Sitting alone, she began staring at the cafeteria. There was no place for her anywhere. She couldn’t sit on the stair, with that stylish group of girls, neither on the chairs with that funny group of guys; laughing and cheering. From far off, she kept thinking, “they are laughing. I’m hilarious, I’m a joke. Even though, deep down, she knew she is the best, she has been told that by the best people, the teachers, the principal, from kindergarten till day. But, still, its a hollow swallowing her every breath. It feels like a void. There’s so much noise and still no sound, nothing to comfort, nothing to ease that lonely little voice inside. She’s alone in a crowd.
Why is that, she was sitting right next to them, just a few days ago, she was their best friend. Just a few days ago, she was the person they waited for, saved a chair for, seemed to care for. What happened? ‘NO’ is what happened. she said ‘NO’, she said no to that senior, in agitation and abruption, she was tensed, she was bewildered, unhappy, and depressed, no one could see it, she hid it so perfectly, she was trained to do that. She was trained to not show off anything she felt. Ever. ‘People will use you.’ They said to her. ‘People will use you and hurt you and exploit you. Men are made to exploit women. They use them. Don’t ever come open in front of anyone. Be alone, but not open.’
And. Yes! They were right. She got used, even with the fake smile. She wanted to be accompanied. She was desperate for company. Heart burning, head boiling with, ‘I want you. Please, sit with me. I need to talk.’ But. No! she kept it inside, called it a ‘drama’. She went through and had gotten over so much, alone. She had started calling all social needs a ‘drama’.
She used to give up her private time, for company; give odd people lifts in her car, just to feel the presence of another soul, talking to her, the words that came out of their mouths should be for ‘her’, she wanted to hear it, anything, bragging or lose talk, anything from someone else addressing ‘her’. The silence of this noise was killing her.
She decided to get off that corner, go unto those four boys, since she had only fought with one, ‘the others shouldn’t be mad at me, I have been sitting with them everyday for six months now, how can they kick me out so quick?’ she thought and took a step in their direction. Heart beat rising with every breath, she started to sweat. ‘At least I’m honest. I care. I was a good person. I only said ‘no’ to work, In a very abrupt and hateful manner. Of course. But he did say he loved me and cared and I could share anything with him. He might forgive that small mistake. I was hurt. How can a lover not see that?’ She approached the best one and asked, ‘what’s up?’ No answer. She was invisible. But, luckily, someone put a hand on her shoulder. Another person she had fought with was behind her smiling.
And then she realized, ‘Yes! I was wrong but, I was wrong with both these people. The ones who care, will keep you as long as they can. She turned to him and smiled, gave him a half ,awkward hug. Suddenly all the pressure developing inside her, on the verge of turning into hysteria, flew away. It took a single touch. A friendly touch. By a real, honest friend. Not a foul lover. Many told her they loved her but they all left with single, small talk.
And the deep ones stayed, because they had realized her depth, they still cared, they weren’t a lot, but the few of the best, the encouraging, the efficient, the hearty.
Yes! I am still alive, its not just noise anymore, I’m here. I’m happy. I have a friend, and he still likes me around, and I will be sincere with him till my last breath. Because love isn’t physical attraction: it’s emotional connection. It’s understanding silence. And helping the one who doesn’t ‘want’ it, but ‘needs it’, caring about those who don’t ‘express’ it, but ‘feel’ it, healing those who are ‘wounded’ but not ‘restless’. The hearts that are bleeding without red.