She walked incessantly. To work and back. To Haji Ali, hoping for divine intervention. To the neighborhood ice-cream parlor for some reinforcement. The mind conjured up unspoken words, recreated scenes that never transpired and relived the memories. She carried an ache within her. An ache, which she thought had possessed her. She’d burst into tears at an unkind word, sulk when ignored and hand out the silent treatment when angered. She wanted to forget but that only made her remember more.
Mood swings defined her days and she retreated into her shell, brick by brick. She sought solace in her work. And long walks and dessert, of course. They all told her that the pain would ebb away someday. That a broken heart would soon heal and cease to ache. They told her that it wouldn’t matter in the long run. She didn’t believe them. She couldn’t, coz she was hurting too much to take them seriously. She hated them for belittling her emotions and continued punishing herself.
Life had become one monotonous ride. Mechanical, her folks termed it. At work, at home. She persisted like this for weeks. Months, perhaps. She switched jobs, relocated to a new city and back, and consumed copious amounts of caffeine to stay afloat. Until she got disgusted with herself and the slob she had become. When she finally sat up and took notice of the world around her. When she woke up one morning to realize that it had been five years. Way too long, she chided herself.
One sunny morning, she caught herself walking on a familiar street, one that had been amongst their favorite haunts. And she realized she felt nothing. Not an iota of guilt, regret or remorse. She waited for the flood of memories to engulf her. But the heart didn’t skip a beat and the tears remained tucked somewhere. They had finally been put to sleep.
She should have been euphoric. But a part of her wasn’t. In some corner of her system, she continued chiding and punishing herself. This time, for a different reason. They had told her it wouldn’t matter. She wished she had paid heed to those words then. Because, in the long run, really it didn’t. Only she realized it five years later. They should have been the most carefree years of her life. She spent them moping and sobbing and ranting instead. But better late than never, she consoled herself.