Tuesday, January 10, 2006

And Then...

Today, I saw you like I have seen you never before. I lay with my head on your lap, just as I have done so many times before. But you were torn by a heart wrenching agony. Standing on the side was me - stoic, knowing, watching with awe and a certain detachment, the drama that was unfolding. Suddenly, inexplicably, in a matter of a few minutes, hours, days, for you I had split in two, but, for me, I was as whole as I had never been before.

Your pain was palpable, so touching, but I just could not understand the cause.

This is a natural progression, I thought, this is what was meant to be! Sometimes it's just time to go, like sometimes it is time to be.

But I could not turn away. I could not leave you like this. The bond that was between us - that sacred, fragile, unspoken vow - could not be negated just like that. So, I hovered around, concerned, hoping that soon I will see the sunshine through the thick fog that surrounded you.

I did not mean to measure who loved me and how much. But still found myself watching as the world around me crumbled.

There were those spectators. For whom this drama was an interesting event. They clucked a little, slapped your back with a little sympathy and went home to their warm homes and nagging wives.

There were those others who craved for my body. They were the next to go. For the world is full of bodies, and there are always more to crave.

Then, there were some who loved my words. They did not care. For I had left a legacy for them to caress. To them I existed as a set of black letters and a bouquet of feelings that I chose to tie for them. They were happy, mostly, maybe just a little sad, that no new bouquets would be thrown their way. But then, there are many craftsmen of words in the world and no one needs to stop for a corner shop girl.

Then, there were those who loved me for they must - relations of blood, relations of relations. Some of them regretted and even cried a little. Then they held themselves up resolutely and, thankfully, got engrossed in the life that throbbed in their homes. Some pensive evening they shared amongst themselves my toddler memories, my craving for spice, my dreams, my growing up and my going away - one time too many.

Also in the crowd, standing at the back, there were those who owned a piece of me - a hand of friendship, a look of love, a little affection, some benediction, a favor or two and also a sweet, coffee flavored memory. For them the world would always be emptier. But they treasured the little part of me they owned, like an ageless bud that could be caressed and smelled, any time and as they wished.

Then there were you - the one who loved me the most. You were like a leaf caught in windstorm - mad, angry, agonized, drifting. And, I drifted along with you like the mist in your eyes, like the air that you breathed. I watched you as you sat sifting through time, for that one right thing that you could have done. I watched you sitting alone in the dark house waiting for a little glimmer of sunshine that you could hold. I also touched your cheek with my empty fingers as you looked far away with ghastly, vacant eyes.

Who knows for how long we just drifted like this - one a little forward, one a little behind. Then one day, the day did dawn for you, for even the pain could not last longer than I did. Someone came along struggling in the flow, just like you, and held your trembling hand with gentle firmness. Together you found the strength and were ready somehow to swim to the land that belonged to you two.

I saw you ensconced in a new chapter in your life and smiled with relief and even a little emptiness. For a moment I looked fondly at that wise, contented look on your face - the one that comes from knowing too much. The next moment, I turned around and let go. And then I was flying, with a set of sparkling wings, to where I now belonged.

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