It was all Yellow.

“And what is this balloon filled with?”, my ten year-old nephew asks me as I hand the balloon vendor a ten rupee note. “Helium. It’s a gas that makes your balloon stay up in the air like that.”, I reply pointing to the balloon tied to his tiny fingertip as it bobs over our heads. “That’s cool!”, he exclaims, clearly showcasing the language he’s slowly learning from his father(my kid brother). I smile at him and it doesn’t stop(he’s an adorable kid), he motions his hands up towards me silently asking me to pick him up. As we make our way towards the garden, he doesn’t stop asking questions about the balloon. I reply all his questions, his fascination outlining that of my own son. “When does Roger return from school?”, he looks at me, reading my mind. “Oh, not for another three months Frank.”, I sigh. He senses my loneliness and softly lays a kiss on my cheek,”You have me Aunt Moira”, he grins and then jumps down from my lap and races off as he sees the playground in the distance. 

The playground is all different today. It’s all yellow. Or maybe that’s just the colour I end up seeing because it was Joey’s favourite colour, and thus Roger’s favourite too. What’s your favourite colour Aunt Moira?, Frank has asked her once years ago. Yellow, she has quietly replied, why so?, he’d ask. It was your Uncle Joey’s favourite colour, her brother had replied before she had the chance too. Looking up at her brother she had seen something she has never seen before. Hurt. Joey and Marvin had grown so close after meeting for the first time, and through all her pain, and all her suffering, she had conveniently forgotten how much her husband’s death had hurt her little brother. 

Frank comes running back,”There’s a pond on the other side that is covered with yellow flowers!”, he exclaims with excitement. “Covered with what?” “White flowers! Hurry up please Aunt Moira” I close my eyes momentarily and then follow his blonde head racing off in the crowd. The Helium balloon is still bobbing over his head. The reflection of the balloon in the pond seems, yellow? And I’m quite convinced we had bought a blue balloon. 

“What’s for dinner today?”, Frank asks me without looking away from the ducks swimming in the pond. “Pasta.”, I reply looking down at the back of his head. “Yay! White sauce or yellow?“, he asks with a giant grin on his face. My eyes widen with surprise, “Uh, what is yellow sauce pasta?” Frank looks at me funnily, “I don’t know. I want white sauce pasta!” “Yes yes kiddo okay.”, I replied quietly. 

“Do you know what my favourite fruit is? Its strawberry, because it’s yellow!”, Frank tells me on the way back home. I stare at my nephew holding my hand and walking next to me. “Strawberries are pink, Frank.”, I tell him. “I know Aunt Moira, that’s what I said.” I shook my head and wondered what was up today. 

As we reach near the gates of my building, Frank runs upto Riley(our guard) and his labrador, Dan. “Look Aunt Moira, Dan’s looking so yellow today!” “Frank,”, I look at him, “What does that mean?” “Aunt Moira, you don’t know what happy means?”, he looks at me worried for a while, and then moves on. 

After dinner, I sit down with my brother after we put Frank to sleep and Lily goes off to shop, “You will not believe the afternoon I’ve had.” “What’s up?”, he asks without looking away from his PS4. “Everywhere, the only colour I saw today was uh, yellow.”, I say quietly. He pauses his game and looks at me as I fiddle with my hair. “You know what you’re doing?”

‘Setting fire to your insides for fun, to distract your heart from ever missing him’

I frown at my kid brother, “Can you not quote Daughter?”, “All I’m saying is that you’re constantly trying not miss him, which is wrong, miss him all you want sis. You’re entitled to.”, and he gets back to playing his game. I get up and go to ‘our’ bedroom which is now filled with his pictures, and pictures of us together and pictures of the three of us together. Maybe my brother was right. Was I really trying not to miss him? No. 

I’m forever missing him.

Disintegrating friendships?

“I try to write poems and short stories.”
“what about?”
“Just weird situations.”
“What kind of situations?”
“Disintegrating friendships, and things like that.”
“So why do friendships disintegrate?”
“I just think that people’s interests change. And relationships have to be built on some sort of commonality. So once that common ground is lost, it’s very difficult to get it back.”

“Law college killed me before it killed me.” “Huh?”, he asks looking up.
“I was brilliant friends with Dan on the first day of first year.” “You’re still brilliant friends with Dan, he’s Leo’s godfather.”, he replies staring at me now.
“Yeah, but now he’s there and he’s not there.” He stares at me even more now,”You haven’t told me anything like this before.”, he gets up concerned. He’s always so concerned, it’s a miracle you didn’t fall for him sooner.
“He was the first friend I made. Not exactly the first, one of the first ones.” “You’ve told me all that”, he says,”You’ve also told me about how you had the fight in the first year itself and how you fixed everything after that.”
“Nah, We just fixed it on the surface.” “Please.”, he pleads,”Tell me what’s wrong.”
“We were friends. Brilliant friends. Then we weren’t, and for him we fixed it, and even Ems fixed it, but I just couldn’t.” “You, Ems and Dan are best friends.”, he says quietly.
“Its a transparent friendship, you know? Prima facie. My friend hasn’t been there since that fight in the first year.” “That was six years ago.”, he remarks,”Are you telling me you’ve been faking a friendship with him for six years?”, he asks with maybe a slight anger in his voice. But who wouldn’t be angry? I’ve lied to the love of my life for the past four years.
“No, Ray, not faking. Hoping. I kept thinking he’ll realize that I still had a problem with something so stupid.” “Stupid. Exactly. That was a misunderstanding-I’ve heard that a million times coming from you.”, he sits down on his knees now and looks up at me.
“Except it wasn’t. It was more than that, so much more. We had things in common. We used to talk, a lot. So obviously something changed.” Ray places his head on my lap, “Dan’s told you so many times that he just felt judged, nothing more, nothing else.”
“And what is worse than feeling judged in the company of people where you want nothing more than a feeling of acceptance? No, something died. That link we had. The connection. We were hometown buddies.” “You still are.”,Ray replies quietly.
I have a long explanation ready. I’ve always had one. Right from the time we decided to fix our friendship. But I stay quiet. “However irrational it may sound,”, he says, “I want you to tell me. Please.”, and that voice will kill you before you try to hide something from it.
“I tried. I tried to talk it through. I used to bring it up randomly but none of them ever really understood what was hurting me. I couldn’t make them understand. It was this feeling that wouldn’t go. Like something had snapped and it wouldn’t get fixed. I’d talk to him but it was like I wasn’t talking to him. We’d text but I wasn’t texting him. It was like this thin veil existence, something different in our friendship. And the worst part? I couldn’t tell what. I remember reading somewhere that friendships disintegrate because you lose common ground. We lost a lot more than common ground. Six years, and I’m still not satisfied that what we fixed that day actually fixed itself up or not.”
Its the most I’ve talked in the past hour. Ray gets up and kisses me lightly. I close my eyes and feel him leaving the room.
“You’ll be fine. Your friendship will be fine.”