Substitution and Elimination

by Asma.

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And once again they were laughing. She regretted the moment she broke into a chortle but it was no use now. She was with them from dawn to dusk, working here, aiding there. She could not help but ignore the growing intimacy. After all how could anybody blame her? She was apprehensive about the idea in the start but then she succeeded in drowning her instinct. She had taken the wrong turn for the sake of killing time. She came to know this soon enough but the damage had been done. For one, she might’ve messed with the wrong nerves and secondly, an adventure of the sort may cost her much more than the change she craved. She could try breaking those bonds of friendship, ones she had so carelessly yet deliberately built. It would take courage and indifference on her part. A lot more this time. Breaking away from this lot won’t be much of a hassle, for indifference was her alter-ego. A reassuring smile crept across her lips washing away all anxiety. ‘In due time’, she heard herself say. ‘In due time’.

It was her way of socializing. Always had been. Sometimes, even she marvelled at how easily it came to her – the skill. Making people stop and then moving on herself, as if it didn’t matter. It didn’t, not to her at least. She would let them in, all sorts and ages. Friends – that was how she introduced them to her own self. Then after some while, as swiftly as they had entered, she would move out in search of something new, something better. Like a child who loses interest after playing with the same toys. The killing mundanity.

But nobody complained. Maybe it was the feigned sincerity with which she depreciated her own self, her humble accusations of being selfish, of being aloof to other’s needs and demands. It was this demeanour of her that bewitched people into thinking she was just being hard on herself and that she wasn’t a monster – a bitter loner, she claimed to be. Or maybe because nobody cared either…Life is a search. You waste your time looking for people – both friends and partners,who idealise the things you do and then getting along perfectly. But the world isn’t a perfect place dear, they added. You’ll have to make compromises all the way. She wanted to tell them how flexible she was but didn’t bother. Compromise was but another shade of indifference. She had no problem with it. It was the monotony of having the same people around that drove her insane. So she sought a solution – a math logic, one that could be applied on people. A harmless game she loved to play – of substitution and elimination.

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