Self-hate. Do you know what it feels like?
Self-hate feels like waking up every day, looking at yourself in the mirror, and hating every single bit that adds up in making you the person you are. Self-hate feels like clutching your pillow tight to your chest, hugging yourself, in an attempt to keep yourself together while you cry out loud in an empty room. Self-hate feels like taking a shower and scrubbing your skin till it hurts, just in an attempt to rub your skin off that covers the being that you hate so much.
And mine had taken a toll on him. Imagine for a moment, loving someone so much that you put them over everything. Even yourself. And they telling you one day:
‘You know what I really hate about you?’
The word ‘hate’ pierced right through my heart but yet foolishly, still expecting it to be something about me hurting myself or something of that sort, I looked up at him and just nodded.
‘I really hate hate you for loving me.’ I was shocked. I did not dare utter a word and just stared at him. ‘I hate how you messed everything up. Every single thing in between us.’
‘I did?’ I somehow mustered the courage to speak up because it had been enough.
‘Yes, you did.’ He spat out. ‘And don’t you dare throw it at me. Fine, I asked you out. And maybe at one point, there was a thing between us, but it is over. Why the hell would you not get over it and this stupid love thing once and for all. Can you not be my fucking friend for once?’
‘But I am your friend..’ My voice broke.
‘Just. My. Fucking. Friend. Sara.’
‘I am just that.’ I looked up at him with teary eyes and smiled. And he smiled back.
That day and today, I started hating every single thing about me.
I wiped my face off with the back of my hand in an attempt to rub off any dry tear stains as soon as I saw the mall we were approaching. I knew Asad was aware but thankfully there were no questions asked.
I unbuckled my belt and hurriedly got out of the car before Asad’s gentle-manliness arose and he came over to open the door for me. In this moment, I needed distance. From everyone and everything.
‘Are you okay?’ He asked. Finally. I was just wondering how much longer could he possibly shut up and let me stay at peace.
I stared up into his eyes and gritted my teeth. ‘Don’t ever fucking ask me that again.’
He raised his hands in defense and backed away.
Shopping. What was so amusing about it except for spending money on things that would temporarily make you feel nice about yourself? Even this applied back when I loved myself.
We strolled around, looking at all the branded stuff through the windows. Sometimes he forced me to get in some shop and ask me if I liked random things in there. I’d just nod because I didn’t want to argue and he would just buy them for me.
It was a strange day. I felt nothing. Only tiredness. Exhaustion. I just wanted to go back home and sleep but I didn’t feel like speaking up.
After a while, I felt his fingers slip into mine and I didn’t stop him. Simply because I was too tired to resist anything.
Later upon reaching back home I was ‘surprised’ by being told about a dinner reservation the following night.
I sighed exasperatedly but agreed to accompany Asad. I had no idea why this man was still hanging with me.
‘I’ll wait for you till you get ready while I look around some work stuff on my laptop.” Asad told me so and left the room.
I was precisely too tired to change into a nice dress and just stayed in the same position in my bed, staring at the ceiling while playing with my hair. Once I realized a lot of time had passed, I decided to get up and just go to the dinner in my ripped jeans.
I walked out of the room just to find a horrified expression on Asad’s face.
‘Have you never in your life been to a dinner, Sara?!’
There we go. I sort of understood his reaction considering he was a successful businessman that get to attend a lot of formal dinners.
I huffed, annoyingly.
‘Why would you ask that?’
‘It is obvious. You are really planning on going to a dinner with me wearing this?’
‘Yeah, what’s wrong with this.’ I twirled around as if I was wearing a fancy long dress.
‘Oh woman, how many things will I have to teach you?’ He asked rhetorically and walked into the room. I followed him in with my hands on either side of my waist, ready to rant any second; till he pulled out that heavenly thing from that day’s shopping bags.
It was a sleek, red satin dress hanging from the hanger.
‘What… When did you buy this?’
‘You really don’t even remember me asking you in between red and black?’ His face seemed sad.
‘I am sorry. This is beautiful.’
‘I know.’ He grinned like a kid. ‘Okay go in and change now. We might get late.’
I nodded and went in to change into that sleek red dress.
The ambiance of the restaurant Asad chose was strangely pleasant. It was quiet and the environment was something in between professional and romantic; I couldn’t quite place it. I also turned out to find that Asad did drink wine occasionally and that eased me a little bit in his overwhelming company.
I was quietly chewing on my steak when I heard a familiar voice that I couldn’t really recognize at the first instinct.
‘Is that you?’ I heard the same voice repeat from somewhere to the right of our table and that’s when I turned towards it.
‘This would be..? Oh my god, Cara.’
It had been 11 years. 11 years since I last saw her. She was an American 18-year-old girl then. She came to Pakistan through a student exchange program and I was her mentor and best friend the whole time. She was a little nosy but pretty fascinating. And did I mention, very jumpy?
She rushed over to me, not caring about the subtle air surrounding us, and took me in a bone crushing hug.
‘How have you been? I tried so hard to contact you upon returning back to the States. I left you calls, wall posts but no answer.’
‘Oh, that would be because I left all sorts of social media.’
‘And why would you commit such a horrendous sin?’ She put her hands on either side of the waist and frowned at me questioningly.
I smiled at the familiarity I felt by her actions and lowered my gaze to answer the question she had asked me with such curiosity. ‘I faced some sort of unmentionable incident later that year.’ I knew Cara to be of the kind that didn’t just leave something hanging so in order to distract her, I diverted her attention towards Asad. ‘And this is my husband, Asad. We just got married and are currently on our honeymoon here in Miami.’ I tried my best to smile curtly and pointed towards him. This was the first time I introduced him as my husband to anyone.
Asad being the gentleman he is, got up from his seat, buttoning his coat, pushed his hand forward to greet her with a warm smile. But the look on Cara’s face told a different story.
Shock, questions and more questions. But to my relief, she did take his hand and shook it while looking at me.
‘Your husband, you say? Nice to meet you, mate.’
‘Mutual feelings.’ Asad grinned. ‘So why don’t you come over sometime? In fact, come along with us back at our hotel! I’m sure you and Sara need a lot of catching up, meeting after such a long time’
I groaned internally.
‘Yes, sure thing. I’ll just get done with my dinner and stay a little while at your place.’
‘Sounds like a great idea.’ I spoke in a low tone and huffed.
I brought two cups of coffee into the room and nudged Cara with my elbow and pushed her cup forward.
‘What’s better than a steamy cup of coffee in this rainy weather.’ Cara spoke up.
I smiled while looking out of the window and nodded quietly, sipping my coffee.
‘So. How did you exactly end up here?’
‘What do you mean, Cara.’ I asked rhetorically, knowing exactly what she meant.
‘Left the good looking lad?’ I could see her smirk while she looked up at me while sipping her coffee.
I clutched my cup tightly. ‘Why exactly do you all have to talk about him this way?’
I was talking about him after so long to someone who knew everything. And it was not nice.
‘As if he’s some sort of candy or something.’ I almost spat.
‘Hey, hey you gotta appreciate eye candy when you see one. Everyone knew he was a treat to the eye, no? So tell me what made you leave such a thing?’ She gasped.
This was all he was to them. This is all they thought of my feelings towards him. ‘A good looking lad.’ Ah, that 16 year old girls’ school of thought. I didn’t even have the slightest idea when was the last time I thought of him that way.
Why is it that people thought the term ‘love’ or ‘attachment’ to a human being had to necessarily have some sort of association with how an individual looks. Why can it not be about intellect? Or about wit? Or about how the sound of someone’s laugh makes you want to live a little more? Or about the way their hair mess their face up when the wind blows?
What makes them think that a firm body, hair that falls on his eyes every time he talked and full lips are what make you fall in love? What makes them think that having the sharpest jawline, charming throat muscles or slender fingers was what made me lose my fucking mind over him?
What the hell made them think that me losing my wish to live for myself and just for him had anything to do with how he looked? What the hell made them even think that I’m still not over him, and mourn his loss after all these years, just because he was one gorgeous human being?
Because it was none of those things. It could possibly be none of those things.
I saw him rot throughout the years. I saw his eyes sunk in with all the sleepless nights he had. I saw his fingers shake and his hands tremble with all the excess cocaine. I noticed the hair fall off due to the medications he was put on. I was the one who washed off grime off his face and patted it dry with a towel after days he spent not even mustering the courage to walk in for a shower. I was the one who never grimaced if the place smelt of vomit.
I did not even understand how to think about a thing as irrelevant as ‘looks’ when I had seen all of this and yet loved him the same. And hence, it angered me. It angered me every time someone talked to him as someone I had a silly crush on. As if to me he was someone that I imagined having some very good looking babies with. It was all so enough for me to handle.
I gripped so hard at my cup that it broke and the coffee spilled on my hand.
‘You see, Cara. I don’t think me telling about what goes on in my life to you will do any good to any of you as none of you has an idea about my experience and perception with everything.’ And started to walk away.
‘And also, he was not just my man crush every day.’ I only turned around to tell her this and to pass a genuine smile.
Author’s note: I’m really sorry for such a long delay but I had not only gotten busy with stuff, my mind had basically stopped working too. I was also catching up on a lot of reading and TV shows so yeah.
Also, I would like to bring one thing to your notice. If you are expecting these series to turn out to be a mystery that will blow you off by it’s ending, you can stop reading right now. I won’t put these under any specific genre mainly because I started writing these with the aim of clearing some common misconceptions in our society, talk about some deep topics the way I usually do, this time just in a story form. So, I hope you like it. I welcome all sorts of criticism. Thank you.