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

Achilles

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

 

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

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Bon Voyage, Rory

My tears have almost dried and the sinking feeling in my chest is subsiding to numbness, slowly and steadily, although my heart feels as hollow as ever. The jar of peanut butter (because I was out of nutella) didn’t help me as much as I thought it would. Gilmore Girls ended. Rory left for her first job. Logan was left brokenhearted. Luke kissed Lorelei. Now what?

That’s the question that has been haunting my life over the past few weeks. It is ironic that I finished Gilmore Girls at this close in my life, this ending of a chapter, this dawning of an era. Gilmore Girls has taught me so much about love and life, about family and hope and every other thing that matters. I fell in love over and again with Dean, Jess, Logan, Luke, Christopher (until he left Lorelei), Sookie, Lane, Jackson, Zack. I fell in love with the complexity of Emily Gilmore, the complicated relationship she has with Lorelei and all that it brought with it. Richard Gilmore taught me about pursuing what you want and not letting go of opportunities. I partied with Logan and the Life and Death Brigade, fell in and out of love with him, swooned at his grand romantic gestures and most of all, appreciated him for becoming the man he grew up to be. Rory taught me that even the best of the best can have a melt down and not everything they touch has to turn to gold all the time. But getting back on track after life pushes you down is what defines the strength of your character and it is what I wish to possess.

I was at Yale with Rory, my favourite place on the planet, walking those streets of New Haven with her as I did last summer, the best summer of my life. And Lorelei taught me that sometimes the unexpected can grow to be the best thing to ever happen to you. Gilmore Girls gave me hope and courage and now that it has ended, I don’t know what to depend on anymore. Where do I run to when I want to escape?

I’m forgetting all of it. I’ve forgotten everything. Life is taking its toll on me. Lately, all I feel is the piercing hollowness of everything. The superficiality of relationships has been gripping my soul. Nothing has meaning anymore. What is anything even worth if it is just a mode of convenience for everyone, bent according to their whims and fancies and desires? My biggest problem is that when I reciprocate the same behaviour, the same fakeness they subject me to, guilt eats me alive, for that is not who I am. That is not who I want to be, although the alternative brings me pain.

Life is a conundrum I do not understand. Nothing means anything, and looking for meaning in people’s actions and the universe’s will is pure foolishness. Expecting reciprocation for your sincerity is stupid. The world is grey and I no longer have Gilmore Girls to turn to. Everything seems bleak and blank.

 

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

23 Poems Before I Turn 23 Challenge: Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond

Poem number 3

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond by E. E. Cummings

This is pretty much the first poem by the great E.E. Cummings that I have read, *dramatic pause* because fate never really intertwined. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Cummings (using his last name because I’m not well acquainted with him) ever since the good old One Tree Hill days, with Lucas Scott beginning the narration with quotes by him. He has been on my reading list since forever, so I grabbed the first opportunity I got and read him (which was today). (I’ll be using too many bracket comments in this post because this is Mr. Cummings’ poetry style.)

The Poem:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

My Thoughts:

I had to look for the poem on two different poetry sites because I thought the lack of capitalization in the poem was due to some technical glitch, but as it turns out, that is how it has been written by mr. cummings (yes, I did that on purpose). I feel that gives the poem a little casualness, as does the title which is in fact, incomplete in its meaning if you read the first line of the poem. Or maybe it intends to describe the protagonist as being someone who is not too comfortable falling in love with someone, not too happy with the vulnerability and proximity. I never thought something so poetically licensed could be so beautiful.

His sheer brilliance resonates with every syllable in the poem. (Yes, it is a love poem. As my group leader from the Yale Writer’s Conference would say, all of this points towards my genre writing.) But calling this work of art a love poem would prejudice the readers against it. It is more of a paradox rather than a metaphor for a romantic relationship. (It is a bundle of contradictions. Yes, I used that phrase yet again in my blog post.)

The complexity of the poem is immense and I know my bare reading don’t even scratch the surface, but I feel this piece is a saga of the excitement and fear of getting into a new relationship. Every little mundane thing his lover does fascinates him, and now that she is near him, he is filled with the inherent fear that he will do something that would ruin their relationship (which i cannot touch because they are too near *sigh*).

He pretends to be stoic in her presence for the fear of being hurt but she unravels him and sees what is hidden inside the walls he has built. (And Mr. Cummings says so with utter beauty and sensuality- touching skilfully,mysteriously *sigh* *sigh* *swoon*.) This poem could very well be read with the coyness of ‘To His Coy Mistress‘ by Andrew Marvel (*raises eyebrows* *whistles*).

He acknowledges the fact that as soon as he realizes he is getting close to his lover, he shuts her out for the fear of being left bare in the winter snow. He is afraid of being left heartbroken. But he also realizes that nothing in this world compares to her beauty and he gives up everything, every fear, every breath. He surrenders to her completely.

He wonders if she too is afraid of getting to close to him. Towards the end, he talks about the intricate ways she has of reaching the most fragile and well hidden parts of him. I think she pays attention to the littlest of things and affects him in a way that brings out his true self, which is what I believe love to be: having no fear of showing your true self because you know you would be accepted, cherished, loved and protected no matter what. (not even the rain,has such small hands is one of the most beautiful lines I have ever ever read *dreamy sigh*)

20 poems, 33 days till my nameday!

How You’re Not the One

There you go, a caterpillar in a cocoon of narcissism and arrogance. Vain. Egotistical. You smile a smile, showcasing your artificially whitened teeth and utterly high cheekbones on your freshly shaven face. Your cologne chokes people to death because you bathed in it, rather than spraying it on yourself like a normal human being, after you hit the gym to maintain your oh so precious abs. If only you valued humility and compassion as much as you value your abs. You park your uselessly expensive car taking up two parking spaces, not because you’re scared of someone scratching it but because it satisfies your humongous ego. You assume that every girl is in love with you. You assume I am in love with you. But oh my dear half-witted simpleton, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than even think of the possibility of us.

Maybe you’re not all that I’ve described. You’re chivalrous. Gallant. Your polished soul resonates your debonair. You serenade the birds and paint the flowers. Maybe you’re not all that either. But you think I’m falling for that faux charm and my heart is in your palm. Because that is what gives you joy. Or maybe not. But honey, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not a fifteen year old. Or an imbecile. Neither are most creatures of my sex.

You see, had you been the one, I would never have been able to speak to you coherently. My awkwardness would have baffled you to the point of doubting my sanity. You would have, numerous times in fact, caught me gaping at your face dimwittedly. While stammering and stuttering, and possibly literally going weak in the knees, I would have asked you if you love travelling. Or books. Or long walks in the library. Or if you believe in destiny. Or if you see the stars as evidence of the existence of magic. Or made you a mixed tape of my favourite records. I never did that, did I? Hate to burst your pristine bubble, but you are so not the one.

Her

There is this agony that I fail to define

This want, this need beyond the comprehension of my mind

Her lips, Her eyes, Her glistening smile,

Your phantasm of Her walking down the aisle

I know I’m the one

who told you to seek out the stars

I know I’m the one

who told you to follow the flight of your heart.

Tragic, though, I’m not the one.

The air stings this face that cannot breathe

The sea rises in infinite rays across the pier where I lean

salt meets salt, the clouded eyes that cannot see.

Wasn’t this charred heart enough?

The shards of glass in my soul, weren’t they enough?

The sting of your words dedicated to Her,

The bruises you never saw in your grand gestures on the spur,

You lifted Her in the air and crowned Her in all glory

I, the antagonist of my story

I helped you bleed your own heart

and hid the joy of the daggers I’d sunk in my part

The suffering, the pain, the loss, the darkness, how much was enough?

What a waste, the salt, the sea, the scars my nails dug in the wood leave

My silent scream at Her indifference, your unrequited love, your salt, my salt

Your broken heart is my burden to bear.

A Letter from a Lifetime Ago

 

Coming across long forgotten words you penned down ages ago feels like a sign from the universe in its attempt to be noticed. To be precise, I wrote this letter about a year ago, to a friend who was a dear part of my soul. Or so I thought.

It’s ironic that the “change” I very boldly addressed in my awkward handwriting has turned out to be the fact that my friend and I have grown so apart that we aren’t what we once were. Maybe I need to be reminded of what it felt like before I turned into my present self. Maybe I need to be reminded of the meadows and the butterflies, the flowers, the fireflies, the stars. I need to be reminded what summer felt like, as I meander through this never ending winter. I need to be reminded of me.

So had I been blogging a year ago, I would have sounded something like this. (And people tell me time travel isn’t possible!)

“Everyday that we’re alive and breathing, we are adding new experiences to the pages of our lives. We meet new people, learn new things, explore new avenues, make new mistakes, fall, tremble, bruise ourselves, learn to stand up, fight back and repeat the entire process all over again, ever single day that we’re not dead. And after this entire circle, which people call ‘life’, it is totally and irrevocably impossible to be the same person, to be the same individuals that we were yesterday. What I’m saying is that change is inevitable. We WILL continue changing until the day we die.”

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Dirge of the Dying Year

“Thou dirge of the dying year,

To which this closing night will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,

Vaulted with all thy congregated might, of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere         

Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst”

When I first came across “Ode to the West Wind”, I too was one among those tortured souls of high schoolers who cannot fathom why Shelley had to write something so complicated and why I was being forced to swallow this circus of literary devices down my throat. But somehow, as the tide of time flowed and years went by me, I have been able to understand his sentiments, his fears, his disappointments and wistfulness that led him to create this beautiful symphony of words that I now eternally appreciate. I guess I can identify with him as I too bleed upon the thorns of my life as time escapes me on its winged chariot and I’m left frail and powerless in the face of misery and darkness. So, here I am trying to write my own “dirge of the dying year”, as 2013 comes to a close and I’m forced to turn an inward eye towards all the major plot twists and tragic endings and introspect all that is lost forever. (“Dirge” means a funeral song)

This year, I’ve lost a lot of things dear to my heart.  I mourn them as I turn into a new phase, even though parts of me too have died along with those cryptic things and people I am not going to name or mention. And thus, the core of my beliefs has been shaken and I’ve been questioning everything in the universe ever since. I’ve never been so lost and filled with darkness, as I walk through this tunnel, with the light at the end ever descending, farther and farther, away and away, beyond my reach as my mind turns numb and I fall prey to my own demons. I’ve lost the ability to feel the genuine joy and peace I used to feel. Now all I ever notice is death and destruction, melancholy and darkness. Somewhere along all those bad experiences, I’ve tried to harden myself and have coated my feelings and sentiments with layers of stone, so as to preserve them from the cold attacks of this world and the bruises they want to inflict on me. In doing so, I’ve isolated them, from my own self too. I’ve grown numb to so many beautiful things that I’m scared a day would come when all that I will have left would be a barren wasteland with no sign of any light. An eternity of moonless nights, with nothing but a vacant starless sky. A hollow abyss of monsters of my own creation.

I want to bury every dark thought I’ve had this year. I want to cremate the presence all the vanity and pretentiousness around me, all my material desires and wants that have brought me to the brink of depression and all those unfulfilled unnecessary aspirations that have kept me up endless sleepless nights. I want to leave behind every bad experience and every harsh word I have ever spoken, as well as every cruel vowel and consonant ever directed at me. I want to wash away all these black and red blotches from my mind and go into the New Year in white, with nothing but peace, love, tranquility and patience.

I forgive everybody who has ever done me wrong. I burn the envious, angry and vengeful thoughts and desires in me, not holding ill will against anybody as I bask in the golden radiance of this new beginning. I forgive, but I shall not forget for that is not who I am. Though I pass all my experiences of this past year through a minute sieve so as to sort out all maliciousness from them, I do carry forward with me the lessons I have learnt and the truth that has been revealed to me. I spread this carpet of nothingness around me, facilitating the newness of thoughts, actions, words and deeds, but I will make no efforts to undo the past. What is done is done, and I will bear this in mind as I will make no effort to make amends of any kind. I’m tired of being mistreated at the hands of everybody who views me as nothing but a means to an end. I refuse to be a pawn in someone else’s game that can be sacrificed so that someone else’s chess pieces can be saved. I too am a human being. “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” But no, I do not want revenge, of any sort. I free myself of the shackles of these feelings, embracing the angels of this new dawn.

Another thing that I have realized over this past year is that not everyone deserves to see behind your walls. If that makes me a loner, so be it, but I will never show my true self to anyone who doesn’t deserve me or doesn’t treat me the right way. Love, care, honour, friendship, dedication, that is all I desire in return for my loyalty, and I shall see through this resolution of staying away from people who are nothing but superficial plastic dolls, sans credibility of any kind.

In this new chapter, I will not let anybody affect me or my mind. I will dedicate 2014 to myself and live with a peaceful and open mind. I will be patient and kind to the ones I love and will absolutely feel nothing against anybody else. My indifference will be my shield in this war. I will surround myself with good people, books, music and stories that touch my heart. I know now that the world is a complicated place with an equal amount of good and evil. I will not let the dark shadow the light. Even though it may rain sometimes and the clouds may hide the golden sparkle of the sun, I will not yield.

My mind will be that undisturbed lake on a peaceful winter morning, sans ripples, a mirror to the grey silent sky, taking in all that wonder and beauty that is easily overlooked in one’s own haste, envy and pride. Pure and serene, untouched by the darkness of envy or hate. Tranquil, quiet, idyllic, calm.

“Maybe”- A Fictional Narrative

It was a few months after I’d realized I was in love with him. We were sitting in the gardens on a midsummer night, a large table set in the middle of the wondrous landscape in the cheer and bustle, amidst the grandeur of the moonlit orchid illuminated by a hundred candles, or so it felt. Our families had known each other forever, so we had the chance of growing up together. I knew everything there was to know about him, his education, his interests, his general outlook on life. I still had no idea who he was though, what colour his soul was, beneath all this lustre and magnificence. I believed his soul to be as beautiful as he was, kind, gentle, gallant and true, but knew absolutely nothing about his aspirations and inspirations, his fears and his frolics. I didn’t know what kind of music really touched his heart, what movies he could watch endlessly on a loop, if he read fiction or just pretended to or if someone had ever broken his heart. These tiny details were missing in our acquaintanceship, which I knew couldn’t possibly be filled in the course of a single evening, though I was determined not to be hesitant to try.

I kept staring at his face as he sat across me, trying to imbibe every line, every scar, every crevice of his face into his picture that was etched in my mind. I wanted to remember everything about these rare moments I was with him, the way the air smelt, the music playing in the background, the way his face shone in the light, the weather, the sky, everything. I knew this was one of those experiences in my life I would bookmark and go back to a million times, go over everything I said, everything he said. I knew I would be thinking about this moment and laugh at every sarcastic comment he made, think about every word that escaped his mouth and go over every detail I could notice, the crinkles near his eyes when he smiled, that eye roll whenever I tried to come up with a sly retort to his taunts, how he was organised enough to carry his cards in a wallet, the affection in his eyes whenever he looked at everybody but me.

But that was the only thing about him that made my heart ache. His eyes. His deep brown mesmerizing enchanting eyes. They didn’t have a speck of affection when they looked at me, which they rarely did, only when everybody else had their eyes on me anyway.

He didn’t have the same feelings that I did. They didn’t linger on me or bore into mine. He looked at me as he would at any inanimate object. No, he didn’t have any feelings for me, I was sure of that now. I began looking around, feeling really low. It was all a waste, the way I felt about him, the way my heart would almost stop and then start beating wildly when I was near him, how I couldn’t stop smiling or take my eyes off him. Such a waste of emotions. I began feeling like a fool, but I pushed away those thoughts as quickly as they had appeared. I’d have time to think about that later. Right now, I had to grab on to every moment I was there with him. These moments would never come back, no matter how much I cry and pray for them to.

Goodbye wasn’t as hard as I’d expected it to be. He cracked a few sarcastic jokes and even mocked me when I tried to tell him how pretty I thought the stars were. It didn’t offend me. It just confirmed that he didn’t feel the way I felt about him. That is what caused the piercing ache in my chest. His words didn’t matter. They did, but not to the way I felt. It were those little things that confirmed my emotions were one sided.

I walked up to him and said goodbye. I don’t remember the look on his face or who was watching us or anything else. The only thing I do remember is the electricity that ran through me when he held my hand and pulled me into his arms. It lasted just a few seconds, but I’m sure the clocks weren’t moving at the same speed as they usually do. It was a moment suspended in time and air, when I forgot anything else existed, except me and him. Maybe it was a friendly gesture, I couldn’t recall our manner of parting during the times I didn’t feel about him the way I did now. Maybe, it meant nothing to him, as I didn’t either. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

 

The story above is a fictional narrative with no relation whatsoever to anybody living or dead. To put it simply, I made it up. That’s what storytellers do. The characters I create aren’t me, but are a part of me.