Dear Beloved.

As a kid, I wanted to be the strongest girl in class; I wanted to hand-wrestle better than any of the boys, and have them stare at me in admiration. They did. I could beat all of them in a single sitting.

TW: Mentions of Death, S*icide

Artwork by Veer Misra

Dear Beloved,

Object of my affections. Bearer of my afflictions.
It’s been a month since you’ve been gone, and the rains are here now. I thought you’d like to know.

I’ve always thought myself to be resilient. As a kid, I wanted to be the strongest girl in class; I wanted to hand-wrestle better than any of the boys, and have them stare at me in admiration. They did. I could beat all of them in a single sitting.

When I was 6 years old, I decided that I wanted to numb myself to pain –  I wanted to be the kid who wouldn’t flinch during injections. And all the other children would gather around with wide eyes and open jaws, and ask, “It doesn’t hurt?” and I’d shake my head nonchalantly, and they’d ooh and aah and call me “strong”, and I’d continue to look detached, disinterested – as if injections were a regular occurrence, as if pain were a regular occurrence. Ignoring the sharp sting of the needle drilling holes into my punctured skin, a whirlwind of nausea making its way into the lining of my gut; gripping my throat, suffocating me.

But what I didn’t know then, was that no amount of numbing or detaching or desensitizing could prepare me for the pain that would settle into the corners of my heart 20 years later. For the first night I slept in a king sized bed all by myself.

And for the brief moment after I awoke – where everything seemed alright in a hazy sort of way and I waited for you to drop shampoo bottles in the shower and swear loudly, the resounding crash, a final punctuation to the cacophony.

Plastic on marble. Marble against plastic.
Nothing could prepare me for the pain that slammed into my lungs when I realized that you would never drop shampoo bottles in the shower again, and your half-used bottle of clear, orange shampoo would make itself at home on the window sill for an eternity and a half,
until a new domestic help would eventually throw away the dust-coated bottle with an expression of abhorrence.
And I wouldn’t mourn its disappearance, because it was about time that you took your belongings with you.

I will never breathe normally again.

You thought you took your own life, but did you know that you took mine too?

Dear Beloved,

I know you were kissing her – the other girl. I don’t know her name, but I know what her lips tasted like; for I could often taste her raspberry chapstick on yours. I wonder why I wasn’t good enough for you.

Why? Were you tired of being trapped in a loveless marriage? Or were you just sick of being ogled and harassed and shamed for marrying a woman? Perhaps, you decided that casual affairs and one night stands were easier to commit to, as an abnormality, an oddity, a deformed being. Maybe you believed society when they told you that our “type” is incapable of love. Unnatural. abnormal. Lesbians. How naïve, how gullible of us to believe that two women could ever have a “happily ever after.”

Dear Beloved,

I often wonder why you chose death over existence, over me, over everything you’ve ever loved. Why?

Perhaps, it was because of the awful children next door – the ones who’d point and laugh and taunt you for holding hands with a woman, for being married to one.

Or maybe it was your boss – who assumed that the words “lesbian” and “challenge” were synonyms. A prowling predator who left bruises all over your skin. Who kissed your neck, muttering threats under his breath instead of honey-kissed endearments.

But maybe, it was me. Us. Icy, loveless, dysfunctional, unyielding, stone cold. Maybe it was the nights spent facing the wall, silently, stoically – unwilling to breathe, to speak, to acknowledge the unmoving mountains of resentment and disinterest, we’d built around ourselves.

I wish I knew, oh, I wish I knew.

For the nights seem longer now, and the days, heavier. And all I can do is regret not being there that night – not turning in my very own bed, to listen to the cacophony in your head, that eventually spilt the blood from your wrist.

I miss you. I miss your crooked smile and the sound of you clicking your tongue when I was being exasperating. I miss you, and I miss what we had. And I want you back, right here and right now.

But then I stop for a moment to think, and I wonder if it would make things different. Would we fall back in love again? Would our marriage be any less icy, any less frigid, any more vital? Would we go back to our years of facing the walls as we sleep, too repulsed by each other’s faces to turn towards the centre of the bed.

I wish I knew.

Sometimes I wonder if you did either.

Dear Beloved,

I hope you never wake up one morning to find a cold, lifeless body next to yours, and feel like a murderer even though you weren’t holding the knife.

About the author

Asfiyah

17. Queer. Socially anxious introvert. Ironically, a performing arts enthusiast. Experiences bizarre minimalistic urges, with often manifest in a desire to encompass the universe and confine it to a glass jar. Has a penchant for books, cats, doggos, horror movies, sunsets, oversized black t-shirts, mountains, Lucy Rose, and rickshaw rides on rainy days.
Type in
Details available only for Indian languages
Settings
Help
Indian language typing help
View Detailed Help