Remind Me How To Live Again
I was meeting her after a long time. She hadn’t changed a bit though. I couldn’t remember why I had stopped talking to her.
“I am sorry, Ruhi,” I said to her, guilt slowing my ability to speak.
“What for?” she enquired.
“I should have met you sooner. It’s been a long time since we spoke.”
“It’s okay. You’ve been too caught up with your life. I understand. How have you been?”
“Miserable, to be honest. I can’t remember the last time I had a peaceful sleep.”
“Why? What has happened to you? You don’t seem to be the girl I used to know.”
“So much has happened, Ruhi. My life is a mess. And, I can’t stop worrying about it!”
“Will worrying help?”
“Then, stop worrying about it.”
“It’s not that easy, Ruhi. I wish I could turn back time & go back to the days when we were kids. Remember how we used to pick useless things off the ground & stash them in our secret treasure trove? How we jumped around in those dirty puddles happily without bothering about the people around? And, how I used to stand up on the wooden plank of the swing & swing harder, trying to touch the sky? I miss those days so much!
What has happened to us, Ruhi? What have we done to ourselves?”
“Life happened, love. We stopped seeing the beauty in those things. We started bothering about the people staring at us. The dirty puddles called us, but we ignored them. We began to sit on the swings like the other kids did & eventually got off them, saying we were too old for them. But, we never grew up. We may have lost our innocence, but we haven’t forgotten it. And now, we have upset the child inside us & we’re unhappy.”
“What do we do now?”
“Will you listen to what I say?”
“Anything. Just remind me how to live again.”
Ruhi held my hand & we started walking towards the old playground we used to play in. On the way, we came across a pothole filled with the dirty rain water. And, much to the surprise of the passersby, we jumped right in. I felt embarrassed by all the stares but not for more than a minute because it was simply too much fun to resist.
The park was empty due to the rains. We ran to the swing & I tried not to fall as I got up on the swing & stood on it. And, as I swayed my body to move the swing, the swing began moving higher & higher off the ground & I felt the same joy reverberate throughout my body as I did when I was a child.
I found a dirty whistle lying on the ground, embedded in the dirt. I picked it up, washed it thoroughly under the tap and ran around the park whistling loudly. Ruhi laughed, clapping loudly & cheering me on. Suddenly, life didn’t seem so bad.
“Thank you, Ruhi! I haven’t been this happy in a long time,” I smiled at her.
“It’s all right. After all, what are imaginary friends for?” she winked.