“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 my closed hopeless eyes you placed your lips and something in me broke open. And I burst from within, from all my prisons. From all my pseudo homes I heard myself crying.
I heard the the noises of television in the heavy air of my living room die out, I heard myself breathe. I heard the knocks on my door and found all my lost selves staring at me one second, embracing me the next.
They told me it could be the blue moon, it could be the cyclone that is running wild, it could be the end of earth predicted too many times, it could be flowers-that-no-one-loves blooming in our land, it could my restlessness and fear of being left behind, it could be you.
As you sink into the couch, forgetting the nail you painted seconds before, as you look around frantically for remote, as you leave the evidence of beautiful color on my skin, I realized, that I found in myself the honesty to say out aloud, to tell you, to accept that it is probably you.
i will read you another story so that you may know that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance, how ordinary are expectations-not-met. i will read till my eyes close till you can see all there is to see, till you see everyone around you who are disappearing into silence, till you see all the kind words you could have said to them, till you see that these words, that make you cringe, how important they are how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean till you learn to mean these words that save lives, till you learn to listen to others, till you grow the eyes that can see the world before it is lost.
though there is another story for another day about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.
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?
I let your hand become my crutch. I let your feelings for me become a means of my own validation. I let “love” slip from my mind. Being the center of your tiny universe has ruined me, has undone my heart. You are too close, too close to be seen or to be cared for. Each morning your face reminds me how you are become one step closer to achieving invisibility in my eyes. “i cannot imagine not being your everything” is not the same as “i love you”. I wonder if you know that. I wonder if you know that this difference of what I feel and what I should is killing anything humane left in me.
as you melt your heart into oceans i fear my arms betray me sometimes, sometimes they go numb, they surrender at the thought of your warmth. when you tell me of your love as i ache for another, i want a part of me to ache for you as well. when you settle for being my comfort rather than my love, i wish i had loved you instead. but we are selfish dear i cannot give up just as you can’t. we wait to be seen by the one we can’t seem to reach. we wait because that’s the only answer we have. we try to forget the love that we can have but don’t want. i am fond of you, so forget me if you can. i can’t bear to see my pitiful self in you, i can’t bear to drag you down to my hell only to leave you alone.
I hate to admit this to myself but I can’t quite understand you. At worst, I judge your unreasonable feelings and your self-indulgence. Often I step away and try hard to feel your pain and yet it escapes me. Whatever I imagine is the landscape of your heart is, it is never quite correct. Something really important, probably a loss that I have never faced, is missing from my understanding. “this is not how i should be”- I end up thinking this every time when I think of you. When you say “you won’t understand”, I once again realize how insufficient I am. Because you are right. Because I can’t understand. I wonder if one day I can do something more than just loving you. I wonder if one day I can see you as you want to be seen.
Was it 5 years ago, or 6 that we all sat together looking at the bright beginning of another series of setbacks that we were becoming. The coldness of the wood, the ruffle of papers, the moment before we learned to truly hate ourselves.
I miss that.
As we stood waiting in line for something to take away everything we were just beginning to see, I remember thinking, “I wish I could spend my youth here. In this moment, with these people. I am nothing to them, they are nothing to me. But we are good for each other. This can never be made again.” At that moment I knew they will make my heart ache for a long time.
In the years that followed I saw them, the people who carried the faces of the ones I liked enough not to love. “What’s wrong?” I wanted to ask them but all I could do was smile and let my smile tell them “I will see you for what you were. At least that I can do for you. The beauty of your innocence and hope I will remember it forever.”
All the lights that were meant to light the way, end up looking like spotlights fragmenting the world. Fragments so beautiful that I never bothered with moving towards the place I was meant to go; that I sit here, saying goodbye to people who hope to see me wherever they will end up at.
But we won’t be seeing each other. I let them hope anyway. That hope makes them smile brighter. that’s the way I want to remember them, that’s the way I want to remember this world.
It is not easy though – to love all who love to keep walking and to love my small place and my small heart at the same time. It is easier for everyone – for the one who must stay and the one who must walk to think of empty hands as freedom however hollow it might feel.