It was one of those busy days. As I was walking up the college driveway, I saw her walk inside the gate. She was fiddling with her phone. I tried to hide but, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I was seeing her after a year and a half but it felt like I knew her from a previous life altogether. We were different people back then.
Scared and overwhelmed, I walked towards her, as though I was being pulled in. I stood myself in front of her, speechless, gawking at her.She looked up and the phone fell. No change of expressions, no other reaction. She had her poker face on. I knew that look very well.
After a while of just looking at each other, I smiled “Hi!”
“Hi.” said the poker face.
I didn’t know what to say. The ever pleasant weather of Bangalore, might be good to begin with I thought. “Nice Day.”
“It might be. You can never be sure.” That sounded as though it was intended to offend me. But thankfully, the poker face was fading away.
I tried to switch back to the weather. “I mean… the weather… is comfortable.”
“It seems comfortable, sometimes. You think it really is?” she suggested, yet again.
Why does she have to be so bitter? “Sure. I guess. Don’t you?” I asked myself why I even bothered trying.
“I try not to think about it.” She fixed me with a cold,venomous stare.
I shifted my glance and saw the solitaire,on her hand. I smiled and held her hand in mine. “How is it here, at this place?”
Her fingers curled around mine. She looked at the ring while she spoke. “Like the weather. It seems comfortable, sometimes. But how do you know? For sure? I don’t let my guard down.” I could see the despair in her eyes.
I wanted to reach out, yet take a step back. “That’s kind of sad, don’t you think?”
“Whenever I’ve been happy, I’ve let my guard down, and then something awful has always happened. I don’t let myself get too happy now, and, on the whole, I’m much happier as a result. Odd, isn’t it?” She smirked in an attempt to hide the pain.
I pulled my hand back. I did not want to talk about us, though I knew that both of us, live in bits and pieces of that past, even now.” I guess that’s good… that you’re happier.” I said with spite.
“Except at night. I don’t know anyone who is happy in the middle of the night.” She picked her phone off the ground just as if she regretted saying what she did.
“Why do you say that?”
“Maybe it’s because no one ever really knows what’s in the dark. You can’t.” She looked away from me.
I stepped closer and noticed the dark circles. “There are happy people. They fall asleep.”
She looked beyond me, in an attempt to avoid eye contact.”Being asleep isn’t the same as being happy. How can you be happy if you’re asleep? You can’t be anything. But don’t tell that to the doctors. They want everyone to be asleep, but that just makes the doctors happy.” A tear fell on her left cheek; she wiped it off immediately.
It was Insomnia. I held her hand again. “Sometimes, when I’m dreaming, I dream I’m happy.” I smiled with hope.
“That’s the saddest thing of all, when you dream you’re happy, and you wake up,and all the happiness you dreamed about is gone.” She turned away from me.
I placed my hand on her shoulder, partly hesitating. “Maybe it’s still there, if you look for it.” I couldn’t see her give up and be hurt.
She turned towards me and locked me in her tight grip. “You want to be my friend?I don’t have any friends.”
Images from the past,flashed across my head. Reality hit me like a blow. I withdrew without warning. “Oh! Uh, … I’d like to, but… uh… I’m just here for the field trip, for my psych class, to see…Didn’t they tell you? We’re just here for a few hours. I thought you knew. I’m just a student. I’m really sorry…” It was an obvious excuse but I couldn’t stay this time. I didn’t have the strength to.
She smiled and took a few steps back.“Oh. That’s okay. I’m a student too.” She waved and walked away, leaving me with a metaphor, as always.
[This piece is an interpretation of the script – A Bad Day by Richard Nathan. http://www.richard-nathan-scripts.com/bad-day.htm]