I sit up wide awake from what must have been a light sleep. The clock reads 4:00 AM. I pick my phone as is habit. The first status on my newsfeed is a cryptic message mourning the loss of someone who was once dear to me. A childhood friend, a friend from my teenage, a girl I went to college with. Incredulity is the first reaction. Then comes the tears. Loathe to believe it, I text another friend and she confirms it.
She is well and truly gone. I struggle to come to terms with it. The tears leak out of my eyes. I lie in the darkness trying to make sense of it. I remember snippets of our life together. The hours of conversation standing on two sides of our gate. I remember the twilight, the cloud of mosquitoes swarming over us, the indistinct calls for dinner from both our homes. I remember spending countless hours at her home, talking, eating and just existing. I remember the walk to and from the bus stop, the stop to get bhel puri and the talk about boys, and boys who liked other girls.
I remember envying her doe-eyed beauty, her complexion and propensity to remain stick thin despite all that she ate. I remember her siblings, her parents and everyone in the home as I grapple with my loss.
Regrets follow the grief. I slip out of bed, my eyes swelling with tears. In the study, I pull up my email on the computer and look at my last conversation with her. Two years, two years ago, I sent her an email on her birthday that turned into what would be our last conversation of sorts. The kind where you talk about kids and family.
Sadness chokes me again as I think of all the time we could have had and we missed because we think people last forever. I think of all the times I could have picked up the phone and called instead of writing two line emails. I think of the times I could have been a better friend and I break down.
Damayanthi, you will be missed. You will be sorely missed. I love you.