Written by Nandini Sethi
I don’t think she looks both ways before crossing the road. I don’t think she thinks twice before bleaching her hair a different color. I don’t think she even hesitates for a second before driving into a puddle and splashing filth over all pedestrians.
She got a phone call from her boss to come into office early but she hung up on him. Side by side we were sat on two swings in a children’s park, the soles of her shoes gathering and collecting dust next to me.
“Don’t you need to go?” I asked her.
She ruffled my hair and pouted at what I assumed was my innocence. Was she making fun of me again?
Just like the other day when I accompanied her to get a tattoo. She chose a snake to be on her ankle because apparently the world was full of them, but her bite was more poisonous. Her words catch me off guard every time, and I wonder if she reads up on villainous comebacks often.
I had asked her if she was sure she wanted something so outrageous marked on her body forever. She scoffed and ruffled my hair again; she told me that the world has no place for morals and to survive I need to lose the ‘cute boy’ attitude.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know why I put up with her bashfulness and sharpness against me. I know that’s her way of talking and notion about life in general; I’ve never seen her compliment, not even be nice to someone.
Perhaps I admire something that’s paradoxical. She’s brave and fierce, and I’m awkward and a pushover. I long for something that can’t be mine, someone I can’t be.
The insults, the cold shoulder, the unpaid debts that friends usually keep tab on- I let them go.
Last night I asked her if she’d be my date for a boring family function I was forced to attend, but she rejected the proposal without even giving me a reason. I never asked why.
Today she asked me to be ready by 5:00, and I was. She told me this at 4:30. In the morning.
She knows what I feel and with what intensity I feel it. She takes advantage of it, and I let her. She’s cold-hearted, but she always gets what she wants. Whether it’s a new car or a date for the school dance, she’ll find a way to win over the poor adversary’s heart. And when the lights start dimming, the music slow, I watch from the corner of the room, the hands of an unfortunate victim caressing the hair of a girl who doesn’t care about him. Who doesn’t care about the world.
I can distinctly hear the bird chirping today. She kicks the dust she had collected in my direction and laughs at my annoyance. I whine for a bit and then realize the futility of my reaction.
“I don’t care what my boss says”, she spoke.
After gazing at the sky for a bit, then throwing more sand in my direction she gets up and says, “I think I’m going to go to take a nap”.
She waves me goodbye and leaves without bothering about my day. Not that I expect her to. I’ll bear it, the paradox.
Love is a weird thing.
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