send me intermittent messages again, reply in one word. You dragged me along long enough for the damage to show once again. Except you weren’t there to see it. This time, absolutely no one was there to see it.
My fingers shook slightly when I sent you a message asking how you were, and those blue ticks remained for weeks until finally I knew I needed to know once and for all. Funnily enough, I still thought we’d work it out, even when logic screamed something else. You shouldn’t have been so selfish about this.
I know you needed your time, I know you wanted your space and I know you did what you did to make sure you came to the right decision but by the end, you were almost cruel about it.
You said you’d like to meet me still, even if we weren’t dating. That you’re quite busy, and we could still be friends. I quietly thought about you. You seemed to have no idea about the blaze that left a black streak down my chest. You were the first one to play with the matchsticks. You shouldn’t have.
For the very first time, to my absolute surprise, I told you I’d be walking away from you. I never thought I would. Severely damaged girls hold onto something seemingly good, even when they probably shouldn’t. And the words that you heard the night I said goodbye, I heard for the first time too. They sprung from a part of me that I think I’d been waiting to meet for a really, really long time.
Our first night, you told me that you see us being together for a long time, that you’d be sad to see us not work out; and I held your hands and reassured you that I wouldn’t hurt you, that I’m a nice person. Look at how the Universe plays with us.
You could have done what you did because maybe somewhere you genuinely believed that you wanted to work it out. You shouldn’t have been so cruel later though. You shouldn’t have pushed down a severely damaged girl that had been trying to become better. It’s hard enough when you’re doing it all alone. You should have been kinder.
After you, I’ve met this new part of me and I think she’s still getting used to being out here. She’s not left me yet though. I hope she stays.
I walked away from the crap job I had because after our last weekend, I asked myself why am I not putting a PhD on hold? Isn’t this what I have always wanted, an honest and genuine guy who would for the first time make me happy? I said yes, you were what I wanted but I need this PhD to get the hell out of this country even more. What am I doing to get there? Nothing.
You pushed me forward, and for that, I am grateful. From you, I learned that fairytales with twists and turns can still become ordinary stories with disappointing endings; that extraordinary coincidences won’t command the path of love. I learned to take things at face value, dip slightly towards logic rather than emotions. For that, I am grateful.
My fear however, stems from so many things. How did I manage to fall for your words in a matter of 10 days even after I’d learned enough lessons? How did you manage to back away the moment I decided to move into everything you could have offered? How damaged must I have been to think that you’d return to take this forward when all logic said otherwise? Why does your resin remain, even after I know it means nothing to have it there?
I have been fighting the good fight for much longer than I’ve known you, and I’ll continue to do so till I don’t know you the way I do now. Severely damaged girls who fight for themselves and for their better future, I’ve heard, sometimes end up winning.