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In the secret places inside her head,

she made too much noise.

She trudged uphill along the rows of trees;

speaking to herself aloud.

Intimacy haunted her.

It brought her to life.

Distance wrecked her

and it put the pieces back.

‘Have I lived this more than once?’

she thought as stray goats grazed around.

Here and now; there and then; over and over again.

With doubts piled up,

she rode the uncertainty wave, frivolously,

without grace, elegance or class.

She dealt with it as only she know,

as only she could.

For it was her emotions that were at stake.

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She inhabited the land alone. Until they met.

It was a beautiful space where everything instantly made sense. She hid there. When dealing with life got tough, she hid in the bathroom till the cocoon wrapped itself around her. Then, she resurfaced. Fresh and new. Masked and ready to get on with life.

The pattern was set in stone. Until they met.

He peeled the cocoon to see her vulnerabilities. She let him get close enough to smell her fears, to taste her passion, to see her faults and to breathe her insecurities. He saw it in detail but didn’t want to leave.

Life was an easy terrain to conquer. She marched on determined. Until they met.

He forced bad habits to the fringes and attempted new patterns in her life. She resisted for long. Though infuriated, he persisted. Bristling with optimism, he nudged her. Assured that she would eventually give in completely. She fought back fiercely, defensively.

She was unwilling to let down her guard. Until they met.

He was forceful, yet gentle. She was stubborn, yet yielding. He was kind, yet volatile. She was free, yet caged.

Their faults were always amplified.

Until they met. Each other.

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‘I just don’t want to,’ I said.

‘Don’t be pretentious,’ he replied.

‘Who would know? If you sniffed a little?’

‘I would know the truth. And I would rather die than lie to myself. For you will eventually leave; all I will have is what I did and said. I would hardly be at ease if it was a pile of stuff I gave into without wanting to.’

‘It doesn’t have to be all serious or nonsense. Just a party there, a drink here. A smoke there, a sniff here. Loosen up, kid. Live a little.’

‘Why can I not make choices without you assuming that yours is the better one? Why can I not do what I please? Why do I need to justify my actions and choices to you?’

‘So, you will never listen?’ he threatened.

I stood my ground and shook my head. I didn’t always have such confidence. I was shaking inside. But I knew, he wasn’t a friend. Just a bully.

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He turned towards me;

I could see the conflict

in his eyes

and his face.

Right down the middle

there was a split,

one side smirked

the other smiled.

He thought I didn’t see,

the conflicting

contradicting,

thoughts, words and actions.

He rather have

spoken the truth

however ugly;

lies I refused

to tolerate.

Yet, word after word,

line after line

came the bitter untruths

of our times.

I watched,

listened

without a protest

with my two faces, too.

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I remembered that day we rode back in the pouring rain. I was riding in torrential rain today. My glasses got wet and foggy and I couldn’t see the road. The dirty water washed my feet and I got grouchier. But as the rain got heavier, I drifted slowly into a tightly held, cherished memory. We were soaked on a ride back home. Yet we laughed to our hearts content. We even cursed but in the happiest way possible. We must have rode nearly 15 kms that day. You were always a safe rider. But the rain was torrential and I couldn’t see ahead of us. You rode slow, and brought us home safe. I wonder how we managed it without stopping even once. Maybe it was the warmth we had inside us from the many drinks we shared. But it was all worth it. That memory is a reflection of our deep relationship. It shows me how in crisis and we are together, I can still laugh it off. You’ve always had that uncanny ability to crack me up. Today’s pouring rain wasn’t half as pleasant or memorable. It could be the missing alcohol or just you or both. I wish you were here. Fortunately, I have this memory and many more to keep me company. On rainy days and others.

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How cruel to the bone

was every visitor; its unknown.

 

They arrived yet could never leave,

It was all too hard, too vague to believe.

 

I strained to see

if anyone would recognise me.

 

Hidden behind these masks

biding time on some mundane tasks.

 

No one could hear

beyond one’s fears.

 

Careless whispers

of bodies without souls.

 

We hovered

sporting masks of all kinds.

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Behind closed doors

 

I asked, ‘Son, what is going on?’

No, nothing; nothing’s wrong,

he replied. Then cupboards banged

close and rustle of clothes followed.

I heard whispers; someone was inside!

I leaned in and again, I tried,

‘Son, is everything alright?’

Yes, Pa. You just gave me a fright.

‘Lies! There is a lady inside,’ I muttered aloud,

‘Behind closed doors, you know visitors are disallowed.’

Not a soul here but me

Why don’t you come in and see!

Terrified to see a lady naked,

without a reply, I promptly bolted.

Loud laughter came from the room.

He knew my weakness; so I was doomed.

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We walked down a crowded street.

The hustle and the honks

made hearing very difficult.

She refused to hold my hand,

her mood was crankier than ever.

She kept looking out in the distance,

She looked exasperated or bored.

I asked her, “What’s up with you today?”

She replied, “I want some pie to eat.”

I heard the last bit as ‘lie to meet’.

The noisy streets made my hearing weak,

so instead of checking again,

I apologised profusely,

over and over again.

She stared at me blankly

till we reached the end of the street.

There she found a bakery.

She dragged me in and

ordered some pie.

I watched her gobble it up.

I asked her what she had told at home?

She said, “I said I am out with you”

“But why do you ask.  So suddenly that too.”

“Then why did you say you lied?” I asked

She looked at me bewildered.

She pointed at her plate and exclaimed,

“I just said I wanted some pie!”

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda