Well tomorrow marks a year. I wrote about it the day I found out all those months ago and put it up here but took it down a few days later. Writing was processing and I hadn’t processed it yet—still haven’t but whatever—and so it didn’t seem right leaving it up here.
A woman I know died. Tomorrow would make it exactly a year since she did. At the time I had my boards (this year’s due to start on Monday) and so I wasn’t told about it. I was told she was sick and when I insisted I wanted to visit her at the hospital they said I can after my boards got over. A month and a half later I’m asking papa to hurry up and pulling my mum out the door when she said it.
‘She’s no more.’ Three words. Not the ones people dream of hearing.
She was my mother’s best friend so I had no right being angry at mum. This was hard for her too, but I was. I didn’t like the fact that I had been kept in the dark, that I had no chance to say goodbye or even go to the funeral. I had been blindsided and I had to pretend everything was okay because we were going to her house that day for dinner. I wasn’t allowed to back out so I had to sit at dinner and pretend that seeing her decorated photo on the wall didn’t affect me; that I didn’t want to yell in frustration and tear the garland of flowers off of the frame. But I did it. I got through it.
I forget she’s dead sometimes. Does that make me horrible? I just forget about her death. I often go days without thinking about it. I just don’t understand it. I know it happened; I know how it happened (it was quick and peaceful and painless, thank God) but I just don’t understand how it happened. How does someone just…?
I don’t remember the last time I saw her. I’m not a sentimental person so I don’t treasure everyday moments or live my days like they might be my last. So I don’t remember the last time I spoke to her. She loved shopping; I hated it so I would turn down my mother’s invitations. I wouldn’t go over to their house much in the last few months because there was always some exam, some test, some stupid project. So it’s entirely possible I hadn’t spoken to her in weeks.
I remember the food she used to make me. We would go at night and her dog would bark and I would say hi to it even though I was scared out of my wits and I would go in and watch tv or play with my sister. I also remember her coming in on Saturdays and bringing whatever she made for us and then sprawling on the bed waiting for my mother to hurry up and dress so they can go to the office. I remember the passionate retelling of stories as I sat in the backseat while mum and her talked and talked and talked. She would repeat “maine bola”(“I said”) over and over again in one sentence when worked up (“I said he was an idiot, I said. He should have made it on time, I said, I said it was his fault, I said”) It was amusing.
I cried properly once. It was weeks after I had been told. I was emailing a friend and we were talking about some random crap and before I knew it I was blurting it all out and bawling like a pathetic child at 2 am.
My best friend prayed for her even though she’s an atheist. She’s nice like that.
She was here and now she’s not and sometimes I forget. That she’s not. There’s a billboard on the way to school with her picture on it (she was quite prominent in some circles) and it got me thinking about how all these people pass by that group photo never realizing that the lady in green is dead. That the smile they see is long gone and there are no more ‘maine bola’s or poha in yellow tiffins brought in hot on Saturday mornings, no soft, warm body and silky jet black hair (as a child with the unruliest curliest mop there is, I always wanted those tresses), and no forced shopping trips.
I’m a mess. Held together by algorithms and logical reasoning that crumbles at the most inopportune of times in the most spectacular way possible, leaving behind a raw, blistering, pathetic lump that flinches at the slightest movement.
There’s a photo on a wall and fading echoes of a few laughs. Because the rest, as Nabokov said, is rust and stardust.