The Terrible Secrets of Growing Up

When did I grow up?
No one told me as it happened,
And one fine day, I woke up,
Making my own meals,
Fixing my bedside lamp
And all my problems one by one,
Swinging my arms in the air,
A soldier in combat,
Not really sure who the enemy was,
Just trying to not get myself killed in the process.
The cough syrup still tastes slimy and sweet,
But no one holds me down to pour it down my throat.
All that’s wrong with the world,
Doesn’t magically disappear at home’s door.
Headaches don’t cure themselves,
Sunlight colours window panes,
But the rainbows, who stares at them in awe?
Is it so commonplace to feel so weary at 23,
All the life I see around me,
I feel I have lived it through,
What’s new to behold?
Maybe happiness is rationed out like meal portions during wartime,
And my store has been exhausted till the next dawn.
The next dawn?
Would the birds twitter and chatter,
As I always remember?
Would the skies turn into a riot of colour?
Would the wind in my hair soothe me in its caress,
Would the dewdrops gleam on rose petals
Catch my eye in the morning light?
Or would I still feel forlorn,
That I have known all this before
And it never compares, it never does,
To the first time?

Maybe all of life is longing.
For things, you once thought of as magic,
Bike rides on rainy afternoons,
Silent midnights with only the stars to whisper to,
Raucous, resounding laughter from your soul,
Hope that even the things you lost,
Might find their way back to you.
Maybe all of life is yearning,
To feel the same way you felt at 13,
Never knowing that sometimes dreams
Wilt away in the heat,
Dark brown and sodden under feet.

See it isn’t easy,
This living, this living.
Do we make a mockery
Out of the things we can’t escape?
Just laughter as answers for questions we can’t face?
Just fill the silence with strangers’ smiles
And wait for the buzzing to go away?
Does it work,
Numbing yourself into oblivion,
So you no longer comprehend the thoughts in your head?
Maybe no one knows.
But life half lived, half loved,
Half broken, half scarred,
“Don’t stay out late, sleep tight,”
Oh, the irony!

Maybe, all of life is waiting,
Waiting for the loneliness to pass,
It comes in waves.
Maybe all of life is just pretending,
We don’t know what it is,
Even when it crawls into bed with you,
And kisses you goodnight.

Lekshmy S. Nair can be found on Instagram @shadows_and_smiles.

Featured image:  Lital Levy / Unsplash