Maybe.

Maybe you learned about me too fast. Of how I like my coffee all black and no sugar but how chiya needs to have a dash of milk and a tinge of sweetness. Of how I don’t have a favorite color but I want my Parka Jacket green and Skinny Jeans dark blue. Of how I am obsessed with everything check and stripe. And of how I like everything chocolate – the ice cream, the cake; the darker the chocolate is the better. Of how I seek space when given attention and how I seek attention when given space.

Like how you would mug up the course for an exam right before it, maybe you read me in a rush. Maybe you read me like a wooden lattice window or an old house in a chowk that we barely go to. Or like how I’d always tied my long jet black hair into a grandmother bun till I chopped it off. And how my glasses hides the chocolate brown eyes, that is too deep to look into for more than five minutes.

Like how you’d go through the maps before exploring new places, maybe you’d done the same with me. That you ended up memorizing each turn and twist of my life, of each hole and home too. Of how I have been beaten, bent and burnt, time and again by life and yet how I came back stronger each time. Of how I have a good support system, network of friends and families, who always have my back. Of how I want to save the world yet I am unsure about saving myself.

Maybe like how we move on from the things we’d studied for exams after the exams, the landmarks after we’d reach the destination, you too have moved on after knowing me so well, after reading me so well. After all, I am an open book and you are a good reader.

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My coping mechanism is fucked up.

I was born to a father who drank his tears with whiskey every single night when his father died. When the sun spread its color across the western sky, I would find him drowned in the glasses of liquor I could never keep track of. If there was no bottle left in the house, he would leave, searching for a sip here and a sip there. I never asked why he smelled of alcohol when I put him to bed.

I was born to a mother who drowned her pain with work when her mother passed away. Even before the sun woke up, I would find her inside the kitchen cooking meals, tirelessly without a break. If there wasn’t any food to be cooked, she would be knitting, weaving, cleaning, sweeping, washing. I never asked her why she never rested her bones even when they felt sore with age, as they decayed slowly.

I am the daughter of both of them. Although I told myself, I would never touch a drop of liquor and I would never cook and clean and wash and knit, I found myself drowned in the world of fiction when my parents died. Right between the sunrise and the sunset, I would compare myself to the princess of fairytales and to the superheroes of comic books, because I portrayed myself as the hero of my story. And you never asked me why I got obsessed with fictions.

You thought I found solace in these stories just like I thought my parents found solace in drinks and chores. That I was healing with the tales just like they were healing with the spirits and with the works. That’s why you never asked me if I was okay just like I never asked my parents if they were…