My earliest memory is that of when I was three or lesser years old. It probably was my first day at school. I was clinging onto S’s hand and refusing to let go until she showed me a little kid inside and said she had a lollipop and that she’d share it with me. And just as I stepped in and the doors closed behind me, I realized she hadn’t, and when I saw S through the grill of the window so far away, I started crying. But she just waved back.
Fast forward. One day in the month of December, I released E out to the trees because that’s where squirrels belong. We’d taken him in when he was a tiny baby who had fallen off his nest during a storm. But that day, I watched him as he lifted his body from my hands, leaped onto the closest branch, and skittled away to never return back, ever.
On the last day of school, I looked at all the people who’d stayed together with me for the longest time of my life. Nostalgia hit back and the thought that I’d never find them in the next classroom I’d step into, was devastating. When the last bell rang, it felt like the end of everything.
When it is said that time is relative, I sometimes think how it relates to some people and some things moving on faster than the others.
Maybe that’s the reason why forevers aren’t the same for everybody.
When it comes to airports, I’ve been to more departures than arrivals. The people I’ve met later are always lesser in number to the memories I’ve made with those who have left. I’ve been to enough funerals to think of my own. And I’d say so despite how dark that sounds.
Because I’m told, that everything in the world eventually leaves. And as much I’ve seen it happen, it scares me to think I believe so.
They say there are two types of people in this world. The ones that get over their grief and move on and the ones that descend into some sort of endless misery. Life’s taught me plenty of things. I wish I will have learnt enough to say goodbye at the end of it.
Today I caught myself absent mindedly humming the tune of my father’s favorite song. It was so sudden And so hurting That it felt more like an accident Than a borrowed melody. I had to stop halfway to see if I was still breathing. My father and I do not talk. My father and I live in separate countries, in desperate homes we’ve built out of ease. There is an endless threshold of silence between us, a flowing river of breath that splits our territories apart, that I wouldn’t dare cross. Not because I’m scared, Not because I cannot, but just because I’ve been there once and I’ve been back too. Believe me, I’ve waded, swam, fought through these cutting waters and reached his bank quite a couple o’ times alright; through bleeding wounds old and new; And those I didn’t know existed. And do you know? Unknowingness always brings about with it a discovery, a discovery that sounds like a song stuck in your head. And when you visit someplace with hopes of being welcomed and all you get is resistance, you want to go back home no matter how desperate it is. When you enter a distant land you enter it like a distant memory you enter like a tourist. Where do you go when you have nowhere to go? When I reached his country my father was taken by surprise. Or terror? I do not know. It was too sudden for him, probably a little too early. When I entered my father’s country, I did not know the language, which is to say I entered a strange land unarmed. In crisis like this, all you can do is try and read in people’s eyes what they expect of you and when I tried to read my father’s eyes I learnt that they were not expecting me to come; Wounded. Leave, is what I did. But you don’t leave a place without a memory to live by. And my father, he gave me a weapon as a souvenir. I took it without a word and cut the water on my way back. I cut my back on the back waters. My father gave me something that I could harm with, something that I could use to inflict pain. Father I do not know what you wish, I do not intend to know, but hear me out, even if you don’t want to listen; Some girls see their dad as King Some dad’s see their girl as Princess But you are my father, And I am but your daughter; We only see this battlefield in front of us A matter of courage, fear and principles But it has taken me all my love to go to go to war For you? Without you? I do not know. You see? Some little girls, Eventually learn to become Queens. With great power comes the will to destroy; But I use this weapon for defence. I only know how to protect. So I will sing your favourite song, And this time It will sound like a war cry. Do not silence me, Father. You don’t understand I only want to build a bridge with everything they’ve killed inside of us.
I’ve been thinking about variety in similarity. About how things can be synonymous to each other but different in their own way. For instance, the string that is used for flying kites isn’t ideal for tying up a paper package. The yarn that can be knitted into a sweater isn’t the same one that can sew up and embroider a wedding dress. The twine that can hold papers together does not qualify for suturing up a wound. There are ropes for mooring ships and there are lines for drying clothes. The former for securing weight, the latter for carrying some. Small and long and thin and plump. Strong and weak and somewhere in between. Some for this and some for that. Some this, some that. And yet, they’re all part of the thread family. They’re all of some purpose. Altered, and yet, each contributing a cause. Each identified for what it can do and given a responsibility per se. Every stitch and every knot, just as essential. Every twist and every weave vital on its own accord. All these threads with their varied colors and strengths and stories. Each given the importance and recognition it deserves. And I wonder, what would happen if people could be perceived this way too? What kind of tapestries would we be?
A little past midnight, when bee asks me if I’m happy, I’m tempted to spill the beans the traditional way. If bee hadn’t been so close, I would’ve settled with a lazy laugh. But that’s just a worse case scenario because in a time where people are busy living their own lives, nobody is conscious enough to question about happiness. When people have enough on their plate already, they may forget to check on what the others are getting. But it was bee. Bee who didn’t question my ‘yes’ like she knew. Knew what I knew. When there’s common knowledge between two people, and a proximity so intense that only a mere cell phone separates them, they eventually feel the connection of knowing the same thing. When you’ve known something for so long, and have protected it all this while, it’s natural to think you’d still hold it so. But it doesn’t always work that way. With the threshold of having hidden that knowingness and a piercing silence at stake, it is hard to cook up and serve fresh, a false story to a stranger as much as it is difficult to deliver, to a known friend. Yes it is easy to complain about life, it’s easier to come up with excuses,to keep ready blame tactics. When the questioner looks like they already know the answer, one is compelled to give it to them as such. But all these rules collapse when it comes to her. When she asks me if I’m happy, she does not expect me to explain my reasons and I know this. It’s her afterall. Bee who knows, who has always known. Mutual knowingness is, in a way, an unspoken blessing in our relationship. Bee and I share our gossip, and finish our conversation in a comfortable silence. We’re satiated, and it’s quiet, and we’re happy, and we know. Name a better combination, I’ll wait.
Before you know it,you’re turning twenty-five Panicking about life And there are nineteen Year olds going to Ivy league schools And ex-classmates In college who look Like they’ve already figured out How they’d want to retire And girls your age Whose hair still has The perfect bounce Their manicured hands As soft as petals And suddenly You’re caught in a Rat race, where everyone Is competing for Gold medals : Well paid jobs Foreign degrees Perfect spouses A house you own Traveling the world And two babies before you’re 30 And there you are Stuck Wondering if you’re doing enough Or worse If you’re even living enough. You think that Just because You couldn’t study abroad like your junior did, or brag about your accent like your cousin does, that if you don’t have a job that you worked hard for or backpacked around Europe with your friends while you were studying, That you’re living under a rock That your life isn’t fulfilling or real Unless you do everything that kids from your school and college are doing now You’ve always got this fear that you’re not doing enough with your life because ever since you were a kid you were told to bring home gold medals and ever since you went to school you were told you weren’t less than a boy and ever since you realized it wasn’t all that simple you were told to hustle as if time was running out and that you hadn’t already done enough Do you think people like us will ever learn to be satisfied? Or content? To tell our blood to stop gushing so fast through our hearts? Thumping to do more? And more? And just bloody more? Or will we sit in our graves After we’re dead And pull out our achievements and certificates and pay checks, Finally be content? That we’ve done enough. Finally calm our minds That we’ve fullfiled our father’s wishes? Or will we realize now After we’ve read this rant That the only thing that Matters That the only thing that will ever matter After you’re dead is If you were a good person And if you were loved.