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.
She climbed the stairs never pausing for a second. I knew what a second of thought could do. How it could pull back her steps and let out her screams. I knew this is something she didn’t need.
She climbed the stairs and walked towards me. Beside me, not exactly near, steps away perhaps she stood. And that was enough for me.
Enough for me to not know of loneliness. Enough for me to not feel fear what all I could never be. She stood where I could grow if I chose to, where I could happily fall apart and she would never leave.
But I also knew that meaning of this distance which she hoped I didn’t see. Being her mirror, as I looked at her from this distance, I realized this carefully measured out space- how beautiful and perfect and safe it was. She always stood far enough so her heart wouldn’t rely on me to beat.
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.
It is time that I try hard to get my heart broken and pretend that it is happening for the first time,
to claim that I trusted blindly knowing it is not something I am capable of,
to fit my body awkwardly in the kind of life that people call ‘life’
to find words, to practice the new lingo that can make something about me relatable, so that my skin soaked in a tiring tale of sadness doesn’t make me an alien,
to fill me up again with pictures of parks, cafes, malls, and roads filled with people who supposedly like each other, if not a lot, then at least enough to not let their ailing self ruin the perfect moment, the perfect teamwork, the perfect promise. (Perfection that relies on someone else doesn’t sit well with me.)
It is time I find something new that I cannot be or cannot have before I lock myself up again for next hundred heart years.
So while I am out to find something to write about and hurt about miss me my cell, pray for me. I am afraid that once I am surrounded by all that I have learned not to want, I might start to hope again. I might slip again. I might forget to see the distance that I carry in me and get disappointed by the doors that I can’t reach.
I am happy. Almost. I leave my bed to sit beside the window that looks over the road. I stare at everything that lives and dies beside me. I will my brain to think of a rhyme that I can gift this world. I feel that my love for this ocean of people far exceeds my loathing. I am almost happy to be alive. Though almost is a big word, a painful word. It is is still smaller than the distance I have covered so far, it is negligible to everything that has ever stood in my way. ‘Almost’ is something I can overlook, as long as I have something to look forward to. I cannot give up on this world even when I should.
Every time I held your hand, I felt it. Your blood, your voice, your mind taking a step back, a silent declaration, “I can only love you this much”.
I stood on the lines I am not meant to cross. I shifted uncomfortably from one leg to another, afraid what my next step could do to your heart. Wondering how much of this distance is due to my insignificance? How much of its reason roots in your fears?
I hope I knew how to fix things that are not broken. I wish I knew how to erase and redraw our painfully distant orbits.
Ages ago, I did a course of 48 hours on saving people (as if saving was that easy). There were lots of questions, none that I could answer truthfully. I sat through confessions, lot of confessions. I sat there distancing myself from everything I had the potential to be- the one who clutched her handkerchief too tight, the one whose gaze seems like a hammer, itching to crush and break. And like the pathetic person I am, I only thought “Where should I run to now?”
I would return to a sad room to sleep (thank god it was never to be my home), I would wake up and find myself staring at slideshows that I tried hard not to see or find myself cooking up stories of life that won’t put me on that stage, won’t sound like a cry.
“Is this how this saving business would continue to be?”, I wondered as I left those 48 hours behind. “Is this all I can do?”, I asked myself as I finally wept for hours.