• bluebird 90w

    Kindly refer to the first comment under this post, before reading me.

    ▪ tying a noose around my neck with your school ties ▪

    "You should have your dinner. I'll like some time alone. Please turn off the lights when you leave." I tell her after her constant nagging about postponing the arrangement of those green rice lights since the dinner was ready.

    She leaves, muttering on her way out, leaving a slit open in the doorway and allowing the essence lamp peek through. I can smell puffed lemon rice and curry leaves.

    I take my spot with ease, the cold marble floor against my ankles felt indifferent over my dead skin. Or maybe, it's become a habit now.

    There are no stars in the night sky these days, at least where I live. Even the clouds seem to have amalgamated into this huge mass of a patchwork above. Just like that black paint drop you spilled on my scholarship submission painting, smudging it away with your dirty thumb, leaving me with a grey, dirty patch, in life and in death.

    Across the street, there are buildings that haven't yet lit up their view, part of the excuse behind it's postponement. They reach out to the balcony; standing beside their stock of broken washing machines and old newspapers, uncovered air conditioners and dusted cardboard boxes; staring at my fiction, whispering amongst themselves, when they see me sitting in front of my glass door, for the first time without the curtains drawn.

    It's this peace that I'm looking for, as I let go of everything else, but you. Or perhaps, you're looking for me, letting everything go, but me. This is where you left me, a dark room, occupied by guilt so inconsiderate - my cold feet can't feel it's coldness anymore just because they're hanging at the same depth in a pool of memories that I try so hard to forget.

    My pyjamas seem to be an inch shorter after I cross my legs and my hair is always a mess these days. The room I was sitting in had this beautiful sheen from the green lights that blinked alternately, ridding me of the need to switch on the LEDs when I'm scared at night. And that pipe light, white and bright, could've made me visible from across the street. It's all so beautiful isn't it, darkness is just my nonexistence in the absence of that doorway slit. Perhaps you'd be so kind to leave me some fairy lights on, in case you wish to depart? In case you wish to disappear without goodbyes, please don't close the door all the way.

    "These loops you made with the lights, they're not symmetrical."
    "It was too short to complete the pattern."
    "Two bigger loops and a smaller one could've made it prettier."
    "Maybe I don't want it to be prettier."

    You emerge from the darkness, sitting on my right, hoping my knee didn't touch yours. I refuse to look at your face; because if I did, I'd probably have second thoughts about the arrangement of those lights. If I did, I'd wish for things to be prettier; prettier in your eyes.

    "It's nice here."
    "It is."
    "I didn't expect you to choose green."
    "I didn't. My father did."
    "I hope it doesn't hurt much, not anymore."
    "It doesn't if I tell myself that it can't."

    You smile and the nodding of your head fades towards your left.

    "You look beautiful."
    "Do I?" I act surprised.
    "I don't know; I'm you. I'm not him."
    "He would've said that I look beautiful, he would've lied." I chuckle.

    "You need to leave."
    "I never stayed."
    "You haunt my dreams."
    "Doesn't that feel good? It's finally somewhere we can be together. I touch you, gently, we hold hands and rest our foreheads together. Just like we used to. It's somewhere we can love each other and live everything the way we used to."
    "It's just memories. You're stuck in memories. I don't want to live the same memories back and forth."
    "Even if it's me?"
    "It's not you."
    "It's you."

    You try to hold my hand and I free it from your softened grip.

    "You're guilty of feeling happy when you dream of me."
    "I am."

    I wake up, with a feeling of betrayal. A feeling so obscure and pungent, it doesn't let me visit the mirror. I wake up and watch my hands that held yours last night. It's such a funny thought, to wrap you up in cloth and bury you in my dreams, every time the memory tape rewinds.

    Your hand reaches upto my face and pushes back my misfit hair. I smile, at the glass door, looking at my reflection, yet unable to find yours in it.

    "Maybe if you could have a reflection of your own, and maybe if I could see a smile through it, things would've been different."
    "That's all it takes?"
    "Maybe if you stayed, yeah."

    "Choose a memory."
    "What for?"
    "I suppose we have some time until dinner, don't we now?"
    "How about the time you noticed how I was a really quiet little girl in my first grade, so you came to my bus seat and started troubling me?"

    ▪ 15 minutes from my bus stop ▪
    "What's your deal? Why don't you speak anything?"

    I shrugged my shoulders, one of my braids light enough to flow with the wind from your window.

    "Do you want to play something?" You asked me, pinching the sleeve of my shirt and I pulled it out of your grip. Your eyebrows furrowed and you seemed to consider me a crazy child. I was younger; much more calmer and shy. With my bottle hung around my neck and my bag straps falling off my shoulders I prepared to ignore you.

    "Hey, do you?"
    "Okay." I nodded with my meek voice that not many people got to hear.

    "Let's make chapatis. Okay?"
    "Okay."
    "This is the dough. I took some of the dough. Roll roll roll, this is a ball. Now you make a chapati. No no no, that's not a round chapati. Do it again. This is the dough. I took some of the dough. Roll roll roll. This is a ball. Make one."
    I made a chapati. Perfectly round, perfect enough to please you.
    "Is this okay?" I tried to correct my bag strap.
    "Yes. Now this is the dough." You took some in your hand. "Roll roll roll," it was a ball, "now you make a chapati. Wait! Let's add some mint. Make it."
    It was a green one.
    "Roll roll roll, let's add some ketchup."
    It was a red one.
    And a brown one, a yellow one, a pink one, a white one.

    "You were the cutest little girl."
    "You were a mad lad, you dumbo."
    We are sitting across ourselves, making chapatis, stacking them, eating them in a rush. I giggled, you giggled.
    "I miss this."
    "You said you don't."
    "I don't miss you. I miss this. Ah, here comes my stop anyway. Look at him, my brother, he'd wake up, any minute now, knowing instantly that our bus stop was close."
    "You didn't even say goodbye to me."
    "You never even talked to me after this day. You were just bored and wanted to pass your time with me. Like you always did."

    The green lights showed a new pattern. Slowly dimming into darkness.

    ▪ tape #768
    I was standing there, right in front of the mirror, like a fool. Freeing the hook of my bra, with a still developing body, I observed the hair growth in my stomach. My hand racing down, along the birthmark that looks like a scar over my stomach, down into my pants. I removed my bottoms and stood there, naked, looking at what I found ugly.

    You were standing there, right in front of me, across the school playground, laughing about something you didn't bother to share with me. Your friends giggling and commending you, whispering abusive words and enjoying themselves. You were proud.

    "I wasn't."
    "You were proud."

    And I didn't know what it was about until later, when you left me those recordings and videos. I was standing there, right in front of the camera, like a fool. I removed my bottoms and stood there, naked, looking at what I found ugly.

    I found you ugly.

    The lights stop blinking. It is dark. Darker than I remember, so I look behind and find the door completely closed. Probably from the wind coming in from your window side.

    "You think you love him, don't you?"
    "I love him."
    "And me?"
    "I loved you too."
    "That's a relief."
    "I fell out of love with you. As a friend or even as a boredom killing human being."
    "Then why do you enjoy these memories?"
    "I don't. I saw you, being who I fell for and you were beautiful. So beautiful and I loved you and we lived those memories together. Every night. Every morning, after I woke up, I regretted even remembering what it felt like to touch you. I fell in love with this amazing man who loses his mind when he even thinks of something inappropriate about me, and throughout the night all I'm thinking of is you. Then it's the morning, where all my mind can comprehend is him. I hated myself for this, all of that, tried so hard to allow him inside my head at night. But you wouldn't let me go, would you?"
    "You've never even touched him."
    "Maybe that's what it is about don't you see? I'm so in love with him, it doesn't even matter if he's far from me anymore. I fell for him without him touching me, without him kissing me without my permission, without him being you.
    And then I dreamt of this. This crazy bully that you were and never a friend. I dreamt of this idiot that I was for drooling over you. For hating your touch but allowing you to make me believe that I was lucky. And I felt like a loser in my dream but then I woke up. I woke up and finally felt happy that morning. That morning, I won over you. You couldn't haunt me that night. And maybe that's a start."

    "That's all it takes?"

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    tying a noose around my neck with your school ties

    My yellow coloured shirt and my plaid skirt were out of order, ironed last night and my socks were grey, my shoes unpolished. I frowned smugly with my chubby cheeks and the black kajal around my eyes had watered down after I was scolded for breaking the dress code, wearing the wrong uniform on PE day.

    I didn't want to talk to you, an overactive child who didn't know when to stop talking. You were popular among the older kids while they always teased around with my cheeks. So I looked over to my brother, a senior by many years; with my signature eye glance; who was sleeping and snoring against the window. Apparently I had no choice but to answer you - someone who paid attention to me sharing his seat only after all other children had been dropped off from school.

    "Almost every night I dream of you, doesn't matter how hard I ask myself not to. Given up on every sadness of mine, but you."
    "Maybe I wasn't a sadness of yours."
    "Your death was."
    "You don't dream of my death. You dream of chapatis and songs and people teasing us around. You dream of rubbing your nose against mine. You dream of the tree house."
    "Maybe that's all that was good about you."
    "Then why do you regret it?"
    "I don't."

    "It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
    "It has."
    "Do you miss me?"
    "Quite the opposite actually; I want to miss you. But maybe, it's time to start forgetting your face."

    Your face, smudged, like the cloud mass above me. Beautiful still, yet I wonder if I ran my dirty thumb over it.

    It's all so beautiful isn't it, darkness is just my nonexistence in the absence of that doorway slit.
    But maybe, the loose plugs, if fixed nicely, make the evening more than beautiful.

    "Do you want to forget me?"
    "No, but maybe let me make some new memories. Maybe stop being my ghost of this past that I'm trying to let go, because you're the only part of it that was me. You were my everything and now it's someone else. Someone else can be my best friend and make those stacks of chapatis for me, make fun of my braids and that moustache I had. I don't love you anymore. I don't want to anymore. But there's no one to take your place, I promise. So just open the door for me as you leave, please?"

    Maybe I don't need to forget.
    Maybe I need some new tracks to play, some new memories I could replay.

    Maybe I want to choose green this time.

    Maybe I don't find myself ugly anymore. And this time, I don't need anyone to prove that to me.

    "Dinner's ready!"
    "I'm coming, let me fix the lights outside."

    ┬ębluebird