Posted on: February 11, 2016 Posted by: Zainab Mubashir Comments: 1

Psst, hey. Hey, you.

Yes, you right there.

Oh, there’s no need to act all coy now. You know what I’m here to talk about. It is, after all, that time of the year once again.

It’s really a pity, though, isn’t it? To be so early into a year full of ~fresh beginnings~ and to already be crushed under the weight of unfulfilled desires and unrequited emotions – the tragedy of it all makes you want to track down Paulo Coelho himself and demand repercussions for that one quote about the universe and all its conspiracies.

Where are you now, universe? Are you not seeing this? Are you not witnessing these young hearts throbbing with the need to love and be loved? Are you not watching a million budding hopes being crushed every passing second as someone scrolls past an ignored friend request, and another strolls past an ignored wave of the hand? The cruelty is reprehensible, truly. Shameful, indeed.

It’s not like you ever asked for much in life, right? After all this scramble over inconveniences like “a good education” and “responsibilities” and other nonsense, the least you deserve is just one ounce of love in your pitiable life.  In all of your miserable existence, the one thing you have truly desired is to be able to look someone in the eyes and see them reflect a burning desire so passionate that it would even put Taher Shah to shame.

And yet here you are, reading this article as another February rolls by with a wave that is almost as condescending as the look that one instructor gives you every time you raise your hand to ask a question. And so you seethe with frustration and grit your teeth as you witness the young love birds around you exchange sweet nothings on a day that is nothing more than a label with the sole purpose of mocking your sorry, lonesome existence.

So what should I do, you ask? Well, you could sigh and stare into the distance while contemplating the purpose of life in all its painful, nuanced glory, or curse while perhaps penning down a venomous article under the guise of self-deprecating satire. You might even vow to cut off all contact with your poor, love-struck fellows, and set fire to every piece of red attire in your wardrobe. Hell, you could even throw out the television set that continues to blare out nauseatingly sappy advertisements for that chocolate brand you hate, and perhaps delete all your social media accounts too for good measure. These all seem like promising prospects of serenity, and you are halfway through donning yourself in all-black and smearing thick eyeliner around your dull, lifeless eyes – but you hesitate.

You do, after all, have a heart. A heart wrought with searing pain, but a heart nonetheless.

Embracing the defeatist within you, you take heavy steps towards your room and settle down for a much needed session of self-humiliation. And so you cocoon yourself in your blankets, bite down on a bar of that chocolate you hate oh so much, and try to dilute the bitterness in your mouth and your life.

Finally, you turn on your laptop, and you allow yourself happiness in the happiness of those onscreen.

“It’s a social construct,” you say as their eyes carry out a conversation you can’t quite hear.

“It’s a bourgeoisie conspiracy,” you whisper as electricity jolts though their bodies at the brushing of a stray finger.

“It’s the manipulation of desire,” you sigh as you witness rain washing down a lover’s face.

“It’s the capitalist agenda,” you mouth as he tears through airport security to signify the strength of his affections.

“It’s.. It’s – ”

Oh, what the hell.

The next few hours breeze you through tales of love and loss and beauty, and you stare with wide-eyed wonder at the kind of love that repels and attracts you simultaneously. With your conscience and your feminist sensibilities forcibly put on hold, you witness damsels being put out of distress, and sigh at morally questionable expressions of romance, and squeal when senpai finally notices the love of his life, and cry when it all ends in a – gasp! – happily ever after.

As you blow your nose and pretend to concentrate on removing that little something in your eye, you allow yourself a moment of shame and self-loathing.

The aftermath of these acts of impulse, however, is laden with little regret, and you pat yourself on the back for surviving through it all.

“The course of true love never did run smooth”, you dramatically whisper at your reflection with barely concealed contentment, and press play on that one Taylor Swift song about young love. Then you clear your throat, warily eye the young-adult novel sitting at your bedside table, and quietly congratulate yourself on having spent a Happy-ish Valentine’s Day.

Zainab Mubashir

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