Clayton Atreus wrote an entire chapter in his memoir as he stabbed himself to death. I am merely in intense intestinal pain, I can write.
Living alone meant you must take the role of everyone and everything you are familiar as a family. You had to be the dad who always prioritises eating vegetables and working out, the mom who never forgets to cover her hands with a plastic bag when cleaning the remains on the sink after washing dishes, the sibling who is smart and curious, the plant that finds comfort in sunlight, the most loved triangular corner where two sofas meet, the dog that adapts itself to new surroundings, the playful and dumb cat, the smart and wise cat, the strategic and pride cat – you had to be EVERYTHING. You had to be everything because living alone is terrifying and you need a family – some feelings familiar to come home to.
You try to do everything. Somedays you wake up early, drink hot water and have fruits and nuts, go to college, do dishes, clean bathroom, talk to people, go to library, drink 2L water and you think life is like eating oranges in the winter morning. Then there are other days. The days when your house doesn’t have drinking water and garbage stink fills all rooms and clothes washed and unwashed lie everywhere. On these days you just lie like a log on bed hoping everything will magically work itself out. It won’t. You will be sad.
I dread leaving college early. When Professors decide to leave department before 9:30, my stomach squeezes in fear some days (most days). I have to return to an empty house. The house where everything is just where I kept them because there are no more any cats to push my book shelf down or bite my fairy lights or leave dead insects on my bed. It’s quiet. The paintings and fairy lights and the pastel aesthetics of the house are too pretty that it feels like a museum now.
My Coimbatore home is the messiest house I’ve ever seen and I’ve been to many bachelor houses. When I wrote this sentence I was sure I can write every detail about what’s so messy about that house, but I don’t remember. It’s been too long. I miss home. I miss my parents. I miss being sick at home. I’ve been borderline sick for two weeks. It was progressively worsening. Had I not had L to jokingly tell the number of times and the contents I’ve puked, I wouldn’t have counted – Twice, barely once because I starved and only drank ORS the whole day, four times, thrice but only idli not the juice, once but had dysentery 4 times. I lost count after 12 of both.
I’m becoming my mother – my worst nightmare. When her arm was dangling from her elbows after the accident, she refused to call an ambulance. She waited bleeding till my dad arrived. I had diarrhoea on set. I held it in most times. At least when I had to be on camera. I didn’t tell anyone till I became immobile from pain. It felt like someone was rubbing my stomach lining with a barbed wire. I haven’t been in this much physical pain in a long while. I thought I would bleed black goo and die.
I miss my dad quietly waking me to give me kanji. I miss sitting in the doctor’s office and have someone else explain to the doctor what’s causing my sickness. I miss food being given to me without having to cook or buy. I want a home that’s not just mine. A home where other people also come and think, “Ah, the clothes are everywhere, let me clean.”
I miss lying on someone’s lap and not worrying if my head weighs too heavy. I want cuddles, the kind where both are tightly wired and you have to find a tiny space in between for your nose to breathe. I miss romantic touches – softly running your fingers on someone’s body and notice how their breath changes,kissing any part of the skin that comes in contact, locking hands and holding it in my face. I miss being in love. I feel lonely. I feel hope slowly slipping away.
I go to bed sad and I wake up the next morning for 7AM classes. I sit in the department, laugh with friends and professors, drink hot water and feel less alone.
It’s okay. It’ll be. It has to be.
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