7.00 am. The cold mist tragically doesn’t complement my best friend’s passing. It breaks my heart that he went down the way he did. Reality is often something venomous for a few tortured souls, who try to find an antidote through art and expression, and that he did, in ways unfathomable. But the anguish that resided in his heart, his conflict over matters of faith, and his affliction were a cross that I tried carrying with him, but it crushes me that it eventually broke him. Now, I suffer with this burden I’ll have to carry alone, knowing that I’ll never hear my brother’s voice again, and it’ll haunt me that I’ll carry this feeling of not being there enough, and my tears won’t do that justice. I’m sorry my friend and brother. I hope you find rest and solace that life with its labyrinthine paths that we’re forced to walk, often in a catacomb of despair, never gave you.
7.30 am. I’m broken beyond belief. I loved him and I know he loved me. Our relationship was two years of bliss, cut short by his spiral into madness. I wanted to stay by his side through it all, but he was a noble man, who said that he didn’t want me losing my sanity and integrity, fighting with him. I was heartbroken, but I respect him and I still love him. Some of us are kind and loving, but the inner pangs of terror and angst we go through make the word ‘hell’ a euphemism. I’ll never recover from this, and I know that some day, I’ll see him in an eternity where we’ll smile having fully transcended these ephemeral squalid conditions life imposes on us. I still am shocked that he took his life, and that grief will forever stay and perhaps be the end of me.
8.00 am. Our friendship was one that lasted since school. We grew up, playing football together and I still remember his wonderful Cryuff turns. He was very good at it. I remember his love for sport, his love for reading and his love for writing. I don’t know much about his anguish in his later years, because he led a very solitary life, and I couldn’t get through to him. We once got drunk, and played football one on one like old times, and that was the fondest memory I’ll have of him. I hope to cherish that and forget this incident, but I know I’ll never be able to.
Outside time and space. So Raj, you’re here and you’re delivering my eulogy too. I asked Death for one favor before I’m sent to where I must be, and that was to see the charlatans who show up, talk and fake mourn. You call yourself my ‘best friend’, and you knew more about my condition than most, and yet you never reached back, when I reached out. My tears fell on a dusty ground never heard by a silent ‘best friend’ and a silent God. And why do you even use the word ‘cross’? That’s a cliché these days. Everybody carries a cross, don’t they? You say you weren’t there enough, but you know you were never there. A friend in school, a friend in college, when things were okay, or a friend after college when we were both down, getting stoned, and hunting for work. But then you disappeared. You kept saying, “We’ll catch up sometime,” but when did we ever catch up? You met everybody else who was doing well, but avoided me like something ‘venomous’ to use your own words. You have a penchant for metaphor though; I’ll give you that.
And Clara, love? Really? It was a relationship based on visions of who we’ll become, and in that sense we both fucked up. You never called me noble when I lived. Hell, irritable, pathetic, foolish, and ‘never in my league’ were a few terms I heard. And you left, and then tried getting back, before leaving again, and now you talk about a common suffering: a ‘we’. You never knew my reality, and will never know it, and you claim to empathize, and hell, go one step further and say that you lived it. Life didn’t impose anything on you when I called you from an institution, and you were too busy skinny-dipping to even bother. I needed a friend, but it was the usual, “I’m busy,” and then you called later when you were down and I was kind. And now you want to transcend a life of nirvana and reach what? Something above joy and bliss? You’ll wash your face tomorrow, and get back to your life. You’ve transcended already, so why even bother dancing to the rhythm of a black parade.
And Ishmael. Friends? Really? Well, you bullied me, and you never let me perform Cryuff turns then. You called me a nerd and despised me, and loved my life falling apart, and then didn’t bother about me. I’m glad you never called though, and I’m glad we got drunk that one day, and I absolutely schooled you on the field, leaving you angry and jealous, but unable to intimidate me like you once did. And, if that’s your fondest memory, I’ll smile.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)