Photo Credit: Moumita Dutta (Aug. 7, 2019)

Dear Jini,

It’s been a while. You’re probably having fun, wherever you are, but I’m stuck here in this crusty-aged apartment (See? See? I’m not swearing). And your cat can die. I don’t even pretend to understand why you would leave him with me — every time I try to feed him, he tries to scratch me. He hates me with every fiber of his fur.

All jokes aside though, I’ve missed you. 

And you’ve missed too much.

Nayan graduated a few weeks ago with his science degree, but all he could do was cry. I’ve tried to hold him together — it was hard at first. His grades went from the top of the class to dead bottom, and up again all in the span of a few weeks. I wouldn’t let him go anywhere without me because otherwise, he would do something stupid.

Sometimes I think I’m a terrible younger brother. He started smoking again, maybe a week after you were gone. He thinks I don’t know. But I see the cigarette butts in the trash, and I smell the sharp tang of smoke when I walk onto the balcony. I know how bad it is for him, but I’m too scared to do anything. If this is his coping method, what happens if I make him stop? 

We broke when you left, and it took a while to put the pieces back together — but no matter how hard we try, the cracks remain. So does the pain. Now there’s nobody that smiles at us after a long day of work, nobody to come pick us up from the university. Nobody to manage Nayan when he’s overworking. Nobody to listen to me and ruffle my hair when I’m talking about my favorite shows.

The doctor told me that writing letters usually helps. But I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Maybe if I write enough, you’ll respond. Maybe it’s like the story of the thousand paper cranes; maybe if I make enough, I’ll get a wish.

And the only thing that I would wish for is for you to be back.

I remember the first time Nayan and I met you, you were beautiful. That’s the only way I can describe it. People always talk about perfect angels coming to save them, but you weren’t that. You weren’t perfect, and that’s what made you special. There wasn’t always a smile on your face, and you got frustrated at the littlest things your brother would do. Overworking yourself for assignments became a habit. You were perfectly imperfect, and you were real. And that’s why you taught us the greatest lesson of all — you don’t have to be perfect to be loved. Because you were somebody just like us, you could inspire us to be better.

I don’t know how we became friends, and I don’t know why. We were so dull, yet you came and lit us up, all those years ago. Maybe you needed somebody too.

But honestly speaking: isn’t it ironic how a doctor-in-training can die from a disease? (Like come on man, that has got to be the darkest joke life has pulled on me yet.)

Okay, you must be having a lot of fun, eating grapes among the angels up there, so I’ll keep it short.

So back when I was an angsty teenager (No, don’t laugh. Yes, I’m accepting it.) I used to read poetry. A lot of it actually. (But you already know that.) I came across the word ephemeral. I thought it was the most beautiful word I had ever seen. But when I searched it up, you know what the meaning was? “Lasting for a very short time”. Still, I wanted to say it means more than that: “Beautiful, and lasting for a very short time”.

And that’s what you are. Too beautiful for this world, and too fleeting. Ephemeral.

Goodbye, Jini. I promise we’ll get better — don’t worry about us.


3 thoughts on “Ephemeral

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