How do you begin to write about love when you’ve been a cynical romantic for ages? It’s almost funny because writers would romanticize every damn thing in the world only to bleed poetry out of their ink. But love? It’s so heavy I can barely type the word and so non-existent and probably only in our heads. This might be coming from an emotionally deprived person but what the hell, love is still very much a fictional tale.
It’s a vicious cycle if we come to think of it – at our young blossoming age, we start to learn the basics and grasp the idea of love by adapting the bits from our surrounding and that defines it. We gradually grow into these individuals curating our own thought process around it, now you do have a little more than the basic knowledge. Suddenly you’ve turned 18 and you find yourself making a list of what love should look like, the necessary qualities that they absolutely must have, what they should smell like, how you expect them to dress. Amidst all this, it never dawns upon you that the apparent love you’re looking for, is busy preparing another list that you perhaps don’t quite fit in. So, you get your heart broken, have your idea of love shattered and list tore to pieces because what’s the point of anything anymore?
But then walks in another person and with every bit of uncertainty, you give them a chance to make a list for you. You give them an opportunity to just be. Turns out they are all the things that you ever wanted from your 18-year-old list, but you’ve outgrown that self now. You no longer feel relevant with your past version and you still try with every ounce of your energy to feel the love you’ve always wanted. But, how could you? It doesn’t serve you anymore.
And in between all the chaos of finding true love and ending up as a heartless wreck, when exactly do you know it is love and not just another unknowingly selfish act to feel the need of belongingness?
“A Cosmopolitan for the lady, and I would fancy a Hot Toddy on a Tuesday” he said smirking at my completely judgmental face. It was our fourth day in a row and him experimenting seventh cocktail at this bar, pretty obvious how our math went wrong there (hint: he MIGHT be an alcoholic) – I stayed loyal to my Cosmo nevertheless because who likes change right?
At times, we would lose the count of drinks and more often than not forget to eat dinner altogether all between our perpetually engrossing conversations about anything and everything ranging from what an amazing show Breaking Bad was to talking about my typically boring train ride.
As the night turned darker, lights suggestively dimmer and the music shifted to a more of an R&B Jazz – I sipped onto my drink, a relatively larger gulp sensing a bit of an awkward tension between us. He seemed to be grooving and tapping his shoe to the rhythm, maybe it was just me? But that’s when I felt the bottom of his foot feeling up mine under the table, going about his way up my leg, until I was too shy to look him in the eye.
Moving his fingers slyly by my wrist, he asks “If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” With one and half a Cosmo down and his face full of anticipation, I’m sure he expected me to return with some hopeless romance dripping from my mouth but without giving it a second thought I blurted “Ladies room, I think I need to use the ladies room.” To which he laughed his charming laugh and gestured me to show the way to one.
Upon my return from what seemed like a good ride to the bygone days – coincidentally it was still a Tuesday with an even darker night, dim lights and Frank Sinatra playing on the jukebox. Except you’re not here. You’re in another city with another woman dancing to another tunes drinking another cocktail. I bet she knows just the right words to say at just the right time.
Nudging me into reality, the bartender asked me for the second time “Should I make you the usual Cosmopolitan?” I turned to him with a smile and shook my head saying “Make me a drink strong enough to unlearn the two years of my life …and make that on the rocks, please.”
How long was I going to stay loyal to my Cosmopolitan now?
I’ve been circling about the same old centrepiece stationed in this ancient household for some time now. I can’t seem to change the track of where and how I’m going, like it’s involuntarily deciding my pace. There are some woeful noises coming from across the bedroom. I can’t lie, it sure petrifies me.
I keep tapping fingers on my thigh as I complete another round, my heart only pulsating harder with every increasing tone of sound. And to add to my annoyance, there’s this flickering street light that won’t keep shut like it’s onto something mysterious. Probably unravelling a story of its own.
I think I like this house better in the daylight, when the hopeful dawn falls upon my book shelves first and kisses me morning after. But the night sky has my tranquility lost in these dim lit streets, like it was never meant to be to start with. I give in to the horrifying screams and let them consume me only to have the dawn kiss me next day. It didn’t quite feel right, the process I kept following for the sake of my sanity. But who is to decide?
I finally lie down on the creaking bed and stare at the ceiling like it’s suppose to have answers to my questions. I keep looking, just in case. My bedside clock says 02:44 AM and with every amplifying sound of its ticking, my anxiety keeps taking a toll on me by its reminiscence of distant nostalgia. The walls start to seem like they are closing on me with a montage of memories playing on them. The room next to mine was still in a chaotic cacophony alarming every sense of my being. The cries got louder in time. “Does it ever go hush?” I ask myself almost sobbing.
Turning to my window with curtains slyly moving for me to sneak the sight of crescent, like we had a lot to catch up on. It spoke to me of stars and ocean and I returned the conversation with my terrifying notion. The grumbling kept triggering me and no matter how hard I tried, my door wouldn’t shut on them. The situation seemed to have gotten out of hand, but when has it not? Learning it the hard way every night, my home doesn’t quite fit the idea of happy place that they refer to. This house has never seemed right to begin with, I should’ve never bought this place.
But what could I possibly do with all the thoughts in my head if not build a home for them?
Whilst the captivating winter wind crept inside the bones of my body, my heart kept crying for the warmth and healing like it had been in stone cold pieces, only rhythmically beating somehow. The icy zephyr swaying from the northern regions gently touching my face and making me reminiscent about the agonising odes I’d recited for my lovers. It distressed me to hear painful mourns about dramatic separation. For all the handwritten letters on a sepia toned paper had a piece of my heart and the scented candles that now don’t scintillate the way they used to. Winter has always had a tinge of melancholy in the air, in my point of view. No matter how tough a guy you are, it all sort of dissolves under a hooded cloak when the freezing wind passes by. It makes you realise the tranquility of the moment and the fading away of a strong exterior. It’s almost like an irony, a freezing weather to melt your soul from an emotional war. I, on the other hand, share a comfortable silence with my emotions and like to keep it hush and low till I’ve reached the extremity. However, the frost at night and the midnight moonshine have been suggesting me a vulnerable approach. It always catches me off guard at 2 am when I sip on this mocha and smack my lips, while I listen to the old jukebox playing one of the greatest Elvis Presley. This is how winter screams comfort to me in the most casual way. Indulged in the peacefulness, was also a tingling in my belly of the aches that my dear had given me when I first saw him. My heart had subconsciously prepared to dive into a garden of nothing but hopeful affairs of our being. I couldn’t keep my feet off the ground as the cold grass touched the back of it and sent me shivers all over. I was smitten by the sight of him. I could hear my heart smiling big this time. It was the coldest season of the year, but I had learnt to love again in the basking warm winter sunlight.
There is no other way to put it but I have changed. If I had to go back in time, I wouldn’t change any bit of it. Because I’m sure, the puzzle of my life would eventually fall in place. All that seems like a state of disarray right now, will turn into a life with less chaos, I hope. These two years couldn’t be better described as a rollercoaster ride for me. A journey of melancholic state of mind to sheer contentment within no seconds. But isn’t it the uncanny paradox of life after all? From a naive little woman who lacked confidence and wisdom to a strong headed and slightly extrovert person that I’m now, you could say a lot has changed over time but except for the fact that I’m still little. Although jokes apart, twenty years of life are supposedly enough to give you hell lot of experiences and in time I have learnt. I’ve met people that I wish I hadn’t and prioritised them more than they deserved. But again, I’ve also been a sassy and mean fuckin prick to people. I’ve been sad in a bar that was blaring loud music but all I could think about was how did it happen to me. But again, I’ve also drank excessively too much and danced with people I don’t know of, so that I could forget my mere existence. Which I should suggest is a solution to most of my problems, alcohol. I’ve been in an unrequited love and it has been exhaustingly saddening. But again, it has taken the most out of me and I won’t regret it one bit. I hate the fact that I make no time and effort to write poetry anymore, because honestly it was the only good thing in my life. But again, I’ve started living and going out more while connecting with new people and I’m clearly not apologetic about it. Sometimes you wish you could write your own story and make it happen the way you want. But again, a monotonous life is not too surprising and who wouldn’t like bit of a change every now and then?
I remember sitting in the car, clenching my fist, holding onto the passenger seat as firmly as I could. It wasn’t really out of sadness alone, but mélange of emotions ran into my mind at that instant. There was barely any distinct thought prevailing in my mind. Everything mostly started to fade away into the traffic lights and car horns, as my eyes witnessed a blurry vision. My heartbeat was faster than usual, only hoping the news I’ve been told is false. “We’re here”, my uncle said as he drove us right outside the hospital. I didn’t want to get in. I didn’t want to know the truth. I’ve always been a person who would rather ignore an unfavorable situation than face it. But here I knew I couldn’t run away and had to face it all, come what may. Whilst I was walking to his room, my eyes were already beginning to produce tears and my palms induced sweat. It was a tranquilized ambience in there. Though I was engulfed in my own gushing emotional storm that was inside me. From the main entrance to the room he was in, felt like the longest walk of my life but the distance wasn’t getting any shorter. It had to end somewhere. I reached the door with my trembling hands and opened it. There he was, lying so much at ease one could hardly tell. I could feel myself getting numb to the situation. My father was the strongest and the greatest man I knew. How could something so dreadful happen to a person as great as him? I lost him. I could see him and say that he wanted to talk to me. Talk to me about his unsaid feelings, love for his daughters, his last words to me. But if only that was possible. As I looked at his impeccable face, nothing but a walk through memory lane turned more visible. I drove that bicycle without any fear for I knew he had my back and for all that times I fell in the abyss of nothingness, he pulled me right back to the reality. He was the man who got everything best for her daughters, spoiled them with endless luxuries and what not. Motivated me through the difficult times and supported me no matter what. All the little surprises for my birthday which were not so little, all the expensive tours and the happiness that came along, all the jovial moments spent with you is something I’m going to cherish forever. “Are you okay?” a person asked me disturbing my nostalgic state of mind. How was I ever going to be okay? That’s my father on the deathbed. The occurrence of a catastrophe like this is the last thing I’d ever expect. I was in tears by now but at this moment I knew I had to be strong enough to look after my family first. My mother and sister were shattered in tears. I held them both firmly in my arms, promising how everything will be just fine. It was 4 AM when all of this happened and it felt like the longest night had finally passed but the memories did not.
There lies your warm and fuzzy coat on the chair, which you once gave me during our tranquil walk to my home. I remember feeling nothing but the tenderness, the fragrance of your lusty cologne, the niceness that came along. And here I am, pondering over those nostalgic memories and wondering what went wrong. The feeling of desolation was on the verge of giving rise to moistness in my eyes. Twinge of regret started to build up in the back of my mind. I knew this was not the way it is supposed to be. The feelings were mutual, we were strong-willed when we determined that it was the end. The night never seemed this gloomy. Anyway, I go on and get a hold of the coat that was lying. “Goddamn“, I expressed myself with teardrop rolling down my eye, “It’s been 3 and a half years, why is this still so difficult?” I continued to hold it so close to my chest, that the rhythm of his heartbeat would resonate in my soul. I was sure, he deliberately left the coat for me and never asked back for his possession. He knew it would kill me later, but slowly. I gently caressed the hem of its sleeve, pretending the situation when we first met and you being in the same coat, holding your hand felt like I had the hold on the whole world in my hand and trust me, nothing felt better. The treacherous feeling that I go through now leaves me in a murky place of loneliness. Only if I could go back in time, I would never have made a decision and I would never have your coat alone.