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Words by Tehseen Huq

CONTENT WARNING: Anxiety

The best things in life appear when you least expect it, when you think that the world turned its back on you and that ray of hope has diminished in the haze of all your misfortunes. Imagine it’s a dark and stormy day. The rain pours down relentlessly, turning the street into a dismal watercolour painting of an artist with clumsy brushstrokes.

You’re on a train observing two water droplets on the windowpane cascading down like rivulets, you wonder which water droplet will dissolve first. With a jolt, you ponder over something. Is God like this? A silent observer waiting to see who will fall first and surrender to the interminable black hole of misery. You shake your head to eliminate that analogy.

 

No, you think. God is kind. Right? At least that’s what your mother taught you. Your mother. You don’t want to hear her voice laced with disappointment and condescension. You love her, of course you do. But sometimes it hurts, how she dismisses your pain and trivializes your trauma. You think maybe it’s because you haven’t been open with her.

You contemplate on how much her approbation means to you. But your vexation increases as you heedlessly hurl yourself towards the depths of oblivion and her familiar voice in your subconscious mind screams at you to stop. Stop being so weak. Stop crying. Stop making yourself suffer in the hands of your own mind. What do you do when your mind is your worst enemy?

 

Sometimes, it feels like you’re walking down a dark hallway which leads nowhere. Just making your way through the perilous depths and swirls of darkness. You think you see shadows in the underbelly of the darkness. Gray shapes materializing and indolently disintegrating in your surroundings. The darkness rearranges itself and forms the shape of a malevolent face with a virulent gaze.

The gaze is directed at you with a sneer. You hear echoes from all around you. Disembodied voices whispering mantras to incite your self-loathing tendencies. “You’re not good enough”, “you’re detested”, “you’re an inconsequential speck of dust with nothing to contribute”, “you’re repulsive and unworthy, inside and out”.

 

You kneel and cover your ears. You question your sanity. You feel like the darkness is sentient. It will envelop you in its claws and eviscerate you until you’re hollow. You can’t endure this anymore. Your fight or flight instincts kick in. The voices are getting closer and louder.

Slowly approaching you like a lion approaches its prey just before devouring them. The shadows are merely an inch apart from your body now. You feel a war raging inside you. You feel their icy breaths on your warm skin. You’re sobbing involuntarily. Just before their hands grab your neck, you wake up gasping for air.

 

The train is still moving at a snail’s pace, slowly jerking from side to side. It was just a nightmare, you console yourself. The rain still drums along the windows, the rainwater creating rippling effects on the glass. You feel exhausted.

Your emotional resilience slips away to make room for a dull ache of loneliness. No one can ever comprehend the violent battles you fight with yourself. Your mind is just an empty vessel. Suddenly, you realise the train has lurched to a stop. You step out onto the platform.

 

The station is crowded. People are running towards their destinations, coats flapping, arms wiggling to make way. It’s all a blur of black, white and brown. You’re a tiny dot of humanity amidst the cacophony of faceless voices.

Then you see her. Raven black hair dancing to the wind’s rhythm, the belt of her white trench coat flapping alongside her body after it came undone.

You haven’t seen her face yet. But in your eyes, she’s encircled in a halo. A golden light surrounds her striking figure, distinguishing her from the crowd. Her posture exudes confidence and her glorious aura beckons you to step into her space.

 

Your mind is filled with visions of colours and sunrises. You don’t know who she is, you haven’t even seen her face yet. But you know, oh you just know that she’ll paint your world in a burst of colours and leave an indelible mark on your soul. You can almost hear a kind voice in your mind. “You matter, you have stardust swimming in your veins.

A part of the infinite universe is contained within you, you deserve to take space in this world”. Sunlight streams in through the windows of the station, the rain let up. You let the sunshine kiss your skin and close your eyes. After a blissful sigh, you run towards her.

Tehseen Huq

The author Tehseen Huq

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