The WWWA- PART TWO

Well for those of you who were deprived of the literary masterpiece that was the first part, here you go. I remembered about this thing while I was supposed to be writing a press release for school, of course, and since I had nothing else to do except for that report that was supposed to have been emailed 3 hours ago, the preparation for my 12th grade, the editing of a few articles for the school magazine, I figured I might as well give this one another shot. It might have been an ill-thought out decision. Feel free to tell me so in the comments (especially so if you disagree, a girl can’t ever have too much validation, wouldn’t you agree?)

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“My throne, of course, was usurped by the man down the street. He was a piece of work, that one. More tea?”

“Sure.” The pouring out of the hot beverage took a few comfortable seconds.

“You wouldn’t know it to look at him—in fact the very opposite, to be honest. He’d offer me lemonade every time I biked by his house—he had no children, you see.  My mother said it was a shame, he had the nicest eyes—and my father wondered what that had to do with anything. ‘Somethin’ wrong with his noggin’, he always said whenever I brought him up, tapping the side of his head and whispering. He seemed like a perfectly nice, normal man.”

“That is, until he usurped your throne?”

“Of course, until he stabbed us all in the back. Well, not all of us really. Just my dad and I”

“Why just your dad and you?”

“Well, my mum didn’t mind much really. She got the house in the divorce and the two moved in”

“Wait, I’m sorry, I must admit to being just the slightest bit confused?”

“Yeah, it wasn’t long before they got a baby with the ‘nicest eyes’—guess they didn’t go to waste after all”

“So your mum fell in love with the man down the street, left your dad, took the house in the divorce and had the man’s babies with the nice eyes?”

“Yes. He said I could drop by for lemonade anytime and for as long as I want”

“Well, as long as you get a lifetime’s supply of lemonade…”

“Yes I know, not that great a deal. Biscuit?”

“No, thank you. But I don’t understand, how did your mom–?”

“My mother was home a lot and my father…was not. That man, on the other hand, was.”

“Well that sounds like quite a bit of a story actually, would you mind going into just a little bit more detail?”

“Well that’s really all that was to it. No whirlwind romance, no clandestine meetings. He was the slightly mental neighbour with the nice eyes and she was the attention-starved, bored house-occupant. That story’s a bit played out, don’t you think? Practically every other child’s mother has left them for the nutty neighbour.”

“Well—”

“What, didn’t yours?”

“I think I might want that cookie after all—and no, not really.” What followed next was the handing over of buttery baked goods out of chipped, china plates.

“Well anyway, after that we moved in with my grandfather.”

“The one who was killed by a pair of dice?”

“Yes the red ones with the black dots”

 

Yours Truly,

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A Cliche Shaped Hole In The Universe

It’s a little thing that sets it off.

A tiny ripple setting off a tidal wave;

wave after wave after wave of hate.

 

But see the thing is, you have to stop. At some point, you have to stop and be kind because no one else will. So, at an early age you learn to do without. You learn to do without the words of encouragement or support when you can’t ask for them but need it most;  to do without their seals of approval because sometimes they don’t get it—they won’t get it—and it’s not their fault, or yours—some things are just unfortunate like that; to do without the need to talk it out or let it out,

the need for a presence.

And eventually you stop needing those things. Maybe that makes you seem insolent to others; cold, unfeeling.  But it took you a lot of time to deal with the disappointment of not having those things when you mustered up enough of you to feebly ask for them; it took you a lot of time to learn not to need those things, so it’s okay. It’s not their fault, you know that so you don’t blame them or resent them for it. They can’t help the way you turned out.

You learn to be enough for yourself, to be your own support system, to have a mini-you bouncing around in your head doing headstands and shaking pom-poms to lure you into a sense of stability and confidence. You become your own person, and you’re okay.

More than okay.

But like I said, tiny things set it off and out pours the hate. All the chips and cracks  widening into gaping chasms full of loathing. So, so much loathing its pathetic. And you sit in your pool of pathetic  and breathe in the fog and choke and gag, all the while the loathing gathering in momentum. And then it slams into you, the gigantic blob of inky dark exploding all over the walls, seeping into your fractures and settling in deep. And you hit yourself and slap and kick and punch, trying to get it out, but only succeeding in bruising yourself. You stop to take a breath.

And then you think hey, maybe you deserve it. You’re such a cliché.

So you drill in deeper into your bones,  create new chips and cracks and scratches that widen as the hate grows, the inky ball of dark getting bigger and bigger and heavier and inkier; hovering, waiting for the right time, the most devastating time to slam into you again.

But see the thing is, you have to stop. At some point, you have to stop and be kind because no one else will. You are enough. This is your skin and your bones and your blood coursing through your veins.

And then you prop up mini-you again, and pluck out all the knives you stabbed through her heart and dust off the glass pieces from the bottle you smashed into her skull; you wipe off the blood and the tears and the hate.  You apologize and she smiles and you’re okay.

More than okay.

Delightful!—she yells out while cart-wheeling inside your head.

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Yours Truly,

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I Tell, Therefore You Are

But words are funny things. A snowflake melts into a drop, to then form an icicle, sharp and biting; a hailstone becomes a puddle; fine mist turns into heavy dewdrops.

I weave it into words and hope you understand.

But words are funny things.  A snowflake melts into a drop, to then form an icicle, sharp and biting; a hailstone becomes a puddle; fine mist turns into heavy dewdrops.

I give you something concrete to inspect, all the while forgetting that the hands do the moulding, and in yours they might become something else altogether.

I tell you my story and you shape it into yours and that sounds like an accusation but it isn’t how I mean it–I don’t mind, it’s what I do too with yours—it’s what we all do.

I weave it into words and pray you don’t understand.

Because that would mean you know, to some extent, you know and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Certainly not on you. I don’t want you to nod your head and agree or blink away a tear and say you know what it’s like. That would mean you actually do; that you failed to mould it into something better and saw it for its raw, whimpering ugliness writhing in the dry sand.

I weave it into words and wonder if that’ll help me forget.

If fishing it out and hanging it outside will mean it’ll fade away as the sun rays caress its every crease.  All it does is make it seem brighter,  because once I have jailed it inside these letters, restricted it to the semi-colons and asterisks and defined it in paragraphs, I have given it form and then it’s not so bad. It becomes a little less powerful. And with every re-modelling it goes through due to its entire existence being dictated by a dictionary, it grows even weaker.

Except for those times when I hear you say you understand. Because then that means you haven’t held it, but seen it from a wary distance—that you have no need to come closer and extend the palm of your hand because you’ve had it slither around inside your veins and are all too familiar with what it’s like. In those moments it is not relief I feel because someone finally understands but fear due to the fact that others have fallen victim and hence many more probably will. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

Least of all on you.

Yours Truly,

Simran

 

PS. Title: Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale.

And Her Eyes Knew Not Ever Again Another Song

In the depressingly cliché setting of a warm summer evening lighted by tiny yellow fairy lights hanging off of trees, you and I started on something.

We started out normal enough: girl meets boy. Strangers made something more because of a mutual love for terrible puns and cheesy one-liners. In the depressingly cliché setting of a warm summer evening lighted by tiny yellow fairy lights hanging off of trees, you and I started on something. A chapter that would halt all the others and trap us, blissful and unaware, on a carousel forever turning; its headache-inducing music drilling into your skull, dull and permanent, as your eyes moved from vibrant reds to bright yellows to mellow blues and back to the reds.

Chaos and routine—not co-existing, but born of the other. Chaos in the routine. A routine chaos? I don’t know how that worked—how did we? It wasn’t simply a case of fire and ice it was—we were—different, just different dimensions. Like a hard-boiled egg and a microwave. Immiscible. Non-functional.

But we were happy, weren’t we? God were we happy. The first few years simply a whirlwind of summer dresses and picnics and warm sweaters and movies and texts and birthdays and leaves. We thought ourselves so clever; unique. Scoffed at all the others. At the things crumbling all around us, so very sure it wouldn’t happen to us. Surely, not to us.

Of course not to us.

We didn’t burn bright. We were far too…true to be that. We smouldered: cosy and warm and for far, far longer. Laughs alongside the dark and twisty; hands clasped unconsciously, somehow just forgetting to let go. I looked at you, convinced this was it, and you did the same. It was just so very easy to think this destiny. Neither of us believed in all that idealistic hogwash but somehow, during those late nights, we almost did. It seems stupid now and to be honest it did then too but we didn’t care. It was cheesy and delusional but it didn’t matter. This was it for us.

I wish I could say there was a moment it all went downhill. A moment I looked into your eyes and didn’t see the same things; a moment where standing next to you stopped being comforting and right. Some period in time where I stopped telling you all of me. But I can’t, because none of those things have happened. We haven’t gone downhill, but…

There’s a ‘but’ that wasn’t there before. A hesitation so out of place with us.

We dissolved slowly and loudly—and yet it went almost unnoticed. Almost. We fought against it, didn’t we? We did, we fought so hard and for so long. And when we couldn’t fight anymore it turned out we couldn’t just let go either. Hands still simply forgetting to let go. And so we sit in the carousel, looking at the lights, at the reds and yellows and blues, at the cold night sky and the stars sprinkled across. Some days you look at me and I see it again and some days I look at you and you see it again. And some days it’s just the empty carousel, spinning.

Stagnant. Forever only the possibility of salvation.

Yours Truly,

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An Apology to All the Things I Never Said

silence

There’s something about silence. Just, just stopping for a minute and not saying anything or preaching anything or relaying anything. It hits me hard from time to time—sometimes several times in a day; mid-conversation my lips close down for a while, just like that. Of course that’s not polite so I do try to resist it, try to force the words out, finish the sentence, but then I give up knowing it’s futile.

There’s something poetic about things not said, thoughts and witticisms kept to yourself, the decision made at the very last minute, barely managing to avoid saying it out loud. I suppose it’s odd to witness that. I look up and see the person and open my mouth to say something but then I just…can’t. So I close it back down after repeated attempts at forming the words and bask in the sense of relief and comfort that gives me. I’m not a quiet person. I laugh loudly and shout out random things with no regard for the peace of mind of those around me. But then I have these moments, where I just don’t want to.

There’s a beauty in silence. Secrets, small and inconsequential, held close for no other reason than for the sake of a secret. You don’t intend for it to be one, in fact your mouth begins to form the words and you have every intention of saying it out because it’s a simple every day sentence but then something takes over: a blanket, cold and exhausting and you fight it for a minute and then realize you like it. It’s kind of perfect.

There’s something strange about silence. You’re drained in a second and just can’t speak and the mere act of not speaking makes things brighter. It’s like taking a break from all the words spilling forth, taking your voice out of the millions floating about—it, it has this sense of joy. It seems silly, I know. And I don’t know whether I’m making any sense to you, but there’s just something about silence. Not necessarily a long one, but just a minute or two where you just stop and don’t. It seems so obvious–just not speaking–but in that moment of unusual silence you realize it’s not a thing we do.  We don’t not say things—we have to force ourselves to not say things. Why is that? Why is there this need to say it all? Small things about the temperature of your coffee or the pebble in your shoe, the homework you didn’t do and the chirpy ‘how do you do?’ Why would we want to say those things? But not saying them seems…weird? Why not say those things—those things are meant to be said. But we never know if they actually are. It comes naturally to us: babble on about new movements and trips and families; say hi and launch into a conversation. I can do that when I actually do manage to fight against the need for silence. I’m a talkative person and I give off hyperactive vibes. I was a hyperactive child—I never shut up, buzzing from this place to that, questions after questions. Maybe that’s why I like my silences.

There’s something transient and perfect in not saying things. I can’t explain it, it’s just this feeling. This wondrous, overwhelming feeling arising from something so mundane. It seems normal and obvious to not say things, really there’s nothing new or ground-breaking to it when you think about it. But we don’t think. We speak. About small things or earth-shattering epiphanies, things you just have to say out loud.

I like my secrets. They’re not secrets but they are things I don’t tell people. Normal things I mean to tell somebody become secrets while I’m in the middle of telling them. The blanket comes over and I open my mouth and look about strangely and just stop. I don’t suppose I make sense right now

But there’s something about silence; about little words kept to yourself, deep within your heart. Words that you otherwise wouldn’t, but then snatch up in that moment and hold on to them because you like the way the sun glints off of them or the echo they make in your head.

Tiny secrets, salty and light and crisp—like sea breeze and the crunch of dried leaves.

Yours Truly,

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Half Sentences

Half sentences

When it came to the big stuff, he dealt in half sentences. Intense thoughts diluted with the subsequent, unnecessarily common ‘uhh’s and ‘you know’s.

But then there were those days. The times when he did put it all out there. I could see of course that it wasn’t easy for him. He made faces and weirdly funny noises like some sort of a warm up before slowly, painstakingly, spelling it out for me, because of course every time he said ‘well, you know…’ like some sort of explanation, I didn’t know. And said as much while shooting him an amused, confused look.

Other times he would say it all with a straight face, like he was up on a stage doing a part, simply parroting off dialogues. Of course that wasn’t what he was doing, but I suppose it made it easier for him to pretend he was. When eventually he couldn’t pretend anymore and became self aware, he’d immediately look down, or straight ahead—anywhere but at me—until he was back to being on stage. Sometimes I’d laugh and that would break through the detached stage thing and he’d look at the table, or at his hands on the table or straight ahead if we were walking, or stick his tongue out and make funny noises as some sort of a get-it-together!-mechanism.

Of course I hadn’t noticed any of it until he pointed it out—that he couldn’t not look anywhere else when telling me something like that. I hadn’t given it much thought until he mentioned it. Adorable from someone who was always (and annoyingly so), always so sure of himself.

When it comes to the big stuff, I deal in half sentences too—if at all. It isn’t like me to say things. I prefer writing them down. That way it’s easy to erase them, tear it up and pretend it never existed in the first place.

I think he knows that, I don’t know.

Yours Truly,

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You Remember the Bad

“Because you’re it. The inconvenient, frustrating, annoying, terrible, inappropriate, wonderful thing. You’re my stupid book”

Possibly the lamest,  cheesiest thing to ever have been said but he said it with that almost unnoticeable head tilt, his eyes widening slightly at the things he seemed to be involuntarily blurting. She snorted, brushed it aside–ever so sure he absolutely, definitely didn’t mean it, or didn’t understand exactly what it meant himself—and bit into the apple before quickly grabbing her books and heading for class, throwing a ‘see you later, you delusional git’ his way while chuckling all the while.

She didn’t notice the way he slumped, dejected, and he would never find out about that beat her heart skipped when she allowed herself to believe him for a brief second.

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“So remember that book Helen gave me last week?”, he sighed, closing the physics textbook he had been trying to morph into for the past one hour as she slid into the seat next to him.

“The one you haven’t shut up about in the past three days? And I thought you hated the author.”

“Well she normally writes such unbearable fluff, and I thought this one would be the same and if it hadn’t been for being stuck in traffic on the bus I wouldn’t even have opened it. But this one’s different. I kind of hate it for doing this to me”, she scrunched her nose. He laughed. It wasn’t that she was weird—pretty normal actually—she was just…she just expressed things in a certain way.

“You know it’s your own fault for being that prejudiced. And it’s okay to like an author you previously didn’t on principle” He didn’t understand why this was such a big deal.

“No, no it’s not that. It’s just…it’s inconvenient. The book. It makes me laugh and creates lumps in my throat and forces me into being this emotional, crazy, psychotic lady who yells at fictional characters and smiles at full stops. I love books, you know that, but this one is different. It takes my brain and stuffs it into this tiny jar of overflowing hormones and emotions and chokes it in glitter and lathers it in grief and and and—”

“Geez, Gemma”

“No, you don’t understand. You remember that time in high school when we were talking about what we want to do in life and who we want to become? And I said that thing about wanting to mean something to someone? Not just as an important part of their lives or something, but like honestly mean something. Make them feel things they never planned on and give them absolutely no choice in the matter”

“Yeah that one was kind of disturbing actually…and that’s saying a lot when it comes to you. Had a slightly obsessive-clingy-psycho-stalker-girlfriend vibe to it”

She sent him a withering glance. “You know what I meant.”

“Doesn’t make it any less disturbing”

Moving on. My point is that’s exactly what the book did. I was so intent on hating it but I didn’t and that is very annoying. At the very least I had hoped to be indifferent. But if I read this in public, I start smiling stupidly, or cry a teensy-tiny bit and that’s what I want to be. I want to be like this book to somebody someday when I grow up. Just to be able to take their heart and rip it out and put it back together again but then shatter it even more painfully before gluing it back together. To affect someone enough to have that kind of hold over them. And for someone to have that over me too”

“You’re a very dramatic person, you know that?”

“Gah. I don’t know why I tell you things. Well I’m going to go and I think you have the physics test in two hours so all the best. Meet me at the park at 5; we have to go hunting for wild mushrooms”

“Why?”

“I’m curious as to what it’ll be like. Okay bye”

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“I don’t…I think it’s best if we just end it right now. We have all of these things we’re supposed to do and I don’t think either of us has any time for the drama. And that seems to be the only thing going on with us lately. And realistically speaking, we’re not going anywhere; there’s no future, really”

“So this is it? We’re done?”

“Nothing changes with you and me though. You’re still my best friend”, she was nervous and slightly scared.

He smiled, “Of course”

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“I’m not over it. It’s been 4 months and I’ve tried, all right? I have. It hasn’t worked. I’m not over it”

“Me either. But that doesn’t change anything. We’re not doing this. Give it time, I’m sure we’ll both be all right”

“Gemma, listen–”

“We can’t do this.”

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“—You’re my stupid book”

And she walked away because it’s easier to believe the bad stuff than to hope for the good

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Yours Truly,

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