I have always struggled with my self-description. I am a lot of things, and sometimes I am nothing. I am a lover, a warrior and everything in between. I fly and sometimes slide between extremes. I am very social and I am also a loner. I am timid but I am also very brave. How do you put a breathing soul in the mere capacity of words? For now, just call me Jean.
When our house is on fire
And there’s no way to get out
I give up and take a corner
Crawl beside me and recite
Poems of love and longing
Poems written by you and me
When cancer eats me
And doctors tell you
I am counting days down
Sleep beside me
And tell me stories
Tales of urchins and dolphins
Tell me how we met
When I am sinking to death
And there’s no way you can save me
Hold my hand
Sing me songs
Songs of the Lord and life beyond life
Sing me a love song
Or heck! Make up one for us
You see love, I am not afraid of death
I am just afraid of dying alone
Who am I, I wondered as I looked at myself in the mirror, my eyes were smudged, they were dark circles, my own eyes freaked me out. My lips were swollen and bleeding. Every bone in my body ached like I got into a bad fight with a raging bull. As I felt my bare skin from head to toe, where were my clothes. This wasn’t me, I was nothing like this, I was healthy just last evening or was it ages ago. I looked around, this wasn’t my home. My home was bright and radiant, there was light, there were people. There wasn’t any sunlight here, there wasn’t a living soul around me. But, it wasn’t empty as if there was something dark around, I couldn’t see it but my body felt its presence. I didn’t know what I was doing in that place with huge bare walls. My body felt so sick I threw up, it was only water. I didn’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but was it even morning?
I searched my clothes all over the place. I couldn’t help but notice, the beauty of the place. It was breathtaking and at the same time very dark. What was it about these dark things that always seemed eternally beautiful. It was dusty as if no human had set foot in years. On the other hand, all the things were so neatly arranged as if someone just put things in place. There in the corner of the living space, I found my shorts and a t-shirt that was not mine. “How drunk was I”, I wondered. But I had stopped drinking long ago. My bones ached more from the cold, I wore the clothes. I wasn’t the kind to experiment with a haunted house, what was I doing here. Was it haunted or was it all my fear of new things. There were knocks from inside the shoe rack and I thought it must be a rat. I didn’t want to confirm ignorance was bliss right.
There was a hollow space behind the kitchen area, it was so hollow, it seemed like a barren woman. The door was partially open and that annoyed me, I slammed the door shut. I didn’t want to go further inside that space. But I didn’t want to leave for once, the darkness appealed to me. I hadn’t been to the church for long, it was as if I was pissed with God, with family but mostly with myself. But when I breathed again, darkness was cold, and suddenly a part of me missed the warmth.
Where was everyone, I didn’t even remember who that everyone was. But there were shoes, different kinds unfamiliar but mine were missing. What day was it? I didn’t matter I didn’t how long I was out for. There in the corner of the kitchen was my phone. The screen had cracked and it was off. Yes, the screen was cracked for a long time. Why wasn’t I leaving?
I finally mustered my strength to walk out of the door. It was hollow as if someone had sucked the life out of it. The man in the neighboring space stared at my chest, I didn’t care. I slowly walked towards the stairs. There were a lot of people going up and down the stairs. All were staring at me. I wanted to scream that I wasn’t a whore but I didn’t have the voice.
I remembered how young I was when a man first entered my body and contaminated my soul. I was angry because I was alone and helpless. As the anger faded I remembered that smile on his face, the first love they say. His laugh echoed. As his laugh faded, I remembered that girl from college, she called out my name from the top floor, I turned but she wasn’t around. I saw my dad, I wanted to reach out to him, I couldn’t. There was a pool of mom’s tears on the bottom of the staircase, “woman! stop crying”, I almost screamed but there was no sound. I remembered the heartbreak, but it wasn’t my heartbreak but why could I feel it as if it was my soul that was hurt. I climbed down those never-ending stairs. I was cold and I was tired. When I almost gave up, a ray of sunshine hit me and I walked out of that space, embraced the sunlight and collapsed.
Newspapers headlines dated 19-09-2014: A unidentified body of a female found under a construction site. Around the age of 20-28, dressed in khaki shorts and a white t-shirt. Suspected rape and murder.
When we were on the verge of moving apart, I went into a state of mental paralysis. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation or just mere anticipation of the moment that drove me mad. I was like a country that was suddenly being attacked by forces it couldn’t comprehend. I held on to every little thing in a bid to salvage whatever remained of me but I was failing. I became too technical about the entire incident. I watched videos read a million articles on the science of the heartbreak. I somehow believed it was the only thing capable of saving my life. Heartbreak affects the same part of the brain as cocaine withdrawal and this fact was my painkiller. I refused to see it as a human, became more of a machine every day. The human in me revolted and it was like a civil war breaking out when the country is already being torn apart by external forces. I sought a doctor who could kill the human inside of me. She reluctantly enabled my access to drugs that would make me a machine but save my life.
I wanted to unsubscribe from those early morning dreams of you, a million questions I was throwing at you that you believed you didn’t owe me answers to. I think you knew, I’d be gone once I found my answers. So you decided to play with my head. You knew me so well, and it was my undoing of self. I gave you the right to destroy me and destroy me, you did in a bid to never let me go. You patronized me instead of just blurting out the truth. You were scared of the truth. From where I was standing, I wasn’t the least bit scared of it. Those pills couldn’t stop my dreams, but they stopped my ability to process them. I saw you like you were a movie on TV. I woke up, rushed to the cabinet where my pills were neatly placed. Those pills burned my stomach so I had to eat and I had to keep myself hydrated. At least, I was consuming food.
I could see my world falling apart, shattering glasses and orphaned shoes on deserted streets but it didn’t faze me. The human inside me was dead and you could see it in my eyes. I broke down every now and then, but the drugs worked well to keep me stable. I ate them for 8 weeks. Did you know, it takes 4weeks to make something a habit? In 8 weeks I was sufficiently a machine who could mimic a human so perfectly my folks were pleased. It was like building a swanky makeshift mall in a graveyard. When the lights went out, it was the playground for ghosts. Ghosts of our past.
They say it’s no big deal, and time would sort it out. If only time could bring back the dead. You left me vulnerable to the vultures that told me if I could be used by you, I could be used by them. Fortunately, now I was run by a fuel and not emotions, so it was okay to hear such disgraceful words being said. I was asked to stop dreaming and start conforming. What was my fault? I let you get away easy or that I loved you.
I told you that I wanted nothing to do with you. I wanted to left alone in my own world. It was easier than choking on your lies every day. You acted like a victim but I was the one who died as a collateral damage of your cowardice.
We crashed on the mosaic floor on the terrace,
on the night of the pink moon.
It was not late at night just 20:30 hours;
But we were sufficiently intoxicated,
From the party, we snuck out of
To watch the moon.
We traced the moon
until came a dragon, and
He swallowed the moon.
The moon slipped through its stomach to the tail.
The baby elephant held the dragon’s tail,
but he let the moon rise above his head;
But in the end, an evil blanket covered the moon again.
It was a serene summer night,
Nothing moved except the dragon in the sky
And my hair strands due to the occasional breeze.
The dragon left for another moon
As he turned his gaze
and looked at my eyes covered by a netted veil.
“Look at the moon”, I pointed to the sky;
He said, “You are my only moon tonight.”
I held his face and pushed his curls away from his eyes,
His eyes were as cute as buttons on his shirt.
His white shirt with blue dots.
“Hi meeewww”, he smirked,
No one but him knew, that I was still called
I was dressed like one,
In a black dress that fit and flared
With black stockings covering the rest
Of my legs.
My cat-eared hairband ended in the netted veil that covered my eyes.
He drew my nose with whiskers,
While I closed my eyes
And giggled like a happy girl,
He held me firm till he was done.
I messed his stache
to look like whiskers and now
I was the Persian
and he was my rogue street cat.
I unbuttoned his shirt,
His shoulders glistened in the moonlight.
I ran my fingers through the dimples
As he held my face to show me the sky
And a translucent dragon swallowed my moon this time,
Then came the mean catfish
To eat my moon again.
My lips reached for his lips
Our kiss was soft and subtle, teenage-ey,
Not much tongue;
Just kisses that taste like
Smell like strawberries.
Kisses that feel like
unicorns flying in the night sky.
“Meeeeeeewww” he whispered as he broke away from the kiss
I beamed like a sky lit with a million stars
And his eyes glistened
As his slender manicured fingers ran
Through the center of my face .
This felt like I was back in my hometown
When I was a child,
As the sugar rush flowed to the brain
I felt the same happiness I felt.
As a schoolgirl that
Runs home for summer vacations.
I smother his face with mine,
We both rise
To look around for a while,
Whispering meeeewwww into each other,
As he holds me
Around my waist
And I hold his neatly moisturized neck.
The sea is still at the distance,
The dockyard has a colorful ships
Anchored to the shore.
As I crane from the terrace into the horizon
He holds me from behind.
He unzips the hold of my dress
Goes a long way down,
As goes to sleep the town
The faint sound of the train engine
Adds to the rhythm
As he kisses my neck
And I stand still and watch as time passes us by.
He slides my dress off my shoulders
As he turns me around
Kisses my eyes over the veil
Before he yanks me closer.
Our masks slide through our skin
Until we are just us,
Without sham or pretense.
He holds me close
And I hold him near to my heart
Our hearts beat through the quiet of the night
Tomorrow we’d be him and me.
But tonight we were just two cats making love
Under the moonlight.