Sunday, October 25, 2020
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The first steps

The clock struck 12.  The red notifications on my Social Media apps multiplied. Discount deals on chocolates, flowers, fancy gowns and diamond jewelleries flooded my mailbox. The television became a kaleidoscope of colourful hearts and people displaying orchestrated love. That’s how I  woke up to the reality of yet another ‘Valentine’s day’. 

My new roommate, a  25 year old girl, who could give Scarlett Johansson  a run for her money, was giggling over the phone, turning the room into a chamber of agonising echoes. Sleep eluded me. I  stumbled upon the graves of  unrequited love, while tossing and turning on the bed. Commemorating ‘the love that could have been’ had become a Valentine’s day ritual and was always accompanied by wild tears. My wail  jolted my roommate to the existence of the world around her.  

She came to offer assitance, with a mother-like eagerness. I was too lost in mourning to feel shocked at her sudden change. I shared my  tragic  stories, in a moment of weakness. My roommate gave my arm a gentle squeeze, and said ‘What we truly need is the belief that the right persons will find their way to us. The greatest love starts with letting go of fears and  being comfortable with who we are.’ 

How little I knew about my roommate till that revelatory moment! Her words acted as a tranquilizer. My nervousness receded to the background. Attending college on Valentine’s Day as a  19 year old  single girl didn’t seem completely unfortuante, anymore.

College was abuzz with besotted couples announcing their love with cards and red bouquets. I had gifted myself some red roses. I controlled the urge to  hide behind a thick book in the library and  tried to focus on absorbing the frothing happiness around me, instead.

I tiptoed to the lover’s alley, ending my self-imposed exile from that territory. ‘The love of my life’ was nestled in another girl’s arms. ‘Embrace your circumstances’ my roommate’s words echoed, and rescued me from the dungeon of despair. 

‘Red roses!! So you too, have a lover now?’ someone threw the acrid remark at me. I brisk-walked towards the canteen.

The college canteen, decorated with red balloons, looked like a children’s toy store. I was greeted by a generous cloud of cigarette smoke and salutations like ‘nerd’ and ‘alien’. Students sat huddled together in groups with the exception of a few  couples. I fought against the temptation to run and ordered a cup of tea. I sipped under the scrutinising glances of aliens around me, my heart pounding faster than ever before. I exited the canteen with a victorious smile.

My silent room in the paying guest was a contrast to the cacophonous day. ‘My roommate was right – loving oneself  unconditionally requires unyielding courage. I took the first steps  and came out of the hiding. It wasn’t easy but it feels good ’ I wrote in my jounal.

The clock struck 12.  I had un-learnt and learnt much in the last 24 hours.

***

Photo From: Unsplash

This is an entry for the event #twelve #Five00-10 at ArtoonsInn Writers Room.

Find the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/five00-10/

Event sponsored by The Archaic House

Are you a poet? Join ArtoonsInn Poetry Parlour here: www.poetryparlour.com

Join Poetry Parlour Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poetryparlour/

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