Today I mourn,
All the things that I lost.
Things that never belonged to me in the first place.
I’ll list it in no particular order,
So here it goes.
And a happily ever-after.
Of all the things I lost and
The ones that left me feeling like a ghost,
You come a close second.
But if I’m being honest, I miss myself the most.
Life is messy, stressful and downright difficult. But it’s incredibly beautiful too.
So when you’re in a slump and the skies are all cloudy and you can’t see a single damn star,
It becomes imperative to shine brighter for yourself.
Cut yourself some slack, give yourself a break,
Take a deep breath and set that weight aside.
You don’t have to ignore it forever, but you sure as hell can set it down for one day.
When you’re stronger, revisit it and take all the decisions you’re supposed to,
But today, you must rest.
I was scared to say your name, I didn’t even want to whisper it.
I worried that the moment it left my lips it would vanish,
like a wisp of smoke and with it, I knew you would too.
So I let it sit, heavy on my lips that you refused to touch.
I longed for you, but the rain never came.
There were clouds, dark and heavy, but it didn’t pour.
Not even a drizzle to quench my ever-increasing thirst.
I told myself that it was okay, there have been droughts,
Most people perished, but many survived it too.
One day I walked far and unknowingly stepped into the rain,
Suddenly everything came alive.
Death gave way to life.
That day, I took a deep breath…
And slowly uttered your name.
“How did I get here?”
I’ve asked myself this question a thousand times and just like every time, I remember the answer now, too: I got here after I sent my resume and that’s how I got selected for this job.
‘Trainee sub-editor’ — that’s what I was hired as. Fun fact: My id card, even after four years and nine months reads the same. That brings me to the next point — it has been four years and nine months since I joined this newspaper organisation!
“Four years and nine months is a long time,” I told myself. “Babies are born and they grow, well, four years and nine months older. Sigh. People fall in and out of love, people move away, get sad and get happy. Some get strong, some get weak,” I added trying to convince myself.
So, a few weeks ago, I took twenty deep breaths before I could press the ‘send’ button (on an email informing my bosses of my resignation). When twenty didn’t work, I took seven more and pressed the damn button. The ‘Undo’ option kept blinking at me, but this time I knew better than ‘undoing’ it.
After 41,610 hours spent chasing deadlines — well, not all the hours were spent doing that… but most of them were — I turned the sand timer upside down and finally quit my first job.
I felt all sorts of emotions: regret, anger, annoyance and sadness… deep sadness. I couldn’t believe that what I have been doing since the last few years will all come to an end in the next few days.
So even though I prepare myself, to say good bye to the job I loved a lot, I know this:
After chasing deadlines for “four years and nine months”… I chase no more.
At least for now.
I found myself waiting for the moment to pass. For time to fast forward so quickly that the next time I opened my eyes, I would be in a different city in a different year, with a wall painted in the faintest of hues and sunlight filtering in through the window.
I’d probably relive this moment while sipping on my cup of tea, a lot like how our fingers absent-mindedly trace the scar of a once gaping wound, all healed up nicely. Probably then, this will seem less intense… these feelings, these words and these people.
I desperately wanted a glimpse of the future, to know if I survived this moment and the time after that.
I wanted out.
I needed to get out.
And I was ready to do anything.
Today is a calm, quiet, and beautiful Monday. The birds and their non-stop chattering invite me to the balcony. From the balcony I can see the lazy cat with the grey stripes sleeping on the wall without any care.
The steam from my bowl of not-so-instant noodles fogs up my eyes as I shove a fork full of the piping strings into my mouth. I can’t handle the heat and I do the most uncouth thing — I spit it out. That was part of my few achievements today.
I’m 26 and on the days when I’m not being my usual crazy self, I am busy doubting the reason for my existence and wondering if I will ever go down any path, instead of just sitting at the crossroad.
Sometimes I feel like the glass in a kaleidoscope. No matter how much I tell myself that I end up making a beautiful picture, I never forget that the glass is still broken. Then, there are days like today where the slow pace of life is relieving. Where there is no need to rush, no deadline to meet, and even if there is… it is long forgotten. The evening is calm and I don’t find the need to question the choices in my life.
Some days, some months and even years, we all doubt ourselves. The jobs we’re doing, the city we’re staying in and the lives we’re living. Life feels like a huge bowl of cold porridge — clumpy and without fluidity.
So you’re a 20-something or a 30 or 40 or whatever age-something.
You feel like a dead compass, pointing in every freaking direction.
You’re at the crossroads of your life and you really have no clue which way to go.
No means no. You’ll have to be firm with your own heart. Be strict. You can’t let it wander and so you’ll have to lock it and let it sit in a cage that is too small to hold it.
You’ll have to ignore his presence, how is it possible, you ask? I don’t know. As he walks past you, igniting your senses, you can’t tell if it’s the smell of his perfume that is making you giddy or that heady mix of sweat, smoke and his lingering presence.
You’ll want to run away, something you always do. But this time you can’t, because he’s the pain, but he’s also the comfort. When your eyes meet despite the hundreds of people in between you both, you can’t help but smile like a fool. It’s absolutely ridiculous how he turns you into a gooey mess of silliness.
I’m sorry love, but this is how it ends.
You can choose to be friends and perhaps he’ll like it too, but you?
Only you’ll know the troubles of your silly heart.
He might be heaven, but he is your hell,
And you, you are damned to eternity.
As the aeroplane begins to leave the runway, there’s a strange feeling that takes over.
I’m happy, nostalgic and overwhelmed. The feeling of coming home, after years, is overpowering. As if all of a sudden I want to laugh, cry and smile at the same time.
When I packed my bag and was ready to leave home the last time, I tried to memorise everything. The faces, the way they smile and the small change of emotions. The old walls, the comfortable smell of home and the memory of playing around the dining table – I saved it all.
I know the house doesn’t look the same anymore and time has changed us all; and though I wish we could pick up from where we last paused our lives, it seems like the fast forward button has been pushed too many times. When I look over the city I now call home, I realise that we’ve all grown up apart, but we have grown together.
And as the plane takes off,
it finally begins to set in.
I am coming home.
You’re coming back after years, to a place you once called home. To a city that was familiar, to a house where memories are now frozen in every corner.
You’re coming back home. To a place that has changed over the years.
The curtains are new, the walls are of a different colour and the doors don’t creak anymore.
You’re coming back home. Where people have changed. They’ve grown stronger, weaker and older. Your pet dog isn’t there to welcome you anymore, but I swear you can still feel her warmth. Your parents have become older, you can tell by the way they walk and by the way wrinkles have settled into their face, making them much more beautiful. Your sister isn’t the same she was, when you left.
You’re coming back to a place that might not look exactly like what you left behind. But a place that’s anxiously waiting for you. And people who can’t wait any longer.
The drought has been here for long.
And now it’s time for the rain.
I’ve packed my bags, with all the essentials.
Clothes, toiletries, your words and an incredible number of memories.
The taxi is here and no, he isn’t honking,
He doesn’t seem to be in a mad rush, for now he seems content just waiting.
In a while I’ll be gone, far from this home and the city that conceived us.
I’m running away and I really don’t know why.
In an hour I’ll be gone, in an hour you’ll stir awake and find an empty house.
And no, I won’t leave letters behind, aren’t memories enough?
Years from now we’ll probably bump into each other in a city we never dreamt of,
With people whose faces we can’t conjure up right now.
We won’t say hi, we’ll smile and move on like strangers who meet on unfamiliar streets.
I look at my watch. I take a deep breath.
It’s time to leave.
I kiss you, one last time.
And I hold back a tear, as I walk away from the only thing I love.