It was over a nice lunch that she choked. A new acquaintance in a new city was narrating a story of a boy he had heard through somebody else. A boy who was labelled a loser. A boy who apparently jumped from a tall building with the intention of ending his life only to survive and cause more trauma to people around him. The callousness of the narration hit her hard. She listened without blinking. Scared that the welling tears might just give way. Trying desperately to swallow the knotting lump of hurt rising at her throat she chokes. The spicy lunch went bland. She wished for some chilies she could bite her pain into. Restrain, she has learnt is a great virtue. Pushing down her lunch she went through the motion of niceties. Oh yes the lunch was super. The chicken with basil was amazing. This was one of her favourite restaurants. No, she was too full for dessert.
The hail storm on the way home, numbed the sensation a little. In silence, she reflected on the day she had almost lost him. When he gave in to a friend’s dare to walk on the parapet of the nine storey apartment’s terrace. He was his parent’s golden child. Topper of his class, he lived his exceptional talent with humility and grace. He played four different instruments with equal ease and had a voice that could break hearts. She wanted so much to hear him sing Desperado strumming his guitar lazily as he had done many a morning at home. Why didn’t he let her record his voice? It's just a shadow. Keep me in your heart instead, he had said. Over the next few years, he triumphed in his own quiet way amassing material success that most will only dream of. When he died suddenly without a fuss in the quietness of the night, his bereaved parents decided to donate everything that he had to a trust on condition of anonymity.
His only flaw had always been his fierce loyalty to his friends. But she knows it wouldn’t have broken him to know they thought so little of him. He would have probably smiled and said, Let it be, Didi. Their limitation isn’t their fault.