(A short story)
There is this man who seems to have taken the notion in his mind that I’m his friend … which I’m not. To be honest, I’m scared of him, don’t like him, wish to run away at the mere sight of him. Still, he manages to find me – and starts telling me about his sufferings, he doesn’t seem to be able to talk about anything else. I found myself incapable of consoling him, though I do really feel sorry for him whenever he is around – I’m thus left sad without helping him an ounce. His listlessness is contiguous, sometimes it makes me go without food for days. I guess you will understand when I say I feel frustrated with all this.
And he is always finding me only when I would be alone. Not always, of course, I still find my moments of blissful solitude which as you know I treasure above all else, though those moments are becoming increasingly rare. Still, I’m always scared of him finding me and so continuously seek company. I find his pity – whether it is self-pity or pity on me disgusting.
At times, out of compassion that I still sometimes feel for him, I’ve talked of his sufferings with my friends .. and although they listen carefully and, at least some of them must be as genuinely sorry for him as they all affect to be – the thing remains, perhaps it is failure on my part to explain to them his pains, but no one ever really understands him, except for me, and I can’t help him. He himself is too shy to come out.
Over last few months he has become dangerously more efficient in finding me when alone. Of late, sometimes I can feel him arrive when in company of others but I won’t have others know that I have a friend like him, having seen that they won’t understand his sorrow, and so I run to meet him someplace in solitude – so, now it seems , being in a company has started becoming a bigger disadvantage than solitude, I think I am actually starting to prefer solitude again.
Quite a few times, I’ve abused him in frustration, calling him to be of no good, stupid etc, telling him I don’t want him around, but to no use. He would listen to me with his gaze fallen but won’t leave till he wished to –even when, well, it has happened a few times now, I’ve added physical injuries to verbal ones. And while he is stubborn in his habits, whatever I’ve done to scare him away has only added to my own regrets – only making me feel more sorry for him.
And so I’m never alone without being afraid of him showing up of nowhere –even in a closed room, or in the company without having fears that I might have to take leave of my friends suddenly for the reasons they won’t understand. There are times when I can hear him arriving, scaring me of fate that I can’t save myself from. I sit there, my eyes closed, clueless what to do – for all schemes that I could have thought of have failed against him. ‘I don’t want him around, I don’t..’ I say looking at him in my image in the mirror on room wall – and yet, knowing my wishing so won’t change anything.
Only rarely, my dog would come and put her head in my lap; asking through her big gray eyes to play with her and thus saving me from my melancholy friend’s company.
- By Sidharth Vardhan
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