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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited by Vrinda Rastogi

It’s been a while since I spoke to you. Really spoke to you. You are slipping from my hand, and I from yours, and I cannot stop it. Why can’t I stop it? Why can’t it stop? Make it stop. Please. Make it stop.

I’m 20. It is lonely here. It is full of colours and blinding lights and blurry nights and a fiercely new independence that I mostly don’t know what to do with. So much is changing, moving, growing. But am I?

I have to make decisions on my own, big ones. Even the small ones, they’re equally scary. Will this colour suit me today? Is this college a perfect fit for Masters? Should I have this salad for lunch? Would this new country be homely enough? I think I’ll stay in this Thursday night. I miss being sure. I miss you. You were my everyday. A routine. Consistency. But you moved, and I did too. We still speak, of course. But we are a shell of what we used to be. I know you have a class at 10.25 am on Tuesdays, I know you don’t do breakfasts. I saw on your story that you went to the fancy sushi restaurant downtown in your bustling, beautiful city. Your play was a huge hit, wasn’t it? What happened to your hourly updates about the embarrassing encounters in your college library and your disgust with frat parties? Tell me, darling, are you happy? Are you looking after yourself? Do you have someone to hold you when you’re crying at 11 pm because the work got too much? I hope it isn’t selfish of me to be bitter about that someone not being me. 

‘Such is life’, has become my go-to phrase now. Whether it is the smallest inconvenience or an earth-shattering shift, I continue to find solace in it. Yesterday I lost my earphones and it caused me more panic than my exam the next day. It was scary. I don’t know if it was worthy of a full-blown existential crisis But it was scary. Such is life. This dreamy boy I really liked – the one I have to still tell you about when you’re done with work and get free and I don’t fall asleep immediately after replying to your text because the day wears me out and I swear each time it has nothing to do with you– he broke my heart. I was numb for a month. Such is life. Yes, I did not tell you. Not because I don’t want to but because how do I tell you? Through the phone that bleeds the open wounds of your distance into me? Or the screen that will blind me when I see there are strangers that make you happy now? You sit on their beds and laze away your day, not mine? They get to hold you. I don’t. Or through the photos I have of six years ago? Where we sit starry-eyed staring into each other like it was the entire world, sufficient in itself.  As frozen as your memory in my heart. Such is life. That phrase has become everything I hold onto. Because that is what I do now. 

I am constantly on a hunt.

To find something to hold onto. 

Because I can’t hold you.

Not anymore.

Not right now. 

I’m 20. It’s the loneliest it has ever been. I don’t remember the face of you, but I remember how you felt on my eyes. Easy. I am slipping, from all my other friends, so far away from me too. They are diving into the Atlantic and living it up on their weekends. They get drunk on foreign streets and I can hear their talk change. They love strangers I don’t know. They are becoming strangers I don’t know. They are in a world, far away from me. They were my world. I still hear their laughter, but only an echo. I’m losing my mind, chasing it every time I stumble upon a shape-shift memory that looks like them from years ago. I still hear your laughter. You are only an echo. I’m losing my mind chasing you. 

I have a new home. I got a new family too. They’re just lovely. I love them. I am grateful for the mature, proper and wonderfully adult memories I am making with them. But there’s a wall in between, which we all are aware of. We are sure it exists, just too scared to acknowledge it. So no, love, they don’t come close. They don’t knock on it. It is easier to pretend it is not real. I love them, but from a safer distance than I did you. They’ve perfected the art of shoving their pasts up their ass to make a perfect gathering. They’re all doing a great job at pretending. But they haven’t seen my blood-stained shirts and the skeletons in my closet, they have not shaped me to be who I am. They have not given up their day to speak to me an entire night. They are not home. They could never be. They are not you. They could never be. 

I’m 20 and I am nothing. I have been plucked from my reality of nineteen years. I am supposed to be okay with it. My home, my city, my friends, my family, you. Were All Mine. They were taken away. You were taken away. Far away. I am left with only hollow. Defeated. I am supposed to start over. I don’t know how to. I am supposed to go to parties. I am supposed to get drunk and find a partner to fill this void. I am supposed to take it in my stride and not stumble. I am supposed to be strong. Invincible. But I am not. I am as soft as when you met me outside class when we were ten. I am not ready. I am still premature. How do I find belonging again? I thought we were only supposed to have one home. I had mine. You lived in it. It is withering. So am I. I am supposed to put myself out there so I build a new life. Because the ashes from the old one collect on my bedroom floor every morning. I have started brooming.

I’m 20 and a stranger to the mirror. And to you. And to what I belonged to. It’s barren here. And dry. But we made the best out of all the worst situations, didn’t we? If you were here we would have made sandcastles, but now you are quicksand. 

Such is life. 

Stuti Sharma

Ashoka '24

Stuti is a third year Psychology major and Creative Writing minor at Ashoka University. She loves writing and can be found impulse-buying jhumkas, unnecessary outfits and fridge magnets, and consuming the most absurd media ever. She is the token mom of the group surrounded by walking reminders of how short she is. She already loves you.