My friends often tell me I am a workaholic,
I superficially laugh, “Better than alcoholic”.
Almost instantly, I’m back at the metro station,
As the doors of the train close between us.
Helplessness and confusion, it was chaos in my mind,
When answers to a thousand questions I tried to find.

When across the snowy Charles Bridge we were walking,
You had me in three layers of wool, yet I was shivering.
I tightly clasped your hand, with no signs of letting go,
For even the coziest fireplace couldn’t have been as warm as you.
Then you turned to face me, holding my hand in your hand,
Lost in your eyes, the entire night slipped away like sand.

In muffled yes’s and hushed no’s through bookshelves you would converse,
As you gracefully explained to me the difference between poetry and verse.
We’d sit down, our backs against the library wall, with books on either side,
With coffee in hand, you’d read to me, tales of the oceans, lands and clouds.
I would turn the pages, and you narrated the lines like they were a song,
With your head rested on my collar, we’d forget we were there all day long.

On Sunday mornings, when I got off the bed, you’d fight for me and the blanket,
And then throw tantrums in the kitchen till I made you that potato croquette.
You’d sit over the kitchen counter, with a bowl of cereal in your hand,
We’d have cereal for breakfast, while I prepared the ingredients for lunch.
With pasta, garlic bread and noodles, a movie on Netflix we’d stream,
Lunch on Sundays was celebrated with our favorite ice-cream.

Slowly, Sundays were reserved to continue the squabbles of the week,
And the possibility of resolving our differences suddenly seemed bleak.
Forget the library, you wouldn’t tolerate me in a bookstore,
All because I asked why you did not like that genre anymore.
You stormed off the street, your anger sevenfold,
It was a warm summer evening, but I felt all the more cold.

“What did I do? What was my fault?” I asked as you got on the train.
You did not leave me with answers, only with insurmountable pain.
Research says alcohol cannot take away your pain or the memories,
But becoming engrossed in your work can surely distract you from them.
That is why, when my friends tell me I am a workaholic,
I superficially laugh, and tell them, “Better than alcoholic”.

Karthik K R

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