19. I should die
“Hey”, I cooed as a greeting.
He sat up straight and holding my eyes captive by his black ones, he said, “Hey again”
Was he trying to be seductive, or was his voice always this husky?
“You know I can go on for hours”, he winked. My heart skipped two beats. Sweet Mary Mother of Jesus!
“Only when you are barely moving. Or you are dead within two minutes”, that was a lie, of course. I knew his potency and stamina was out of this world, I could tell that just by how long he stayed in my mouth. But the way his face scrunched was worth it.
“Darling, don’t lie”, he warned.
“Fine”, I pouted and took another shot of tequila.
“Hey, enough now. You don’t want to end up like me now, do you?”, he scolded and sipped his glass of water.
“Well, no, that’s why I have you watching over me. Besides, I am not even that drunk”, I said and took two more shots of tequila the very next moment. Maybe I was lying, maybe I was not, who knew? The liquid burned in my stomach. And I felt funny.
“Darling”, he groaned.
I filled another shot and scrunching my nose, emptied it in my stomach.
He sighed, “What is it going to take to stop you drinking like that?”
I thought for a second. “Drink with me”, I giggled. I knew he wouldn’t do it. He had promised me he wouldn’t, he never broke promises. Unlike me.
My mood plummeted down, and a small tear escaped my right eyes.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”, he asked softly, and his softness just broke my heart further.
How could I have done that to him?
How could I break the promises I had made?
Oh, I knew how, because of my parents. The parents who had lied to me. The parents who sold me. The parents who I still couldn’t hate.
They might have married me off for a deal, but I remembered the pain in my mother’s eyes, I remembered the grovel in my father’s eyes, the way they looked at me; I couldn’t believe they were cruel. They had lied, but there was some truth.
I knew it.
And so, I couldn’t hate them, as much as I wanted to.
“Me”, I cried, “Me is wrong”
I was the wrong one here. I was. Not my parents. Not Aarav. And definitely not Dev.
I couldn’t be loyal to anyone. To Dev, to my parents or to Aarav. In some way or the other, I was cheating all of them and hated it. The guilt sat heavily on my heart, heavier than the weight of this universe and it felt like I’d implode.
Perhaps, I was imploding, who knew what that meant?
I clenched my fists and gulped the saliva that had gathered in my mouth – or was it guilt, again?
Dev whispered soft-nothings, but they were ringing in the background. The hate and the guilt I felt for myself shouted. My entire body crippled, every little pore contracting inside like they hated me too and wanted me to disappear from this world.
Tears flowed down my eyes, but I couldn’t even feel the wetness. I couldn’t feel anything above the pounding hatred for myself. Everything hurt, and every thought pierced my skull further.
My head spun while the world stayed stable, and prickling sensation erupted in my veins. My veins were closing in on me, they didn’t want to pump blood into this useless body. Everything inside and outside of me hurt, some pulled and pushed, contracting and stretching, and the pain that engulfed too much to bear.
I wanted to it stop. All I wanted was it to stop.
I didn’t want to die, but the pain convinced me that death would be a better option. Who wanted me anyway?
The one that did, I had betrayed. The one I thought did, betrayed me. And my friends? They had each other, they would survive.
All I did was cause more pain. Especially to Dev.
If I were dead, he would be free. He could move on.
Yes, that made sense. I should be dead.
I should be dead.
Suddenly, the weight on my heart lifted. The pain slowly lessened. I felt freer. A strange calm and peace surrounded me. My body relaxed. I felt like I was floating. I felt like coming home.
Everything was alright in this world again. I realized then that I made the right decision.
With me gone, everybody would be happy; my parents, my husband, Dev and surprisingly, me too.
“I should die” I muttered, my voice resolute, and got up from my seat to go find something that could help.
A sudden loud shout distracted me from my inner peace, and I shook my head to return to the human world. My eyes adjusted from a white light I hadn’t realized I was seeing to my previous surroundings.
I was sitting on my bed, my laptop to my right and Dev was calling -shouting- my name.
Moving back to my seat in front of the screen, I looked at him. He looked devastated. His hair was all over the place and his fist clenched. And his eyes, his dark black eyes looked white and cold. Like he had seen a ghost.
“Hey, you okay?”, I asked softly.
He stilled, his brows furrowing, “Are you taking the piss?”, he asked, voice colder than Antarctica.
Goosebumps rose on my hand, and I rubbed them down.
“No? What’s wrong? Are you okay?”, I asked again, my voice uncharacteristically soft and calm.
He pulled at his hair and honestly looked lost but angry at the same time.
“What is happening?”, my forehead creased in worry.
“What did you say just now?”, he asked, rudely. I had never heard him use this tone with me and honestly, it scared me.
“What is happening?”, I stuttered out, repeating my words.
“No, no”, he shook his head aggressively, “What did you say before? When you were getting up?”
I thought for a moment. What had I said that upset him so much?
I was getting up to find tools to kill myself and put everyone out of their misery. That’s what I had said.
“I should die”, I repeated, “Why? What’s wrong?”
He pulled his hair again and shook his hands like he was trying to shake me. “Goodness”, he groaned, “Are you even listening to yourself? What are you saying?”
“That I should die. It’s not that hard to understand, silly”, I chuckled.
“Darling”, he drawled the word, warning me.
“Are you taking the piss?”
“No. I don’t understand why you are acting so strange”
“I… I… I am acting so strange?”, his voice raised by the end and he groaned in despair. Murmuring to himself, he took a deep breath, he softly slapped himself ten times. Inhaling a deep breath, he asked in his normal tone and voice, “Why do you think you should die?”
I smiled as I clapped my hands, excited to explain the great confusion I had just solved, “Because then everybody will be happier”
His face contorted, jaw clenching. But he placed a hand on his heart and rubbed it in smooth motions as he asked, “Who is everybody?”
“Mom, dad, Aarav, Shanaya, Liam, Manoj, Krish, and most of all you”, I counted off my fingers.
He continued palming his chest, “How did you deduce that?”
“Well, mom and dad will be happy because obviously their deal was done and their worry, if they had any, over my unhappy life would be lifted away. My friends will be happier because they won’t have to listen to me complaining and crying to them all the time. With me dead, they won’t have to worry about me or my life circumstances and actually enjoy their own. Aarav, he gets to enjoy his part of the deal while being free to choose whoever he really wants to marry.
And you, isn’t it obvious? I am weak and can’t help myself when it comes to you. If I’m dangling right in front of you, wanting to keep you in any way I can, then you can’t move on. But with me gone, it would be easier. You get to move on and live your life happily again. And the best part, I won’t have to live with so much anguish, so much pain and guilt. I will be free, again”, I smiled.
“Do you really think that?”, his eyes watered.
“I know that”, I assured him with a nod.
“Do you know what you don’t know? No one would be happy with you gone, least of all me. That loss would be concrete, we will lose hope and blame ourselves for why we weren’t enough. Why we couldn’t help you. Why you thought that taking your life was the best option. We will beat ourselves until we turn to stone or die in misery ourselves. Do you want that to happen?”
“No”, I shook my head slowly, eyes wide.
“So no one would be happy, why then do you think you should die?”, he folded his hands and stared straight at me. My brown eyes pierced through his watery black eyes, begging him not to break the calm I had created.
“I…I…”, slow dread formed in my belly, I could see the pain, the hurt, the guilt, rushing back to me. I didn’t want it. Calm was good. Peace was good. Feeling nothing was good too. But this, whatever this was, I couldn’t feel that it hurt too much. “I… won’t have to feel so much. I would feel nothing. It would be freeing”
“Why do you want to feel nothing?”, he asked, his voice breaking.
“It hurts too much, Dev, too much”, I sobbed, “I can’t… I don’t want to feel it. Nothing is better, Dev, nothing is so much better”
“I know, darling, I know, but that isn’t all you have ever felt, has it? You feel bad now, but you have felt good too. You have felt happy too. You have felt loved too”, he choked on his last word, but his eyes shined with a plea that hurt to watch.
“I know, I know, but I… I… it hurts too much, Dev”, I begged, “Please, I… I don’t… I don’t want to feel this way Dev. Help me, please”, I scratched my wrists as the pain suddenly grew larger, unbearable. In a way, it felt like I was drowning, but worse. I was drowning inside myself with no hope of ever recovering.
I increased the pressure on my wrist, nails digging in my flesh. It didn’t lessen the pain, not even a bit, but it made me feel like I could at least breath. I inhaled shorts bursts of air, my head going dizzy.