Picture source: Internet

Oh, this pain of mine

Short story

Dear Blog,

This pain of mine, this ache in the heart, refuses to go away. At times, like a rodent it gnaws on and on, eating me away. Or it’s like someone piercing into my rib cage with a knife, opening old wounds over and over. I feel the pain, but can’t pin point it’s exact place, its deep, so deep inside. All I can say is, it’s like a match stick thrown into a pool of gasoline for it burns me so badly that I can’t locate the first strike in the ashes. This pain of mine sits on my being, weighing like mountains and has me confined to my room. The brain and other body parts do not live in harmony and I wonder if look like a ghost. Nothing seems human anymore.
My sister, who loves me endlessly is always telling me, “Look, what have you done to yourself?”

And so, I stand in front of my fancy mirror and stare at my reflection. The wooden designs around the mirror frame echo words of Sis. What happened to you? My dark hair has turned to salt and pepper and grows wild all around my face, like a cave woman’s. Sis sometimes puts oil on my hair and braids it up for I never do. My eyes have picked up a haunted look. How could the spark in them betrayed me? They no longer light up for anything, but look at everything as if seeing a mist. The eyebrows are thick and bushy. I remember at one time I used to go to the beautician to have them shaped, but that is now history. The wide mouth droops at the corners, like my octogenarian grandmother in the hospice. Out of my pale face the sharp nose sticks out foolishly. When I look at the nose, I wonder how it could manage to look so dignified when my inside is crumbling like sand castles? This pain of mine has me look like a corpse sent back from the grave for my thirty year old body has surrendered to strange, early aging. I feel so old, so out of tune in this bustling world. I want to be left alone with my thoughts. Is that too much to ask for?
 But Sis is always making calls to doctors. Those kind souls who ask me more or less the same questions.
 “Where is this pain? Is it in the chest?” they ask when Sis says I mention of a pain somewhere in my heart, that it is bad enough to keep me bedridden.
 I clutch my chest and point to the heart and say,
 “The pain is inside, deep inside and it hurts!”
 Then come the usual routines. Have EKG, ECG, ETT and so many more tests of the heart. The doctors are surprised ,everything is okay. The heart is very sound. Why the pain? Perhaps they missed something? 
 Kind doctors look into my eyes, they see the troubled soul. It’s all in the eyes you see. The eyes are supposed to be the mirror of the soul. The wild look, the lost and the confused self; so many shades of pains hide between my long lashes, behind the pupils. The wise doctors find solutions to help me and they tell Sis,
 “ We will refer your sister to the psychiatrist, that could be the answer to her pains. We got thorough examinations of the heart and the rest of the body. Physically she is okay but…”
 That makes me laugh. My guffaws make them stop and I touch my chest and point to my heart,
 “Doctor, the pain is too deep, you can’t reach it, you can’t cure it! Ah this pain of mine…ha …ha …ha” I cannot stop the laughter. But and then suddenly the pain is too heavy for me to go on. I break down and start crying, my body heaving with the sobs.

***

I see lights getting dim in the doctor’s chamber, the walls around me closing and my heart is really stopping. I must get out of the place where my pains are being dissected like researchers cut rabbits and mice. I rush out. Sis follows and tries to pull me into her arms.
 “ Honey, my little sister, calm down. We will go home .” She repeats over and over.
 “ I don’t need doctors! How many times I have told you that?” I don’t feel like honey, rather like bitter gourd.
 “ Ok…ok…no doctors…” She promises. But then and there, I know right on the next day she will drag me to a new psychiatrist. She listens to strangers and their advice, doesn’t understand her own blood. Strange are faces of love.

These sessions with the psychiatrists make me feel like a real lunatic. I tell the owl like doctors that I am not crazy, that their treatment of me makes me feel like one. They think I am out of my senses just because I don’t eat right, don’t dress right and spend sleepless nights star gazing. But how can I tell them that when I do things in my own way I feel more in tune with my pain? It’s like using thorns to pick other thorns. My pain has a right to be there, it has come to stay with for the rest of my life. No knows better than me of how my wounded heart is my life partner. You see dear Blog, that is the only thing someone left me with when he went away. Along with his belongings he packed his feelings too, but I stayed where I was, feelings and all. Why can’t death of love come on two ends simultaneously, like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? Many broken hearts would be spared of suicides then. Hmmm..that is a new thought, why live a rotten life at all?

***

Dear Blog, unanswered questions keep me awake. My lost dreams rewind like motion pictures in the darkness of the nights and I pace up and down in my room. Then Sis comes with all those sleeping tablets. I take them and throw them into the wastepaper basket. I smile at Sis and say,
 “ Don’t worry, another sleepless night won’t make me any more crazier. Just let me be…can’t you do that?”

Sis shakes her head , her brows knitted into a deep frown as if fed up with me. I’m tired of her nagging too and do not want her around me. It’s the same routine, she argues till I gulp down those tiny blue and purple pills. But at times she gives up and I get my way. Then I sit in the balcony and look at the night sky. Moonlit nights are special for I imagine another pair of eyes locked on it while white clouds float in silver skirts. Countless stars twinkle with soft lights and I am with my Shayan in my thoughts. Perhaps he is also looking at the moon?
But and then, did I tell you about my “Shayan”? Ah no, nor do I ever tell the doctors about him. Only two months back Shayan was there in my life, filling each and every moment with his love for me. He disappeared as suddenly as he had come. He dropped out my sky like a shooting star.

We were in love. Listen, very much in love. Shayan couldn’t leave me but he did. My Shayan, my first love with his dark eyes, tall and manly looks. He told me countless times that he loved me and I saw truth deep in his eyes. Or did I? Now where has love gone? Tell me how am I supposed to feel when this love and the person; all vanish. They have left me with this pain, one that makes me numb to the rest of the world. The doctors can’t see the blood that drips fresh every time they poke into my pains. They see the lost me in the eyes and ask me to play tennis, to go to movies and have good times with friends and relatives. At times they give hints and say if someone did hurt me I should get over it.

Stupid. How can feelings be deleted, of all the people they should know that better. The chemistry of love doesn’t work that way. So, I sit alone at night, rehearsing what I will say to the next doctor Sis drags me to. “Doctor, you don’t have to go with those test for this pain of mine….you just can’t cure it….no doctor can…….ha..ha..ha ..” I will plead, laugh and cry.
 “Have you seen the dark sky of a rainy day? There is more water behind my eyes than the whole sky. See the ocean flowing? There are hundred oceans behind my eyes. See those firewood burning? There is a greater fire in my heart. See the infinity of the sky? My heart is lost to a greater infinity. Oh this pain of mine. Doctor, please no more of these tests, it just won’t go away. Oh, this pain of mine…”
 Someone tell me, where love has gone? Dear Blog, please?

Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA.

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