Tonight, I am almost alone. It is too hot even for the air-conditioner to make the room completely comfortable, and my head hurts. But I have Leonard Cohen playing softly on my laptop, so everything is okay-for a while, nothing matters. Not the fast approaching exams-three days away now, I haven’t studied,not really. Not the way I keep drifting away from everyone around me,a little further every day.

“And what can I tell you, my brother, my killer

What can I possibly say

I guess that I miss you…I forgive you

I’m glad you stood in my way”

Leonard Cohen always reminds me of winter now…last winter, and suddenly I am back to those empty,aching days of December. To think what shade of hurt I did not nurse in myself,then…how would I have lived through it if not for this plaintive melody?

“If I ever have been untrue…it was never to you.”

All the arms I almost took shelter in, just a little,just a few more days till I learnt to stand my own ground, even if my knees did tremble,still.

But all that was so long ago. It doesn’t seem so…I barely recall the last six months,except in bits and pieces…mostly in a few moments of acute despair. Yet I lived, and I will,now too…whether I like it or not.

May. Five months since December,when I quietly learnt to feel everything a little too much without breaking apart. Or maybe I had broken already and did so over again, the chilly 2 a.ms when I sobbed into the pillow, listening to Jeff Buckley cry for lost loves-“I think I have forgotten her now.”

I thought I never would forget you.

But I thought I would move ahead,all the same. I prided myself on survival. On how much I could hurt and not let it show. The sheer recklessness. I must have picked it off some song I listened to-the rage in Janis Joplin’s voice when she screamed, “so take another piece of my heart now,baby.”

A bright 4 p.m. and I am watching the sun set over stuffy buildings in some decaying part of the city. I never thought of heartbreak, not then, but I pondered its sheer inevitability the next morning as I lay in bed. It never came to anything.

I outgrew them all. The smoke. The aftertaste of beer. Short dresses. A chillum passed around in the park as we sat sweating, huddled in a circle. I lost it all. I gave it all up.

Where did I go, then? What about the after? I wish I knew. Only, sometimes, in nights like this when the moon is almost full and there’s a voice in my head, humming-

“Maybe there’s a god above, but all I have ever learnt from love,is how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya”- I wonder. Nights like these I am almost fifteen again, alone and reckless and frightened, and ready to throw myself in,headlong into any semblance of lost love.

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