Ten sips

We had to write a short story in our English lesson.

So I did.

It has to have something to do with India… My story doesn’t really have something to do with India… But…

Here it is.

Ten sips. Ten sips are all they have left. But they did not know.

My cigarette is more ash than tobacco and her voice is calm. My whole body is shaking and the hand on my cheek is cold and sweaty. My heart beats faster than it should.

Nine.

I sit on the bed and Manila stands in front of me. The lighter lay beside us on the floor, it is still hot and the suitcase is packed and ready to go. The room is hardly lit and Manilas tears run upon her nose where they met her lips and then drops off her chin. I also cry. My tongue meets my tears and the salty, typical taste of them filled my mouth.

Eight.

I know that it was not right but we were young and naive and simply in love. I was sad and desperate and had no clue what our future holds for us. Manila goes to the desk, sits down and takes a piece of paper out of the drawer. A pen lays on the desk already.

Seven.

She begins to write. Her long, black hair falls over her shoulder and she tries to push it away, but it did not hold and soon it lays on the paper again. Her hand shakes when she writes faster and faster. Confident and determined. Six.

I just look at her. Her legs are crossed and her left one is restless and shakes nervously. I can not resist her.

Five.

When she is done with writing, she starts to reread it and correct some words. It begins to rain and the raindrops drum against the small window. I start to study the path the small drops take. They are restless just like Manilas leg seconds before and inexorable. They are free and don’t have rules they must follow.

The door slams.

Four.

I sit there for half an hour. Manila is gone. Her smell fills the whole room and her perfume lays in the air and mixes with the smell of the whiskey. My glass and the whiskey is warm, the ice cubes are melted. When I stand up and stumble slowly to the desk I’m nervous and I try to imagine what she wrote. My hands are sweaty and my brain is nearly empty. I know, I can’t stop whatever will happen and undo what she wants to tell me. My inner voice faltering starts to read. Calm and fast at the same moment.

My dearest Alana,

I’m unbelievably sorry for what I have to write now, but I know it’s the best for both of us. It wasn’t right what we’ve done all these countless years. I can’t ruin the name of my family any longer. My Dad’s reputation has suffered and I can not take this anymore. This is just too much to ignore.

Three.

Your drug addiction was always a huge weight and you know it had a big impact on me, on our life. It really bothered and encumbered me. The way you treat me is not the way you should treat someone
you love. I respect myself enough to say goodbye to you. I tried but I cannot go on like this: it is too painful for me. I can not resist saying, that I hate it. I hate what we have done to each other.

We have to be realistic when we look at our potential future together. After we had talked about our plans for
the future, it became obvious to me, and probably to you too, that our futures just don’t align.

It is best we part now and learn to live without each other instead of going on together knowing it will someday end. I hate that it has to be this way, but I can’t disregard my family, hopes, and dreams for the future. It is too much to bear. We have to end things so we can start healing our hearts and move on with our lives. This isn’t easy for me, and I can’t imagine it’s easy for you either, but this is the way it has to be. Even though it hurts right now, this is what is best for both of us. I really hope you find happiness after this tragedy.

I loved you. I love you. I’ll always love you.

Sorrowfully, M.

I swallowed. I puked. I drank.

Two.

I reread the letter. I screamed, I cried, I felt sick. I hate it. I hate what our society did to us. I hate what Manila felt she had to do. I hate what her family made her do. I hate what she did. I hate what she is going to do. I hate what we were. But mostly, I hate that I understand her. We. There is no longer a “we”. There is just an “I” and a “she”. We are no longer together. We are no longer an invincible team. She is still going to be invincible but I will not be. I was only as strong as she was. I am a little helpless sheep under thousands of wolves in a city named Bumbai.

One.

I go to the balcony. The rain had stopped and the storm has come. The wind is rough and relentless. I stand on the little wall which separates me and the abyss. It is deep. I lived on the seventh floor of a hotel. Lived, past tense. Now I just exist. Without her, everything seems ridiculously final, hope- and futureless. Death seems like a legitimate alternative.

Zero.

Pauline

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