Dear papa,

Your father. Your brothers. Your uncles. Same faces. Similar voices. Their presence. Your absence. Tearing chaos. Overbearing silence. I don’t want to meet them. I want them all gone. Even for an hour, I can’t stand them.

You stare back from those faces. You speak in their voices. You are there, yet not there.

I don’t look at them when I talk. I can feel their faces shifting and forming those high cheekbones, prominent glaring eyeballs, matted teeth smiling, unbecoming them, becoming you. Those people, whom I don’t recognise anymore, they even breathe the same way. When those lips smile, they curve the same way. They say I look like you. No. I say they look like you. At least I can avoid facing the mirrors, how am I to avoid them?

For seventeen months, I have not walked those roads you last walked. I haven’t stepped at that doorstep, which was your last abode. I haven’t tasted what mangoes feel like. Are they still sweet with a hint of tangy? I look at your bank cards twice daily while paying for the bus, to and fro from work. The card’s got a picture of you. Perhaps, the bank was right in sending personalised photo cards; so that people don’t forget what lost ones look like.

It is not good to keep missing what we don’t have, they say. But what if what you don’t have any more was everything you ever wanted? What if what’s gone was what kept life moving without feeling depressed each day? What if that face you have been missing for seventeen months, and would keep missing for seventeen decades to come, is all, each and every one of your heart beats remind you of?

I don’t want to be the one fighting. I don’t want to accept the truth. I don’t want what I am forced to take. I don’t want to lose what’s mine from birth. I don’t want go on living like nothing happened. I don’t want to be the one crying when no one’s watching.

Forever,
Your daughter.