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Romanticizing the Un-romantic

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Edited by Shloka Sankar

Chapter 1: False Mania

“You don’t want to miss out on this.”

Meg’s expectant look is weighing down on her. When she breaks into a small smile in assent, Meg grins widely and walks away, talking animatedly on the phone.

She has been sucked into the glitz of another rave. Glistening bodies roll in crimson lighting. Vodka shots bleed into evanescent euphoria. Music rages like a storm of abstract shapes and impossible, glittery hues. 

A numbing silence settles in her mind. Loneliness hangs in the air just like cigarette smoke, as tiredness gnaws at her bones. This can’t be bliss.

This is an experience. This should be happiness.

She downs another shot, feeling her chest burn.

“I can’t miss out on this.”

Chapter 2: The Tinderbox

The night’s too windy for dining outdoors. But here they are, huddled around the table, ten different stories tangling amidst them. Classroom hook-ups, petty professors, and the occasional drunken antics. Someone laughs out loud. Her gaze follows the noise.

Her friends’ faces are lit up. They all look happy.

Just like a pack. She thinks. They perfectly complement each other.

Where do I fit in all of this?

The conversations are arid. The lack of substance is exhausting. The laughter makes her throat run dry. But this is her friend group. She needs to enjoy her time.

Trapped in a tinderbox. There’s no space for regret.  

Chapter 3: Re-invention in Town

Sriya smiles at her.

“You need to romanticize what you have, what you want. Not what you fear you’ll miss out on,”

Sunshine Sriya. That’s what she always called her. Ever since they met as twelve-year-olds obsessed with Barbies and singing. And it could be the glitchy, distorted pixels of the video call. But Sriya seems to glow from within, as she looks through the screen with kind eyes.

She hasn’t heard from her college friends over the summer. The absence that had felt tragically neutral, faded into sadness. Then relief had rained down upon her. And yet, some kind of fury still remains. She doesn’t know who to blame.

She had been longing for a change in season. A change in perspective. And it only took a phone call to remember, to realize.

She is happier. With old friends and some new, from dreams of diamond castles to online “appointment” dates, they’re growing and changing, for evermore. She has the kind of friendships you see in movies. The kind songs are made of.

She looks at Sriya and beams, “Romanticize the un-romantic then?”

“Who’s to say what’s un-romantic?”

Chapter 4: The Cascade

Poppy narrows her eyes at her, “You sure you don’t want to go to the karaoke event?”

“Nope. I’m having a pretty good time here.”

They’re lying on the empty sidelines of the football field. The wind is crisp on her face, reminiscent of the wild, pollen-infested air from back home. People are singing in the amphitheatre. The music is comfortingly blurred. The cicadas are singing too; a rhythmic, soothing static. She avidly commits every noise to memory.

Poppy smiles, turning to look up at the stars.

“Which TS song do you think best suits Wilhelm and Simon?”

“Hmm… “Snow on the Beach”. Unexpected love.”

“I think “peace” works better.”

Definitely. Peace is a rarity.

But the grass is brushing against her cheeks in a ghostly caress. The wind is ruffling her hair. Poppy’s eyes are bright as she gushes about the frowny-faced setter on her team.

Their conversations flow like gentle cascades. She feels free.

Chapter 5: A Lilac Dusk

“It’s very high school anime-ish. A chance meeting, sparks flying, one-sided pining, misunderstandings… Jealousy?”

“As if animes are nothing but an exaggeration of the human condition,” Pari drawls, giving her a pointed look. His eyes are alight with mirth.

She met Liana on moving day. A pretty girl. Her fair face was framed by long, dark curls. Her eyes were warm. Her voice had a mellow tone. They connected in a breath. Finding comfort and empathy in similar familial experiences, music, and loneliness.

“You know when Taylor sings ‘I’m highly suspicious that everyone who sees who wants you’… I relate to that.”

Poppy rolls her eyes, “Nice, you guys should bone now.”

She hears Pari snort and turns to glare at him. He simply shrugs.

“What? You’re a full-fledged protagonist now. You even have a love interest!”

Chapter 6: Reins

She had a dream once. Or a reality so surreal, it could only be a dream. She was sitting by a window, gazing, unblinking at a lilac dusk. The air had a palpable sheen and autumn-hued foliage painted the ground. She remembers thinking, if love is so colourful, she would die to become a canvas.

But the sky is blue on most days.

It’s morning now. The clock reads 6:07. She is sitting in the empty university library, writing the final paper for her literary theory class. It’s a tad bit colder than usual. The colouring of the walls is cool and drab. It’s quiet except for the incessant tapping of keys.

But as she looks out the window at the clear, light blue sky… she feels alive.

After all, who’s to say that blue skies aren’t romantic?

Shruti is a second-year student at Ashoka University pursuing an English major and an Economics minor with a concentration in Existential Crisis. She loves poetry, story-telling and spends a questionable amount of time devising plots inspired by her latest dream. She is a big fan of chicken sandwiches (or anything spicy!) and romanticizing life.