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.”
The leaves flew back to their trees. The fruits became never eaten, never ripened, never born. The papers on my desk forgot how to exist for themselves. For a moment I feared maybe this is how the past love, the healed hurt returns. But it wasn’t so.
That day, on that bleak morning you looked at me and my heart learned to believe again. My lips reached out to learn your name. Your name, as if out of a dream, settled on my shoulders and told me I can rest.
On that morning, that should have been like the hundred others, I learnt that in spite of my bitterness and my disappointment I wanted to believe in this world. And even in my denial I was waiting for a moment like this.
A moment in which my broken and incomplete heart is returned to its original state of trust, as if by a miracle, by your gentle touch of understanding. I feared calling it love, when I knew that it already was. No other word would suffice.
Across this glass, across the tired melting clouds of mist, on the other side there are trees and homes and forests that are just like places on this side that I rest.
The places where I am not look as sad as all the places I have been. Everywhere, on every road there is always a person who knows a way to break my heart, and I always end up thanking them for it.
There are rooms where I put up lights and posters and curtains and lovers and music, those are the rooms I want to die in- with some beauty, with some consolation of meaning .
But always I find the reason for my end outside these walls. Those reasons live under the brightest light on the darkest road. And because I was told that the light that I don’t know of is the one that saves all, even the hopeless ones like me. So my legs forget how to stop, my hands forget how to let go, and my blood glitters for a moment under the light of lost hopes before it turns black, before it invites in the cold that I always thought belonged to the inanimate world.
I think of the room I won’t reach, and the songs and the faces and this world that I will not be given a piece of, to keep.
As the sky fills me up, pats me down, and tucks me in the snow across the white, I feel someone stir from sleep. The wail that my throat cannot make, finds a home in that other world, in the other me that unlike me knows how to cry and how to be loved for it.
Slowly I plucked each tooth of mine, I tore my tongue out and he called me beautiful.
He called me beautiful so I left my clothes roll down. I let my skin, my guards, my skeleton touch his floor. I sat there watching him build a fire out of it all. The fire was too cold for me so I didn’t smile.
He told me he only speaks the language of rough, that his heart beats and falls slower than the rest. I told him I have known many like him. I told him I didn’t mind. He seemed to mind that a bit but he also seemed to be a bit relieved.
As I sat under the the waterfall of his blue curtains, I felt thousands of eyes at my back, behind windows that couldn’t be closed. There were always windows behind my back anywhere I sat from the day I was first told that I was the type of beautiful not worth keeping and staying around.
Those eyes filled with lust, question, resentment filled with hatred, filled with violence, filled with sweet words for my ailing heart, filled with knives for soft skin, for the right time, were my burden so I knew at least this was not his fault.
I asked him what he could give, what he could make me forget. He didn’t answer and seemed a bit lost. I wondered if he also couldn’t think or speak clearly, if there were eyes on his back that he never spoke about.
As I swim towards the shore of morning, I think of you sometimes. Sometimes I think of you without malice or hatred or blame. Only sometimes. Sometimes I am able to separate your existence from my pain. I guess, you are no longer my wound or weakness or love.
So as I swim back to the shores that for once are there within my reach, I can look back at you and smile, wanting nothing in return. That is happiest end I can give you.
a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation. the only word to be heard – rebellion. someone is crying far away. another round of bullets leave the shaking hands of the one who can’t seem to stop crying. now he must die just like me. he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me. in this last afternoon of my life i drift into bouts of darkness, without fear for first time, with the company of only his confused memories. will this be my last dream – his life? even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful. he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget, he has childhood home he can always return to but he didn’t, he regrets it now. he remembers the red color that his sister stopped wearing on her lips once her heart was broken badly. how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness that he can’t have only for himself. there are ports on rainy days and buildings that became sadder at night. he once painted the window that would never open to him or anyone else for that matter. he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless on the last page corner of newspaper and the window never lighted anymore. there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off where the only one spared was him. he doesn’t want to be spared anymore. i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends. i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.
today is the birthday of one another oddity of mine. on a day like this, few calendars ago i learnt how to turn my helplessness into my charm. i learnt to fill the glasses, the throats of everyone i know with something sweet, with a taste they can’t name. i learnt to become something that can’t be known or hurt. in my bedroom i sit at the foot of my bed trying to block out the presence, the weight of the other half of my body clinging, clawing, crying, dissociating. i again forget where i am. i again forget how to stop shaking. if i walk a bit more into the darkness i feel i won’t have to pretend to be the one who has a say in what happens to her. a hand slips into mine. sometimes it rests on my waist, and i force myself not to feel nauseated. love him. love her. i tell myself repeatedly. love. love. love. love till i can make up for all my lacks. my love is my penance, my apology to anyone who chooses me as their destiny.
From my empty room, from the edge of my personal cliff, I looked into the windows of strangers, looked over their shoulder at texts they write, looked at the pages where their bookmark rests, silently waited at the edge of my chair trying to overhear responses to the big questions.
And all I have known by prying so hard is that there is nothing there. Nothing in the text that could pass for shorthand. The same book rests on the same table for years, serving only the role of a carefully thought out accessory. No question is big enough to be carefully considered. No relationship is important enough to be held to heart. That I was foolish to believe otherwise till now. That I am putting myself on another path to heartbreak if I do not believe in the night that I see. I must unlearn the way I have lived to find a place to belong.
In between the cold beginning and cruel ends that are the parentheses of our lives, there is nothing for me to hang on to. But it helps to know that there are plenty of empty rooms in this painful smaller eternity, that I need not kill myself over an emptiness so common. And it is really difficult to feel alone once I know that.
strangely even there, even on the canvas of my imagination where I get to act the god, even in that world where you are nothing but my creation, even there I can’t imagine a happier end for us.
because i can edit our photos on the cities we never got to visit and i can write you some words, give you some hints on how to make me want you want you back. but even when your puppet hugs mine back i know it’s only me, my hands, my heart, my body, my hopes hanging onto something that would never be you.
“so let it go“, i tell myself. “let’s stop calling every ache by the name of love. let’s put our ego to rest.“