Repeat

So it’s not you.
You’re not the one I’m going to curl up with under the blankets on the slow Sunday mornings.

You’re not the one that will dance around that oh-so messy apartment in some part of I-still-don’t-know-where-in-the-world with me, dressed in our work clothes.

You won’t bicker with me as we decide on how much sugar is just right for the spicy masala chai that we plan on drinking as we watch the rain.

You will never be the person who gets along with my best friend almost as much as I do (funny, because you are the one whose glasses she wants to punch off at the moment).

You won’t be the one to stay, even when I push against my walls, trying not to let them collapse, trying not to let you in.

You just won’t be the one I bring home to the dyfunctional mess I call a family.

So, for now, I’ll just repeat the words I always tell everyone, the words that have been echoed so much that I forgot whether they were true or not, the words that you took for face value, not bothering to check if they were true or not.
It’s fine.

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“Will you do this for me?”

“Yes.”

The first evening, the first book. The cracking steps of a dusty campus building, weighed down by the stifling Sun. One voice reciting, in smoothly flowing Tamil, and echoing in English, the story of a crooked sage who dreamed of writing of a war that ended everything. The other silent, listening raptly.

The next, on a rainy morning, the second book. The iron-wrought balcony, and two black coffee mugs, steam spiralling into the nothingness. Through the muting sound of rain on everything, the first voice speaking of the dejected princess, her longing for revenge, and the beginning of the end. The second, listening, enthralled.

Then, the third book, as they sat beneath the sprawling banyan, as the mela existed in constant motion of color around them. In between bites of chaat and sips of buttermilk, the first voice, describing the tale of an unfortunate brethren, turned against each other by the deeds of their fathers. The second, listening.

The fourth book, on a summer afternoon. The sunlit grassy courtyard of a stark white colonial building, remnant of a chained and enslaved history, under the free open cloudless sky. A platter of mangoes between them. The first voice reading out some familiar age-old love story that was destined to end in sombre seperation. The other listening to the first, looking, but not seeing, the sky above, feeling a strange pleasant unease.

The saga does not end there, but the distance does.

Poet

She wanted to write stories.

She wanted to have such a vivid imagination that she would be able to conjure up even the most absurd of scenarios in seconds, and then express them with strings of words that just made sense.

She wanted to write about girls and boys, men and women, going on adventures, facing challenges, falling in love. She wanted to live vicariously through her brain children, and still let them be their own people. She wanted to give a voice to the many souls living in her head. She wanted to write stories like the ones that made her fall in love with reading.

But she couldn’t. The souls in her head spoke to her without voices, and she was always bad at translating feelings into speech.

She tried. She picked apart each emotion, cut them to tiny helpings, turned them into words, and stringed those words together.

It didn’t make grammatical sense, but it was beautiful, and the souls were happy.

It was poetry.