The Friend

by Avani Bagga

“It’ll be alright…” I told Tanya as we walked into the psychiatrist’s clinic. It had taken me weeks to convince her to seek help, and today was her first appointment.

Being nervous and scared was expected, but then, this was necessary for her.

She had been in the depths of hell for so long and it was time she got some help to deal with the demons that haunted her.

I didn’t speak or interrupt between the session. The doctor was really kind to her and seemed to really know what he was doing.

I thanked him on the way out, but he ignored me and just told Tanya to see him in week’s time.

“I feel better after speaking to him,” Tanya told me, “but I’m not happy about taking the medicines.”

“Nothing can harm you more than your anxiety at this point love,” I said to her. I really meant it.

I had seen the kind of severe panic attacks she got in the last few months since she found out that Ayush was cheating on her with her sister.

It was betrayal from two people she loved the most.

She then her quit her job, moved out of her house to a small apartment, cut her own hair, and started drinking compulsively.

During this time, I used to visit everyday and stay with her for hours. I didn’t have the heart to leave her alone.

One night, Tanya got scared and called me over. She admitted that she hated being alone in the house and asked me to move in. And I hadn’t left her since then.

I saw Tanya take her medicine and hoped for the best to happen. And after months of being an insomniac, she slept so well the night after the doctor’s appointment.

Tanya started visiting the doctor regularly, fixed her sleeping pattern and began eating at regular intervals. Even her drinking got controlled.

But as all of this happened, she became more and more distant. There were times when she didn’t even greet me on returning home. I told myself that she may be tired, but then it became a pattern.

After some time, I was certain that she was upset with me over something. But why wasn’t she ready to talk about it?

Or maybe she was just using me like a tissue paper and now that her life was getting back in order, it was the time to toss me aside.

Things kept on getting better for Tanya and our friendship kept deteriorating.

She didn’t even tell me when she got a new job. I knew only because I overheard her talk about it on the phone.

One day, I decided to go to her doctor’s appointment. I was deeply hurt by her behaviour and wanted to talk to her about it.

I had tried to do it at home too, but she never responded.

The only person she seemed to trust these days was her doctor. So I had no option but to seek his help to fix things.

It had been four months since we had first come here and things had changed so much since then, I thought as I waited for Tanya’s session to be over.

The doctor told her that he was very happy with her improvement and soon, she could even be off medication.

This was when I interrupted.

“Excuse me, Dr Mathur…I wanted to say something…”

But my voice drowned in their laughter before it could reach them.

They were laughing on what seemed like an internal joke – a joke about some imaginary friend that Tanya had.

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