Snippet | ‘Watch Me’

“Wait! Stop!”

“For God’s sake! Stop already!”

“Are you deaf?” He asks me once he catches up to me. Akshay forcibly pulls me to face him. He knows that I would just ignore him otherwise. He is panting because he seems to have been running. That doesn’t make any sense. He’s a runner. He should be comfortable with a little sprint. Not be so out of breath… like how I am when I try to jog.

God, I can’t even do that!

Stop the inner monologue, will ya?” He comments when I still don’t respond. He holds me in place with both hands grabbing my arms. I don’t want to bother fighting to get the hands off. I don’t want to bother, period.

I just want to stop.

“That bad, huh?” He comments. Even smiling is too much effort. I drop it halfway. “What happened to calling me?”

“Sorry.” I finally speak up. “Didn’t wanna bother you.” And that’s true. I can’t depend on others to drop things. Not for me. “Just went out for fresh air.”

“In zombie mode? Yeah, great idea, dumbo. You would even walk in front of an oncoming car in this mode.” He slaps me on the back of my head. A small irritation bubbles within. But it isn’t worth anything. “Thank goodness, you are in the park.”

Then, he pauses to look at me. After that, he continues. “You need help bud. This… This isn’t safe.” I want to say that it is. That I did control myself from walking out the exits. But it would take too much effort. So I just shrug while looking away. “Look at me.” He speaks up.

I squirm a little under his gaze, knowing I won’t be able to hide. But he won’t give up. So I give him what he asks. And wince as he swears at what he sees. “That’s it. You need to get over whatever your mind has come up to stop you. You need help for your depression.”

It is a more noticeable wince this time at that word. “Forget what others will say. It isn’t they who are being affected by it?”

“I can handle this.” I mumble, knowing that it is a lie. Then I continue with my explanation. “Others do. If they can, why can’t I?”

Just leave already.

“Because everyone’s different.” He speaks in a soothing voice, trying to approach me as if I am an injured animal. Maybe I am. “There’s no shame in asking for help. You just have to accept that.”

At that, I let all the anger out. It isn’t much but it does emphasize the word I want to. “NO! I have fought my battles alone and I can fight them now too.” Letting all my weariness out, I add, “Please drop this now.”

“You can’t be serious. Don’t risk everything for a hunch.”

I am unable to resist marking the final two words with all the strength and conviction I feel in this moment.

“Watch me.”

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