“Pretending to be strong” is not strength

Pretending to be strong is not strength

It was going to be tough but as long as it was possible for us to be together even virtually, we wanted it. We wanted it even though we could meet only once a month or a year. At least we could talk over the phone and messages. We understood there were times when we wanted to hug or embrace each other but all we could do was send the pictures of couples doing that. That was the only way we knew that we wanted it.

This time we were meeting after 6 long months. Nothing had been more difficult than the last 6 months. And this time, she wanted to end it all. She couldn’t bear it. And she asked me if I wanted anything from her, and all I could ask was a last kiss.

She sat in my lap and I hugged her tightly around the waist as if she was the air I needed to breathe. She was laughing, but I stayed silent, feeling the lumps in my throat. I knew I would break down anytime. I closed my eyes, my hands still around her waist, and my head on her back.

“Aksh, can we please talk a little if you are done doing this?”

I didn’t want to talk that it was our last time together. I couldn’t face her. She faced me when I released her but kept my sight down to her feet.

She lifted my chin up. My eyes still close. Tears rolled down my eyes when I opened them.

“You are a man, Aksh. You shouldn’t be crying,” she said. That beautiful smile still across her full lips.

“I’m not going to be shy about my emotions,” I said admitting my vulnerabilities.

Maybe she too was crying inside but was pretending to be strong. Maybe Oscar Wilde was right when he said that a man’s face is his autobiography, a woman’s face her work of fiction.

Every single person is afraid of his vulnerabilities. I had to accept that I was not strong. Because I believed that when you are pretending to be strong, that’s not strength. It’s stronger to accept that being away from her made me feel lonely. It’s stronger to accept that it affected my well-being. It’s stronger to accept that there were times when I was completely helpless.

I had not been able to express when I was away from her, and it depressed me. I had pretended enough to be cool. I wanted to talk to someone.

She said that she had to leave soon. And when I smiled, she forgot I was ever crying and started telling me random things.

She told me how she had gone to parlor just to get her eyebrows done and the lady suggested that she get her tummy waxed. She lifted her round-neck T-shirt up to show her waxed flat tummy. She told me how she had convinced the vendor to sell a ₹120 nail-paint for just ₹80, and many more things.

I just listened to her silently with a smile on my face, wondering how she managed to look beautiful doing the stupidest of things. Time for the separation for a lifetime was nearing and so was the time for the last kiss.

“I am leaving, Aksh.”

I didn’t mention the kiss and neither did she. She left. Minute by minute, the evening died. I hated this feeling, the heaviness that was taking over my limbs. She went leaving me dry and empty like I was the only glass in the world without any water. A feeling only the lonely understand, to suffer so many nights alone drowning in thoughts and agonizing over existence.

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That was when I knew that sadness is indivisible to human life, and to love. Sadness is the easiest thing to do. Oh Lord, what would I give to get rid of my humanness.

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