The Land of Eternal Summer: Brokenness

My eyes lay on a scene that is pretty as can be and I forget to breathe.

That’s how it was when it all started. I used to say that this one good thing that happened to me, in a very difficult year, means that I’m on the wrong side of a parallel universe. Because good things don’t really happen to me. Especially me. For someone who has known winter all along, the brightness of summer seems too good to be true.

It was perfect in the beginning. I think it felt like that because I didn’t expect anything at all. And life kept me gasping at the purity of every minute as a result of that: because every turn was a surprise and every moment red letter. And then, everything changed.

In the midst of paintings and poetry and the stars and the talks of hopes and dreams, I began to expect. And that is what I account my ruin to. That is the moment of my downfall.

And every moment since has been a drop down on the graph. And no matter how hard I tried not to expect anymore, no matter how I tried to fix everything, it all kept falling apart like the ground was quicksand. And while everything was breaking around me, I fell and broke my toe.

That is how I know I’m still in the parallel universe I’ve been all along. My bonus round in Mario is over. I’m back in the arms of reality and it is a mess.

It is still summer here, but it rains everyday. My secret place is full of bugs and untamed grass. The walkways are all muddy. It’s impossible to lay in the grass and look at the stars. In fact, the stars aren’t visible most nights. I’ve lost the magic that once breathed in my soul. And my deepest fears are brimming like the thunder clouds in the sky right now.

But if there’s something I’ve learnt in these 26 years around the sun, it’s that the sunsets after the storms make the most beautiful views.

I’m trying to go back to who I was when I got here, the girl who saw magic in every speck of every moment. Maybe I’ll find her again. Or maybe I’ll grow into someone I was always meant to be.

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

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Watching You Leave

Every day the water in the lake I run by sinks lower,

every day another day passes without the rain.

The heat soaks my skin and heart as I continue to go further,

as I continue to run deeper and deeper into this maze I’m never escaping.

 

I want to escape the place we first met,

forget the nights we spent under the stars,

talking, drinking, dreaming.

But the rain refuses to fall and clean my mind

of your voice, your face, your name, of you.

 

You never said the words that I heard,

so I don’t think the blame lies on anything but my soul.

You never made any promises, you were careful of that.

And I read into everything, making castles out of clouds.

 

So now that there are no clouds left in the sky

and I’m left with the stars and this shell of a heart,

I don’t know what to do,

except wait for the rain to bring in a new start.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

In Secret, Between the Shadow and the Soul

How beautiful is a heart that can love,

Can love with nothing in return,

not even a mirror.

A heart that can bear to bare the fragile fragments

that have grown from the broken rose bushes

amid the thorns of the past.

How beautiful is the immensity of the blackness

that swallows the universe, but for the tiny lies we call stars.

The blackness that is a painting of my own hollow soul,

craving for the infamous dawn

that will bring it back home.

How beautiful is the lucid touch of love

that has you drunk in an instant

without rhyme

at the edge of the sea where reasons go to die.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

 

Plaid Shirts

They say the sky and the stars are a story written millions of years ago. What we see is an illusion, an image that no longer exists.

I think it is naive to have faith in such lies, to talk to the stars when the soul is dark and heavy, to find solace in a mirage. Yet I do it.

Isn’t it what I’m doing with you too?

I rest my heart on your broken promises and your illusionary words, because I have nothing else. Because beggars are not choosers and wishes aren’t horses.

I let you be the ray of sunshine when the darkness is engulfing me. Which is why I bear it when you kick my naked soul trembling in the blue cold, sans protection, sans the shields I wear for the world.

 

For I understand the cliche that the good comes with the bad.

For I understand that a cliche is a cliche because it’s a universal truth.

 

I choke on my tears night after night, dawn after dawn, wondering where you are, despite it all.

 

You promise your promises and lock me in dark rooms.

I, an unfermented mind, hold on to your words.

 

On the nights when the moon does appear, I look for you in it. Despite all of it. Inspite all of it.

I try.

 

I cry a million clouds over plaid shirts

because I don’t know how to let go

even when I know I should.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

I See You

In the reflection of the blue of the sea

In the way you look at me

In the sighs of the sheltered silence that you breathe,

I see you.

In the creases of my faded memory

in the hidden pain you keep

in the redness of the storm

in the streams and oceans you weep,

I see you.

In the dancing of the stars

in the lure of cheap hotel bars

in the spark of your touch

in the way my fingers you clutch

All I ever see is you.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

I’m Caught in the Red but I’m Fading to Grey

A constant reminder that nothing stays the same,

but nothing ever really changes.

WordPress just reminded me that 4 years ago today, I started my blog in my college library, depressed, alone, fading, in need of hope and light.

This blog has been more than a friend to me. It has been a space to feel safe, to let out my fears and cries without judgment, to learn about myself and the way I write. It has helped me speak to people I may never meet from countries I may never travel to. Sometimes the echoes have brought back words, kind and tough that have helped me realize that no matter how much I feel the contrary is true, I am not alone.

So this calls for generic introspection.

What have I learnt over these last 4 years?

What has happened to me since?

Am I still the same person who started this blog?

What am I going to do?

Do birds fly to the moon?

 

(I’m not mainstream enough to be interviewed, so I’m going to go ahead and pretend this is what anyone would want to know.)

The textbook fairy-tale answer would be that my life has completely turned around, that life has magically fixed itself in these past 4 years, because 4 years is a really long time for a person to sort themselves out.

Bullshit.

Like Gemma Hayes’ beautiful lyrics quoted by me in the beginning of this post, I am both red and grey.  My life has changed but it’s still the same. I’m still as lost as I was, as alone as I was, as depressed as I was, although in different and more complex ways than before. All my old problems have sorted themselves out, but I’ve got new ones in their wake. More challenging ones, I would delude myself into saying mainly because I can’t see the solution yet.

As to what I have learnt in these past 4 years, it mostly consists of learning about myself. I have learnt to fight and lick my wounds, to bear pain and to build fire-proof shields. But I have also learnt to put my shield down and face the beauty with the pain, a decision I’m still in a debate about (with myself, if that wasn’t clear enough).

I’ve stopped praying for someone to come rescue me. Instead I’m learning (still) to equip myself to do that, to be my own hero. And I fall and stumble as I did before, even more so now that before. Which is to be expected if you walk faster than you did before, if you cover more ground than you did in the times ago.

It hurts, I’m not going to lie. It makes me wishes I was done already. It makes me sting others in my wake. But I don’t think I really have a choice anymore.

The only way I can go is forward, the only direction I can fall is down.

So that is what we are going to do for the next 4 years.

 

Thank you for being a part of this blog and a part of my world.

All my love,

That Girl in the Fray.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2017. All rights reserved.

An Open Letter to the Guy Who has a Crush on Me

Dear Guy Who is Deluded into Thinking He Likes Me,

I am touched in the deepest recesses of my heart that I have had the opportunity to be your crush. Thank you for this unique baptism, this utterly rare honor that you have chosen to bestow upon me. I shall never forget it.

I am at that point in my life where the turn of events has torn apart my safe haven and burnt it to ashes. To add to this misery, I have just finished watching a really good Korean Drama and after those unreal 16 episodes of pure bliss, I’m left more melancholic than ever.

So, I’ll quote the drama at you: Human beings are lonely from the moment they are born. I’ve not found any statement to be more true. At the core of every struggle and every pang of misery, at least for me, is loneliness. I don’t think I’ve ever fit in at any place that I’ve been at. I’m always longing for something else, for someone else, for someplace else. This need is insatiable, a burning fire that no water, no air, no land can extinguish. I’m always in want of something, something that is just out of reach and quite impossible, that I think would make life bearable. But it doesn’t, if I ever get it.

So with this stage setting in mind, with raging storms and unapologetic cyclones added to the drama for the amusement of whoever is the audience to my comically ironic life, you can imagine what a sunshine your misguided and unrequited feelings for me are. To be crude, it makes me feel less shitty about myself.

Like most people, I often feel starved for love and appreciation. One of my favorite songs at the moment, besides being the work of pure genius, has the lyrics that I have found myself feeling time and again:  “And all I do is cry and complain, because second’s not the same.” It’s a really shitty feeling to be drowning in all the time, when the radar that helps you detect all the avoidable bullshit in your life is broken.(Which is like 78.32% of the times.)

So in these waters, the fact that I am your crush makes me really happy. It’s unbelievable another human being could ever feel that way about me. And because of this, I think you are super awesome. I hope and pray you end up with someone who will give you the love you deserve until the stars fall from the sky.

All I can promise, in exchange for this priceless gift, is my undying adoration for you. I will always root for you in every aspect of your life; I’m forever Team You. I will never forget this.

All My Love

The Receiver of Your Unrequited Temporary Feelings

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2017. All rights reserved.

Featured Image: ‘The Letter’. Art print by Wladyslaw Czachorski. 

All the fractures I’ve displayed

I hate it when the sky is that vulgar angry red at night. It chokes me. It’s nights like these that touch my soul, when the night sky is deep black, deeper than the depths of the ocean below me when I once scuba dived. I can breathe and feel the stars burn patches on my erratic skin. I can swallow the moon whole. The grip of those hands doesn’t feel too close to my throat anymore. But this feeling is fleeting, like the fireworks that start with a horrific bang, startling me to the core. And they end in silence. Their moment has passed. The sky is dark again. The hands are back around my neck. Slowly and slowly, the grip tightens. Inch by inch. I gasp. Breathless.

I’ve always wanted what everyone on this planet has: to be wanted. To be needed. To be loved, passionately, without any bounds, without any cemeteries. I’ve wanted to be wanted, to be missed, to be desired, to be cherished. I’ve wanted to be noticed when I’m missing. I’ve wanted my silence to be noticed. I’ve wanted to be the colour red. But it’s red that I see now, although the sky is pitch black. It’s red that I see as the last of the air in my lungs leaves my body. Breathless. I gasp harder.

Why can’t I be wanted the way I want you? Why can’t I burn into your skin like the cold does with every wisp of air that hisses among the trees. Why can’t you see just how broken my skin is now, with next to nothing left to clothe my soul. Did I give away too much. Did I give in too soon? Breathless. I choke.

The moon is full. The sky is black. The stars burn lies a million lights away. I see red. Breathless.

© That Girl in the Fray, 2017. All rights reserved.

 

An Open Letter to the Guy from my Gym

Dear Gym Hottie

It’s been ages since I’ve seen you and to be honest I’ve, in fact, forgotten your face. So let’s hope that you haven’t gone missing and the police doesn’t ask me to give them your description  (because I’m too hopeless to even attempt to do that).

I’ve seen you about twice in my whole life, but believe me, that was enough to make me always look for you in the crowd, rather hopelessly I might add.

For me, running on the treadmill next to you on that fateful day will always be a fond memory of our non existent relationship. I cannot seem to forget how I kept staring at my own reflection in the mirror to avoid looking at you, which made me fall in love even more.

With myself, that is. Because of the perfection that is me.

And then I realized, or rather imagined, that you were stealing glances at me too, which heightened my  adoration to the infinite sky.

For my own self, that is.

And then I almost broke my teeth as I skid down the treadmill because I was too preoccupied with the love fest and lost my footing as a result of it.

I still remember what attracted me to you was how tall you were. Tall enough to stand on your toes and pluck the moon from the sky if you wanted. Everything about you reminded me of the starry sky on a clear summer night: you were dark and mysterious, and immensely out of reach. And staring at you made me happy and my heart skip a beat.

So I did what any girl with a crush on a guy would do: I completely avoided you, scowled at you when you tried to smile at me, tripped on the floor a few times and even dropped my phone on someone’s foot when you were near.

You need to come back to the gym, dear Gym Dude. I miss the romance.

With love

The Girl Who You Think Hates You But Doesn’t Really Hate You In Fact It’s The Opposite

Bye.

© That Girl in the Fray, 2017. All rights reserved.

 

I fly

I wish words came to me as easily as you paint the world

the flick of your brush puts me to shame

I am humbled at the beauty you capture

I frazzle at the details of your strokes

I wonder how you have the power to make a blank canvas raise my hair

 

In the distance a robin is singing and I can feel your kiss upon my bare flesh

In the distance I am flailing and falling

because you are not here with me

I might just fall into the sea

 

But here you are!

you are in this canvas I hold

your slender fingers moved over it like once they moved over my body

you captured what that picture of us together couldn’t

 

I tried to write it all down but I couldn’t

I quilled down how raw I felt when I was with you

The moon waxed but I couldn’t find the words for how I felt when we danced

and you pulled me close

I tried to imbibe the smell of your skin from when I hugged you goodbye

I failed

I fall and the sea seems sweet beneath my wings

 

But you with the flick of your wrist and the magic of your soul

Do things that I never can

 

In the distance I can hear Icarus being told

to neither fly too high not too low

But the sun is glorious and I love the air

The sun is glorious and you make me soar

 

Will the myth repeat itself?

Shall I too fly above the gods?

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2017. All rights reserved.