*It is recommended that you listen to the song while reading the prose*
//Now the pictures that you left behind
Are just memories of a different life
Some that made us laugh
Some that made us cry
And the one that made you have to say Goodbye
What I'd give to run my fingers through your hair
To touch your lips, to hold you near When you say your prayers, try to understand
I've made mistakes, I'm just a man.
-Always By Bon Jovi//
I kept a square box beside the almirah. The wooden cuboid, engraved with marks, 'Us forever'.
It’s like a charm, handcrafted.
You made it for me, to store both of us.
Hoping one day we could sum up all that we felt in that little box of ours.
You were the sun.
You made everything bright and happy. I still remember your laugh, your face lighting up, your eyes twinkling, you playfully shoving me as I tried to capture that smile with my dusty old polaroid.
But I also remember you crying.
Your light green eyes teared up as you ended us. You said you would stay, hiding ways to say you loved me.
All I'm left with, is uncovering why you left me.
As I skimmed through the pictures, I thought, 'God we did so much, remember? The nights at the banks under the bridge, the road trips, where you would find some way or the other to ruin your favourite grey tee. The hike? You were so scared of the little creeper.The trips to Nana's house, why did tiffy like you more? I still wonder about that... and lastly, that day when I had the brightest smile. Right beside each other, the eight letters that you had sent to me. I was finally able to decipher what the single alphabets, written on the top right corner meant. I smiled as I read,
We were good together. I still remember the lyrics to your favourite song, word by word, and your peaceful "hmm" before the start. Me strumming the guitar as your voice quietly caressed the words. You'd look at me from the corner of your eye, smiling, and just like that I knew that you were the one. The one I wanted to dance in the rain with, the one I wanted to sneak out at 3am with, the one who made the world stop.
It was just you and I till the end.
Or so I thought.
We both used to say "We will outrun the ever chasing oblivion, somehow skipping up all the red flags, removing any kind of doom our destiny could have in store for us", looking at the stone we took from the beach we had visited.
We admired, and I adored, that we didn't ever argue that much. Making us believe "Ah finally... finally we have finished the jigsaw puzzles that life had offered us."
God… we were so wrong. We were never strong enough for us to stay together after arguing. We didn't know who would defeat their ego to talk again. We were just so naive. Amusingly the right path, the one we admired and we took, was the one that couldn't be possible. The one that shouldn't be possible.
Maybe we should have hoped to finish our puzzles.
But God, I was tired of fixing us. Piecing us back together while you continued to break us, break our puzzle apart. And it got stretched to the point where it was exhausting.
I loved you, I still do, but what is love without effort? I tried my best to reach out to you, to understand why I wasn't enough, but you just shut me out.
That night was cold. The goosebumps were almost painful. You stared out into the distance, your mouth set in a firm line, saying you couldn't do this anymore, do us anymore. Honestly, I wasn't surprised. I saw this coming. Yet, a small piece of me, the piece that belonged to you, was numb. The wind was whistling in my ears as I stared at your stone cold face. You shook your head and left, leaving me there wondering why you left me. You taught me that people leave, that they leave despite promising an infinity otherwise.
The sad part is, that the way they left, will always stay.
You were the only person I loved with honesty, but you broke me. Still…still I wish nothing but the best to you. Maybe it's because a part of me still hopes you will return. That you still love me and repair all the dents like you had done, with this box of ours, when it fell.
But we both know that will never happen.
Looking at the pictures in the box, something in me breaks. It just reminds me that we are now nothing but strangers with memories. I close the box and keep it back in its place, like I did with the memories, shoving it in the deepest corner of my heart.
You always get me wondering, my love. Wondering why you packed your bags, wondering why you couldn't even look in my eyes when you left.
Wondering why I was that easy to let go.
Authors: Charu Sabharwal and Abhinav Bhadri
Editor: Adwita Chaure