“But I love you!” The boy whined.
Shut it, I thought. I felt like hitting him.
“I love you too, but that doesn’t give you the right to hurt me!” The girl shouted back, “That’s it James, I’m leaving. For good.”
The boy whimpered again. I felt like hitting him again(it was nothing personal. It’s just that I hated boys who cried and talked like girls. No offenses to anyone, but I think that triggers my homosexual responses and makes me want to offer them my shoulder to cry on, making me feel repugnant later. I have issues).
Time: 0300 hours
I don’t feel good. I feel lonely, depressed and dejected, and I’m sitting watching a movie I’d have never even contemplated watching in a sane frame of mind(a romantic comedy, I think how the ads proclaimed it, although the romance was stereotyped and I failed to see the comic side of it). I’m wide awake. I can’t sleep. No, I’m not insomniac. I just had a pretty decent fight with the girl I love most(kind of hard to sleep after that). This thing is depressing, I thought and flipped the channels. National Geographic Channel was showcasing a Hindu wedding. Great, I muttered, keep it up. I flipped channels again. History channel was besotted with the love affair of the most notorious dictator of all time, Adolf Hitler, and his lady love, Eva Brown. I winced and flipped the channel again. Star World had “The Bachelorette” going about searching for her perfect guy, Discovery channel was showing a documentary on African lions doing things that if performed by human subjects would’ve made the Censor board gasp and shake their heads. Star Movies was airing Casino Royale. Finally, I thought, some good, mindless violence and action. But to my great surprise, I found Mr. Bond swearing to give up the martinis, the hot girls and the fast cars, all for a girl. You bastard, I swore bitterly, you’ve betrayed the trust of the sacred Brotherhood.
This was heights. Isn’t it ironic, that when you’re miserable, the entire universe seems to be conspiring to make you remember it and be miserable over and over again? I switched off the TV(my mood was bad enough as it was). I went to the bed and lay down. But I still couldn’t sleep. That conversation kept repeating itself in my head over and over again, like a lame Justin Beiber song that the music channels can never get enough of(that’s another guy who makes me uncomfortable. How can a guy look so feminine and have such high pitch? Did they ever verify the claims that he was a guy? Really, they should look into it. Excuse the pun). I sighed. The universe was at work again, and I was the unfortunate victim.
I kept wondering about this phenomenon of love. Questions kept popping in my head. What really was love? Caring for someone, fulfilling their needs, was that love? Or was love just a physical thing? Was it about attraction, or did it really have a deeper meaning underneath? I thought and thought about it, but I couldn’t get an answer(now that I look at it, I wonder why I was contemplating about love and its meaning. Many great and not-so-great people before me had thought about it all their lives, and never came closer to understanding it that a monkey the highlight of whose day is getting someone to scratch him and pick off the ticks). More questions followed. Did loving someone really give you the right to hurt them, physically or emotionally? Why did I do it? Do I even love her? If I do, how could I hurt her so much? I was grinding my teeth in frustration. Damn it! I swore bitterly.
You don’t really trust me, do you? The voices in my head said. I love you, but I can’t take this!(familiar words. I had a sense of déjà vu. Where had I heard them recently?) We’ve known each other for an year, in a relationship for the past eight months, and you still don’t trust me Ritesh! What do I have to do to make you believe me?
I grimaced. Was it really true? Did I really not trust her?
No, I told myself, that’s not true, you do trust her.
Yeah, just not enough to stop being insecure about her. Now this was really uncalled for. My conscience was taunting me. I was at war with myself. I wanted to hit myself and stop the voices. I did(and pretty hard at that. Not a very easy thing to perform by yourself). A brief scuffle broke out between me and myself. I was punching myself in the nose, and banging my head against the wall in reply. I was clawing at my face and pulling out my hair. It woke up my brother, who was sleeping besides me.
“What are you doing?” He asked drowsily.
“Having sex with your wife” I replied testily.
“Oh! That’s why!” He reflected. “The bitch!” He mumbled and promptly fell back asleep again.
I glared at him angrily for a few moments(although he was too busy sleeping to notice). I was pretty mad at her, at everything she said. I was mad at my dogs for barking too loud, at my mum for telling me to go to sleep. I was mad at my brother for waking up. And I was still mad at James Bond for finding love. But most of all, I was mad at myself. I thought about what I said, how I responded and I couldn’t help but punch myself again(in the jaw, fair and square. I think I dislocated it).
Damn it, you fool, my conscience was still working overtime at making me feel like crap(it hadn’t had an opportunity like this in years. I’m not a person likely to regret my actions too often), you’ve screwed up a perfectly good relationship.
Shut up, I don’t need you telling me that!
Oh, you don’t? How bloody perfect! Well, there you go then, I’m off to sleep. You sit here and feel like shit! Haha!
I didn’t find it funny. Here I was, my life unravelling before me, and my conscience couldn’t find anything better do than point at me and laugh. You’ll pay for it! I promised silently to myself.
In cash, or do you accept credit-cards? I could feel it laughing at me. I chose to keep my dignity and stay silent. It stayed silent. I stayed silenter(which isn’t a word, but meh, what the hell, if depicts what transpired perfectly). Finally, it broke the silence.
You have to get over it, you know.
Get over what? We sorted it out. We’re still pretty much a couple, I retorted.
You sure about that? It asked me.
Yes! We’ve sorted it out! She even texted me that she loves me! I retorted. My conscience stayed silent. This time, I broke the silence.
Stop testing me, please. What do you want me to do, cry? I’m guilty enough as is. I can say sorry, but that won’t make everything okay, would it?
No, it won’t. You have to get over. The guilt.
The guilt is what is killing me, I moaned inwardly, damn it! I shouldn’t have talked that nonsense. How could I be so stupid?
It’s not very hard for you, it replied. I bit back a curse.
Can you undo it? My conscience asked me matter-of-factly.
You mean go back and stop myself from saying all that crap? No! I said. Is there a way? I added hopefully.
No, you idiot. It retorted. Okay, tell me, how do you feel?
I gave myself the look(without a mirror. In the dark. I think I could’ve worked my way up the hierarchy and become the Galactic president, had I chosen to. I was doing one impossible thing after the other. And Heracles killing the Chimera was a big deal! Pffft!).
Okay, I get the point, it conceded, what do you want to do?
And then, without a warning, I broke down(please don’t re-read this article and point out what I’d said about guys who cried). Not the wailing, moaning, bleating type. Rather, this one was silent as the mist rising. A tear escaped from my eyes before I could stop it.
You made me cry, I choked back the sobs, happy now?
How can I be happy when you’re sad? It said. We’re one and the same, remember? I nodded. Maybe my conscience wasn’t as big a bitch as I thought it was.
So, it asked me again once I was sober again, what do you want to do now?
I thought about it. There were a million and two dozen things I wanted to do - skydiving, paragliding, learning to ride a bike, learning to fly an aeroplane, go to a beach and swim in the sea till my limbs turn to lead, hike all the mountain ranges and much more. My conscience sighed exaggeratedly.
I meant, right now. At this moment.
The reply was automatic. Tell her how much she means to me.
That’s no good. You tell her that every time, and then end up committing such foolish things.
I thought we were on the same side, I groaned.
Stop being sarcastic with me. You need me, and you know it, it pointed out.
For now, I thought to myself.
I heard that!
Okay, I’m sorry! What do you suggest I do? I asked myself(I think I need to get my head checked. I might be schizophrenic). I was at the end of my tether, and all I was doing was irritating myself by tutoring myself on how to talk with myself(I really was on a roll. Maybe I really will file the nominations for the post of Galactic president). I would’ve broken my own head, but I was through hitting myself(for that day. You never know what a new morning brings. Haha!).
There was no reply. I began getting worried.
Hello, I ventured, you still there? I did say I am sorry, I put in helpfully.
Didn’t you hear me? I said, don’t tell her.
What? I was trying to give myself a sideways look, but I couldn’t do it. My conscience was fading away. I needed to make most of the time I had remaining with it.
Show her. Show her, came the distant reply.
Show her what? SHOW HER WHAT? I was bordering on hysteria. I knew I knew what to do, but I needed to tell myself that(okay, anyone who is interested, if you know a good psychotherapist, contact me).
What she means. Then there was no more. I didn’t need it to tell me anything anymore.
My brother woke up. “I just had the craziest of dreams”, he said.
“Tell me about it” I grinned.
“Well”, he looked about confused, then shrugged. “Never mind.”
He went back and switched on the TV, flipping through the channels. The whiny guy had pleased back his girlfriend, James Bond’s Vesper was dead, so he would now go hunt for hot girls in flashy cars and kill some bad guys while at it, WW2 had been won by the Allies, Hitler was dead. I couldn’t hear my conscience anymore. In short, sanity was restored.
I looked at the time. 0315 hours. I picked up the phone and called her.
"Hello?" A drowsy voice on the other end. I grinned.
"I love you", I said.
There was silence on the other end. Then, as I measure out aeons in the space of a heartbeat, came the reply.
I laughed. She laughed with me.
"I'm sorry love", I said(and meant it too).
"Well, I'm sorry too, and I love you too", another beat, "but I really have to sleep."
I laughed again. "Okay", I said. "Sleep well, I love you."
Disconnecting the call, I couldn't help looking at the time again. 0320 hours.
Not that it mattered.