“How does it feel like to choke up on something and never get cured of it, Alice?” , Jason asked her one drunk weekend night .The jack Daniels bottle between them was running on empty. It was way past into the night bordering into the first lines of dawn. The room was brightly lit but everything seemed foggy, in her mind and also partly in reality. Everything seemed to be running low but their conversation. A decade worth of being together still wouldn’t lessen their conversation. On another tangent of thought, she thought that this sort of companionship was as strange as it could get. “I wouldn’t know”, she lied answering back to the question . Of course she did! Her mind took her back to that one fateful day. She knew she would still choke up on that particular goodbye. It’s something she could never say to that one person whole heartedly, and if she ever did, she probably did so to threaten herself. She laughed a boisterous laugh. The dense sound echoed in the dead silence of the night buzzing in that tiny room, touching the pale green walls, with the paint chipping away and forming patterns that one would like to contemplate. She laughed at the humour of words, how some words just make you time travel, without worm holes or time machines. Just those annoying memories that wouldn’t fade away and forcefully row you down that stench of some wrongs .She sat they and recalled that one day in the big bad city, the adventure that turned sour with helplessness of the heart..
The air that day was laden thick with humidity, heat, pollution and a sense of disappointment. Disappointment so thick that breathing through it seemed like taking in huge gulps of air underwater that would only choke you up even further. She just stood there trying to process everything going in her mind, to articulate it into words. Words that would for once convey what she was feeling and not what she was thinking. So she just stood there, gulping air like a gold fish out of water not saying anything, swallowing disappointment in small swigs.
“So when will I see you again?” he asked, “after today, never !” she shouted in her head ,what she wished she had said aloud . Instead she ended up saying “someday soon I hope” .she smiled a hopeful smile, pretending that these conflicts of her thoughts were not evident on her face. She was at war with herself and heaven knows she had no hopeful victory that day. He smiled and walked out of the gate after giving her a brief hug .She told herself she would never let herself barter her ego another time like today. The entire institution, the place, the burning blue skies closed down upon her, while she was just standing there on the pavement. She just saw what she wanted to see and never forget. The minute took longer than expected .Finally,she forced herself to turn back but she had so much anger in her head that she literally burned with it. She wasn’t angry with him, no, he didn’t actually deserve any of it .The gates closed as she turned and walked away promising never to look back. Her cell phone beeped with messages from him. She ignored them knowing that if she let herself reply she would fall apart.
The film strip of memories suddenly stopped playing in her head. She had to return back to the smoke filled room, to the almost empty jack Daniels bottle , to the question that still is hovering above her for an answer, to a lie that needs to be untold. Suddenly the memory didn’t seem to be worth repeating in her head another time .She needed to free herself from this terrible weight of a secret that even she didn’t know why she wouldn’t tell ,even to herself. Until a few moments back she believed that being shackled by your own stories would not so terrible after all, because you eventually never move away from them. Although today these stories seemed to be playing beyond her control. For Alice this moment, this chance of freedom from herself would never present itself another day for. She blurted out before her stable rational mind took back its reins again, “of course I would know Jason , remember that day in Bombay ?, I still choke up with that one goodbye I never managed to say” and just like that , in the most cliched way , she tried to put an end a decade of pretense ,and tried to set herself free . She has been forever shackled by her own want of freedom .From a self-imposed slavery of questions unanswered. The more she tries, the more miserable she becomes.Its a pity that she never found any answers in Jason or Daniels.