You’ve left. That day has come, and gone. I can no longer tell myself that you’re just across the road. And the way you were flaking that past month, I am just glad you’re not here anymore, glad that I can relax into locking you up tight and pretending like you never existed. You kept me at arm’s length before you left, and I wonder why. You rescued me when I was locked out but you didn’t talk to me and you waved goodbye nonchalantly. And the next night, you demanded I wait for you, were an hour and a half late and STILL didn’t talk to me. I was hurt and angry and I heaved a sigh of relief. You’re gone. You don’t lurk in the backdrop of my social life; I don’t have to steel myself to spend time with you and not let go while I’m there. That comfort that defined us–it’s gone.
You’ve left. That day has come and gone, and I didn’t even call you. I wanted to offer to drive you to the airport. But I said no, have some self-respect. Stop being such a good friend to him when he can’t reciprocate. And that night, in the dark movie theatre, I cried a bit because you’re gone. You’re no longer just across the road. You can no longer flake on morning walks. I can no longer call you and skulk in your house when I don’t want to be at home. You won’t be telling me to just crash man what is this you can’t crash off or what as I laugh and extricate myself from your parties. I wanted to call you last night, ask how you’re dealing with Bombay, how your first day at work was. But I stayed smart instead. I listened to music and I called for help.
I try and lock you up but you’re still there, waiting to ambush me, a guerrilla jack in the box of my head, and I don’t know when you’ll pop up and shake me. Like this morning, when you texted me at 7am. ‘Yo. Bombay is so unreal…’ Which is code for ‘Hey, I’m so unsettled, I’m freaking out.’ And I, half asleep and unable to stop myself from getting warm and fuzzy that you texted when I was missing you, I replied immediately with the comfort you were seeking. And I tell you you’ll be fine. I remind you of why you left. I point out that you will settle in over time, and you’ll gt to visit Delhi often. And so we fall effortlessly back into the pattern, that pattern that will break me time and again, because I cannot say no when someone I love needs me–it’s nice to be needed–and I will not be able to not reach out when I need you, and you won’t respond and the whole little dance will start again. And I will console myself by saying well, see? It’s only been three days. You have tons of friends–you’re staying with some! You have a girlfriend! And yet you reached out to me when you were shaky. And I’ll pretend that I don’t know what once your mother’s back in town I won’t really hear from you again.
And for a while I’ll let us out into the fresh air, to dance and weave and trick myself, and hope that when the time comes I’ll have the strength to lock us away again in that deep dungeon where nobody ever goes.