I guess now I am the cruel one- the one people fear to love. This scenario was meant to be sad, but it isn’t somehow. (Why do the worst cases taste so bland to me when finally they arrive?) I guess it makes me relieved, if not happy, to feel loneliness more often than feeling distance. No one knocks at my door, and I can’t help but smile knowing it also means no would leave me. No one would leave me in love, leave me in pieces, leave me hating myself again. (Why do my hopes sound like running away even if I am facing life in every way I can, the only way I am allowed to, the only way forward that doesn’t require sacrificing myself again?)
“Does rust affect plastic dreams?” I ask my teacher in my sleep. She takes out an axe and starts cutting down the first mouth filled with wrong answers. Two rows away she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves, she takes another deep breath before she checks the attendance sheet and finds the next dream to kill.
She tells me I should think more and ask more and ask the questions that help me live. She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores and gives me another chance. She says only if I would try to be better than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her. I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck, the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.
“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms? Are those my telling signs? Does that mean I don’t have to worry, that I am just someone next in line? What about you? Do you rust like me? Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart make me worth protecting, make me deserving of kinder words?
She told me “It will not get you respect or equality, if that’s what you are looking for. It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time but it is just a matter of time before you see the end that only you can write. And you would end up writing it cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours than any love that you find by compromise.”
As she walks past me, smiling lovingly, as she spares my life, that now she owns. As she dissolves my only way back, I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts were more hopeful than an answer like this that promises pain to everyone else but me.
The sun and the sorrow were in my eyes. I couldn’t see your face as you bent down and carefully separated your words of love from the pieces of me.
When I am in sorrow I try to imagine what you could have looked like as you carefully took back everything of yours. I imagine an ugly indifference, sometimes I imagine a tear. I don’t know what to do with this “not knowing.”
But in these painful retellings I feel relieved at this uncertainty that sometimes lets me remember you as the part of me that I couldn’t help but love even in my breaking. But I also feel relieved at the ease with which I can draw that cruel expression on your face which won’t let me stay in love with you any longer than this.
There is a kind of happiness that eludes me, a kind of fear that grips me in my sleep, a kiss that makes me fear losing everything I shouldn’t treasure. A person who kills me every second by loving me, by giving up his hollow self to my hungry mouth. A person whose sadness, only sadness is mine. A person who has loved too much, been hurt too much, who now substitutes pity, anger, jealousy, and need in place of true love (what is true love anyway?). I remain awake trying to make this equation work (what is true love anyway?). I weigh my heart against yours and I realize what a waning moon feels like. I collect such new feelings without blaming you (what is true love anyway?). All my treasures are feelings I would accept only by your hands, however cruel and hurtful they may be.
In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks, in the nest of sleeping explosives, again it is you. Again you are here to prove something by doing something unasked for.
You build a place for warm tea, for all our shivering ghosts to haunt. You place the chairs that are not chairs but buckets that cannot hold anything now. There are chairs that are lying around just fine but you don’t want them. You don’t want the old purposes eating away the beauty of all that is left behind.
You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was. You ask us questions with your bleeding lips you want us to answer with something real, not just words. “You are cruel”, you laugh when we say that. You make us leave everything we are just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets thinking about the hands we cannot hold, thinking about hands that are no longer hands.
“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now. “Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed, the lost and the dead that still have your heart. Take your time.”
As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief, as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep, you stand beside the fire that keeps us alive. You stand beside the fire that is not actually fire but your heart that burns like sun.
We wanted to tell you, “You are kind. You are too beautiful for this world. Have our heart and burn it instead.” But we couldn’t . We knew these things were easy only in words, that these were things we couldn’t do, yet. That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips, helping while being hated. That we were too selfish to be you.
My grief has my face. My grief has only questions in her eyes- questions that require me to cry and accept the cruel face of the love I have got. My grief instead gets my silent embrace, my refusal to choose better, for her sake or mine. My grief has my face and my heart that only knows defeat and only in defeat has found comfort of love that cannot live in me.
She just laughed and said “you are not really intelligent, you know that right?” as she packed her bag, making space for her only notebook, with difficulty. I wonder if she really needs all those the things. She is not a careful person, I know that because her list of priorities is horizontal- everything is important, everything is equally dispensable. I hear a song breaking at the bottom of her lungs, when she talks of the new thing that she will love forever when I know she won’t.
She lets me know for my own good “geniuses are not made by effort, love doesn’t happen by hard work, quit swimming and struggling when you are on land.” She takes me by hand, teaching me how to walk, teaching me her pace. Her pace unsettles me. She gives cruel names to my innocent actions as she smiles. She smiles at me while I wait for my forever to end. And only because I hate myself for not wanting to love her sometimes I smile back.
I wonder how far my determination can take us. As she finally boards the train home, after missing out on a few, she says “stop struggling, when i am with you, i know your heart, even when you don’t. it hurts to see you like this, things will eventually fall in their place.” I wonder if she is pushing herself, within the limits of who she is, to save something of us, to save something of me. I wonder how she can love me, if she knows how petty my heart is. And because I do not know the answers to her, I wait for us to fall into the places. I think of her and find it easier, this wait.
With my back to the my cold family name the metallic alphabets printing hard on my clothes, I stand with my feet half out of my pretty shoes – with my painted nails still hidden in the skin of another animal, my hands revolving the beautiful replica of Saturn around the plastic heart on my elaborate key chain- a stage of its own. I stand and wait for you to open your door on the floor above. I hear a faint click, a phone ring, footsteps running away from the world (why do I feel such sadness when I hear that?), a door left open (to everyone but me) I sit in the middle of my living room floor staring up, at the underside- the creeping mold of the stage where I played your lover, your nemesis. It is cruel and incomprehensible that we can still live, take calls, make jokes, eat, and still have the want to live. After hurting ourselves and the world for the sake of love, after all that, is this is it? When you find your room, your world without me which direction does your heart turn towards? Do forget from time to time that we are supposed to forget each other? When I find my loneliness becoming greater than me, when it starts spilling out of me on dinner table, when it makes me lose my mind, am I allowed to let go of you? Is this what this distance, this decision means? I hear your window open, I hear your excited voice (why do I feel color of anger filling me again?). I wonder if you have really found your new life or is this an act you have put for my benefit? Your kindness could only be in my head, as was your love. TV drowns your voice again and I thank all the accidents, all the things out of my control, everything that moves us away from each other. Otherwise, I never could.