Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay 

The pleasant breeze, making the trees ruffle in the soft light of the sun that might set in a couple of hours, always makes me feel grateful for life. The sky gradually turning into a shade between pink and lilac—the exact colour of a T-shirt I've constantly been searching everywhere — makes me want to get dissolved in the eternity of it. The night sky does that for me even more. It, with clouds as if made by an uneven yet experienced paint brush dipped more in water than paint, and stars randomly scattered, though seem placed with extreme precision, and oh, the moon— the sheer beauty of it all! With such a long time of appreciating the magnificence of the sky and its inhabitants, I've naturally learnt to confide in them. After all, they don't spill my secrets, or judge me whatsoever; but they are awfully silent most of the time, I must admit. There are times though when the sky speaks to me. Obviously not aloud; I would have had me checked otherwise. Yes, it speaks, but it speaks... through me. Maybe I will get myself checked, but I'll finish writing this first. I don't know if others talk to (and get replied sometimes by) the skies, but how can I know if they do in fact— I barely talk to anyone else anymore. It's often now that I look at the stars and tell them I've been doing fine, and ask them how they have been. Again, the conversation is never aloud, so you cannot really tell that this person is going insane, or is talking to giant balls of fire that are not even there in actual but just the lethargic light reaching our eyes very very late.

And on one such fine night when the sky becomes compassionate enough to enquire about my being, it asked me if I was lonely. Hmm... Was I?

"I guess! Afterall I talk to you a lot," I replied with the same quiet, "but no! I still have my family and friends. Well, just one real friend actually, though it's not very often that we meet or talk… But I do have a loving family though."

"Right, yes, yes. A loving family," I listened to the sky say, "and one friend indeed, who has another life disconnected from yours and has other fun friends altogether. A good friend circle I see!"

"So what? I still trust her and we understand each other. It's true we don't talk as we used to back in school, but that is because we are in separate colleges and have an entirely different time table. Even so, we do know about each other's errands and the gist of what's happening in one another's life," I defended.

"Ah! The gist! True, true." That was a perfect agreement, why then was I enticed to support my argument more?

"Well, even if we do not count the friends at all, I still have an absolutely amazing family which supports me all the time," I reminded it silently, with an air of arrogance.

"Oh, that I am never denying, love! I did not say anything before as well." It was a teasing tone.

"Yes, but you did not seem convinced before."

"That I was not."

"Fine. I mean, I do lack friends, but not due to anyone else's fault! I have always made it evident that I like to be left alone."

"Yes, but being left alone is different than being lonely. I'm sure you never intended to be the latter."

"Well, how do you know I am?" I said rather indignantly. "That's what I'm telling you. I have absolutely loveable parents, a brother whom I do not hate, and the sweetest dog in the world. At a mere distance of 15 minutes I have my grandparents' house and awesome cousins who are no less than friends but only better. I do meet them often… I have uncles and aunts who hold me with the greatest esteem, not to mention they too love me dearly. Oh, all that, and I read too. I'm never out of books to read, or movies to watch. In fact, just my thoughts are enough to get me through hours on end."


"I have always been loved and taken care of, and I am willing to do anything for them in return. It's only fair that I want more than anything to make my family proud of me, and let them know that their love and care were not in vain. It's not surprising if you don't understand," said I, which seemed to be in one breath. It was probably the omission of a reply from the sky that annoyed me more than the question itself.

The sky said nothing again. Or maybe its voice was overpowered by the breeze. I let it caress me as if it were the only thing that could have soothed me at that time, not the sky. But soon the fear that I have offended the sky to a point that it too will never talk again started to vex me.

"I…" sounding obviously hesitant, I continued again, "well, it's just that they love me so much that it feels like treachery if I say I am lonely. Everything they've been doing for all the years of my life was to make me feel anything but lonely. And yet here I am, talking to you, or just myself I suspect. And there is no one else to blame, it's all me. I've constantly avoided any conversation that was unnecessary from the people who could have very well become my friends if I tried. But I rarely feel like holding on to anyone anymore.

You know I can talk to people for hours on any given topic if need be, however introverted I am. But I should not feel the need to, there has to be an urge. I find myself filtering words before I speak to anyone, and it's not the impurities that remain behind. If only there was someone I could have opened my mind to, because it has been overflowing for a long time… I do wish I had someone to understand me."

"Why, I thought you had me!" exclaimed the sky this time.

"Yes, you, of course. And I'm grateful to have the sky that only every single person in the world has."

"Everyone has me alright, but only few talk to me, and fewer even get a reply." It was steadily and plainly spoken.

"Yes, I'm sure of that. Sorry. I was rude. I have you, but you cannot hold me when I'm sad, can you? And I tell no one I'm sad but to you. I sing or lull when I am in good spirits, and even dance a little when exceptionally happy. But at other times, I'm silent. There is no way to tell if I'm miserable or just not happy. There's a world of difference between the two. I don't need anything in particular when I'm just not happy, but I need to be held when I'm depressed. Of course I do not reveal my melancholy fearing I'd worry someone, and there's almost never a real reason behind it, but I still need to be close to someone nevertheless. I want someone who understands I'm sad without me saying anything… But no, no, I'm already fortunate to have all the people I have, and I'm asking for more! I can't have everything… It's too much to ask for!"

"Too much? From everything I have ever seen, I gather it's nothing more than basic. But I do understand your spirits without you blurting out so much as an utterance, if I must remind you." A very slight desperation gleamed in the manner of this expression, which happened to be there for the first time ever— at least from the sky's side.

"But how often do you tell me that you are there for me?"

"Almost always!" The sky was obviously irked. "You happen to be too busy with your own thoughts to listen to me when you are down. You listen to me only when you are calm, and then I am no better than your own thoughts to humour you," it accused me brutally.

I don't like being talked to in that tone. "What are you being irritated about? It's not that you need me. You wouldn't change a bit if I were to die tomorrow."

"That's correct. Why must I anyway? You talk to me only when you need to." The casual rhythm of it made me want to pull my hair.

For some strange reason, all the friends that now barely talked to me flashed before my eyes, one after another. First with me, and then without. A quick realisation that nobody needs me to enjoy life hit me. And yet again, here was the sky explicitly telling me that not only it won't change if I stop existing but he doesn't even want to. Something hurt between my chest and abdomen with a sudden blow, and it must have been the blow that caused me to almost shout at the peak of my voice.

"Oh I can very well stop that! I know I will be just fine even without you. Have you not known me yet? You realise that I can learn to live without uttering a single word to the sky, WHICH IS A SANE THING TO DO! I know you're not real anyway, but it's I who choose to believe otherwise. My beliefs about certain things keep me going, even if I know they're not real, but that doesn't mean I can't strike a few of them out. Do you think… you think you can help me? YOU? Do you know how long it has been that I have felt beautiful? Can you do that for me? Can you make me feel admired the way I have done to you for as long as I can remember? How would you know, you epitome of beauty in all its form for the world?!" Only after I finished betraying my temper did I notice that tears blurred my visions.

Through the foggy eyes, I saw an ephemeral glow that I believe was a shooting star.

After what felt like an era of stillness, the sky managed to mumble "You are beautiful. I don't know any other way to make you believe in that. I wish I could."

I wasn't restored to glee, but it did calm me. I made sure I wasn't evident and resolved to speak no further. The clouds moved, and covered the crescent moon. This always has had a strange effect on my soul. It feels like cold still water on a burn. Not like ice that gives immediate relief but starts to hurt if not removed soon. Like water, so steadily soothing the burning sensation that you never want to part from it.

I knew I had to speak now, since the conversation seemed to be concluded. I wanted to talk more now that I was tranquil again. I tried to sound as kind as I could be after that sudden display of wrath.

"It would be nice if I could just know that I make someone's life better, someone who is not connected to me by blood. That is how I know I actually am important and not just for the sake of family ties. I mean, it need not be a romantic connection, although I'd prefer it that way, but it would feel great to be admired, won't it? You must know how brilliant it must feel to be the reason for peace, to be the focus of love, and the constant source of desires for someone…

You know how I jump at every little touch, even if it's my mother. Well, the reason is that it's been so long that I have been physically touched with affection that I have rather grown comfortable without it. I don't think it's too far ahead that I even start despising it. And maybe when I do, you will be enough for me. Everything I need."

"As much as I would rejoice on being enough for you, I don't wish that you start despising touch. No one must be reduced to that," the sky said, raising firmness with every word.

"It would not be too bad though. I'd no longer be desolated by my trifle desires."

"I'm not supposed to wish for anything, you know, but only if I were a human, I'd have never let you feel empty."

"Empty? No, I'm not empty for sure. How did you assume that?"

"How did I? You—"

"No! I told you there is something I want. But a gap doesn't make a thing empty altogether. A gap can be tolerated I'm sure. But neglecting every other thing that has filled the rest of the space will just be a willing submission to sorrow. I do want someone very much, but that want has not yet outshone my gratitude for all other things in life. Even if that gap is never filled, I'm confident that I'll cover it by adding up the small happiness that I gather so often. Even if I'll lose everything I cherish today, I think I'll find pleasant little things to keep the flame in me lit. When I play soft music while watching the birds flutter around, I'll be happy. When I'll observe the vegetables soften and the curry darken while cooking, I'll be happy. When the sun will shine after the rain and make the puddles sparkle, or when the moonlight will make shadow patterns of the window grills, I'll be amazed at all those things. I'll be happy at the sight of books, or by feeding a stray animal, or thinking about the memories I've made, or seeing humans help others on the rare occasions they do. I'll be happy, truly, when I'll see someone being loved the way I want to be loved. No doubt I'll feel a sharp pang of pain somewhere in my heart with every such happiness, but it'll all be worth it. And these all only if I were to lose everything, just imagine how much more joy awaits me every moment while I have it all. And above everything, I'll never not have you. You'll be there when my head is raised. You make me feel freer. I cannot feel more perplexed than I already am whenever I look at you. You make my mind serene. Do you call this empty? I definitely do not." I was sort of out of breath just by silently saying such a long sentence— I have a habit of talking in monosyllables when I'm speaking, you see.

Only after what appeared to have been a long period of astonishment, the sky finally expressed its confusion, "So that brings us back to square one. Are you lonely?"

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