“I hope you are happy.” A comfortable bubble of silence was burst by her shrill, needle-like voice.
“I would like to think so,” I replied, in jest, almost nonchalantly.
“Let me rephrase. I hope you are happy about what you did to her.”
“We are not going to have an argument about this now. We have discussed this before. I am not in a place where I can engage in another debate on righteousness.” I was really exasperated with this line of thought and didn’t really want to ruin my peace of mind on a Sunday.
“Ah, yes. Of course. Hiding behind your ‘mental condition’. Yet again. We both know that there is nothing wrong with you and you are just using this deplorable excuse to go ahead with your mindless debauchery. And you know the worst thing is that you know it.” Her words landed like a punch in the gut. One which reminds you of what actual pain feels like.
I felt a slow burning rage simmering within me, fuelled by disdain and self-loathing.
“Why don’t you just tell her the truth?” her accusatory barrage continued.
“I don’t want to hurt her any more than I already have,” I replied in as calm a voice as I could.
“Who are you trying to fool, Zehan? We both know the only person you are trying to not hurt is your own selfish self.”
Too many thoughts and way too many emotions flooded my mind for me to be able to form words to answer her.
She sensed my turmoil and continued, “You have to accept it. That you are simply trying to save yourself from the hurt of facing your self. Nothing constructive can materialise until you accept it. You have to accept it.” She emphasised each word of her last sentence as if to drive her point across.
One of the things I appreciate about her is that our conversations (read arguments) are never rushed. She is not one of those persons who just keeps on hitting the nail on its head until it is bent or buried. She would wait patiently until her words have permeated me and have had their full impact. She would only continue after that. Her objective was never to win the argument but to win me over.
“I can’t look at myself in the mirror. I loathe myself. I keep telling myself stories of wrongs committed against me. Of people taking me for granted. I use these stories to sympathise with myself. And sell these stories to garner sympathy from others. And then take these people who sympathise with me for granted. And then feel bad about it. And then repeat the whole fucking cycle.” I felt myself getting unhinged and losing control over my thoughts. Words came gurgling out like a pipe bursting after a spate of winter. I tried, in vain, to tie the bursting seams together.
“Your reasons are not justified.” She was relentless.
“I would just like to think that I am not a bad individual.” I hear myself speak in a voice that sounded like a whimper or a pathetic sob.
“But you aren’t very sincere. Your best friends have called you out on that, remember? You think it is their responsibility to love you, even if you aren’t genuine towards them. Your five-dollar-words aren’t enough for people to go through all the trouble, you know.”
“I do mean the things I say when I say them. But the way I feel keeps changing. Too much, too often. I don’t want to constrict the way I feel. Am I not allowed to feel the way I do? Is this freedom too much to ask for?” I was starting to get frustrated at all these indictments being directed towards me. My gradually rising voice betrayed my simmering anger.
“The pitch of the voice usually rises when the content of the speech is hollow. You know who said that?”
“Freedom isn’t a right, boy. Freedom is a responsibility. Do you really expect others to move around to make space for your ‘freedom’? You keep saying that people who get to know you well, start to dislike you. Why do you think that is? Do you really think you are likeable as an individual?”
Tears welled up in my eyes. She was right. I really didn’t deserve to feel good about myself. Not when I am using others as a prop in my life to feel good about myself. All on the pretext of having been dealt a bad hand.
She wasn’t done talking though. “I know I am being rude now. But I honestly don’t care. Do you really think you are happy?”
“I would like to think so. I am trying to will myself to believe that I am.” I breathed these words, almost wishing she didn’t hear me say them.
“You are incorrigible, you know. At least, show the heart to accept that you are miserable.”
“I am… Miserable.”
“Good. Deal with it. By yourself.”
She was on her way out the door with these words, leaving me in a cold mess of my own making.