So now, I skip up those steps, body lithe, yet the weight of my sadness keeps pushing me downwards. My voice is of someone who once understood love, but now understands its consequences. Hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, but I’d rather choose a cookies n’ crème chiller now, thank you. I speak of you in a tranquil, unwaveringly muted tone, because I do not want to give away the storm beneath the calm. I care for this careful behavior you see. It’s all practiced and controlled, but it is in my eyes, which you knew so much, loved so much, that gives away the tale of our journey. It is there where you will understand why love fills in these gaps, like those between our fingers, those between the oceans, and those between low lying cumuli against the sunset.

A few hundred photographs, maybe. I look at them, one after the other, permitting every little detail to find itself an everlasting place in my head. I brace myself for the impact. Soon, my field of vision will be alive with vivid colors and hazy shapes. I will relive every infinitesimal memory I can recollect. I will allow flowers to spread out on this dilapidated tragic skeleton of mine. Photograph after photograph will swim in front of my eyes, as each finger will touch the brightly burning LCD. Everything will bring back a flood of memories, and bittersweet tears. Memories much too recent to let go of. I blink furiously to suppress the tears that are long overdue. But I know somewhere deep in the being of my being, that it will never, ever be the same.

***
‘Aakhir kab tak? How much longer?’

It was one of the several questions she asked me. Her voice was definitely distorted over the phone. Or maybe I chose to believe that it was distorted. But I knew that tone. It was the one I always employ when I want to drill common sense into her. She was trying to do the same thing to me, because I needed it. But I hung up.

I couldn’t answer.

Pain. You would like to feel again.
Pleasure. You would love to laugh again.

But, you had your time. You had your time, and you bore no fruit. This is how it ends… You go back, with nothing. And all that remains is your sorrow.

‘Kissi ki dunia chaahat mein barbaad hai.’

What happened to you, Qirat? You were never this way.

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