Here it is…

I never felt at peace when you were around. I wish I had. I wish every cell of my body hadn’t sprung to attention when you walked into a room. But they did. I tried to convince myself that it was the sadness in your eyes or the way you could actually make eyes feel like windows. I could almost swear you knew my darkest memories and that you held them close to your chest. There are all of these things I had to tell myself. I spun story after story, hoping that every word would somehow bring us closer. What’s worse is that now that you’re gone, there are all these things I remember. We were standing on a train. You were slicing a lemon for our tea. Your sad, dark eyes never strayed too far from mine. But none of that was enough. When you love someone – I mean, when you really love someone, it is impossible to keep those words to yourself. They must spill from your lips. Accidentally or incidentally. But it was possible for you to walk away from what we could have been. What’s worse is that you left all these ghosts in your wake. They trail like shadows. Even in a different country, I can feel your eyes and see the longing and despair. They were always in equal measure.

I tried to convince myself that you didn’t have to say anything, that I could find peace in stolen glances and half-smiles.

But love, the love I felt (and still feel), spilled from my lips. It could not be contained. You never could be had in doses. It was all or nothing.

That’s why it hurts. This silence. This life without you. There are songs I can’t listen to anymore. I swear, I try. I press play only to click pause. We danced on tiles. We danced on concrete. We danced on linoleum. I tripped over my own feet, wiped dark strands of hair away from my eyes to find your own locked on mine. I have tasted the salt of tears and sweat. I have leaned the back of my head against your blanketed legs and whispered, “You are perfect.”

All the while, I knew you were telling the truth when you said, “No, I’m not. I’m a fucked up mess of a person.”

I made excuses. I saw the beauty of who you are without the lies and shadows. But you are a totality, not a composition.

As for my heart, it still pulses hard and fast in the dead of night. I can almost swear I can reach out and touch you the way I never did when you were around. But we don’t need sad stories to be interesting. We just need to be real. And you never could be. Not enough or never at the right time.

 

 

Baking At Night

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I tend to bake when I’m feeling less-than. It almost always happens at night when everything’s quiet(er). I choose a song on my iPod. I press “Play”. Then I start mixing whatever is necessary to make what I want. I never used to do this. I used to think about it, dream about it, envision myself in a kitchen concocting. But I settled for the vision of myself in my mind. Maybe because I couldn’t be bothered. 

When my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, my fingers grew restless. So, I read. I read “Julie and Julia.” I read “The Book Thief.” I read whatever I could to take me out of my head. As I laid on that black futon, I kept thinking about banana bread. I always let my bananas get too ripe. They were just sitting on my counter. I put the book down and googled a recipe. That was the beginning of my baking at night. 

Tonight, as I made banana bread followed by sticky buns, it became abundantly clear why I bake at night. I am in control. If it tastes bad, it’s because of something did, something didn’t measure, something forgot to add. When my mom got sick, her fate was out of my hands. No matter how much I loved her or cared for her, it just wasn’t enough. That’s life. The important things tend to evade the constraints of our will. 

Sometimes I need to be reminded that even when things get a little crazy and I feel a little helpless, I’m still in control of something. 

 

DETAA

I picked up my car from the mechanic today. You want to know what it made me think of? Our fingers impatiently tugging at each other’s shirts and buttons, like if another moment lapsed before my skin touched your skin, we’d both self-combust. Let’s say we did self-combust, I try to imagine what that would have looked like, if the million pieces that I became would search for your million pieces. Would they have rearranged themselves in such a way that “I” and “You” became unrecognizable? God, I remember my mouth against your neck, teeth gently scraping. I remember the way you’d start to breathe heavier and heavier against my ears. I miss that. I miss knowing what you liked. I don’t miss you. I miss the girl who wasn’t afraid to see what was underneath that t-shirt, that glance, that zipper, those buttons. Now, I cringe and cower and close my legs and clench my fists. 

Remembering you makes me sad and I’m reminded of that Salinger quote, you know, the one at the end of that book: ““Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”

Fizzy things.

I love subtle moments, the kind of moments that aren’t supposed to be anything more than the passing of time but they end up being something more than that. I think that life is full of them, like tonight. I was waiting for the train and I tried to sit in a specific section but the doors wouldn’t open. I walked over to the other section and I sat down. After a couple of minutes, I looked over and saw the back of a friend’s head. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should go over and sit beside him. What if it wasn’t him? That’d be awkward. But I did and it was him and we talked until we arrived at his stop. Let’s say the doors had opened, I wouldn’t have seen him and we wouldn’t have exchanged whatever words we did and I wouldn’t have felt connected.

I love being taken by surprise. I love looking up from the concrete and seeing beautiful graffiti or an arrangement of words that moves me. I love feeling the coolness of dawn against my cheeks. I love how the first warm day after a long winter feels like a new beginning every single time. I love it all, every unexpected delight and every expected pleasure.

And here’s a quote from some YA novel I’m reading that sort of inspired this post:

“He stops and looks at me, and it’s like his eyes are scanners. I have that same sensation I did on the train earlier, that he’s appraising me, only this time not for looks and black-market value, but for something else.

“I won’t say that you’re pretty, because that dog already did. And I won’t say you’re funny, because you have had me laughing since I met you.”

Evan used to tell me that he and I were “so compatible,” as if being like him was the highest form of praise. Pretty and funny—Willem could stop right there, and it would be enough.

But he doesn’t stop there. “I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.”

He stops then. I open my mouth to say something, but nothing comes out and there’s a lump in my throat and for one small second, I’m scared I’m going to cry.

Because I’d hoped for baubles, trinkets, fizzy things: You have a nice smile. You have pretty legs. You’re sexy.

But what he said . . . I did once turn in forty dollars I found at the food court to mall security. I have cried in every single Jason Bourne movie. As for the last thing he said, I don’t know if it’s true. But I hope more than anything that it is.”

 

So…

I obviously failed at the whole, “Post Something Every Day For A Year” thing. 

But the only reason why I’m not too upset about it is because I’m writing a story. It doesn’t have any real objective. I don’t have any ulterior motives. An idea just slipped into my head and I decided to write about it.

The coolest thing about it is that the characters are introducing themselves to me as I go along. And sometimes I don’t really like them. I mean, they say stupid things that I don’t agree with and they do things differently than I would. But that’s so cool because it’s like they’re their own people.

I must admit that writing like this makes me feel a little crazy, like I should be doing something else with people who are real. But I’m happy!

One Week

“When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all along: What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live? What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfil? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?”