Quad party

there’s a static silence behind us, but it rings in our ears and in the distance between us.

“My friend used to say we’re nothing but our masks and who we want to be-”

“Used to say”

“What?”

“You said, ‘used to say’.”

You cut me off and to that, I say nothing.

“Did she die?” you ask.

“No.” The static silence around us fades. Before you dissipate I manage to say, “she just left.”

I don’t have best friends anymore, I think, as the second-year guys swoop into acad like a swarm of bees. They drop off their left over ‘alc’ from two nights ago, get some of the first-years to chug mixes of coke and vodka in second-hand Bisleri bottles, and then leave.

All the drinks taste like shit so I head to the box of subway sandwiches and fill myself with those instead.

 

A fourth-year is playing remixes through the speakers in the grass quadrangle, and no one but the participating teams seem to be enjoying themselves. Those from our college who actually are, are either drunk or are on their way there.

 

There’s a dog that’s whining in the quad, the loud noises and dim lights freak it into a whining frenzy. We tried to lure it outside the building with food but it wouldn’t leave, it just kept coming back. Now, its sitting in front of the third box full of booze and circles around itself absurdly, crying and looking for a way out.

 

When I realise I’m doing the same thing, I pick up another subway, stuff it in my pocket and head back to the hostel.

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Theres something cracked under the skin, and I feel it when my left cheek moves.

I must have bruised it when i fell, but I shove my face up against the long common mirror for the second-floor girls, and look for some clot or graze, but on sandpaper skin that I have not washed in three days, I find nothing.

My project- partner asks if I’m okay.

“No,” she says when I laugh and grin till my cheeks hurt my eyes, but I insist, “everything is chill bro. its cool now ya.”

She asks me to come to her if I need to talk about anything –
like when i cried and cried till i couldnt breathe after she had yelled at me, as i walked from the acad to the exam department to the hostel and till my room and on my bed and fuck i either had to breathe or cry but my body just couldnt choose-

 

but im okay now.
i wasn’t five days ago when i fell, but she wasn’t there and no one told her so i can get away with it this once
she leaves and i finally into my room, thank god
my cheeks hurt too much from giggling over nothing

uthpala asks if my thighs are alright
i ask her not to talk about it
then she asks if she can see my arm
its absurd
but she asks and thats more than i can ask for-

when you dont anymore
and i dont anymore
and we both have stopped

 

i didnt miss you after you left

I didnt miss you till now

We always fought about you leaving, then my leaving and made-up again. This time, we decided it was better if we didnt.

So all I have left of you is the years of emails and texts,
with your poetry buried beneath,
and our real selves under that too.

 

I didnt miss you until now, and I wont miss you again for some time,
so for this duration that I do – I’ll let myself cry.

while

It rains here, and when it doesn’t it threatens to.

Throwing away Old Things, I find your letter signed ‘You Know Who’. You apologize in two pages and full lines of ‘sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry’, that you missed me now that I was not there and all my boring talk of the one thing I loved.

In the last line you tell me not to tell Aditi, and somehow it has been raining for seven years because now I still have apologies and promises whispered into my ear, hiding, hiding, hiding away from Aditi.

You are no longer here and there are others, there are more of you taking and folding sorrys into envelopes, but Aditi is still here.

In the rain hitting the earth I couldn’t hear the voice in my head change to the voice of her, but now Aditi is going to Berkley and a ghost of her sits here – here open this flap behind my ear and you will find it.

 

 

The rain has stopped so I fold the creased sheet another time and leave it next to the bushes. Maybe someone will find it and take it.

They might even read it, but there’s no harm in it. There are no names but of the thing I loved, not of you who so loved me and not of me, who had forgotten loving you.