Today I am a bit out of luck. Today the sun shines bright on the stairs to your home. Today I am forced to see. But it’s only for today though. On days ruled by fog, I will again get to hope that you might be sitting there, till I reach the first cold step.
I can smile for the few minutes – the time it takes before I realize everything else in this world, that is not you, can make more beautiful shadows of you. Just like how, sometimes, even i don’t need you. I don’t need you to cling to you, to beg you, to feel your love, to be in love, to waste away like this.
Even when I wait though, I hope to quit on you soon. Even in waiting I actually do not need you. I imagine the days when I will not need this routine. As people change and leave, I start hoping that maybe I will also change and maybe I will also leave, maybe one day I will forget the way to this place, and these stairs will be just stairs and not a place you couldn’t be, and maybe life could be just life not a story you are missing from.
And maybe when I also leave there would be two shadows, not one on these stairs. Everything that makes me ache now will be just what they should be- things that will never give anyone any grief.
She sings. An echo, a heartbreak maybe, something piercing, something invisible, something not ours- this is all that we are allowed feel (as long as we want to feel).
She is everywhere. She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight of water and floating globes of life and drowning boats and oil. She is everywhere.
Yet her voice outlines every step we take. Every dying step is a step lost to her name. Running away is beautiful in this city. The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies, painted on every stone, every wall, doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world we crushed by our hands, doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.
All our journeys branch from her heart. We sit huddled with our feet in water, with our hands over fires dying out and talk of her. Always her.
As my teacher with broken voice dictated another question on radius and heights and the mountains where no snow, no season, no name sticks; I turned another page and wrote the name of an emperor who died even though he believed he won’t. I smiled and tried to correct the very very wrong spelling of a national political party that my friend wrote. It doesn’t matter she said, when I couldn’t figure out what was exactly wrong with it. At lunch, she leaned against the wrong window, the one with fresh coat of blue paint, and told me a joke which she memorized only to remember it wrong. I again gave her the laugh that meant nothing in particular. But I knew she loved it when I reacted like this- as if she is forcing a laughter out of my silent somber heart, as if she is winning over me all my resistance. But I was nothing like that. I was nothing like she thought me to be. My heart was already open. She was already inside me- writing melodies with her soft steps beside me, painting summer sun over every window I looked out of. But these are things that need no telling, there are my treasures I won’t allow her to take back, these are the answer she will never realize. I hand in another assignment, another answer sheet that looks too little like me, that raises the eyebrows of people who realize they couldn’t teach me a thing right. I walk back to my seat wondering if my shirt is tainted red with my love like her back is filled with butterflies of blue.
I wish I could hug back the stars with a smile even if it burns, even if I suffer in that light.
But it is a light that I have now learnt to fear. Now I know the power of reality, of wounds, and the unbearable noise of past.
Now my every step towards my fear, towards you can never be love, it can only be a sacrifice. It can only mean my acceptance of my end at the cost of this love that promises to live on without me. Should I find comfort in that, now that I won’t find a life with you?
DRAWING THE STARS WRONG all my hopes, now in your hands, feel like signs of trouble. i liked it on paper, the broken star in red ink, but not on my sky. can i undo my steps to you? will my heart break even if you leave my skin?
STRIPPING YOU OF FLESH before i turn away from you there are things that must be done. (only painful things are remaining no matter what i choose) everyday for a hour i must imagine being alone in this world. everyday i must imagine the relief you would feel at my absence. everyday i must imagine you with someone and being capable of caring. i must imagine in detail and color. i must put you on a window in clothes i don’t recognize. i must strip you of my love and hope you feel the warmth, even when my heart tells that you won’t. i must stand outside the shop i plan to leave you at and practice standing there without tears in my eyes. i must take your feelings out of picture to take even one step away from you. before i turn away from you i have to turn into the person who won’t be able to walk towards any happiness after leaving you broken.
MESSED UP SEARCH HISTORY in my room, on my phone, with another love, in the crowd that will never be mine, i feel my heart drunk on you again. and everywhere you are with me i need someone else to keep me from making another mess in your name, for my sake. in return, i love them the only way i can, the way only i can, by removing you from the search history of my mind every second i live. i love them by holding them back from running to the one, who like you, can only love in dark dripping red and swelling universe of purple.
THE EASY WAY TO LIVE speaking without fear, loving without abandon, sitting in sunshine, somehow loving the world, wanting to stay alive, getting comfortable with the concept of wanting, knowing the feeling of being considered and seen, (all this with you at the back of my mind). i told you, all this is my life now- the easiest life i have ever had. i hope you believe. it would be the happiest end, if you would accept this as the last scene of me in your life. i want to live so better, just so that you can forget the me who could do nothing but get hurt only because i didn’t want to live without love. i want to be better than that, even if it makes me sad.
I left my thirst in your well- the only way to get rid of it, get rid of it I must. For three seasons I filled it up with dirt. I waited for rains to hide my steps, to hide what I have done. I built few hills every time you crossed my thought. I built it with love. I built it with anger. I built it nonetheless. I prayed and prayed till I couldn’t see your ghost, till praying didn’t hurt. I grew up a little and I grew mad a bit. The sound of fate now rings louder in my head. I lay on the ground, smile at the sun that cannot reach my heart at the bottom of your well.
Her floor had always been the color of the season I remember this, only when I step into the mess of her life. The spring issues lay scattered like the flowers The pink, red, yellows, and greens, women who only know youth, women who only grow younger the kind of woman she wanted to be (what a small impossible dream) and she almost is. And now that she can never change would she be happy? When/if she comes across her own lifeless eyes in the missing posters would she be glad to be one of the “sad popular”? I shatter the home of her missing goldfish in my haste efforts to pick them up and put them out of sight- the bundles of glossy paper that my eyes can’t handle. I try to put them away, wanting to throw them away now that she wouldn’t mind, now that she won’t yell at me or anyone for taking away too much of her. I want to try it. i want to try, so she has no option but to stop me. “let’s leave her in peace” tells me my moral compass and my grief. “i don’t want to show her the kind of respect that only dead deserve” shouts back my anger and my love. I drop the heaviest bag in this world on her rain soaked bed. Her last dress, her last chocolate wrapper, her last bus ticket, her last mistake, her last breath everything spilling out, everything ruining the spring that I dreamed for her along with her.
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.
the leftovers of last night fill my fridge. “never to be ruined” is what i would want to believe. but i do not have the patience to wait and see. i do not have many things in me- lacking of sorts, but not as deep in feeling. it is fine as long as it doesn’t reach me. it is fine as long as it doesn’t reach me. i step away and sit down it the unnatural unnerving glow of all that was delicious once. on the floor beside the broken fridge door i wait for my hunger or desperation to return. i wait to see what i loved in the love that is dying without me.
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.