If it Made Her happy

You’re my Downfall. You’re my muse. My worst distraction. My Rhythm and Blues.

– John Legend (All of Me)

She was insanely happy that day. I hadn’t seen her like that for days. Rather months. She was flying. Literally and figuratively on cloud nine. She sat down in front of me. Smiled at the waitress and ordered her usual. Coffee with cream, no sugar. And a piece of chocolate cake. The one she orders when she is ecstatic. That’s how I knew.

She turned towards me and her cheeks flushed. My heart sank. I was now sure that something had happened. I could always tell things about her. I could predict her every move; by the way she smiled, by the way her eyes sparkled, by the way she moved; by her voice. It’s like I had a doctorate and my thesis was on her. I could tell by the sparkle in her eyes that their was someone new.

She was glowing that day but in a different way. A way I hadn’t seen before. Something inside me knew that even though she was so happy, her news was going to leave me devastated. But seeing her like that, I happily ignored my guts warning.

She looked at me her eyes screaming ” GUESS WHAT?” But she sat there poised, like a little lady waiting for my attention. And so I decided that I’ll bite. I asked her; and oh! how I wish I hadn’t.

She was floating because she was in love. Puppy love sure but love. My brain screamed at my heart “I TOLD YOU SO”, but it ( my heart ) was still so much in love that it didn’t care. She had a new crush. Years after him, she finally liked someone. I had helped her nurse the wounds hoping to be the knight in shining armour she had always wished for. But she never saw me in any other way than platonic. Sometimes I wonder if it is wrong of me to want her in a different way.

Anyway back to “him”…
She had met him through a mutual friend. They had come over to pick her up in his jaguar. Had to be a jaguar, her favourite car. She told me that she felt like a glee filled child when he opened the door and helped her in. He even closed the door after her.
“Who does that now a days?” she asked me, completely ignoring the fact that I held open every door for her since we met.
NO! I shouldn’t think like this. I do it out of love. I don’t seek any acknowledgement for my actions.

He drove fast. But she liked it. She liked his voice too. She liked that he was considerate. Why, you ask, she thought so? Because he took in consideration her choice of songs to in deciding what to play on the radio, which he blared throughout the ride. But no, at least he asked her. Wait he did offer her the front seat and closed the door behind her. Why doesn’t she understand that she is worth so much more?

Turns out that he was a mixture of everything she wanted in a guy and everything she considered wrong. He smoked. He drank. He drove under the influence. He drove while drinking! Why did she get in the car with him when he was drunk and still drinking? She knows better than that. I was going to tell her off when she interrupted me. She said it was all big NOs. But she wanted him. She wanted him to kiss her. She wanted to taste the beer in his kiss. Smell the smoke on him. She wanted to see what he tasted like.

She liked that he held doors open for her but didn’t make a big show of it. That he sat with his chair facing her, looking in her onyx eyes as she talked. She liked how he took care of their drunk friend, how he helped her in the car. How he didn’t take advantage of her inebriated state. I am appalled at the adoration a girl feels for a guy when he does something gentleman-ly. Something that is common courtesy. How far has the patriarchal society fallen, that a woman is enamoured by a guy who showed basic courtesy towards her and others.

She liked the touch of his hand on hers. It didn’t feel foreign. She smiled with dreamy eyes as she talked about him. He was her prince charming. At least for the time being, till he broke her heart again and I broke his arm.

I didn’t like the burn in my heart as she went on and on about him. She called it a stupid crush. But my mind cursed at me for letting our relationship reach a point where I played the role of her guy best friend. Where I had to listen to her drone about her latest crush and I had no option but to listen. No way to tell her how I truly felt. It was officially too late.

She said they sang together on the way back, out of tune sure, but together. She said in those few hours with him she felt more free than she had in her whole life. She felt like she was a part of the wind. She said I’ll understand it better when I felt that way for someone else. But I know how it feels. I have known how it feels for a long time. I just wish she felt it for me. With me.

As I stared at her animatedly describe the details of her date, her order arrived. She was a vision as her eyes brightened even more at the sight of food. She took a bite, dribbling a little chocolate from the side, and closed her eyes to savour the taste. When she opened them she had tears in her eyes. But before I could say anything, she held my hand in hers and thanked me for being her friend. For always being there for her. She said she didn’t know where she would be without me. And those words, that moment, made it all bearable. Made it all worthwhile. I knew that my heart would happily sit their listening about a million more crushes, if it made her happy.


I like sad eyes, bad guys, mouthful of white lies, kiss me in the corridor and quick to tell me good bye.”

– Ghost, Halsey

I liked you because you were everything I’m not. And everything I want. Part Typical bad guy. The kind I read about in books. But also the typical gentleman. Chivalry. I liked how you looked after me. You liked how I looked. I liked how you drove. You liked how I spoke. I liked the look in your eyes and you, you liked my smile. You told me you know my type. You said I am a devil in disguise. You said I hide behind my good girl persona. But you can see right through it. You can see that I wanna be wild. I wanna be like you. And I told you I know your type too. You were exactly my type. You act all tough and shit but you know how to treat a girl. The things I find repulsive in others, you make them look classy. Like something I would want to try.

You said I smelled like un-felt kisses and my lips looked like they were waiting to be claimed. You said I am something to be careful of. I could break your heart in minutes and leave you in pieces. I leant up close and whispered “right back at you.” I was never this bold. I like this side of me.

I liked the way yours eyes lit up when you talked about your dreams and aspirations. You had it all figured out. And I, I was nothing. I was busy jabbing at a million ideas, looking for the perfect one. And I liked you because you were not me. But also because you were. Picky like me, Classy like me. Hiding behind your bad boy persona like I hide behind my good girl glasses.

In reality, you and I were so alike but different. We were the perfect kind of chaos together. You leaned in close and whispered “maybe I’d ask you out”. And I taken aback by your closeness, by my need to touch you, by the smell of whiskey and smoke, whispered a maybe back.
And we left it at that. Two maybes hanging in the air, never to be revisited.
And maybe it’s better this way.

To remember and to forget

But Nothing heals the past like time and they can’t steals the love you’re born to find.

– Be alright, Dean Lewis

We would often sneak up to the roof. Way after midnight, when everyone was asleep. With bottles of beer and a blanket, we made that place our haven. Our safe space. We used to come out there and talk. Or just sit, in silence. She had always been fascinated by the glittering objects in the sky and I, by her.

That night I found her sitting at our spot, lost in thought. She rarely came up before me. She was so lost in her own world that she didn’t even notice me climb up. I set my bag full of beer cans next to her and murmured a soft hello. The air around her felt different that night. She looked at me for a second, so as to acknowledge my presence, but didn’t utter a word. This was unusual for her. She was one of those people who could talk your ears off.

I knew she had her issues. I knew that she was disturbed that, her heart harbored many demons. But I knew better than to poke at them. I sat down beside her and offered her a can. She took a sip and set it down.

Then she turned towards me and asked. ,”How do you forget?”

I had never seen her look so lost. Her eyes were oceans of sadness and I found myself drowning in them.
“What do you mean?

She turned away and stared at the stars. She looked like a lost angel in the moonlight and I would have done anything to take her pain away.

“How do you forget? People say forgive and forget. I can’t forget. It’s all imprinted in my brain. How do I forgive?”
“What do you need to forget?”

I didn’t reply and just took her hand in mine. She took another sip and spoke,” You know people marvel at my ability to remember but I believe it’s a curse. Why can’t I be more like you? Why can’t I just forget and move on?”

She turned towards me her eyes glistening with un-shed tears.
“What do you need to forget?” I ask again.
“Things. Things about people.”
“What things?”
She looked away and sighed. I knew better than to ask again.

” A song was playing on the radio today. Her favorite song. I remember how she used to fawn over him. The singer. She was crazy about him.” She half smiled as she stared at everything but me,” We would spend hours deciphering the lyrics. It used to be a happy memory. But now it makes me sad. I don’t listen to his songs anymore.” She lied down on the roof staring at the sky. I lied down beside. None of us making a sound.

“How do I forget our conversations? How do I forget those moments when I felt safe with her? She was my confidant. How do I move on? It is so strange that with time, the memories we once cherished become so tainted that they cause nothing but pain. That they bring nothing but tears.”

“How do I forget the games we used to play? How do I forget everything he did for me and I for him? How do I forget the feeling I had when he wanted me? How do I un-feel all that? How do I forget how happy my little self would get? My knight in white.” She laughed

“Tell me about them. Tell me what you need to forget and I’ll forget it for you.”

She was quite for a while. I thought she didn’t want to tell me and was going to apologize, when she started to speak.

“Everything. I need to forget everything. I need to forget how we danced around the room till our feet hurt and we couldn’t move. I want to forget how we used to sing at the top of our voices without caring about anyone or anything. We were so out of tune. We probably sounded like a litter of cats screeching.” She laughed bitterly. A laugh full of despair.
She looked at the sky and instinctively I knew she was looking for the constellations she knew.

“Sometimes I wish I had amnesia. I know that’s a bad thing to say but I really really wish that at times. It would make life so much easier if I could simply forget about that time.”
I looked at her. She wiped away a tear. Looking up she whispered softly,”It’s just how things have changed. I wish they hadn’t.”

But things hand’t changed, at least not for me. We had matured but she was still the same girl I fell in love with. The same heart that kept mine beating. Yes, it was battered. But it’s the scars that makes it even more precious to me.

Nothing had changed. I was still here. She was too. She was just too lost to notice. I wish she’d notice that in the past 5 years nothing much had changed. Only the cans of soda pop were now cans of beer. She was still the one I lived for. The one I’d die for.

“Things change. That’s life. Just remember it’s all for the best. People leave. It they didn’t, you’d never find the one whose meant for you.” I whispered to her, hoping she’d realize what I truly meant. She nodded and the sighed, leaning her head on my shoulder, she stared at the night sky. She was looking at her stars and I, at mine.

Black & Red

Don’t get too close it’s dark inside, It’s where my demons hide.

– Demons Imagine dragons

She woke up unable to move. Her face, her body, in unbearable pain. But she knew that she had to move. She couldn’t let him win. She couldn’t give in to the devil living with her. He was sleeping. Peacefully. She didn’t know peace anymore. She hadn’t for a while. Not since she met him. The real him.

She wasn’t stupid. But he,well he was the Satan. He made it seem like he was an angel, her savior, send from the heavens to breathe life into her. He had saved her at a time she wanted nothing more than death. He had shown her a different world. Made her stand up again. Little had she known that he would be the cause of all her pain. Little had she known about the monsters that reside inside him.

The first few years with him were bliss. She was on cloud nine. Invincible. He made her feel invincible. They were invincible. She was. He made her feel that way. And she loved it. It was like they could take over the world together. And slowly she let him become her world without even realizing.

It was then that the monsters living inside his head reared their ugly faces. He would rage like a wild beast. Hit her. But he would always show up the next day with flowers, tears and an apology that could make the heavens sway. And she let him back in. There were times she would think about leaving him. But she never could. He had her wrapped around his fingers. He knew just when to turn his charm on to make sure that she never left. That she could never leave.

And now, now that she had no one left. No way out. The monsters inside him never left. It was the same story every night. She thanked the heavens on the days he wouldn’t return. Because every night he came home meant pain. They were written in red.

And she was helpless. She couldn’t stop him. She had tried. But he was invincible. People believed every word he said. They told her she was lucky to have him.

So she did what she always did. She painted her face with the colors of the rainbow. Trying to hide the pain, the evident doom. Like every morning she got out of bed before him. Tended to her wounds and covered her bruises. She brought life to her face with black around her eyes and red on her lips.

He came up from behind her. Kissed her. Drunk as he tends to get, she still marveled at his ability to get up and around the next day. He pulled her in tight enough to remind her of the control he had. Tight enough to bruise.

“You look beautiful.” He whispered sweetly. And she, she just smiled at him. Daring not to look at him, she stared blankly at her reflection in the mirror. Her heart pounding with fear. Willing him to leave it at that. But in the world she lived in, wishes were rarely granted.

Do You Still Love Me?

And I know you don’t but if I ask you do you love me, I hope you lie to me.

-5 Seconds of Summer, Lie to Me

Do You Still Love Me?
I could not look her in the eyes, so I stared into the abyss before me.
“Do You Still Love Me?”
She often asked me. Seeking Reassurance in my replies.
And I had always had an answer for her. Until now.
“Do You Still Love Me?”
Her words weighed down on me. I wasn’t sure if I had ever loved her.
NO! I had. I had loved her. Maybe not in the way she wanted me to. Maybe the not in the way she expects me to. Maybe not in the way she does.
“Do You Still Love Me?”
Her words echo through my soul. I cannot lie to her again. But I cannot tell her the truth either. How do I tell her that I have changed? How do I tell her that I have lost my ability to love? That I am starting to wonder if I ever had it? If I were ever capable of loving someone?

I could feel the gap between us growing, but I couldn’t do anything to keep us together. To keep the Pieces together.
I finally willed myself to look at her. She had tears in her eyes, like she had already accepted the worst.
I opened my mouth to tell her. To tell her the truth. To tell her everything
But I couldn’t. So instead I pulled her close and whispered always. Like I always did. And she believed me like she always did.

I know a part of her knew the truth. But I guess she was trying to hold on to the false sense of security as much as I was.

Short stories by Manishika Pawaia