The Beauty of the Mess: Letter #1

(This is an epistolary fictional story-series)

Dear E.

It is very unlikely that this letter will ever find you. Besides the rare possibility of me getting over my vanity and finding the courage to send this to you, there is the glaring hiatus in our correspondence, of 2 years 4 months and 26 days to be precise, that dampens my hope. Then there is also the question of you using your old post box that forbids me from thinking otherwise. Or if you even live in the same city. Or country for that matter. There are a million reasons why this letter shouldn’t find you.

But life is a long shot. Life has never made sense to me, so I’ve given up trusting in reason or signs of any kind. I’m not the believer that I was once upon a time when you used to write to me. And even if the ink and paper from my hands lies in a rusted metal box for most of eternity, the paper yellowing, the ink fading off into the air like my words and emotions, I will find a sense of calm in it. It will satisfy me that I tried to renew our friendship before I grew old and died. I tried to fix things when the world around me fell apart.

I’ll come straight to where we left off. And in all honesty, I was as angry as I’ve ever been in my life. I waited for seven hours on that rusted black bench in the far left corner of the Rose Park in your precious city, where I was supposed to meet you. You had so eloquently described it in your letters to me as your favourite place in the world, or to quote you, “the world you knew”. I wonder if that has changed in the past two years, if you’ve traveled to the far away mystical lands you always adored and admired.

You’d said that the dilapidated park bench gave you hope in hopelessness whenever you sat there eavesdropping into people’s lives, forgetting about the dilemmas of your own. You used to call it “the beauty of the mess” that life was putting you through. I tried doing the same while waiting for you to show up, while imagining you in your contemplating colours: wondering, worrying, waning. It upset me even more, because it made it extremely hard for me to hate you. And I hated you for what you did to me. Loathed you. Detested you. I was disgusted by you.

The beauty of your city was dust to me. It was smoke and ashes and garbage. And I swore, as I sat there rotting away on a rotting park bench in a rotten city, to never write to you again. I swore to cut you off and forget you like you forgot me. I felt stupid for not asking for your address or phone number, or even your real name for that matter, before flying halfway across the country to meet you, a stranger I had never seen or spoken to in my life, except through letters written to a post box.

But here I am breaking my oath to myself, falling into the path of vulnerability again, for you to hurt me all over again.

In all that hurt and pain, I took another decision that I shouldn’t have, that I probably wouldn’t have had you showed up that fateful day. I can’t help but laugh at my sheer daftness; at the fact how my life would be completely different than it is now had I let the fire of hate and hurt burn down to ashes rather than adding more wood to it. I wouldn’t have been a broken man sitting in a lone cabin in the middle of an abandoned sea shore putting ink to paper in this flickering tangerine light. I don’t even have a phone or television here. It’s just me, my pain and a few empty canvases I plan to paint my pain on for my impending project.

Let us let go of what happened. You didn’t show up two years ago; I’ve accepted that now and all that has happened since then. But throughout all of it, through the anger and the impulsive decisions, the fleeting illusionary happiness and the everlasting agony, I’ve missed talking to you. I’ve missed looking at the world through your eyes. I’ve missed your metaphors and poetry. I’ve missed you.

I’m not asking for an explanation. I’m not even expecting a response. But if my words find you by a twist of fate, know that no matter what I’m thankful to have known you in this lifetime. I’m thankful to have stumbled across your pen name on that god awful pen-friends website. I’m glad I decided to write to you. I am glad you decided to write back to me.

Your friendly neighbourhood


Ps: I hope you’ve read the Iliad by now.


© That Girl in the Fray, 2016. All rights reserved.


The January Incident

Sometimes certain things, the simplest of things, that happen due to either complete coincidences, or due to some incomprehensible plot of the universe and all the timelines that intersect it (haven’t quite figured that one out yet), impact you with utter profoundness.

Maybe you left a place a few seconds later than you wanted to.

Maybe your friend asked you to wait with her while she waited for her friend to get over with classes.

And, you agreed to it, although you initially intended to leave a few minutes before.

And then you waited.

And waited.

And ultimately you left because you were getting too late and the prodigal friend still didn’t return.

And then, bam!

Something happens that wouldn’t have happened had you left according to your uninterrupted plan. And you sort of start believing that the universe wanted it to happen. Hence, the reason for its intervention.

Or maybe all of this is bullshit and what happens happens. (As I have stated numerous times before, I am but a bundle of contradictions.)

So, this is how the incident goes. It is nothing too memorable or out of the ordinary. It is nothing to be journaled. I probably won’t even remember it happened in a few weeks. But, it is the fact that the incident got me thinking in way too many ways and I landed up here, on my blog writing about it.

It was about 8pm on a January night. I left the gym and walked towards my car parked in the semi marooned lot. As I walked, or rather dragged my sore legs towards the car, too tired even to think sanely, I noticed two guys not too far away from my car standing in the lot. Drinking. Huge bottles of god knows what form of alcohol cradled in their arms. And a red-alert went on in my mind. And the first thing I said to the friend behind me, who had very graciously agreed to walk me to my car (Hi there, you. I know you’re reading this!) was that I was so thankful not to be alone. Which is quite a natural sentiment, I presume. But it was the second thought that crossed my mind as an inherent reaction that bothered me enough to write this.

I felt sort of guilty for being out alone at the late hour. (Yes, I know 8pm isn’t late. But be it 8pm or 2am, anytime after dark is late because it isn’t as safe as daylight. Although daylight isn’t that safe either, since Vampires aren’t my immediate concern here.) I felt like it was my fault that I felt not too comfortable being out alone at the said hour, when it is not my fault at all!

I think the beginning of this viable lesson that is fed to girls from the moment they are able to comprehend words must have been, after certain disturbing incidents must have occurred, a safety precaution of not venturing out looking for trouble. But in recent times, it has become an excuse for the delinquents to do whatever gives them a rush. It has become a justifiable reason for why bad things happen. It is the female’s fault. Bad things happening to her are directly linked to where she goes, what time she goes there, and most importantly, what she wears. Because it is also your own fault when you get robbed. Because you have things that could be robbed. Or if you get murdered. Because you did things that got you murdered. You said murderable things or wore murderable clothes. Or maybe just have the sort of face that caused you to get murdered. It’s your fault. Should have got a plastic surgery or something when you had the chance.

What I want to point out is the fact that the thought of being guilty for any bad thing might happen to me because (a) I was out alone after dark and (b) because I’m a girl , is something I do not want my daughter, or anyone else’s daughter to ever think! I want my son to feel responsible for standing in a public place drinking in the dark. I mean, you could sit in your car and do that. And then drive your car into a lake and leave the planet a better place, rather than stare at a girl who passes by you like she’s dinner. (Talk about Vampires not being an immediate concern.)

In all seriousness, being socially responsible for how you behave in a public place is something all human beings should care about. Drink. Have fun. As long as you do not infringe on anybody else’s life or make them feel unsafe and responsible for the bad things that happen due to no fault of theirs. Raise your sons right first. Then tell your daughters to avoid venturing out alone at night. Also teach your daughters how to be badass ninjas. Mostly, do that though (after raising your sons right).