Damage & Conflict

The noises from the poolside had somehow drowned in all the peace and quiet I was feeling right now. Surrounded by my two favourite people, I couldn’t really ask for more except for things to not fall apart. Somewhere amidst all the cluster of doubt and dogma, things had started to feel all right again and I had decided to let it be. Which is exactly why I was here, right?

“Hey, what are you thinking about?” he asks, trying to catch a glimpse of my wandering mind. I instantly recognise that warm look in his eyes, like an echoing promise from miles away, it pulls me back safely into the reality of the moment.

I shrug and let it pass. His persuasion is merely playful and he knows when to stop.

I adjust my position a little such that the huge patch of green, natural artwork now expands behind me. I am facing the grandiloquence blazing next to the fancy swimming pool with an abundance of drunken teenagers trying to “carpe diem” their life. I could be a part of them. But peer pressure can only drive my life so far. Besides, I really was enjoying this silence far more than I’d expected.

The tips of my fingers did not seem to tire from the endless plucking of grass. I liked the wetness on my skin. It made me feel closer to everything that surrounded me in the moment.

One could say there was a palpable absence of mood in the environment. It was unusually dark and a premonition of sorts was building up at the back of my mind. It had never been easy for me to enjoy a joyride without the eye of suspicion lingering somewhere in vicinity.

But distraction from the usual was a smooth act on this particular night.

I felt footsteps making their way towards me. They were slow and slightly shuffled. I groaned internally, knowing I’d have to break the silence and make efforts that did not coincide with my current state of being. I turn around but I never really make it to the end of that possible conversation. I am suddenly distracted by his voice that begins to narrate an incident from the previous evening. It’s about him on the football field. I haven’t heard it before. Not yesterday, when we actually were discussing this particular match in question. He has that sparkle in his eyes; one I haven’t witnessed in a long time, one that actually gave birth to most of my worries.

But these details don’t strike me that very second. They come later. What truly makes the ground below my feet swell up is the way he looks up and the first face his eyes rest on is hers. 

That night his eyes rescued the smothered feelings of regret within me. I might have gone home with struggling tears strolling down my frost-bitten cheeks, but the damage had liberated me.

Back then I didn’t know that, of course. It was only years later that I was able to wholly realise the significance of that night. That one glance of his eyes had not only damaged my friendship with her, but also triggered a lifetime of internal conflict – one I’d keep trying to resolve, over and over again, for years to come.


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