Is this goodbye, then?
Her eyes searched for something in my face. And when she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she lowered her gaze, releasing a sigh she had been holding in.
A cold rush grips our memories, almost choking the life out of them. She stares away at the horizon. Time pauses, as I look at her cheek, the wind gently blowing a few strands of her hair. A calmness descends on her.
What a tragedy, she blurts out, breaking the silence which was neither heavy nor avoidable. Her attempt at bringing in humour during serious moments remained the same. It used to make me smile.
Well, I am glad that I got to know somebody like you. I see a disappointment pass through her eyes. It’s true. I repeated.
I would understand even if it’s not. Finally, a smile appeared on her face, but disappeared just as fast.
Those moments were the hardest to process. When you know it’s awful, but every bad thing surprisingly reminds you of the good, what it used to be. Like hunger for a precise taste, but you can’t figure it out since it has grown unfamiliar.
She takes the cab. I take the train. To different ways, different lives. And thus, we begin letting go.
As the door closes, I am moving again. The train leaves the platform and as its engine noise surfaces, I see the light slowly withdraw from its source. I think about the morning sun rays as they fall on my window, and I try catching them with my bare hands. Silly of me to think I could ever fit them into the cusp of my palms. They were fleeting, like every moment that encompassed us, vanishing into thin air.
But how often do we come to realise that each of those moments has been specifically personal to our own language, to our understanding? Bounded by worldly expectations, a need for a soulful connection, preserving it for the future; how do we decide the terms on which life moves forward? There is a distinct sound of the universe that makes your heart recoil, where you retreat from a possibility of chaos. To think of how, from that very universe which was formed out of a chaos, I found someone like her. I would run too much, breathe faster than usual, make myself wander more than often. Something had been chasing me. I didn’t know what it was then. Now when I think of it, maybe it was time.
I have tucked away so many folds of memories that each one decides to unfold itself in a manner that is not strange, but surprising. A denim jacket lies in my cupboard, untouched, which I wore when we met for the first time. To this day, I still find myself getting lost in her remembrance. I would be lying if I said it makes me travel back in time. Instead, I want to run, all the way up into those alleys where light does not reach. To hide with her in corners where these fatal worldly rules will not bind us. Where we are not meant to part because we aren’t powerful enough to control the wheels of our fate.
My wants were so, so small. How often did I come across the idea, and also, how people hinted at dropping that attitude, to stick to a standard, because I deserve the best. I gave in to it, but a small voice in my heart had put forth a question, that unless you try and learn, how will you know? Since then, there have only been questions regarding the idea of love. To seek for something that is right. I want to know what was right—being happy that I chose someone who liked me back, or letting go because I can only settle for something that can preserve my sanity. I let myself flow along with the current, taking what it gives me. Not asking for more. Even if I did, what difference would it make?
When the train follows into the dark tunnel, I think of you and surprisingly, you are here. That instance feels surreal. You are right here. And there is nothing else. Perhaps that is how it is. You and I, and a dark tunnel into the abyss. Maybe I should stop. Stop seeking for care that comes on the run.
My eyes wander across your face. There is a mole on your right cheek, another one on your neck. The distance between them is unbearable. I remember when we sat on your terrace under the sky, smoking cigarettes, and I had gently whispered, you look like a dream. And in that same instance, we noticed two stars in the sky. The distance between them is the same as the moles on your cheek and neck. Even if I could not touch the stars, I had touched your face. Traced the space in between them.
Perhaps during intervals when we fought, we both chose to stick to ourselves. We laughed even after being mad at each other. Perhaps, it wasn’t about choosing, but more about being. That we could just be without any hesitance. All I will ever carry with me are these, and some moments of our belonging to each other. When I whispered truthfully in your ears, I love you. When you believed my words and held me tightly against yourself. When there was a hope of not hiding anymore.
If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t write. And if it weren’t for you, I would have never understood this feeling without writing about it. So when we finally reached the crossroad, we didn’t exactly let go. It was rather a promise, to keep our existence immortal, even if we were away, far away from each other. To exist with you, your head on my shoulder, your sighs, your breath on my neck, was the mass and matter enough to build another universe itself. Everything emerges from a chaotic core, and this isn’t the first time a galaxy had collided into another to change its form.
You left a spot. It passes through everything, but never lets anyone settle. And nobody can see it. You are an experience of a forever that haunts; a ghost in my life.