Saturday, 26 September 2015

Crumbled - OS

"This story is a OS, set in an AU where Armaan is a drug addict. It's written from his pov. Hope you enjoy!

I look at the box. I look at her. She was staring at me with those green eyes of hers. Her eyes had always mystified me, I had always wondered how anyone could have such green eyes, such clear eyes. I have tried looking in the mirror to see my own blue ones, I have tried and I have failed. I will never be able to look at myself, at my eyes, again. She smiles.

'Go on. Open it!', she says, a hint of excitement in her voice.

I look at the box again. My hand move to the corner of the box and I take off the tape holding the wrapping to the box. I do the same with all the other corners, careful not to tear the wrapper anywhere. This is a special box. It's the only gift I have had. Ever.

I take off the wrapping and there's a plain white box staring back at me. I take off the lid and I stare. I stare at the contents of the box for a very long time.

There is a box of chocolates lying there, my once-upon-a-time favourite. And there is a packet of my favourite jelly bears too. There's a book lying beneath the chocolates; a copy of The Island of Adventure. A, battered, old, used copy. I smile and it hurts, so I take out the copy from the box and open it to the last page. There it was, her name and mine, written in her childish yet neat handwriting. I smile again. It hurts.

I put the book aside and look at the other contents of the box. There is a packet of cigarette, a small packet of coffee beans, a round cap that I never used to take off. She even brought me a PSP. At this, I look up at her with surprise, raising my eyebrows.

'THAT is not from me. Ayaan sent it. He's moved on to better stuff, thought you might want it.' We both snickered at this. My younger brother had always handed down things to me when they no longer held interest for him, instead of it being the other way around. I look down at the box and there's only one item left. A watch. My watch.

I hold the cold metal in my hands and then push it against my cheek, so that my ears could hear the click of the second hand as it moved. I look at the items in the box. I look at her. I close my eyes.

There's darkness and there is bliss and it's been there after the longest pause ever. I keep my eyes closed for a long time and I feel her sit down next to me and I feel her take my hand in hers and clasp it with her fingers tightly. I let her.

I open my eyes and look at her and her eyes are still as green and as clear as they have always been. I look away, I can not stare too long at her. Her eyes hold truth. Truth is what I want. Truth is what I am running from.

Truth is; I won't ever be using these things again.

I look at the contents of the box and then I look at her again.

'Thank you.'

I don't need to explain and she doesn't ask. I put the lid back on the box, and push the box under my bed. I know I will take it out at night and keep staring at it for the whole night. There's time for that. She is here.

She suggests taking a walk around and we walk out of the room to the brightly lit corridors. The light hurts my eyes so I look down and keep moving in silence till we reach the main door. She takes my hand again and opens the door, walks out. I follow her. We walk around the garden, the lake and she keeps talking and I listen. She tells me about her sister and her wedding and her family. She tells me her mother died of cancer two years ago. I tell her I am sorry, but I don't tell her that that news tears my heart into a million pieces. She keeps talking about how this place is going to help me. I tell her I don't want to talk about it.

We sit down at a bench in the corner of the garden and she takes my hand and clasps it again. I look at our hands together and sigh.

'You need to get better Armaan'

'I know'

'You really need to. This place is good for you'

'I know'

'How are you dealing with stuff here?'

'I am trying'

'Well. That's good. Trying is good'

'Yeah. I know'

'Keep trying, Armaan. You will get through this.'

'I know. I will try'

She sighs and she takes her hand away and that hurts. Everything hurts. Her presence hurts. Her thigh next to mine on the bench hurts. Her shoulder rubbing against mine hurts. Her clear, green eyes hurt. My existence hurts.

'I am sorry, Armaan. I am so sorry.' She says, and that hurts even more. I extend my hand and take hers in it and she lets me. I give it a reassuring squeeze.

'Its okay. It was meant to happen. I understand.' Lies again. I don't understand.

'What have you done to yourself?,' It was a question I have never been able to answer myself. How could I answer her? She takes her hand and puts it on my cheek, on the cheek which has a scar on it and the stitches are still there. It hurts but I let her. She stares at me. I close my eyes. The truth in her eyes hurts.

Armaan Mallik. 28 years old. Born in Mumbai, India. Has one younger brother, mother died giving birth to him. Dad was an amazing father. He gave us food and shelter and love and support but he took all of it away from himself. He worked his ass off for us, to make us good humans. We were. I got into school and I was a good student. I was a good student and a a good player but I had no friends. I didn't talk to anyone, kept myself to myself. I was alone and lonely and neither my dad nor my brother helped that. He was a good father. He gave us food and shelter and love and support but he couldn't take away my loneliness. I didn't know I was lonely, till I found her. Riddhima Gupta. She was my classmate in eighth grade. She became my first friend. I dont know why, but she did. She took away a little bit of the loneliness, but not all of it. She wasn't my saviour. She was my friend. I finished school, went to medical school with her. We both had same dreams, same aspirations. First year, medical school. I started smoking. The pressure was too much, Dad was going to die. He had a heart problem. My brother was too young. Second year. Dad died, Ayaan was sent to a boarding school. I couldn't cope with the studies. Riddhima was there, she was my studies. She helped me, tried to help me, but it wasn't enough. At 20 years, I started drinking. Drinking and smoking everyday. Riddhima was mad at me, but I didn't care. At 22, I was resitting my third year. Riddhima had passed onto the 4th year. She wouldn't have time for me any more. I did dope for the first time near exams. Once a week, then twice, then everyday of the week. Drinking, smoking, dope. I puked blood for the first time when I was 23, then it started happening everyday. Riddhima stopped talking to me at all. I had no friend. I was alone. I tried to stop, did for 18 hours. Couldn't any more. At 24, Riddhima came to me. She told me that she loved me. I told her I love her too. I did, more than I had ever realized. She told me to stop, she said she would help me. I agreed.

I was happy. And satisfied. I didn't need dope or alcohol to stay high. She loved me. I loved her. I reduced my drinking, reduced smoking. She helped me get through. Helped me study. Then she left. At 25, Riddhima's parents decided to get her married to a rich, affluent guy from abroad. She didn't agree. She told them she loved me. Her parents agreed to meet me. Her father turned out to be the man me and one of my dope-mates had snatched money from, once. He refused to even look at me. Riddhima was forced, traumatized. She gave in. She didn't have the strength. Never had. She left. At 25, I started drinking heavily, smoking heavily, doing dope, PCP, glue. Crystal meth. Anything I could get.

Got arrested three times. Got into rehab three times. Left. Vomited blood everyday. For hours, every morning. At 28, I was a disaster. A mess. I had no money, no life, no blood left. Only loneliness. I was in rehab now. Doctors had forced me to stay here after finding me almost dead on the landing of the building I live. I came here. I am going to die. She's here to meet me now. I don't know why she is, but she's here. That's all that matters. A final call.


I look at her and her eyes are not clear any more. There are tears in them. I take my hand and brush the tears away and I smile. Try to smile.

'It's okay, Riddhima. I am fine. I will be fine.'

She nods, still crying. We sit there for a long time, me holding her hand and her crying. I can't do anything about it.

'Please don't cry Riddhima. It makes me cry too.'

She looks at me and though my eyes are clear, she knows I am telling the truth so she nods and stops crying. Then she stands up.

'I have to go now.'

I nod and stand up too. She hugs me. I hug her back. We stay like that for a long time and it's the only warmth I have ever felt in years. I don't want to let go, but I do.

'I will come back next week.'

I nod again, look at her eyes. She stares right back in to mine.

'Please don't die, Armaan. Please don't.'

The truth in her eyes hurts.

'I won't.'

'Take care of yourself. Okay?'

'Yeah. I will.' I won't.

'Promise?'. She knows I won't.

'Yeah, promise. I will see you next week.'

She nods. 'Okay.' Sighs. 'I will see you next week.'

She turns to go, I turn to go inside. She knows and I know she won't. Ever again.



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