We were sat among the upturned flower pots while it rained. Your smile widened and a lightness spread in your cheekbones, the tip of your nose dipped. Our clothes stuck to our skin in the sticky humidity and the grime of the earth seeped between our toes, but my sobs were lost in the chattering of my teeth in the cold sinking to my bones and to the thumping of the monsoons on the tarpaulin bus stop, under which the school children laughed.
My hair curled and my face was wet with salt brought not from the skies opening up on us in our castle of dirty red pots painted dirty grey. Its a small blessing that you never saw the puffiness in my eyes in the rain because it would have cost too much of the brightness in yours, even though I know they were empty cradles of withered plants while you retched for the sixth time yesterday and when the ghosts of foods you never ate came knocking later at night.
An ache spread through me when I realised you never told me you were in hospital with life being pumped into your veins among the syllables spelling stories of microbiologists and physicists fighting over the last masal dosa at 3:00am in the Institute. I only found out when you told me later with frank enthusiasm in your voice in my concern for somebody else. Yes, my head swirled with the waves that washed away your self preservation, because I should have been at the shore, pulling of my clothes like in ‘Third Star’ to keep you afloat. I want to cry but I can’t because crying is a sacred act I’ve reserved for when you need to in the middle of a row about your freedom to breathe with your demons. Every word I spend on me is one less that is spent keeping you here in this reality, so I will never say a word of when I think I’m stumbling because I know you’ve been dowsed in liquid nitrogen and splintered into nothingness when your head takes over and you need the words I’ve saved to help you pick yourself up.
The rain stops and I kiss you farewell with only a hug and run off before the red grows in my eyes. You go home to the masquerade you dance and I go back to my peace and quiet, keeping my phone next to me for when you text later.


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