Morning Affairs – Manju Mahipalan, Karnataka

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Manna woke up from the exhausting slumber and saw him still sleeping, his face utterly calm. She loved him the most when he slept, but then who does not love people when they are sleeping. It probably is the only time they are at peace with themselves and the entire world. Awake, Manna was caught in a whirlpool of emotions. She felt grounded but broken at the same time. A soul shredded into pieces, each piece letting out a melancholic sigh. Today could be the last day. It has to be. At least, for the time being. Stretching her legs, Manna decided to lie down, close to him for a few more minutes. The last few minutes are always important, she reminded herself. They are to be meticulously designed for a perfect closure. She laid down and immediately his warm breath kissed her cheeks. She, her eyes wide open, deeply inhaled the scent, which lingered around him since the time they met. It was something, which only she could sense when he was around. What scent was it? She tried to recollect. Was it the smell of blueberries? It could be. She has always liked them. Or did he smell the way her old books smelled when they were pulled out of the shelves? Rustic and rueful? She did not know. Anyways, she loved it.

 

Thinking about love, Manna felt her heart twitching in a sharp pain. Her love was never on his list. He admired her for her wits, adored her body, and was crazily in love with the fact that she was his best friend. However, it ended there. How can something like this, end like this, like nowhere? Without going beyond? She never understood. Manna tried asking him once and he seemed disinterested.


“Manna, this is the way I am. It is an articulation of my upbringing. I have never learned to put my emotions on display, be it love or agony. They do not bother me anymore. I feel detached from them. Or indifferent, if that makes sense to you”.


He finished and looked at her, hope glimmering in his deep brown eyes, that she understands his position. She certainly did not. And she did not want to. His excuses, explanations would seriously undermine the reverence she felt for this relationship, she feared. She holds this relationship special, sacred, close to her soul, irrespective of what people tell her, advise her. Manna consoled herself. Not every relationship is meant to thrive, end on a perfect note. She was annoyed at the fact that humankind is hardwired for complex lives. Nothing runs simple in our brains. When she thought she would cry again, Manna hugged him tightly. He, though only half conscious, slightly smiled and planted a brief kiss on her forehead. Closing her eyes, she imagined being the blood serenely flowing in his body, kissing every corner it, invading every space he owned, manipulating his heart, so that only she remained in every memory of his. Manna got up. Before another uncontrollable stream of tears rolls down, she has to leave this place. Forever. There is nothing like forever. She corrected herself. Just like there are no beginnings or endings, there is nothing like forever. Nothing is forever, no one is forever. She has finally acknowledged the impermanence as the only permanent thing in life. Too late though. Manna changed her clothes and collected her belongings. He knew yesterday would be the last; yet, he has gracefully accepted the situation and has agreed to let her go. Manna felt envious. How could he do that and she could not? Yesterday, during the final conversation they had, he remained totally poised and in a voice deep with gratitude told her he loved her but he respected her decision too. For a split second, Manna thought she saw his soul. A soul, despite its bleeding wounds, warm and compassionate and Manna realized she would be back. She did not know when. Or how. Or in what form. Nevertheless, she knew, she belonged there, to his soul.


“I know, you are going on a vacation, Manna. Come back one day”. 

He said in a mischievous tone.


Putting on her shoes, Manna smiled. She discerned the fact that deep down, she is in love with the intricate designs of life, its twists, and turns, its contrasting colours and bleakness. He was still sleeping. Manna stood at the door, her eyes resting on him intensely. She waved a silent goodbye, stepped out into the scorching summer heat melting at once, and was carried away by the winds.

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