This is not so much a story as it is an open-letter — it’s a belated Valentine’s “special”. So, I figured my entry should come from the heart — don’t get me wrong, the rest have been as well but I’m talking about the heart-heart. Like, the dark abyss that we avoid from visiting (or should it be acknowledging?) because we’d rather catch flights than feelings, nahmeans? Happy belated Valentine’s Day.
When I lost my home, you offered me yours.
Though it was just as broken as mine, I didn’t want to stay alone anymore and neither did you, so, we moved in together. The weight of our luggages were incalculable — these days I smile to myself thinking of how we use to lug that shit around for months. We went through too much with each other for too short of a period — it really felt like our relationship was going at the speed of a Japanese bullet train that was running on nothing but Nikka’s whisky.
Despite me making it sound like a horrible drunken love story — which it was to some extent because alcoholism — you are my favourite memory of 2014.
The many times I was curled up on my sofa feeling sorry about anything I could be sad about, you’d be at my doorstep with a few of my favourite things to cheer me up despite already having plans with other people. “But you’re blood — you’re more than family and you’re more than a friend,” is something you said so often whenever I’d argue about you cancelling on others just to attend to me. You did this for me more times than I cared to remember; I only focused on the times you didn’t.
At the end of it, I only remembered the times I felt horrible being with you instead of how safe I felt with you.
I mistook your intentions when you slept with me every night for over two months. You did this because you knew how much I hated being alone at night. When you held my hand every time I felt anxious or rested your head on mine to remind me that I wasn’t alone — you didn’t even hesitate to do these things in public, which resulted to me questioning the platonic status of our friendship because “why would someone do all of that for me?” You didn’t owe me anything, plus you were trying to overcome your own obstacles so you should’ve taken care of your well-being before thinking of mine but you didn’t.
You loved me and I didn’t see it.
I saw the affection you gave as you taking me for granted. “He’s definitely using me as a rebound,” To be fair, when a guy basically becomes the human equivalent of a pillow and doesn’t flinch at the thought of spending an entire night with you, it’s kind of easy to see why I would assume I was “being taken for a ride”, but I wasn’t.
You knew this was what I needed to feel secure but I couldn’t see it from that perspective because my brain was wired differently then. Our relationship was intense; we fought as often as we laughed but we always managed to resolve our issues together until we couldn’t…
Our habits became more unhealthy as the days passed. We established terms and conditions for our relationship because we thought that’d help stabilise us, but it didn’t because we couldn’t find a compromise.
We both wanted to be part of each other’s lives so desperately even though we knew that this wouldn’t work out the way we hoped it would. Yet we hung on for as long as we could.
Before we knew it, it was your birthday. Birthdays are usually pleasant but you and I were far from that so, we ended up having the worst fight we’d ever been in. I found out you lied about a promise you made though you believed you didn’t — this argument is as similar to Ross and Rachel’s “but we were on a break!” I swear to Yoncé — you did and that’s that.
I’m (half) joking.
I remember how upset I made you feel. You told me you hated me, and in retrospect, I earned that. I could’ve picked a better time to argue with you; we could’ve chosen a better date to end our friendship.
We ended up not seeing or speaking to each other for two weeks. Do you remember that? God, that was painful for me. I knew it hurt you too because I ignored every attempt you made of reaching out, and you tried every day. I’m sorry I didn’t acknowledge your efforts then. I thought taking care of myself and avoiding disappointment meant not depending on anyone but Lord Michael knows that I was deluded by my own feelings.
I worked hard on depending on myself.
I struggled but I managed to be without you for almost a month. A huge accomplishment seeing as we saw each other every day for six months — super healthy relationship, amirite?
Then, you got yourself into trouble. It wasn’t even completely your fault because it was something related to me so of course, I wanted to help you clean the mess. I couldn’t just leave you to fend for yourself — you were my home when I didn’t have one, remember?
After we solved the issue at hand, we reminisced about the rollercoaster ride we’d been on together. We laughed at the times we cried, then we cried because we allowed a relationship that was our personal source of support and love become unhealthy.
You told me that you loved me and that you wanted to work on it again. That’s when I finally understood your famous “but you’re blood, Rathi,” line.
Despite me running away (literally) each time you wanted to talk to me about my anxieties and me having to stop you from giving numerous people PHDs (permanent head damage, yes), despite us being painful to one another, we didn’t leave when it became tough. That taught me that we really will be there for each other no matter what the circumstances are or how difficult we become; you’ve got my back and I have yours.
That being said, I’d like to thank you for being in my life.
Thank you for the weekly calls that you make to check on me, thank you for sending me reminders that “I got this”, thank you for listening to Kendrick Lamar and understanding why he’s such a brilliant human being (this is very important), thank you for taking me out to dinner when both our schedules permit it. Thank you for not leaving when things got tough; for taking care of me when I couldn’t do it myself and for continuing to be my support system up until this day.
And like Ross is to Rachel, maybe you are my lobster too. I love you more than I bargained for, N.B.
Rathika Sheila is back to swimming in DeNile as she claims this post to be the result of listening to Adele’s ’25’ in one sitting because it’s impossible for her to have these many feelings to share. Her home is stable now but she is still deluded. Follow her on Instagram @lxxvi__.