Joined: 25 December 2010
Don't ask me what this is. I've been wondering about writing something on manan for so long, this only, actually. It's angsty tbh cos i love angst the most and i'ts nowhere connected to manik and nandini originally so don't try to find similarities
there's a lot i could've added to explain the actions and reactions here but I didn't. I would love to see how you interpret what I tried to actually say.
this is shitty anyway like W*F stuff.
I haven't written IN AGES. A fiction that is. In ages and my writing turned out rusty so sorry for that. urgh. okay that's it.
"If my love were an
there would be no more land.
If my love were a desert,
you would see only sand.
If my love were a star-
late at night, only light.
And if my love could grow wings,
I'd be soaring in flight."
--Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
"Where's Manik?" I can't find him. He's nowhere. My sight stretches out but doesn't find the object of its search. There's a wild thrumming in my heart, like something's going to be lost; like something is so very wrong.
"Where's Manik?" my words are fueled by desperation, fed by need. A need so all consuming that my feet hurt with the effort to stay still. The insides of my palms tingle like millions of tiny pieces of the universe are crawling all over in a mess, burning and crashing. Restlessness-the word is restlessness. I feel it in my bones and they tingle, it's like a heavy loadstone pressed over my heart. I feel it. I feel it more than I feel my own heartbeat. It's deafening, it's defeating.
Cabir turns toward me catching the edge in my words or maybe it's the jagged hitch in my voice. Whatever it maybe, he listens and responds.
"Nandini," he holds my arm very softly and leans closer, trying to reassure himself and me. I need the reassurance. I almost died. Not for Cabir, every gulp of oxygen would've been a rusty memory. I would've been a rusty memory. The hospital granted me discharge today. I still have a cast over my arm and my leg, an ugly scar right over my eyebrow and a bandage to hide it nonetheless. The accident is a blurred recollection in my brain; vague and indiscernible, like a mirror that's fogged with steam. I just remember the metallic taste of blood, the crimson stains of it as it filled my vision and my mouth. I remember my last thought-the one you conjure before death. Rishab and Manik. And I remember Cabir. He was there. He cradled me in his arms.
And I remember peace. Blankness.
And I remember smiling.
But I don't remember Manik.
Not when I was dying. Not when I was given another life. Not when I sought him, not when I waited, not in all those nights I lied on the hospital bed and anticipated his arrival. Manik was nowhere. I didn't feel him either. He wasn't there outside, he wasn't anywhere. I would've felt him. I would've known.
I snap out of my reverie when Cabir stresses on my arm. My eyes immediately catch hold of his. They're serious, there's a lusterless gleam in them. It makes me want to step back.
"He's at home. His house." The gravelly emphasis on the possessive and house tries to tell me a story but I refuse to listen. I simply nod.
I'm furious with Manik. I nod at him again and the wordless plea reaches. He nods in return and drives me to Manik's house. Cabir doesn't utter a word. The silence baffles me and fills me up. Why Manik? The language that silence speaks cuts the sharpest. The words that I hear in silence hurt the hardest. They say silence cannot be misquoted, but Cabir's silence, quotes a hundred different stories, not one I want to know.
The clenching of the gear makes my heartbeat faster. I let go all the air I was piling in the pit of my chest and give him a smile. I tell him thankyou, with silence, and step out of the car, stumbling a bit but limping inside the house I've come to know as intimately as my own.
I call out for Manik when I don't find him in his room. A smile teases the curve of my mouth. His warmth and smell lingers in the room and engulfs me. He makes me feel safe. The smile is replaced by a scowl. This stupid boy! I grunt, and climb the stairs to the terrace.
I push open the wooden door and haul my limping body inside to greet the frosty chill in the wind. The glossy silk in the air tease my hair pulling at it, the silver peering night promises naked truths.
I feel it in the clenching of my stomach.
The palpable agony the air sings of.
The black howling of the wind.
I feel it in my bones.
Everything that I never want to feel.
Because I see him. I'd always see him. Or maybe it's because I see the steel in his spine as he realizes I'm here and doesn't turn around to face me.
Or the hardening of his jaw like adamantine.
"She's beautiful," I hear him say. Not strong. His words do not ride the air and reach me; they creep up my feet and weep to me. They're scratchy and soft like he's cried and screamed and howled for so long.
I look back up at the night. I look at the sky to find stars but I don't. Not a single one tonight. I only find black ink. Black which he loathes so much.
I stagger at the door, my fingers reaching for the handle but he doesn't turn. I find the hitch in his breath; I see the tensing of his muscles and the tightening of his fingers over the ledge.
I scuffle toward him, ignoring the biting pain in my legs. My fingers clench around his hand and I turn him around to face me.
"Manik," I whisper breathlessly, "don't."
I stare at him, unaware why I said what I said. He's grown a thick beard. His eyes are puffy and swollen like he's not slept in days. He looks disheveled. He looks devastated. I try to reach his face with my hand but he pulls back. He doesn't see me. He sees through me.
"Remember Nandini?" he smiles toward the sky, "you told me once that I chose this. I chose to hurt us both. That I chose to let go of you for Dhruv. I did it to us."
He sighs and it's sad, like the puff of air, a wisp of guilt, a drop in the sea. I can't hold onto it for it dissolves.
"You understand me better than anyone. I used to think that I know myself, that nobody can ever know me better than I know myself. I used to think that life wasn't unpredictable. I believed emotions made it so. I believed predictions made it so. I believed connections made it so. When you formed relations, you linked up with people and I used to think, that in those links, people found solace, there reason to be, there place in a society. They expected and thought and judged and wanted and lusted. Expectations and reliability and emotional availability, I used to loathe these things. I believed once I controlled my life and my emotions, everything's going to be predictable again. Once I knew I ruled and reigned, once I cut off everyone's need for my air, I could breathe with relief. I used to think I finally owned my life, finally...before you."
I blink, twice, then thrice. A lumpy, warping haze narrows my vision.
He turns toward me, the barest of smiles reaching his face. The most tragic of smiles.
"I thought I could be with you," his words caress my face and slice through my skin, "I thought I could be happy with you. I thought," he pauses, the bob in his throat coughing for oxygen, he gulps then grits his teeth, "I thought I could have you."
"You do, Manik. You have me," I want to hit him and then shake some sense into him. Why will he do this to me?
He turns away from me and inhales sharply, "Every single time I used to tell you how dumb you were, I used to try and save myself from smiling and finding you the most adorable thing on this planet. It was defense mechanism. The first time I saw you, I didn't even see you, Nandini. Now I know why. My heart already recognized you. And it wanted to save me. It wanted to save me from the unpredictability, the possibilities, from...from you."
"You never feared me," he says, "I was obsessed with inspiring control over your life, but you didn't fear me, when I was at my worst, you didn't fear me, when I screamed and exploded, you didn't fear me. You never feared me."
He finally looks at me, his eyes lost, his words painful pills of bottomless pain, "But I did, Nandini," he says vulnerably, "Every single time, I feared you. I feared you so much. You scared me."
He raises his shoulders and then lets them fall. They make an exhausting sound, like a shriveling flower that no more has the will to fight and survive, like the last breath of a child on merciless cold night-they cry surrender.
He leans toward me and cups one side of my face with shaky fingers. But they don't feel safe anymore, they're not warm anymore. He delicately holds my hand with the other and presses it right against his chest where his heart resides. And I feel the violent screaming of his heart. It saturates the silence and claws at my own, it bleeds all over my fingers and reminds me of the red that covered my own eyes not days ago.
It bleeds crimson tears.
Of blood. I try to pull my hand back but he keeps it steady, he keeps it right against his chest.
"Nandini," my name sounds like the last word of a farewell song, the last promise, the last touch of life, the last blooming flower before the beginning of autumn, the last hope of warmth before snowfall. It guts me like a blade does and tears apart my soul like a blade does, shredding the soft skin and opening a bag of bones and muscles and blood.
He sings my name like a plea, like a tragedy and I loathe it from his lips.
I watch the play of emotions on his face and clench my fingers, and I await the words that will undo me.
He gathers them, and then frees them in the choking air amidst us.
"I can't love you."
The unsaid word between us. The forbidden emotion that never found its way between us, the four letters that were not to be uttered between us. The reckless spring, I searched so madly for, in our winter. Love, and this is how he says it.
I want to hate him, I want to hit him but I am paralyzed and all I see is his helplessness.
"I can't love you," his jaw hurts and stutters, his lips shriveling and shuddering. I watch the ticking muscle in the hard planes of his face, the bronze of his skin paling, I watch his nostrils expand with cold air as they fill up with it and see the sharp sting of it in his eyes that are glazing with a sea of emotions.
"Because," he whispers, "Because if what I feel for you...if what I feel for you gets any worse than this, I'll be unable to bear the weight of it Nandini. Because, if I want you and need you anymore than I do every second, I would starve for air. Because, what I feel for you is consuming me and drowning me and if I drown anymore the water will find its chains around my legs and shackle me, I'd die, Nandini. I can't survive."
"Because you're a coward?" I push off him, I tear myself away, unable to stand there and smell him, feel him, hear him, see him. I want to be deprived of my senses, for with them, how will I stop breathing him?
"Maybe so. Nandini, I thought I'll survive us. But every passing moment I needed you more. I thought I could have you and have myself. I could have what I sought. You and control and life and happiness. I thought that I was strong enough to face anything. But I couldn't. I couldn't. I crumbled. In the face of the emotions I mocked all my life. I lost. You could've died. You were fighting for your life and I couldn't even move my own hands. I was imprisoned, Nandini, I was lifeless. I wasn't there. I didn't save you. You could've...you could've..." he gulps, not finishing the sentence.
He walks to me in two steps and takes my face in his hands, the words flow out earnestly, "I can't love you Nandini, because if I did, I'll have to let you take the burden of my past and my mistakes. Because If I did, I'd have to let you in on every sin I've committed, because if I did I'd tarnish you with my grease, because if I loved you I'd want every last breath of yours and I'd burn knowing it won't ever be mine to have, because if I did...because If I loved you Nandini then I won't survive what I feel. If I loved you, I won't be able to. Because if it's love, it's unbearable and I can't do it. I can't."
He lets go of my face and I feel the loss wrap around me, I feel its shackling rage.
He faces away from me and starts to walk, each step heavier and aching.
I grit my teeth and close my eyes.
Tears don't fall. Not yet.
And I utter, "If you walk out now Manik, I will never come after you. I'll never love you. if you walk out Manik, you'll lose me forever."
I watch him halt. I watch him turn. I watch the battle his body wages. I watch him tense up, I watch the wounding of his muscles, the thick tension in his jaw and I know he'd come to me.
And he does. In two long strides he's at me and his hands are all over me. He cradles my face and breathes over my lips. The warm air fills me and gushes through me.
And then he leans forward, tilts his head and kisses me.
Almost. He stops just a breath away from my lips and breathes hard. I feel him. He feels me. And we stand there, just feeling, just wanting, just needing, we stand there wrapped up in a cloak of a forever that's fleeting.
His lips hover over mine, their promise inclined to break through me, their touch the last touch of life and I watch him, I wait. All I hear is the whistle of the cold and his ragged breaths.
And then he pulls back and gazes deep into my eyes. His fingers grow tighter, holding my face firmly and he utters emotions, they bleed out of him, and the words that his mouth free, shackle my future forever.
"I don't love you Nandini," he whispers staring deep into my eyes and addressing my very soul, "I don't love you," he emphasizes, pulls away and walks out.
And I smile.
Because we both know what he just said.
I turn away and close my heart.
To the promise of love that is luring.
For the past has taught
To not be caught,
In what is not worth pursuing.
To never do the things I've done
That once had led to
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