When I try to imagine, to recall the face of another human being.
I always see them standing opposite me with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.
When they are ghosts of pasts, they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities. I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs. I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment. The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take, they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.
But I never learn because when they are reflections of present, they are breathing statues and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat. I know that this hand is not for me, that I have extinguished the smile on that face just by being myself, just by existing.
Only the warm breath of passing time can make me miss the world that could have been. Only on the streets I cannot walk grow my trees of faith.
But even then, even for the past I barely feel any love. What I feel is something similar to the relief in the things that won’t change. The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken, my heart that I never had to give out, the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.
In her loudest, happiest voice she told me about one of her near-death loves, how she wished her skin would stop keeping her alive. She laughed at how we both always find something awfully painful or ugly in common, how we should probably never call each other just to remind each other of the spite that lives in our blood.
I moved her lackluster glass of fake green mojito by an inch towards her and looked past her at the couple who sat closest to the sky. The wind that touched them called out to me again, reminded me about my trembling legs and my heart that didn’t want to give up yesterday.
I told her about the fall – my bad decision, my backing out again at the last minute- another really bad decision. I told her someone needs to lock me up before I take any more decision as I showed her my new skinned knee and told her in detail about all parts of me that were filled with pain even now only because of that one moment in which I wanted to live more than anything.
She walked towards the the railing decorated with hearts that won’t light and found herself a seat, placing her elbow carefully away from the mess that the ones in love left behind. She waited for me to follow her as I always do.
I stood behind her and felt a fear very similar to mine swimming in her mind. I wanted to tell her, it will get better. but I couldn’t. I wanted to believe in this, in this hope for better; if not for me, at least for her. And I knew she had nothing to say now because her throat was also crowded by the words she doesn’t believe. We are painfully alike even in our search for hope, even when we are searching it for each other.
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.
Before knowing the alphabets of your name or mine, I learnt to make you smile. I pluck another flower that makes me sneeze every time but the silly pathetic me smiles as you smile as I crawl to you losing balance, losing something similar to heart, as I dress you up in a mountain of petals I clenched too hard hoping you would never move away from me. How you dozed off as I made myself sick with my ambition. How you were still sleeping as your mother took you in arms brushing away every piece of my care. But it is better than the days I woke up with only the traces of my feelings, my cradle of flowers without you in it.
i crawl into another embrace, scratch the surface of my fake love to find something true. hopes. hopes. is this what they call hope? it must be.
the coffee turns cold as my story ends. again i am wearing a skin i have stolen. the one breathing beside me has a knack for sad stories recited by happy girls, of being a knight to one he doesn’t have to save.
me, i love drowning the world in sadness (the only way i can take anyone’s breath away) i love leaving loose ends, leaving people behind- i call it the fear of being left behind. i have a list of similar innocent motivation for every mess i make, for the mess i have become.
when he leaves i throw away the coffee he never drinks. i get over my urge to be seen for what i am. i dip my fingers into another color that he might like, or at least remember.
I tell myself stories about why I threw away all that I had, or why everything was taken away from me. How I was too weak, will always be too weak to carry the weight of the gifts that I had. Or how I was never quite convinced that I had something to be proud of. How I was always trying to gauge how much deep my feelings ran for everything that I could only sort-of-love. I can list all similar attempts where I sought a better quantitative understanding of my specialness and used these unreliable results to decide how and when to give up. But if I had to give one consolidated story of why I was never a failure at anything, why I never succeeded, why I had nothing to show for the years I lived or for the talents that people remember me for. If I had to be concise and true I would say I never made those decisions, I was never aware of how I felt about all the things that bother me now. I drifted away from what I was, from what I treasured, the way dear friends lose touch, lose each others name, lose a happiness they could have had. Only to be reminded of this loss when it no longer matters.
Since the broken have got their share of songs, now let us grieve for the ones who are complete. who have got more than they wanted, and have too much in their hands. Who walk with a loneliness similar to the ones who were deprived just without the right to complain or take pity on themselves.
. . .
Maybe it is this ‘having all’ that would become the reason of their cracks. For in the pauses of the ones who I thought were happy, I have often seen a wait for another life. They find themselves wanting this struggle that has been romanticized and exaggerated so much that, it becomes a yearning.
. . .
They find themselves hating this infinite stretch of perfect utopian dream that cannot last only because the mind that creates and wants the perfect in trapped in a body that by nature are attracted towards disorder, towards its own undoing.
I remember nodding along to what you said.
It would have been similar to how I agreed with
everyone who were obviously wrong,
but with you I agreed not for peace
but for happiness-
that I realized can be bought for something
as small as silence.
It sounds less crude when called it consideration,
which is indeed a small cost to pay
when I know that there are many
who do not even get to make that choice.
I could say that love has reduced me to a person
whom I would have pitied ages ago
and probably I was better when all that mattered to me was me
and what I thought and wanted.
I remember passing leaflets of “guide to how to treat me”
to people who reluctantly took it
and probably tossed it on streets
when they were out of my sight.
I should have been offended
but even I can’t remember
half of what was on those paper.
for what we are,
I probably won’t get what I want
and may accumulate a little more reasons to cry for
when we finally make up our minds.
But if we are here
and if this is how love works
then I should probably try being
hopelessly and blindly being in love
especially because it is you.
Once we are done with the ritual of tea,
as I leave the room with his cup and mine,
I leave behind my shadow with him.
That is his favorite part of his evening
and he is all too happy to talk to a quieter me.
He feels my shadow is somehow better than me.
He finds it more understanding
and more similar to the feminine company
he always wanted in his life.
Someone who knows how to listen,
and who knows when not to think.
Someone who would look up to his words
with the certainty of truth
and would be the first one to realize his specialness.
I can understand where he comes from,
it is tiring to impress everyone all the time
fearing when we will falter, when we will fall in their eyes.
I can understand, even when I don’t want to,
for even I have wished for the same things
that only an imbalance of power or naivety of a lover
can give me.