Of Phantom Voices

He was standing outside this beautiful monastery. A fresh water stream flowed by his feet down to the valley. He was on top, literally, on top of a hill. He preferred mountains but he could adapt, make do with whatever life threw at him. He couldn’t make lemonade but he could be okay with things going sour.

Suddenly, he heard an echo crying out loud to him, “Leo, are you there?”

He didn’t bother to look. It was a woman’s voice. He was used to it by now. He hardly ever paid attention when he was called.

It wasn’t because he was arrogant, but simply because he was used to being called out to at random times of the day or the night. He had learnt to ignore it.

It first began two years ago, when he met her. Mariam felt pure just like her name. She had a different outlook to the world. He hadn’t cared about the technicalities, the backgrounds or any thing you would consider – he hadn’t cared that she was battered, damaged perhaps to the point of no return, but he did begin to care when the damage spilled on to him.

When you don’t heal your wounds, you bleed on those you shouldn’t. Perhaps, that’s what Mariam had done and didn’t realize. He longed for her when she wasn’t around. But, when she tried to reach him, he loathed her as if a monstrosity you couldn’t wait to get rid of.

He couldn’t understand how his behavior changed towards her overnight. She kept on getting anxious and more frantic day after day, while he began pulling away from her. Perhaps, you could find an explanation of all this if you looked up supposed ‘Love Gurus’ on YouTube. He knew because he did try.

But what explanation would serve the anomaly that he had been experiencing for the past two years now?

The voice kept calling out to him. He knew it was HER voice. Mariam kept calling out to him incessantly or maybe he was becoming delusional. Maybe, he had gone ‘Nuts’. Maybe, he always had this inside him, maybe it was waiting for the trigger to manifest. Whatever it was, but he needed it to stop.

The medication didn’t help, the meditation made it worse – he didn’t understand how two months could rule over two years – how they could disrupt your life to the point of no return?

He had gone over and over it to figure out why was he going crazy? Was he in ‘love’ with her? Is that why he ended up sabotaging it? There was no point to keep overthinking or going in loop over and over. He knew better, like many things, he had already been there, done that.

He thought maybe he could jump off the hill and end this for once and for all. His square frame would look quite a sight as it collided with centuries old patterns of rock on his way down. How wonderful would it look?

The only thing that helped was Mary Jane. Mary Jane had been calming him down when Miriam’s voice began incessantly calling out to him. The longing in his heart defied all his hate for her.

He had no reason to hate her; only reasons to love her. He never hated her incoherence; he felt sorry for it. He felt helpless because there was no way he could bring her back from what she had fallen into. Maybe, that’s why these delusions began. And, that’s when he started hating her with ferocious intensity day after day.

He hated her for breaking him. He hated her for changing his life forever. He regretted the moment he ever met her. Yet, he still loved every minute of those spectacular three weeks.

He was a contradiction, an irrational, incoherent mess of a human being, his atheism had washed away along with his life before he met her. He knew no way out.

The voice called out again, “I miss you Leo.” This time he did look back.

There was no one.

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