Fiction Park

Monsters and men

  • She didn’t want to hide from her monster; she didn’t want to run away from it. She wanted it in her plain sight
- Abha Dhital
For days, she struggled to soak it in. For days, she wandered around, completely distracted. Some days, she sat in one corner for endless hours, detangling her emotions that submerged her heart. Other days, she struggled to rise above her misery as the gravity of truth weighed her down

Feb 25, 2018-Do you think it’s going to be easy?” “I know it’s not, but there’s no other way. I can’t quit cold turkey—that has never suited me.”

Hadn’t Maya held the gaze even after she stopped talking, Bini wouldn’t have believed her for the world. But well, it was Maya. She had always had bizarre ways of coping with heartache.

                          …

Bini always knew something was off. Maya couldn’t tell. 

On the outside, Reyhit was a sorted man. He knew exactly what he wanted out of life and he had already laid a fool-proof foundation for it. He believed in preparation. Every major step he took in life was calculated; even the right time to fall in love. 

“Love is something that needs and deserves a lot of time and energy,” he would often say, “If you find it in the right time, it will save you, if you find it in the wrong time, it might as well destroy you.”

Maya had met him at a time when he was ready for love. And he was by all means the best thing that had happened to her. It had taken her less than three months to realise that he was ‘the one’. In him she had found everything that she ever needed to feel complete—a lover, a friend, a mentor. 

“He makes me so happy,” Maya had said to Bini a couple of years ago, “He makes me so happy that if he asked me to, I’d leave the world behind for him.” 

Bini, on a closer look into the relationship, had already realised long before Maya did that Reyhit was too good to be true.

Reyhit’s way of loving Maya seemed too calculated. He would shower her with all the love in the world, and then suddenly pull back, as if to make Maya realise that he is capable of depriving her of it should she fail to know its value. He would appreciate Maya for all she was, make her feel like the most capable and beautiful human being in the world and then swiftly bring her down with his list of ‘constructive criticisms’, as if to remind her that she will never be good enough. He would express how much she meant to him and how grateful he was to have her in his life, and then show her all the ways in which she was lucky to have him instead, as if she didn’t really deserve it all.

Vulnerable, she allowed Reyhit to play the strings of her heart as he wished to. She thought this was love. She thought she deserved it all.

.............

Growing up, Maya was a brave kid. Whenever she feared the possible presence of a monster in her room, instead of hiding under the blanket, she sat upright on her bed and looked around, attentively, making sure all was clear.

At 26, not much had changed. Of course, the imaginary monsters had been replaced by human beings who stripped naked their demons. But, the way she coped was still the same. She didn’t like hiding away or closing her eyes when a monster was around. She didn’t like going into denial, or shifting her attention elsewhere. Instead, she made sure the monster was in plain sight. She made sure she knew its every move and that it knew she wasn’t afraid.

Few months ago, when Maya found a monster in the person she loved most, she was devastated. She was in shock. For days, she struggled to soak it in. For days, she wandered around, completely distracted. Some days, she sat in one corner for endless hours, detangling her emotions that submerged her heart. Other days, she struggled to rise above her misery as the gravity of truth weighed her down.

Last week though, she made a call. She confronted it. Fuming with rage, she attacked her monster with all that she had, and in every possible way she could. And the monster stood still, letting her cause him bruises that would never really heal her own wounds.

It took her 24 hours to realise that the person who she thought brought out the best in her had brought out the worst in her that day.

But Maya was a brave woman. She didn’t want to hide from her monster; she didn’t want to run away from it. She wanted it in her plain sight. She wanted to watch her monster every single day, until it decided to disappear on its own. She wanted to keep her eyes wide open, making sure all is clear, making sure it didn’t for a second think that she was terrified.

“I am sure this is the best way to cope. I want to transition from lovers to strangers. I can’t shut him out, just yet,” she said to Bini. 

Published: 25-02-2018 09:02

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