Like a pendulum
I watched my sanity swing back and forth
Hitting the four corners of these hypnotic white walls.
With each thud and each bang,
I heard it echo through the crevices and dark alleys of my mind
Passing whispers and taunts
Egging me to take one step closer to the dark.
I felt the last strings that held bits of me together,
break off and snap, as easily as I pictured my own neck would
on the nights when I saw my 10-year-old self
holding a doll in the corner, humming a tune I was no longer familiar with.
I wish I could hold on and stay for a little while longer
I wish cradling the past didn’t become a habit
I wish you were there for me.
Falling in love with you was like skinny dipping in winter
Falling in love with you was like
standing in the pouring rain
holding the key high enough
hoping to feel some sort of spark
some sort of electricity.
It was reckless
It was a suicide attempt.
Falling in love with you
was the only thing I felt good at.
– excerpts from a book I’ll never write.
I think I watched her a little too intently. I noticed how she lifted all her hair in a high ponytail and I was lost in a thousand moments, when I saw it swish from side to side as she walked down the path. I watched as she scooped a spoon full of rice and hold it mid-air, while her head swung back as she let out the loudest laugh in the room. I was hooked. I watched her eyes – packed with a 100 stories to tell, I watched as they fell upon mine. And in that instant, I forgot what breathing was.
You see there’s something very daringly risky about watching someone so deeply and so passionately. Sometime, someone else is going to notice you. They’re going to notice how your jaw hardens when she passes, and they’re going to notice how your eyes flutter and they’re going to notice that charming smile dances on your lips the second she walks in to the same room. They’re going to notice how you barely blink when she’s talking to you. Afraid that you’ll miss even the smallest second of her. And when that day comes, when someone notices, you’ll be in trouble. Because God forbid that person starts to notice those little things too. God forbid, that person starts to fall in love with those things. Then you’ll be done for. You will no longer have your little bright star. You will no longer have her. Even if it was only from a distance.
Despite what they tell you, despite what you’ve heard over and over; two broken halves don’t make a whole. Two broken halves never quite fit back the same way, even with the world’s best glue and tape. There will always be missing pieces, missing fragments that got swept under the sofa or lost between the floor boards. And my darling, we had lost so many pieces, growing up. We had lost so many fragments and pieces of ourselves in corners and clenched fists around world, that our two halves, never quite made a whole.
There’s this thing about loneliness. Once you get used to it, once you get good at it, it’s hard to go back from that. And for that, I am sorry. I could never be your whole, despite you desperately wishing that I was. Despite you desperately wishing that I could be.
You see, despite the lost pieces, I had made a whole by myself – gathering up pieces I thought I needed along the way. Gathering up pieces I didn’t think I needed, desperately trying to fix my own puzzle. When you came along, I thought maybe you were a missing piece, but you were your own puzzle. My darling, you were your own puzzle, desperately trying to find your missing pieces. And it killed you, that I wasn’t one of them.
I notice little things
a little too much,
I notice the smallest things about a person
a little too often
Like the birthmark at the corner of her neck
isolated and perfect,
my empty hand already writing stories about it.
I notice the jagged lines and dents on his forearm
creating valleys that I wanted to get lost in,
as he stirred his black coffee.
I memorized their rhythm
and just like a snake;
I was fixed in a trance watching his movements.
I notice things like
your off shaped tooth
or the funny scratch on your eye brow
I notice when your eyes twinkle
and when they go dim
I try not to on some days though.
But most days, I enjoy noticing things
I worry that you were one of the 61 that were killed.
I worry that maybe you were on that busy street
or just standing there, watching the world float by.
I worry that you might have been in the wrong place
at the wrong time
and that maybe, you were one of the 61 that were killed.
or one of the 79 that were killed last month
or one of the 500 killed that were killed this year.
I wish I knew if you were okay
I wish I knew if you escaped
just like you always wanted to
I wish I knew if you got out alive.
I counted his birthmarks against the dawn of a new day;
Pointing fingers at us
And whispering through the curtain
That were thoughtfully closed as we got in that morning
Or was it late night?
I traced his birthmarks with the tip of my index fingers
Slowly and gently
His body rose and fell in a rhythmic dance
My eyes began to study these movements
Memorising it as best as I could.
I drew a map from point A to point B
And then point B to C and back again to A.
Gazing at my new discovery at the break of light
I realised I wanted to be an astronomer
I wanted to study the galaxies between your shoulder blades
And take pictures of the gentle ragged outline of your spine,
Creating craters of lust and muscle.
I kissed each birthmark.
He stirred awake and turned around to face me
Eyes still closed, he let out a soft murmur
And fell right back asleep.
I will have to star gaze another night.