By Tanisha Tekriwal

 June, 1943

The days grow warmer, the nights restless. The ground is painted crimson in the hue of 

martyrdom, the wind carries the rhythm of synchronized footsteps- the dull beats of oncoming 

death. Only the sky remains untouched by the bloodied hands of War. And yet, we turn to trivial 

pursuits, for what is love if not an inconsequential whim?

 When we last met- secretly, as always- my hands were shaking, quivering. In the darkness of the 

alley, my eyes searched for yours. In the cold of the night, your hands reached for mine. And in 

the intimacy of the moment, we missed the curfew. So when we ran back under the inky sky- 

hearts in our throats, sweat on our chests- we didn’t remember to say goodbye. How could we 

know that the next time we’d meet would be at your funeral?

The second they had you enlisted, I knew this futile war would take you. After all, isn’t it the 

good, the true, the pure that are tainted and scarred by this frivolity?

At the end it was not my father, inherently homophobic and illiberal, who severed me from you- 

but a simple bullet, that drove from your chest into mine, lodging itself a little deeper into my 

heart with every passing day.

It was only when I was laying the daisies upon your grave that my acute agony turned into a dull 

ache, leaving me hollow, empty; for when an anomaly- as they regarded you- dies, it takes with 

it all the light that we look for, but fail to find, in the darkness of our intolerance.

While we were not meant to last- our memories are everlasting, our love is deathless, and I have 

not forgotten. I have not forgotten the cadence of your voice, the curve of your back. I have not 

forgotten the rose pressed between the pages of your letters. My remembrance shall forever 

supersede the amnesia of Time. “And that is the only immortality you and I may share,” my love. 


*the quote is taken from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.



Perhaps the blue ones would take her swimming in the cobalt waters- diving deep into the ocean 

of oblivion, breathing water and narcotics instead of oxygen and perfume. Perhaps they’d take 

her to the silky clouds made of derision and drunkenness, just like the white ones she’d stolen 

last week. And perhaps they’d take her close enough to the edge to finally understand why her 

body needed her to spiral back to reality.

For years now she’d battled with the desperately slow days that stretched out into a blur. Her 

biggest enemy was Time- she was tired of chasing something that had mastered outrunning her. 

She’d been an athlete in her human days.

When she slept, she’d dream of the only untarnished parts of her life- the first seven years; 

before the divorce painted her sugar-sweet mother into a perfect horror, and her father into 

nothingness. She’d dream of Saturday picnics and Sunday brunches at the country club. She’d 

dream of candlelit rooms and candid beams that turned into storage closets and deep grooves 

running from each nostril to the side of the mouth- proof of the ingenuity of the smile plastered 

so expertly upon her face. She’d dream of a lone pink Barbie doll sitting on the very shelf that 

now holds a packet of white powder that is neither pixie dust, nor the ashes of who she used to 


She’d stumble across the apartment, picking up the car keys from the counter that hasn’t been 

touched for weeks. She’d drive with the radio on, to drown out with music the irrational 

symphonies of her own mind. Then she’d stagger into a garage full of masochists and addicts 

whom she would not call friends, but who had stood by her far more than her family ever had.  

Finally, she’d seat herself between the blonde and the blonde, and she’d slip into the same abyss 

of illusion and fantasy that had conquered the others around her.

Sometimes she’d wonder if there was anyone or anything that would make her want to stop 

lingering around the fringes of death. And those sometimes she’d rack her clouded memories to 

remember what he- the only person she’d ever admired- had said to her, “Your face is the only 

beautiful thing left about you.” And in the darkness of the night, she’d wondered whether it was 

also the only human thing.


My name is Tanisha Tekriwal and I am an Indian student with a passion for reading and writing. The link to my personal blog is: http://tanishatekriwal.blogspot.com/

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