The life she landed
She flutters her eyes open as the alarm beeps for the hundredth time this morning. She snakes her arms under the sheets to switch the damn thing off. It’s giving her a headache and the light penetrating through the window is too vibrant for her to take in at the moment. “Damn it!!” she says, pulling the cell phone from under her pillow. It’s 10AM and heck! she had to be at the mall by 11:00 A.M, ’cause she had promised to hang out with her bestie with whom she shares a love-hate relationship. She never wanted to hang out in the first place because of her late night work shifts on Fridays. But saying no was not an option, because that’s what you do; your friends ask you to do something, you do it. That’s how you fit in.
She rummages her closet for the perfect outfit because if it isn’t trendy enough, she would be outcast by her peers. Fashion sense outweighs common sense now and she has to keep up with that. Tossing her nightgown in the pile of laundry which is yearning for the Sunday sun to rise, she hops into the shower. Be it any occasion, you got to look your best. Everything is judged on your appearance. ‘You are what you look’. She picks up her make up bag and starts working on perfecting her ‘flaws’. You always need to to cover up your insecurities. That’s what the world teaches you.
It’s 11:00 AM already and her phone starts to ring. Skipping breakfast is nothing new for her. She pulls her favorite handbag from her wardrobe, answers the phone while locking the house and makes her way down the stairs to the basement where her car is parked. “10 minutes woman!!” she says, starting the engine. She knew it was going to take 40. She popped in a tranquilizer before she stomped on the accelerator.
“I have been waiting for you for the past one hour!!!” Her friend yells at her, making her wince “It’s the traffic!” she pulls out an excuse out of thin air.
“So who is watching over your daughter today” she asks her friend, while they window shop in a home decor store. “Oh I didn’t tell you? I kept a full time nanny for her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hell load of me-time for me! yay!” her friend excitedly tells her and stutters her way out of the shop only to storm into the next shop overflowing with branded clothing. Pictures of her best friend and her daughter celebrating the kid’s first extravagant birthday flashed in her mind. ‘Maybe it all just looks good in pictures’ she thought, trailing behind her friend. She tried on some clothes which she knew she didn’t need, and she bought a few, knowing that a section of her closet was filled with stacks of unworn clothing. But the thing is, you lose interest in the things you take home and your hands try to reach for something new which your eyes find appealing.
She was oblivious of the fact, but the truth was that she had changed. Her new independent self had a stark contrast with her old average self. Now, she was on her own in this crowded city, flowing with the flow. She made money she could do anything with. She made her own rules which she could budge from, she made many fiends online and offline with whom she so badly wanted to fit in even if it meant she had to forget who she really was, within. Everything changed, her likes, dislikes, attitudes, perception, lifestyle, her group of friends, her dreams, her goals, everything. She had to shape herself to suit the requirements of the society she was living in.
“Hey! How about we get a tattoo?” Her friend suggests. She rolls her eyes “You are serious?” she asks. “Of course. I know it would be a bit painful but duh! you only live once gal! So we do it now or never!” her friend sounds adamant on getting one. “Have you thought this through?” she questions. “Overthinking never lets you have what you wanna have. Now, don’t be a pansy and get your butt inside. We will get something tiny, but elegant. It would be fun!!” her friend drags her in. Maybe her friend was right, she thinks. Thinking something through, holds you back sometimes. And like she said, you only live once, the clock keeps ticking and there’s no time to waste thinking.
After a long day hanging out with her best mate, shopping, dining out, updating on the lives of each and every person they know of, she comes back to her apartment. Locking the door behind her, she tosses her high heels in the corner and gracelessly falls on her bed, pulling out the cell from her handbag. Scrolling down the social media feed has become more than a hobby for her now. Here’s a friend getting engaged, another one getting married, and there’s a picture of her old classmate with triplets. ‘Am I the only one stuck in time?’ she asks herself. And there it is, her ex boyfriend has declared that he has found a soul mate and it pricks her heart, digs out the void she could never fill. And then there is a picture of another friend of hers who has been selected as a top ranking official in Govt service, followed by an elaborate post about her achievements and there’s an infinite array of congratulatory wishes from nears, dears, unknown people and aliens. Apparently her distant cousin who had a cozy, destination wedding abroad is traveling to places with her hubby. There’s a message from her mother about a prospective guy she thinks would be perfect for her. Her sister, who is in the states has tagged her in her timeline bombarding with pictures of the first snow, with the caption “Do you wanna build a snow man?”
“I do I do!!!” she shouts to herself. “I want to build a snowman, I want to do a lot of things, I want to be so many things! I want to be to places around the world, I want to be held, to be loved, I want to be with someone, I want many things!! Too many of them, but I am scared! Scared if I would ever have them at all!!” She cries, burying her face in her palms. The beautiful pleasant face that she puts on in the morning, has a different look in the darkness of her four walls. The smile which adorns her face when she is out there ‘living her life’ fades away in her loneliness. When did she even land this life which is filled with pretense, toxicity and void?
She grabs a bottle of tranquilizer from her nightstand and empties it down her throat, hoping for a long and peaceful slumber.