What's happening in this big soup bowl of a world and why am I more afraid and alone than I've ever been before, and why, why do I pretend that I'm A-OK and everything is wonderful, perfect, and I don't care about people who are bleeding and dying. Why, while the rest of the world is drowning in tears, am I drowning in alcohol and moonlit nights under a velvet and silver-spangled sky like a trash and vaudeville show? My sister says it's stupid and she regards me as if I am somebody she does not know anymore, a girl who has stolen the body of Padma Patil and turned it into a shrunken, unrecognizable shell. I can tell that she barely knows if I am me or not, if I am the sister she had lain in lush green-carpeted gardens in India with, or if I am somebody new.
People are telling me that I look sick, and I know Parvati thinks so too. I could see it behind her eyes when she looked at me, really looked, the other day. I used to be pretty but now I'm bones, bones everywhere because why live on food when you can live on bourbon and shattered dreams? And now, when I wrap my arms around myself because there is nobody else who will, I can feel the cage of my ribs and the fluttering bird that is my heart, which is surprising because I thought it had broken long ago, dried up or flown away. I'm not going mad, no, I'm already gone. It's the worst sort of madness, of course, the sort nobody knows about because they all believe that I am still happy, sprightly Padma, the girl who cracks jokes and calls people "darling" because she loves, loves everyone, has given away all her love until there is none left for herself.
I want my old world back. I dream of India and a girl just like me with which to laugh, childish giggles spilling out onto a wide, creamy landscape of earth and sky, with mountains of flowers and pools of sparkling cerulean to just drown in, the way all sweet children drown in their dreams and their innocence. I dream of India, and wake with the scent of jasmine in my nostrils.