It clings to her like tar.

She heads for the refrigerator and picks out a cube of ice rubbing it feverishly over her face, trying to erase its traces.

She peers at her flushed cheeks in the mirror, her eyes red from crying, ringed by deep dark circles.

A dead giveaway.

Every day, every moment she struggles with the blackness.

It greys off in fits and starts. 
But it lurks. Always. 
Threatening to come back the moment she slackens.
Keeping her on edge. Always.

The days aren’t bad, she reflects. It’s the nights and the mornings she dreads. That vulnerable moment when her eyes droop from exhaustion, when her guard is lowered, right before sleep claims her. Or when she opens her eyes in the morning, still trying to find her bearing.

It hits her then. The blackness. Thick and viscous.
Overwhelming her, obscuring reality, making her sit up clutching her aching chest, gasping for air, dispersing every single shred of sleep.

She turns up at work, dark-eyed and hungover.

What happened to you? Her colleagues ask.

She doesn’t know what to say. Nothing ‘happened’. It is a word, an image, a thought, perhaps. That turns into a cascade. And the blackness descends, unexplained, unwelcome. Drowning her.
It is nothing. It is everything.

Moody, her colleagues call her. Unstable.

Shake it off, some of them say. Toughen up.

But how? She wants to ask. How?
Even as the darkness returns.

She snaps back to reality, glancing nervously at her phone, willing it to not ring, knowing it will.

And it does. Her cab is here.

She drops the ice cube in the sink, gives her reflection another glance. This’ll have to do. For now.

She pastes a tremulous smile on her face and heads out.


One day

One day she will look out of her window and see the sun. Perhaps it will be a good day. Perhaps the sun will keep shining. Perhaps she will find it in herself to banish the darkness. One day at a time, the therapist said.

And then someday, once and for all.


4 Replies to “Tar”

  1. Oh my goodness!! TULIKA, where have you been hiding this fiction writer Tulika?? This shook me to my core. You have described depression perfectly, her feelings, the workings of her mind, and her troubled heart…all of it is just perfect. And in so less words! Lady, you need to write fiction more often, please. And, if you have been writing and being secretive, then you need to start sharing it with us, already! I want to read more of fiction from you! <3

    1. Thanks Shilpa :-). Haven’t been hiding, just that writing about dark themes is way out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t make me feel good but I wanted to try my hand at it.
      I couldn’t help but put in that post script kind of thing to end it on a sort of positive note though a part of me knows that was completely unnecessary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge