Quiet Promises: An Ode to Female Friendships

I often dream about our evenings;
leaning out the window,
half dazed, half asleep,
the distinct smell of rain
on parched, potholed streets;
feeling the cold winter breeze
wafting slowly in,
listening to the faint beats
of radio music it brings,
the zig zag fairy lights
surrounding us,
so warm and welcoming.

there we were,
sprawled across your room,
in a companionable silence,
a confusing pile of
awkward assorted limbs;
some bad puns, some silly jokes,
bright faces lined only
with boundless promise and mirth,
wondering how our paths converged.

how did we reach here?
starting from casual banter
and throwaway lines,
we were able to find,
these unspoken loyalties,
sharing hapless miseries;
missing already,
the moments that passed us by
somewhere between
the everyday grind
of deadlines and groceries,
love-lives and libraries.

it was always together that we
took off layers of veneers
and those worn-out second skins,
armed with nothing
except for stubborn heads of unruly hair
and upturned palms laid bare,
with some sage wisdom,
perhaps a touch premature;
not quite sure
where we were going
or where time
would wash us ashore;

hurtling down steep slopes
thrown out of our comfort zones
finding solace in knowing
there would always be
jobs to keep, skills to learn,
mistakes to make, and lives to lead,
but if we reached out,
we’d find familiar hands to hold,
and traces of an old
love that has only grown
slowly, in the interstices;

in knowing there could well be
leagues and years in between
but we had each other,
and we were not alone.

here’s to us;
to the girls we were,
the women we became,
and to the women
we’re yet to be;

to chipping away
at self-doubt, every day,
with wit and charm
and grit and grace,
stone by upturned stone;

to carving our places
under the sun,
and coming into our own.

Aamaal Akhtar is a modern history research scholar at JNU and an occasional poetry scribbler. Find her on Instagram as amster91mullins and under the hashtag #akhtarisms.