Breathe, God damn it, breathe.


The damp smell of the humidity seeping through walls was what filled my nostrils as soon as I opened the door. Three steps down into the hall, I threw the keys on the table that also held an old curved-screen TV, a few sheets of paper and some menus from near-by take-away restaurants. Throwing my shoes into some corner, I fell stomach-first on the rickety bed that somehow reminded me of old occupants of this basement studio apartment I called home.

That night, you came knocking on the door, work bag on one shoulder, two bottles of beer and a bottle of dark rum in your hands. I made way for you to enter, no words exchanged as I wondered how did you find my home – did I give you the address? I smoked and you drank beer, we talked of love, poetry and work. I shuffled my attention between the dimple of your cheek and they way your nose crinkled when you talked. I nodded aimlessly at your banter.

Somewhere between the countless drinks, you started fiddling with papers lying next to the bed on the TV unit. You started reading it in spite of my fervent protests. Who wants to read about heartbreak and a list of 50 different ways of killing oneself. When you were done, you pressed your lips on mine and that night pushed and kicked your way into my otherwise tightly guarded world that night.

That was the first time we had met outside office. That was also the first time we spent the night together. We made promises of never repeating the last night during the awkward talk in the morning. Two days later, we were together again. And again. And again. We lost count of hours we spent together. The only other people I had seen so comfortable with each other were my grandparents with almost half a century of marriage to share. Here we were, two heartbroken kids in their twenties, spending days and nights like we had known each other for a century.

I read numerous books to figure what this is called – this non-relationship love. It was not romance, we were not head over heels crazily in love. It was not only-sex thing. We were in love – like parents are, selflessly yet whole-heartedly. I thought of this more times than I would ever admit. I know you did too.

One night, we were driving in your car when you told me that we will always be together, no matter what.

It has been 3 years, 6 months and 12 days since that night, since I last saw your face or heard your voice or held your hand. 111,369,600 seconds of my life have been spent thinking about the words you said that night. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, when the glaring lights flash in my eyes once again. The sound of the breaking glass pierces though my ears. I turn to look at you and all I see is blood. No, don’t tell me that you love me. Breathe, god damn it, breathe!


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