Can you see that girl with her back against the wall, buried deep inside a book too thick and too heavy for her to carry? She sits right over there beside the large book shelf, angling her book so that the sunlight from the lone window in the room would fall upon the page. Her face is half hidden behind shadows of the room and half hidden behind her own hair and glasses. The one that doesn’t look up as you enter the room because she probably hasn’t heard anything or realised that she is not alone in the room yet. Yes, that girl right there at whom you are smiling so that she would feel your eyes staring into her and look up. That is me. And no, I can’t feel your gaze either. But I do look up when you tap my shoulder and wave a cheery hi.
I like the face on you and the smile on the face, and so I smile back and let out a scratchy “hi” from my dry throat which I have to clear occasionally due to lack of use. I didn’t mind that you sat down on the floor next to me because I discovered that you have similar taste in books which meant that there was something we could talk about. You made it easy for me to chat and you never let any awkward silences to creep in between us while you sat there jabbering away about things that I never knew to be conversation. As much as I liked having you there with all the noises you brought with you and the friendly comfort that envelopes you, I was doing alright even before you came into my space uninvited. But I could smile that thought away, because I liked that face on you and the smile on that face.
Your company found its place with me more than once after that. It walked with me, dined with me, had a drink with me, and sometimes even shared a moment or two of quiet with me. As new as this was for me, I realised that I didn’t mind the intrusion. I didn’t mind it at all. And so I let you talk me into wearing something bright and even accompanying you to some crowded place which is used to having more than ten people talk at the same time. I let you bring out my own chatty self, inside and outside of these jam-packed overly noisy places, and didn’t stop or decline your invitation when I had to meet new people who were your friends. I practised my speaking skills before our outings so that I would not be awkward and uncomfortable around these people like the last time we went out.
You teased out a side of me which spent a surprising amount of time worrying about what to wear and how to tie up her hair. This side of me began putting colours on her face so that it would look pleasant enough for you and in an attempt to match that face I like on you, she even tried on fake eye-lashes and took a sharp pencil to her eye-lids. It was interesting and I found myself to be charming, but it was exhausting! I loved what I had become, I loved how this new side of me made me more approachable and acceptable and pleasant. But I missed that girl who sat against the book shelf balancing a rather large book on her skinny knees, completely unaware of what went on around her. I missed the feeling of unadulterated bliss which came to me with so little effort.
When you decided to leave, I felt like I had entered an empty dark room with nothing around for me to hold on to. I felt awkward with the bright colours on me and I rubbed my face raw until all of those sticky layers came off. I ran to my room and looked at the mirror and saw this girl with huge dark eyes with shades of blue and red fading on her face, blinking rapidly at a false eye-lash which was hanging from one half of her eye-lid and I realised that I didn’t know her at all. Who was she, who made her do this and why did she do this? I washed myself and covered myself in those large pyjamas which clung so softly onto me. I walked to my favourite room and reached for the large book which sat there abandoned and alone. I sat down with my back against the wall and went back into that lovely world of mine which I had left behind. As I closed the book shut all I could think was, thank you for leaving, thank you for leading me back to my room because as much as I liked having you there with all the noises you brought with you and the friendly comfort that envelopes you, I was doing alright even before you came into my space uninvited.