absence and fonder hearts

Missingness happens in strange ways, and always seems to hit with the smallest of things. I kept my uneasiness at distance in check this past month. I bit it down, and focused on old friends, on new friends, on perfect weather, on my mother’s cooking, on everything wonderful and home. Even coming back to London, which I thought would engulf me in missingness, was better than I thought it would be. It was bonding with friends; revelling in smoking cigarettes in shorts and chappals while spread out on dewy green grass; spending days and nights in the library, curling up on couches and wishing you could eradicate the written word; finding the time to read in outdoor cafes.

Its health, happiness and security in the knowledge that time is moving faster than you thought.

And then it creeps in. Slowly and when you least expect it. I’m standing in his kitchen, drinking water at some abysmal hour, and I blearily notice my lipstick imprinted on a white porcelain mug – the tug starts. I sleep in his room and wake up with an uneasy start, because it’s so quiet, and there aren’t any snores – gentle or growling – in my ear. The tug starts to grow. I’m making coffee in the morning, and half-heartedly doing the dishes when “Anna Molly” starts blaring from my iPhone. By now, the tug is almost painful. My flatmate laughs and calls me “a silly girl” and from the recesses of my mind, I think, “I’d rather be called a fool”. The tug has taken over half of me. I meet a friend to talk of books, cities, love & everything, and I smile a secret smile between sips of a gingerbread latte. The tug, taunting and teasing. I walk into his room, and see my bright pink pajamas nestled amongst boy-colours of blue-black-brown-grey. And kaboom, the tug is now all-encompassing.

A month is nothing in the scheme of things. Not even a bump, just a wrinkle. A month and a few days; still just a wrinkle. That’s what my head tells the tug. But in the battle of heart versus head, a battle I’ve endured for years, the heart always wins.

The head will function in cutting down cigarettes, in making deadlines and commiting to word counts, in vanquishing writer’s block, in controlling temper and sanity, in enjoying award-winning fiction. The heart has only 2 tasks. Simpler but more beautiful; revelling in the week or so it will take the tug to die. And the anticipation of unpacking books from boxes.



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