Corner of the room.

 

I watched her walk away from me and sit as far as possible.

Having a fight in a single room is difficult.

You can keep quiet, and bottle up your anger, but the sheer vibrations of it fill up the space.

She was sitting in “her” corner. For the purposes of a fight, we had designated spaces for each other. Ironic, considering corners are for fighters, between rounds.

But it was best for the children.

She flipped the pages of the book I had given her a few days back.

And I stared simultaneously at three different screens.

She had her nose scrunched up a bit, the way she always does when frowning. It used to look pretty, but now it just showed the wrinkles in her face, and her profile had roughened over the years.

Age had not treated her well.

But, who am I to complain? She’s disregarding my accumulated flab of years as well.

It is nice, knowing there is someone constant, irrespective of the waistline.

Granted, it’s not always nice to sit in two corners like errant children.

It is not always nice to bear the presence of someone else, when you might want loneliness.

I wish I could walk off in a huff, and I have done that enough times. And she has let me back in, sheepishly maybe, but I had the freedom to walk back in.

She has also strayed. You get bored of the familiar face after a while, I suppose.

I’m still staring at the screens, but I want to go over to her and make it okay.

Even now, after all these years, it is not a question of who says sorry first, it is a question of who gets tired of the silence first.

We have had enough and more fights and some days I want to give it all up and get a different room.

But when I look back at the last twenty years, I realize, having someone in the room is good.

Even if it’s not in your corner.

Word-smitten.

 

I wish “conversation” was a living thing.

A man, rather.

My man, more so.

I wish I could hold his hand and talk to him to my heart’s content.

I wish I could take him along on my weird trips, to fantasy-land.

I wish I knew the exact mix, of satire, of wit, of mystery and glitz.

But, no. He is not easily snared.

I wish I knew what I could give, and give and give.

To have him heal me, to hold me, to breathe into me, life.

I wish for him to be personified, just once, maybe for a night.

I wish to see how the world survives, in quietness, in despair, in solitary plight.

Because if I had him, and the words he weaves, there is no way I would let the sun rise.

Darling.

Darling. if I could tell you,

Why love for me would never do.

I would tell you all about my fears and griefs,

and describe the tide of insecurities.

I would list for you all my little tricks,

And record my bouts of jealous shrieks.

I would take apart my possessiveness,

To give your muse a summer’s dress.

I would make little pictures of my sins,

And put them in labelled biscuit tins.

I would rhyme all your adjectives,

With details of my ugly, gory bits.

I would tell you about everything else,

But you would still give me some grace.

Darling, if I could tell you,

Why love for me would never do.

Darling, even if I would tell you,

You would love me just the same.

System

There is an inherent need in all humans to rank things.

Even in the most primitive of tribes, they have a system to adjudge the best man, the strongest warrior or the alpha female.

We need to know that we stand on scale and that there are people below us and above us.

Our whole world view is based on that. Our lives are a series of scales…examinations, entrance tests, endurance camps, medical checkups…relationships.

Look at how we express ourselves in our relationships:

–          I love you more than anything in the world

–          You have made me more miserable than ever

–          I have never felt like this before

–          You are the most wonderful boyfriend

–          I will do anything to make you happy

All of it is a gradation- better or worse, more or less, deep or shallow.

This is wonderful in the larger scale of things i.e. the system.

To create a system which works, there should be a clear loser and a clear winner, and in order to have that, you must have clearly demarcated levels.

But, in the micro picture, in one-on-one relationships, it pretty much sucks.

Because a scale obviously is going to make people try and get to the top score.

This would also have been ok, if we were all in strictly monogamous, exclusive, non-overlapping relationships all the time.

But, we are humans, so we err.

Which is where the system beats us. We have a perfect person. Or rather, we think the person is ok. Until we meet someone else to put on the scale and…oh the dreaded word…compare. The worst thing is that since it is a ranking scale and not a rating scale (if I remember my statistics correctly), one person needs must be inferior.

So, objective as we humans are, it is still impossible for us to not magnify the faults of one and the perfections of the other.

And on and on it goes.

Every-time.

A winner and a loser.

Stupid system.

The body on the other side of the bed.

Have you ever slept with someone?
(Not in the euphemistic way. No.)

In the proper, cuddled against each other, feeling the stubble scratch against your cheek, hearing the occasional snores, smelling the morning breath, and waking up in a panic because of a fiercer than usual tussle for the blanket.

Do it sometime. Do it for a few days.

Hear the breathing of a person next to you when they are asleep, a regular rhythm which makes you feel like you are in a cocoon. It takes away the monsters under the bed and makes the gaping darkness that is the living room turn into just a room.

There is a moment right before you drift off- there is this horrible struggle between your head and your heart. You head says there is nothing in the darkness and there is no one and you are safe. Your heart says take up those stupid sheets and put them over your face and shut your eyes tight and try not to breathe too loudly.

And in that moment, if you can take someone’s hand, and put your face in a warm nook, and know that you are not alone, everything becomes a little less dark. Mostly it’s the warmth that gets to you.

It’s a beautiful feeling. It is a highly addictive feeling. Once you have been with someone, once you have had that warmness around you, it’s damn difficult to go back to sleeping alone. Your side of the bed becomes oppressive and you wish you had someone fighting over the blanket, or making an abysmal amount of noise in the middle of the night or creaking the bed every time they move.

It’s addictive. This is why people commit for life and get married and remain together even through a lot of shit. Because they get to sleep with someone, because they don’t dream alone.

Fatality.

She was standing at the window, watching the trees drip with the fresh rain. There was no silence. There was never any silence within this city, and it was one of the things she loved about it. The din, which let her drown her thoughts, mostly. But sometimes, when there was too much noise inside her, the city didn’t help anymore.

Watching the rain fall, blurring the green of the leaves, she felt the same sadness wash over her.

There is triteness in writing about doomed love, and I wish I wasn’t doing it. What will I get by describing the death throes of a passion which has outlived its heat, or one which can be described with that inglorious phrase- ‘having no possibilities’.

When you think about the rise and fall of emotions, and all the heartburn it encompasses, it becomes difficult to visualize someone voluntarily enter that hellhole while knowing that there is no exit.

Hence, the sadness.

She knew what she was doing was wrong. It was the same old path, she had walked enough number of times. The alcohol, the haze, the misjudgment. And then, the fear of loneliness, which made her stick to those errors. As stubbornly as an ant, which bites and freezes on, knowing it will be crushed nonetheless.

At some point of time, I might have written of her with sympathy. Life teaches in a hard way and it teaches young, and I would have given her the benefit of that doubt. But, again and again, she kept creating those cesspools, and I kept dragging her out by her hair, trying to hold onto her slippery hands, trying to hear her shouts for help, see behind her smile which never reached her eyes. At some point of time, I might have.

She put out hand to feel the drops, and there was a nebulous thought forming in her mind, of taking another step forward, feeling the wind on her face and seeing the trees rushing past. It was nebulous, and his hands on her shoulders, broke her out of it. These thoughts scared her. The readiness with which she gave up on life, on relationships, on blood.  He turned her around, and kissed her eyebrows, and then just held her close.

In the chaos of her mind, she saw her love for him. And her love for someone else. She saw her confusion, and her inability to resolve it.

I knew her helplessness. I knew why she could not say no. To please and to please always. It was a lesson she had learnt early, and she could not forget it now. It was the only lesson which has worked for her. But I could not let her keep using it. I could not let her keep going on the same path, and though I was bone-weary of rescuing her every time, she was my darling, and I had to be there for her. Such a child, amused by trifles, bought by money, so eager to love, so passionate in hate- my darling.

His hands were heavy and they crushed her. Her ribs always made a cracking sound, and somehow it reassured her- the pressure on her lungs, of his love for her. Only in utterly being crushed, did she feel utterly wanted. This was her cocoon and every time she emerged, she emerged a little less capable. She knew she had to stop, but the world bewildered her, and the arms around her were too comfortable. He talked of love, and she shrugged it off. She knew only melancholy, and degrees of it, and the slight lifting of the gloom when she was with him.

I wanted to be those arms, she craved so much. I should have been enough for her. She should never have looked elsewhere.  I knew her, as well as any mortal being could, and I loved her, as well as any mortal begin could. She had always been heartless. So utterly selfish, it broke my heart to think of her in her own world, never letting me in. I wish she had seen me for myself once, instead of through the eyes of the criticizing world. I was not good looking enough, I was not smart enough. I was mediocre, and she could not condone me. Yet, I kept saving her.

He talked of life, and he talked of dual lives. And what was there that she did not know about duality. At her age, she should not have known the meaning of it so well. But she did, and she learnt. And she knew that it was in her fate. To long for something and not have it. And to not settle for something she owned. Rapacious- her longing for something better. She needed it to be quenched, but it would not be. No amount of alcohol was enough. Her sadness was too buoyant. It would not be drowned.

I knew what she needed. And I knew that she did not have the patience to wait. She would rather have burned and gone up in flames, than waiting in proud aloofness, for something that might or might not come. I knew she expected much of life, but I wish she had even once thought of me as the answer.

She knew that there was always someone to fall back on. To drag her out and make her start again. Like a coloring book. She never minded the lines, and that person always had a fresh page for her. Chin up, square the shoulders, put on the dazzling smile, and have a do-over. As she stood in his arms, and weighed possibilities… Ah! but that never happened. With him, she never thought. But later, when there were only the two of them, her rescuer and her, she cried herself hoarse over the unfairness of life, and laughed over the humour of doomed love.

I had given her whatever she had wanted. I had slit her wrists for her. And I had bandaged them for her. I had seen her blood flow, and I had washed the dark stain, later, much later, when she had wanted to live again. She had hugged me in the darkness, and prayed with her hands in mine. And all through, I had waited for her to see me. But she never did.

He left of course. Like others. That’s the fatality of love.

And she never saw herself. Her strength, her courage, her savior.

She only saw her reflection, and she kept running.

The Mona Lisa smile.

You are standing up and your lips are inter-locked. You push her back on to the bed, and for that one second it takes for you to cover her, she looks up and she smiles.
It could be a naughty smirk. Like she knows the exact thought in your head, the stage where you’re at. Or the number of minutes she’s going to tease you. Or like she knows she’s going to blow your mind, and is waiting for you to find out.
It could be a laugh. A joyful, unabashed laugh. Of a woman happy in herself, loving the few moments of love shared and not worrying about the next day or the next time or even the next moment. It’s just her then. It’s a laugh which comes out at the back of her throat. From deep within.
It could be a curve of the lips. Shy because she is shy. She looks up, right into your eyes, and you better hope and pray, that she sees her love reflected. She is fragile, this one. With the small smile, the girl who gives her heart away first.
Or it could be that half finished chuckle. Don’t go by the name, it’s anything but merry. She likes you, no doubt. But there will be a part of her you will never get. She will open her arms and you will feel like it is all there is. But there will always be more. And that is why she has the half smile.  She sees the love in you and laughs. She sees the lack thereof and laughs. She laughs at herself. That, my dear, is a dangerous one.

Muscle Memory

The body remembers more than we give it credit for.  Not the repetitive action which comes from a thousand times of doing the same thing. The sharp momentary glimpse you have of another time and another place, but the same texture. Put your fingertips on a surface. Feel the ridges and whorls and ups and downs of your skin meeting the surface. Close your eyes and just feel. And sometime, somewhere when you least expect it, this will come back to you.

It’s inconvenient sometimes.  This reminder of the past.  The morning after, you stand in front of the mirror and touch your lips, and you do not feel your fingers. You feel his stubble, his teeth nipping your lips lightly, the texture of his tongue on yours, and his lips. You run your fingers down on a bite and you don’t feel the blue and red skin. You feel his hands on your skin, marveling at the size of them, and the gentleness of them. And you see the slight down on the back of his hands, his hair, the faint lines near his eyes.

Another day, you are doing something else. Or maybe you are with someone else. And a moment happens, the images merge.

Hands, hair, lips, stubble, moments, feelings, sensation, touch.

Passing over

I am wondering. About dead relationships. Let’s take a scenario. A girl and a boy have a little fling. It reaches its end or is about to. Then they meet other people, through other people or through each other. This meeting of other people is fraught with danger. Especially if its a mutual friend. There are bound to be problems. Of course jealousy. But there is also a sense of finality which is not there in breakups otherwise. Which makes it sad. I think the only reason people would hunt so close to an erstwhile home is that they no longer consider it worth protecting. I hope this is not the case. I hope it is not that you are being passed from one shell to another with a beautiful relationship being buried. Otherwise, the wistfulness of life will disappear. The sedate waiting for a joy you know you deserve, the short fun, the belonging of a few minutes. I would not want to lose all of that to gain loose change. Sadly, the decision is not even mine to make.

A bottle of bleach, please.

Two types of addictive relationships.

One which gives you a buzz. This is the good one, comparatively. You have some fun. Noone gets hurt. And it gets over. Simply. Maybe not so simply. Sometimes you keep needing the high. You don’t know what makes it good, What makes it so much more fun. But you need it. If you’re unfortunate, you will never really realise that it’s a false high, and labour under the delusion that there might be something more underneath the purely physical. And, if you’re fortunate,you will labour under the delusion that one day, the need will simply go away. Either way, you drift until someone else takes the decision for you. It’s a sad kind of fun.

One which never really begins, never really ends. It’s the ex who keeps calling you, and getting you to say yes. It’s the friend whom you don’t really like anymore, but talk to anyway, because she knows too much about you. It’s the pair of jeans you keep taking out of the closet, and hoping that you would fit into this time.

All of them the same. Long lasting, frustating and barely worth the effort. No kind of fun at all.

That’s why the bleach.