Leaving [Behind]


It would be fair to call today’s piece’ title fugitive or inconspicuous for that matter. Underneath however is an exploration of truth. I am no defeatist, yet I often come to terms with the understanding that people do always leave. The separation is of course tough, like the pain instilled by the insertion of a strong syringe. But it is not their leaving itself which hurts as much as idea of what they leave behind- memories that imprint themselves on the mind’s eye- which stays with one like the shadows of an immortal scar.

Sometimes, when people enter your life, they gradually gain importance and claim space. Certain things become bounded rituals, to be shared with only particular personalities. They help us create our own stories, and a treasure chest full of personal jokes. It is with the people we meet in our lives, that we paint memories and live moments that we later come to recollect, smile and weep instinctively at the thought of. Secrets get filtered, and the darkest ones are reserved for sharing with a few closed ones. We break our walls, we trust them with blind faith, we save the currant on our priced pastries for them. Had we known, that distance will grow us apart from those whom we are closest to, I wonder how different our respective paths of friendship would have been.

At times, when people leave they leave behind spaces that are probably too large to be filled. The time we spend with people – friends, family, strangers- is the strange leaf from the oak tree. It dries with passing time and weakening roots, but it never leaves the branch it hangs on. It stays there, the shade of mud, to remind you in pensive stroll of the times you still have with the people you have lost.

I wish people came with statutory warnings. That would have made things so much easier, but I guess it is this difference which makes us all human, causes of each other’s suffering, and fragile in our own way.   

People always leave, they said. I kept my head high, and like mice to the piper’s tune, followed the beat of my heart. I wept in heartbreak, and struggled through rejection. I stumbled and stuttered when people left, yet I believed I could go on. Not everyone leaves; the ones who are supposed to stay always find a way to, I told myself. But more than once on occasions of separation I have inwardly doubted my own optimism.

Yes, we all would agree that it hurts when people leave. There is deep sadness when people go away from our lives. But for me, there is no pain greater than that of realising once and for all what it is that they have left behind.

So then, are people who come into your life nothing but impersonators? Are people always meant to leave?  And do they deserve the space we give them? Do questions even make a difference?

I have to tell you, I do not have an answer to any of those. But then, I am afraid of finding these answers myself. The possibility of their not being to my likes troubles me. So for now, I choose to believe in a version which makes me happier. No, people do not always leave. But when they do, they always leave something behind. And that bitter truth is the only consolation we can afford.





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