No meds, please
Short, short story
I have Googled and looked into dictionaries, trying to find an appropriate way to describe ‘pain’ as I feel it. I don’t know if they failed or I did, but there were no precise answers.
Oh, this pain of mine, the pain in the heart, it has clings to me, like a child holding onto the mother. We exist for each other. Something gnaws on and on in my heart. Someone seems to be piercing it with the tip of a sharp knife, trying to reopen a wound, over and over. I feel the pain, so deep inside, makes my heart heavy like a mountain.
Impossible you would think. But how would you describe this pressure that cannot be put on measurements? Doctors have the patient sign in papers where I have to choose my pain’s intensity rate between 1–10.
Ha ha… How foolish science is, how fickle in getting to the bottom of my emotions.
I can see my reflection in the mirror. My hair has caught the color of salt and pepper. The curls grow wild all around my face. I seldom brush or tidy it up. My elder sister sometimes puts on oil on my hair and makes two braids. My eyes have that blank look of being lost and they stare at everything in a dull way. Nothing stirs up my interest to bring some light into my brooding, dark eyes. The eyebrows are thick and bushy. I remember, times back, I used to go to the beautician to have them shaped. But this is history these days. My mirror shows my wide mouth drooping at the corners and the sharp nose seems to stick up for nothing. When I look at the nose, I wonder how could it manage to look so proud when my inside is crumbling like sand castles. This pain that I am talking about has made my twenty years in life feel like crossing seventy. I feel so old, so out of tune with this rolling world.
My sister who babies me all the time has no idea that inside I have grown an old lady, ready to die. She is always making appointments with doctors, doctors who ask me more or less the same questions.
“Where is this pain? Is it in the chest?” they ask when Sis says that I complain of a pain somewhere in my heart.
I look long at the doctors and clutch my chest, point to the heart and say, “The pain is inside, deep inside and it hurts!”
The doctors follow the usual routines, have EKG, ECG, ETT and so many more tests of the heart. I don’t even remember the names correctly. Long days of checking, lab work and what not? The doctors are surprised to see the reports. Everything is okay.
“The heart is very sound, why the pain?” They wonder what’s going on inside my body.
They look deep into my eyes. They see the troubled soul. It’s all in the eyes. The eyes are supposed to be the mirror of the soul. The wild look, the momentarily lost look, and the confused self; so many expressions are there in those eyes. Suddenly the doctors seem to arrive at a conclusion and then they tell Sis,
“Maybe some psychiatric help will put her on the track, we have done a thorough examination of the heart and the rest of the body. She will be better with some medicines to a sound sleep perhaps. “
That makes me laugh. I laugh loudly, hysteric at one point and clutch my chest, point to my heart and say,
“Doctor the pain is too deep, you can’t reach it, you can’t cure it! Ah, this pain of mine…ha …ha …ha” I cannot stop the laughter. Sleep? I have forgotten what sleep is supposed to do for me.
But and then suddenly I stop laughing. The hurt is too sharp to bear and I start crying. I see lights getting dim, the walls around me coming down and I feel suffocated. I must get out of the doctor’s room. I rush out. Sis follows me and links her hand with mine.
“ Mina….Mina, calm down. We will go home now.” She says to me.
“ I don’t need doctors! How many times I have told you that?”
“ Ok…ok…no doctors…” She promises me. And then and there, I know right on the next day she will next drag me to a psychiatrist.
These sessions with the psychiatrist, they make me feel like a real lunatic. I tell them that I am not crazy, but their treatment of me makes me feel like one. They think I am out of my senses just because I don’t eat right, don’t dress right and spend sleepless nights looking at the sky. But how can I tell them that when I do things in my own way I feel more in tune with my pain? When I punish myself in some way I feel as if the pain has a right to be there. Being different than what I should be, brings a unity with the pain that squeezes the life out of me. Yet how this heart takes respite in the tears that come from my wounds within!
I take the night time to stay awake and see all my lost dreams float like embers in the darkness of my room. Sis comes with all those sleeping pills, every night. I take them in my hand and throw them into the wastepaper basket. I smile at Sis and say,
“Don’t worry another sleepless night, it won’t make me any crazier. Just let me be, can’t you do that?”
Sis shakes her head, her brows delve into a deep frown as if fed up with me. I just do not want her around me, I want to be left to myself.
Sis finally gets cross enough with me and leaves. I can hear her gentle snores from the adjacent room. I sit on the balcony and look at the night sky. It’s a clear autumn night. Wispy white clouds are floating over a full moon. Countless stars twinkle with their soft lights. When the people leave me in peace I am with the love of my life.
But and then did you tell you about my first love? Ah no, nor do I ever tell the doctors about him. Only two months back he was there in my life, filling each and every hour with his laughter and words. And then he vanished. We were in love. Listen, very much in love. He couldn’t leave me but he did. My dark and tall D, the beloved brown eyes and the manly look! He had told me countless times that he loved me and I saw that love deep in his eyes. Now, where has my love gone?
The doctors can’t see the knife slicing my heart, the knife that opens fresh wounds every passing second. They see the “ lost me” in my eyes, they see the aimless wanderer that roams a meaningless world. They tell me to play tennis, to go to movies and have good times with friends and relatives. But how can I with this endless echoing “D, D, are you? Those were the things we did together”.
“Doctor, you don’t have to do those tests for this pain of mine….you just can’t cure it… no doctors can, no meds for me. Ha..ha..ha ..” I plead as my sister takes me from one doctor to another. I laugh and cry; all together. This pain, a special kind, takes over when love is betrayed, it can’t be healed. It’s a fire that is burning me inside to ashes. There is one question to ask,
“Where has love gone?” Silence echoes in answer.
See the dark sky of this rainy day? There is more water behind my eyes than that rainy sky. See the ocean flowing? There are a hundred oceans behind my eyes. See those firewood burning? There is a greater fire in my heart. See the endless sky? My heart is lost to a greater infinity.
Oh, this pain of mine…Doctor…please no more of these tests, it just won’t go away. Oh, this pain of mine…”
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA.