A Conversation


It has taken me so long to write this because I have had more time than you had. I have had more chances to use, cherish and waste time; and more of it than I know how to manage well, anyway.
This is not a tribute. This isn’t even a piece to indulge in my very few, very vivid memories of you. It’s simply an echo of a conversation that I would have had with you if you were alive today.
Let’s imagine we’re sitting in class again; the cramped classroom, the one to the left of the stairs. We have seats right up in front and it is one of those lazy Urdu classes when Miss Rahat is in no mood to teach and everyone stays quiet so she wouldn’t have to take charge.
I think I need to tell you a few things.
You are not a hero, nor are you a victim.
You are just a girl who made bad choices.
And I’m not afraid to tell you this because you had the capacity to listen. I won’t lie to you or sugarcoat my words for you ever, not even in death.
I will tell you you were wrong, again and again because you see, you aren’t here anymore because of it.
I don’t say all of this because it will make a difference, but just because I felt it needed to be said. I say it because I don’t want you to become a symbol of young love, or a real-life incarnation of Juliet or a martyr. I don’t want your end to be an excuse for bad choices to ever be looked at as desirable or ‘romantic.’ I bring this up because there was a shocking amount of rhetoric that circulated, with the recurring theme of romanticizing your passing and your choice. Along with this came the bittersweet realization that it is only after one is gone that the world is alerted to the fact that we ever existed. I saw the most unlikely people, banking in on the opportunity to add to this rose-tinted affair of ‘star-crossed lovers’ or some similar bullshit. Your bad choice does not go away just because you did.
Do you see my problem?
Your choice became your end and the violence of your end, ended up defining you. I want to tell you it doesn’t define you, not for me, not for anyone who matters. I want to tell you that I remember your overflowing makeup table and your yellow wrist-watch, your dedication to sass and dance and your free-spiritedness. I remember the turquoise arm-chair in your room and your collection of necklaces. I’m smiling right now because I would have loved to see your reaction to the ear piercings I have now. I remember you helping me straighten my hair and the Jay Sean lyrics on your bathroom mirror. I remember how you stood up for people and how on fleek you always looked.
Was ‘on fleek’ a thing while you were around? I can’t remember. I guess it doesn’t really matter.
I want to tell you I am as brutally honest of a friend as I ever was and remember you in the most honest, most affectionate way. And maybe I’m being unrealistic by even hoping to put a dent on how you will be remembered but at least I have sorted all these thoughts in my head, thoughts that I was afraid of having because I thought they made me a bad friend or made me feel like I was disrespecting your memory. But now I know I would be doing no justice to the honesty in our friendship if I was not open about how sorry I am that you made that choice. You are entitled to your choice, we all are. I just wish it hadn’t cost us all so dearly.
I miss you.

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