“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood. All its season are holograms of perfect world, the illusions of rain and snow and sun, the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin. The technician of this a weary magic lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart. He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see. He invents new people, new details. Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost in his war against me, all that I intend to forget. Sometime they are what I failed to realize, people I didn’t get to love. Most days I can’t tell the difference between the words I have forgotten and the ones I will never hear again. This town has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean stuck on its wall. There cars and houses and roads and rivers owned by people who will never die. They all gather on my birthday in the cemetery of one grave. They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets, with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep and look into the eyes that will never look at me. They smile knowing something I will never know.
On the broken lines of bold white, on the burning roads far away from home I knelt down in the heap of my skirt made of fairy dust and disappointments of all kinds.
I found a pretty crack with space enough to be something of its own and with a style that you’d agree with. With my fingertips already crying red I wrote you name in the best writing I could.
Your name that couldn’t fit beside mine, or the scorecards with better marks, or a business card that was not a part of scam, or with a number that could for once be reached, or the nameplate that you kept losing in the sleepy playgrounds of our eyes.
We missed you.
We missed you. in the conversations where we thought only of you and yet couldn’t speak of you. We thought of you always with an ache, always with a heart that wanted more of you while wanting to forget the little that we had.
I wrote your name and ran my fingers over them again. A kid knelt down beside me offering me a smile as he took in a pain he couldn’t understand. Today, of all days, I was not allowed to smile.
I walked away wondering if he knew you, if he now lives in your name, if he knows someone who wrote like me, who wrote words that will fit nowhere but here. Your name could be anybody else’s. You could have lived like everyone else and yet…
As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.
Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.
But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.
And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.
It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)
Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.
I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.
Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.
She makes circles on the back of my hand. She writes “love” again and again on my skin so that I don’t forget her. She writes “love” again and again with her fingers so that she may not forget I am still not lost to her. That I can be different as long as she sees me for me and she lets me see an unaltered part of her once in a while. Few more alphabets follow of my name and hers and all the names we wish we could forget just the way we are forgetting to love even when that is the only thing we want to remember. I tap my fingers on the steering wheel to a song that plays only in the past, wondering why I learned these words that only give me pain, give her pain, give us only half of each other while we are missing more pieces than we were made of, why my losses are more than my being, why we have to stop here, by this cliff, every evening waiting for our ghosts to take a step back, to look back at us and see the happy ending waiting for them, why we are invisible to our ghosts who only speak of names and futures that we have grown to hate?
She told me I feel like frozen tulips and I do not know what she meant by that. She never talks of flowers or future or what I might be in this world by myself or by her side. So we pretend such words were never said. We pretend that the meaning we give to each other’s words are true and real and the only meaning we need.
I regret to tell you this that the blue sky that you died for is not longer blue. It is painting its face with remains of our greed, with the colors of our wars. But it is still sort of fair. It is trying hard not to choose sides, not to become the flags that unites only those whose favorite words are ‘future’, ‘safety’,’money’, ‘greatness’, while they clutch in their hands the fate of people they don’t identify with- ‘burden’ they call them. ‘Fear’ is another favorite word of theirs. They don’t speak much of it, but it is most useful or at least that’s what I have heard from the ones we are no longer allowed to call out or even mock. I have lost every bit of my passive aggressiveness. Life has become more bearable now that my skin is not broken for making too much noise, now that we have learnt to hold each other’s tongue so that we may not lose more friends than we already have. I regret to tell you that your dreams will remains dreams and you might be one of the last to know how dreams felt in your eyes, how tomorrow used to change by effort.
i can’t…i just can’t bring myself to remove all the ellipsis…that i leave behind in my sentences. i know they look shabby… as if i don’t know how to create proper sentences…as if i have never heard of a comma. i am told it is something similar to ending and pausing sentences with “you know”.
“so juvenile”…my friend had commented. i remember saying the same words to my friends as well (but i don’t think my tone was the same, but i could be mistaken…or self righteous)…so it seems i am not allowed to take it to heart. i am supposed to erase the ellipsis…till they smile again and lie that “i will do better”…or that “it’s time i grow up”…or “gotta become a real poet”.
it seems it is okay to store my ellipses in my mind to place it on an empty sky, on the face of my teacher sprinkled with a hatred that i can’t understand, on the hands that never reach out to me in daylight, on the future i can’t seem to dream about, on every minute that i walk alone on the streets where i thought i would never have to be alone, on the days when i know the answer but won’t speak up for the fear of being right. i don’t know how to live a life where what i think has importance or the acceptance of others. need to find a better home for my pauses than pages that are mine but only with conditions.
years from now i hope my living room has a space for a lovely piano. i hope my fingers would play something beautiful on it. that here i would smile and not know of the passing time. that i would learn to love my walls as much as the world that stands on the other side. as my child misses me, cries for me, tries to keep me alive when i am not, i hope she feels this music she can’t hear, i hope she sees the future i couldn’t finish living, i hope she knows that my warmth is more than my skin and my blood running under it.
I row my heart to the moon you drew, the one you colored in green ignoring every reality, for which you got an D, for which I lost a part of me.
I no longer hold onto the poems filled with dread- dread of rejection, of future, of finding myself eventually broken. I see something that you have left behind in me. Something that still burns, still lives for a reason. Something that is much more than an art class with disappointed teacher. Something that helped me hug back the blue parts of me.
I row my heart to the moon you drew, to the world I traced with my own brave hands.