The sharp edge on your voice brings back the glowing face of my father talking about the descent of world with an bright animated hatred, his hands folding around the hilt of an absent necessary knife, as he ignored my own hands tearing away at the dictionary, gouging out some weak heart from another chest of mine. I wrote a song about his presence, his looming beautiful voice, about the ceilings of the world that bent down to touch his blessed head. “He will be soon gone”, I repeated that line again and again not knowing where to lead that feeling to. I repeated the same pathetic show to soothe his nerves, the same growing of small violent flowers in his ashtrays, as his drink swirled in the glass, as it all devoured him slowly, as I wrote again “soon he will be gone, and I’ll be left behind to take his place.”
i dreamt of you today. today i was a lost child digging through the mist with my fragile bleeding lonely fingers for the name of the one i love, the one i didn’t get to love enough. this name, seated in the golden shrine of autumns, was nothing like the name i remembered. the rust was eating away its mass, the reality was tinkering with its gravity. holding it now, felt very close to embracing an illusion. light and time pass right through it as if they are illuminating and revering something that never was. i am starting to forget, i realize.
the towers are open to the public now. the crowd can now crow and row and climb to the better views- a softer light, a smaller distant world, the illusions of gods growing on our own earthly skin. this radiance was supposed to mean something else, something more, something new though. but these deafening footsteps, this meaningless chatter, these houses now growing like shrooms, the clothes now drying on every step, the resurgence of life and the blooming bruise, the grass growing, the herds living and dying in the shade of the tower- they only make me cry. even in their most wretched moments they still remain things i can’t have. the singular monument of hope and its playground of chaos and me, the only child who doesn’t belong, looks up at the promised sky, feeling a new hollowness creeping. feeling myself break for the same old things in new ways.
You smile as you place the plates on table, as you serve meals made of fire in front of my body growing cold.
You smile as you drag your feet from the threshold of the door, as you run towards the world, as you swim back towards me. Knowing, always knowing that I also feel the weight of this water on us. So you smile a bit more and always rush to me to as if you are the lost child when you also know the muddled one is only me.
I feel your doubts soften in my embrace thinking of all that i have been and all that I ever could be, all that you will ever love and never need. And in my turn, I summon a smile thinking of what you are, of the gentleness of your soul, of this genuine heart. And just like our hands that are never still trying to mimic and catch up to the heart of the other, we are forever melting between these roles. And because it is so, because even this small me can save you with a smile. I can love you even when you get wounded in my hold. I can love you even with a guilty heart.
She stood still, her tiny shoulders and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen) moved gently with each breath. Each tiny breath like the wave that swept in, like her laughter used to be. She looks at me and asks if it is done. I nod. I meant to say “almost”. Just like I had meant to say “stop”, or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”. She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore. She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.
Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers, looks like a human being pulled apart beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect. But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird, just like how she called the ocean weird.
For her the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird, a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird, the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird, the days she walked to school with her friend and the days the sun went down as she slept over the struggles of homework were weird. She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.
“the ocean is so huge. as huge as, all the things i can’t have but once i had them. it is weird.
it is weird how this ocean is mine now, the breeze is mine along with the sky but i don’t want them.
you have memorized my shadow. you keep bringing me back to life but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself. as if you don’t believe in me .
sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other, it is our heart free of our bodies. sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here and the world where my head can rest in your lap still exists.”
You look at me and I look at you the way broken things look at the hands of an angry god, the way complete beings look down at things that can never be their equal.
You and me, we take turns, learning to feel pain, to give pain reaching for the light in each other’s eyes, making copies of each other’s memories and spilling the ink on the originals.
You and me – we are children left alone unsupervised with this steel instrument of love. We now know of the blood and bone within our skin, thanks to this blade. We now know how to keep distance when nothing keeps us apart.
When we lose our color, our teeth of milk and cruelty, when the blade loses its shine and looks like any other rust of this world, only then we know the pain of having walked past a life we could have had, the journeys we could have walked, the meaning we carried in ourselves for each other sake, the meaning we never looked up, never cared for.
The last stranger at the funeral home brought in the worst rain of the season, the coldest wind of the night along with your last letter. He leaned against the window and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today looking at me all the while. As if he knew every word that I was reading. Probably waiting to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did. His eyes look like the ones who have got used to crying for things that cannot be undone, for a life that cannot be. I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did. Maybe you knew. I hope you did. He sat beside me trying not to grieve more than a mother, trying not mourn like a lover, making himself invisible with every word i read under my tearful breath
“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here. even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind. i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”
It was like magic running the highlighter, the bright crayon over the sepia hands of her. She didn’t complain or cry as we ruined another photograph of hers, as we tried to hide the evidence of her failed love, our failing life.
We cut her out, moved her away from the one who looked like us. We placed her side of story, her half of heart in the albums. Albums that felt lighter now that the responsibility to remember only the good, its difficulty was no longer our business.
We shredded few faces of his, few others we drowned in ink. His face was the reason we couldn’t look at ourselves, the reasons of all the hurting words we learned so fast.
After we ruined everything for good we stared at each other, and saw the tears we should’t be having in us. This wasn’t how magic is supposed to feel. Why? Why was there no thrill, no relief in what we had done? Isn’t it our turn to be free from the one who left?
I planted the idea of a happy family, a happy tomorrow, into the eyes of my mother with breaking tips of my pencils against her granite eye lashes.
I told her the story about the boy who is ever so sad because his parents didn’t care enough, who weeps on his empty birthdays, who weeps into my heart. I tell her I am not so fine myself. Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly, cause she didn’t stop her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.
I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind. I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”
She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long, a bit too tenderly as if letting me know, telling me “Look, this is how I look when I am alive. Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”
And I stood there for a long time, slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t. I stood there for a long time, till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy as he held me, letting me cry into him for the hundredth time.
I drowned the flowers one by one. The poison of beauty now runs through the rivers on this land, they fill his backyard in every season of rain. A child with his smile drowns another boat of dreams, the flood is a field of paper, the flood is all that is left of me. She stares into me, waiting for a reflection to surface. She walks into me to see where I end.
She tells me about the boy she can’t love and the boy she can’t blame as I dissolve and submerge the red gates of her house, the garden of forgiveness, her school shoes, all roads to her friend who doesn’t smile back anymore, the spoons that remind her of hunger for farthest worlds and people.
She asks me how deep will be this pain of losing herself, how long she would have to smile through this hate. I flow into her heart, wondering, if there I could turn back to the flower I was, if the end of my hate could be the end of her pain. If I could be her answer of hope.