He stepped down from his ‘cloud nine of the day’
as I stepped out from my house made of last drops of rain
and at the intersection of fleeting memories
we fell in love.
That is what I tell my friends
when they ask me about the moment
I was tempted to end the sadness of my life.
I tell them about the words I borrowed from his lips,
his borrowed tongue that helped me eat a bit more.
How I taped his adjectives on my mirror
so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself.
They sit with me on the table
I can’t bear to share with my love.
They stare at me, as I ask them what to wear,
how to hide my poison, how to hide the crack at the elbow,
the bruised collarbone, the split lip,
the ache in my heels, my frayed wings,
my broken voice
and all other reminders of what love has done to me,
and what more love can do, if i just let it in again.
They tell me it is all healed.
They tell me it is all past.
They hold their skin against mine to make me see
that the cracks are all in my mind,
how everyone looks just like me,
how everything wrong with me is now the norm.
And they laughed
when I looked at them with concern.
They dropped me at the restaurant
and vanished at the farthest bend of the road.
As I dragged my feet towards another story
that I will never get to complete,
another tragedy that suited only me,
I looked back and tried to think of all the things
that these kind friends of mine suffered
as they hoped and wished and lied to themselves.
The exceptions they now considered normal,
the wounds they cannot even see,
the pain they cannot call pain,
the love they cannot bear to leave-
I tasted these facts
in every spoon of artificial sweetness
I fed to my mouth that evening.
The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath
“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”
As she places her coffee cup on the table,
her eyes sting and ribs hurt
to see the beautiful vase of her life
dearly holding onto the oldest withered flowers of her life.
Flowers were not meant to do this,
She also knew
she need not be like this,
things need not be this way.
The market is just 5 minutes away.
When she has enough money to buy new gardens
why lament on handful of roses,
why think about people she can now never love.
But the decision to forget or remember
was never in her hands.
And now she cannot step out and face the world –
the same world who witnessed her pride and confidence
in another human whose faults she refused to see till the end,
the one she called her love.
She felt she owed answers to every one-
for loving the wrong one,
for loving the wrong way,
for seeking a new love,
for saying yes to someone better than her,
for her dissatisfaction
that eats through every heart she tries to love.
She didn’t want to go out and apologize
I don’t drink coffee.
I quit long ago, don’t remember why.
I quit long ago, you haven’t just noticed yet.
Nevertheless there are two cups on this table.
that is all it takes
to make me feel that we are strangers.
But you are the only stranger who loves me.
You only love me because you don’t know me.
That is all it takes
to make me feel indebted and guilty.
I guess one cup won’t hurt much.
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.
This where my moment of collapse,
where my undoing starts.
Me, sitting in front of something that I used to love,
something that used to carry a part of me.
Me, in front of bookshelves,
looking at the list of movies that broke open my heart,
moving my hands over the quotes
that I took pains to scribble
on everything I own,
half-hiding behind the high dining tables,
not really eating,
not really listening,
making cracks on my glass skin
with the fork that has forgotten how food feels,
hesitating to touch that reply button,
hesitating to hold his hand.
“i am empty, i can’t find in myself the will
to love anything in this world”, I want to say.
But it would be so unfair
to break another’s heart, only because I have lost mine.
But won’t it be equally unfair
to give someone hope with my meaningless smiles.
when saw my skin, i saw only cracks
cracks that would have looked worse
if i could see better.
i wanted to look away
but all i could do was think-
age is creeping up on me
slowly and cruelly
and you are not here.
i think of all the things
i can never have now.
things i meant to do everyday
things i put off, delayed
because you needed time.
all the things i denied myself
because i wanted to wait for you.
but the weight of things i have given up
seems to have increased exponentially
since you learnt to change your mind.
so me and my could-have-beens
we sit at different tables in the same world,
looking at each other with disappointment.
how ridiculous is this
that i am waiting,
even when there is no one to wait for,
even when i know that running away
was the only thing you could be relied upon for.
Stay here with me.
Everyone else has forgotten you dear.
it is only me that carries you everywhere it rains,
everywhere the Sunday morning starts with empty table and aching heart,
everywhere the number blinking in my phone is not yours.
It’s only me
that wakes up in this nightmare of life
clutching what should have been your hand,
that walks into every shops that would have caught your eye.
It isn’t easy to walk into stores
and think of your absent giggles
as my only future that would never arrive.
It isn’t easy
but I can do it.
I can keep a space for you
everywhere I go,
I can keep aside an extra plate for you.
I can live as if you are here
if only you’d stay hidden with me.
They have forgotten you dear,
their thoughts are scared to linger around graves.
It is only me that calls out your name.
I am sipping my 27th cup of coffee
waiting for the shop to get crowded,
so people will not eye me with suspicion or pity.
So I can be in company of people
who have nowhere to go, like me.
For whom, home is just a place you run away from.
I wait for the sun to set.
I wait for the sounds of your approaching footsteps.
I see you make your way
to the table behind me.
I don’t have to look, to know it’s you.
I know you much more than I should.
We have lived together for too long.
And you wouldn’t know me
even if you saw my face.
You have only known yourself,
your world knows nothing but you.
And slowly the seats around you
are filled one by one.
And empty chairs
are being drawn and dragged around you.
And with these strangers
I hear my stories from
your mouth that seem like
the only warmth in their life.
I hear every word you say,
I hear it everyday
waiting at this shop.
To hear, if you ever came to miss me.
Ever said my name with a melancholy
of losing something precious.
If in the stories you tell,
if you could still see me.
If for a moment I could hear you utter word “love”
with my name in its periphery.
I do not love you.
I’m not here to claim you back.
Not here to prove my eternal undying love.
I am just waiting in this cold
that when I sold you my life,
when you used up my story
what you did with me?
Am I there in that heart?
Or at the bottom of some frozen lake?
I need to start looking for it.
And I don’t know where to start.