What Will Our Relationships Be Like When All of This Ends?

The world is more or less collapsing.
When I imagined the world ending,
I imagined people huddled together, hugging each other,
holding hands of strangers to cross rivers,
looking for lovers’ eyes in a crowd,
waiting for our names to be called out
for good news or bad,
but our names being called out loud.

But I know better now.
After sitting alone in the house
while my two favourite people died,
I should’ve known better –
tragedy strikes best in isolation.
So here I am, breaking.
No, I am not complaining.
Because I wake up and make chai.
I inhale the boiling ginger to make sure I can smell.
I take my chai to the window and
take the first sip, nervously.
“I can taste” is my first voiced affirmation of the day.

I am grateful.
I open the window and see the sun rise.
I collect sunshine on my back,
let my spine soak it all.
Another day of not stepping outside.
“Thank god I still have groceries.”
“I wish I had less groceries, I could’ve stepped out.”
That’s a classic example of vinaash kaale viprit buddhi:
when your end is near,
you make choices to accelerate its arrival.

I’ve been sick for a few days.
Not many have checked on me.
Most of them care, but they don’t know.
They haven’t been in touch.
They care, I remind myself
when I need them desperately
on the other end of the phone or text
and can’t find them,
they care,
they just have to take care of themselves more right now.

We are all struggling so much to keep ourselves sane a little longer
that we are leaving our loved ones alone in their agony.
I am a part of this.
Yes, that’s messed up.
No I am not complaining. Just expressing.
But all this not-complaining-just-expressing
has got me thinking –
what will our relationships be like
when all of this ends? Did you notice,
I said ‘when’ and not ‘if’ –
see how I let even hope rub off on me –
despite knowing that it will never be enough to
hold its and my meaning.

So. What will our relationships be like when all of this ends?
Will my best friend be my best friend?
There is so much distance.
Will my parents be more of my parents?
Because friendly conversations are hard to come by in a pandemic.
Will my crush still be my crush?
Or will he ‘bumble’ it out with a bee in my absence.
Will I know love like I have known it be?
Or will love be scary.
Will I like myself better after all this?

There is so my emptiness,
so much space for reconstruction?
We are filling the gaps with silences.
We are shying away from our deepest feelings
because we’ve felt way too much and he can’t anymore.
So we push those who make us feel the most.
Not a good plan, I’d say.
But then again, who am I to say anything.
I am breaking. A little more everyday.
I break more than I put together on each day.
By the time I put together myself completely,
most of me you knew will be gone.

There is construction work  going on outside my window.
They work relentlessly –
they are out, like warriors, building homes
hoping that there will be less coffins the next day.
They stand for grit and faith.
I want to be like them.
Because I know you are breaking too.
In one way or the other.

When this all ends, I don’t know how much of us will be left–
I don’t know how much of us will see the end of this tunnel
that has no light yet –
so can we please help each other,
in picking pieces of each other?
You see, if we come together,
to collect pieces of each other that we like the most,
to help each other choose the kind of people
we’d like to be when all this ends,
we will still have our best people as our best people,
and a little less loss to count.
Won’t that be good?

Kaushiki is a page and stage writer. An advocate of kindness who believes that stories can make this world what we want it to be. On the days she doesn’t write, you can find her painting, making pots, traveling solo, slipping off staircases and befriending (only) dogs! 

Featured image credit: Blauth B./Pixabay