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Updated: Dec 21, 2023

By Swati Joshi

“Why is it , I can’t hear anything?” , says Kaya. Then she focuses on the background and finally she could hear all the voices….the voices that she could hear usually from her room. It’s been a month, she has been away, at her parents ‘house. She usually visits her parents once a year for a month to embrace their presence in her life.

“It’s finally audible.” , she moves towards the bed and says with relief.

There are things which she refuses to admit , one of it was her constant feeling of loneliness, she gaslights herself into thinking it was maturity.

“I should get dressed and work as I should.” , she thinks out loud and gets dressed in her uniform.

She goes to the hospital where she works as a registered nurse in ER. Work goes as it shall.

“ Pump the AMBU.”, her teammate declares.

“Put the 18G fast, its definitely hypovolemic shock.”, says another teammate.

“Ma’am , these documents need signature.”, says her subordinate.

The ER works as always. She finishes her shift, comes back to her room. She brews a cup of coffee for self.

Then she looks out of the window while slowly drinking the coffee in her hands. She writes poems, essays , journals in her free time to escape.

There is a painting in her room which she looks at whenever she feels lost . There is a man and a woman in form of wooden bark while the leaves are missing, the roots are deep and flow like hair. It gives her peace , at least most of the time.

Her gaze move towards her cupboard full of books and then brushes off to “Pandemic” , a book gifted by someone. She couldn’t hate this person but can’t seem to remain level headed looking at the things he gave to her but she didn’t like giving away her books. These reminders always made her give up on hope of being loved. She has tried way too many times and each time it has hurt her. Now she wonders if it wasn’t others , if it was her who was the problem. She likes to look at beautiful things and maybe that is what has cost her everything. She doesn’t even like herself anymore.

It is a gathering where all her co-workers are present. She is attending it out of etiquette. She has lost interest in mingling. Her friends initially tried to get her out of this zone but no one can help a person who refuses to accept it. 

“How have you been , Kaya?”, asks Joy her friend.

“I am good. What about you?”, replies Kaya.

“You just never even talk on phone and whenever I ask you to go out with me , you wouldn’t . We have become so distant so rapidly.”, says Joy with genuine concern.

“I didn’t mean to do it that way. I am sorry , Joy.”

“Well, it is a good thing you are here. You need to attend my wedding this fall. And no excuses, you are my bridesmaid.”, says Joy.

“Congratulations Joy, I am so happy for you but you need to understand….

Kaya is interrupted

“ I don’t need to understand anything. You will come or I will kidnap you and bring you to my wedding. We are best friends Kaya. We spent the entire grad school together .” , says Joy with upcoming tears in her eyes.

“ I will be there. Sorry, I didn’t want to hurt you.”, Kay responds.

She spends the evening with Joy and silently move towards her abode. She was happy for Joy but just couldn’t be content with herself. She meant no harm. She wasn’t envious. She was just breaking each and every day looking at people achieving her dreams. Not that she had any trademark on them still she was devastated at her condition.

“ I will not smoke , no I will not smoke , no , no, no.”

She ends up smoking …. Three joints and then she looked at that painting and slept.

Days passed swiftly.

“You are pretty.”

“You have got the perfect smile.”

“ You are just so nice.”

“ I am glad you are in charge of me.”

“ Your eyes speak wonders.”

These were the compliments she got everyday. She always thought what is the use when she can’t make anyone stay , be her friends she loved so much , her boyfriend who regarded her as a machine or the people she trusted who regarded her as a useless immature selfish piece of garbage. 

“Thank you.”

Nothing more or less she would reply. It is cordial. She comes back home , sits on the sofa in her room, she is listening to Bach when her eyes meet a sight . Sight of six neonate rats , she always knew there was one in the room but she didn’t try to kill it as it never really destroyed her property but now it left her this burden. She picks them up and throws them in front of the neighbor ‘s dog. She thinks it’s not worth to be sympathetic to the extent of self harm. 

She still feels alone but is scared to have pets to lose it all if something happens to them.

“You are a robot.”

“You don’t care about your friends.”

“You are selfish.”

“You have walls around you.”

She has heard it all way too many times but she has always remembered to say.


Nothing more or less she would reply. It is cordial.

Days passed again.

It was her off day, she had an instinct to go to a cave her mom always wanted her to visit, it had religious significance to it. She reached there in an hour. It looked as if it would engulf her inside. She went inside.

“It is huge.” , she whispered. She wasn’t alone , a lot of people were there and she could smell peace in that cave. 

She reached the end of the cave eventually and saw the most auspicious thing she could ever see in her life. She felt a change in her form, she felt a blessing, she felt something enigmatic.

After returning back to her room. She opened her laptop, started writing a journal.

The new day brought a ray of sunshine. She found faith and she found ‘haven'.

“You are commendable.”

“Your work is out of the world.”

“You have brought a drastic change in lives of people.”

She was still alone , still without touch of people but happy. She felt s strong presence supporting her. Loneliness lingered but never harmed her again.

By Swati Joshi

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