It was only in the very last wee hour of the morning that slumber began to even tingle her senses. It drew her out of her reckless stupor and begged to be not cast aside, like an innocent yet irritating child, it tugged on her sleeve until she finally looked up from staring at the blank screen, where a sole tiny vertical line blinked with no words on either side of it.
She drank in her surroundings; the many sheets of paper with scribbles lying on her left, and the three mismatched cups lined alongside her right, each with a similar rim of brown liquid floating at the bottom. The ear phones lay abandoned, a little far away, faint music still escaping the tiny holes that adorned it. The laptop sat in her lap, waiting, the screen flickering back to life after every fifteen minutes as she swiped her finger impatiently on the mouse pad.
As the light started filtering outside, past the dark curtains of the night, and the stars stayed on for only a few eyes, her fingers flicked. Words poured out of her as her hands flew gracefully over the keys, knowing where to press; as if they had reached a familiar place, as if they had reached home. And her eyes fixated to the screen, watched on as the word after words materialized, marking the blank space. The silence, now replaced by the excited and impatient click of the keys, applauded in the seldom silence of the symphonies of the typed words.
While the sun began to rise, the colors of dawn began to cascade upon God’s canvas and the stars began to hide for the day, she typed away. She stared at the screen, the silence had been broken, and words had paved their way once again. She smiled out of sheer bliss, looked up at the sky, as the last of the stars faded away.
A distinct rapid beat starts building up in the background, tugging at the corners of my slumber. As I forget moment after moment that precedes it, it becomes more prominent; a nagging sound that rises in tempo. Chasing me as if it were a demon, deafening and irritating, swallowing me in its continuous chatter, like that of a thousand teenage girls' shrill screeching.
My finger interrupts the water flow, sending tiny splashes all around that collide with the porcelain sink and bounce up.
Warm, finally. I splash the water up, thawing my frozen face, eyes shut against the warmth. The next time I put my hands under the tap, formed into a bowl; the water's too hot. I pull my hands back, as if they are a cold crystal bowl that might suddenly crack and shatter under the heat. I gently push the tap towards the colder edge, the water following my demand, once again comes down Luke warm.
In a drugged haze I complete my daily rituals and step outside. I watch myself change in the dim morning glow. I am not inside. I sit at the edge of the bed watching myself slip on the socks and then the flat pumps on to my feet. Then as I stand before the mirror I join myself, watching, as I grab a kohl pencil dragging it underneath my eye, looking through half closed eyes, a blurred vision.
I am being called down, voices. Several ones float up to me. Bouncing against me and drawing back and then repeating their motion. It’s awful. I shut my eyes against the commotion as if losing sight of them dancing around me would lose their reality.
When I open my eyes it’s gone. The voices precede but visually they are no more. I look at myself, willing myself to move. It takes me a moment to realize that it’s gone too. I am no longer outside my body and I stand there staring at my reflection. My eyes rimmed with black. I stare dumbfounded at the mirror for ages before realizing it is me who ought to move. Regardless I look around me, searching for the self I won't find.
Foot before foot.
Left then right.
Left then right. Then at some point I stop moving as if stuck in motion but the floor continues to move as if slipping underneath me like an escalator belt. And I stand there completely frozen. So sure of the floor's movements and those that are supposed to be mine.
I feel sick. I hold an apple in my hand and there's a teacup before me. What am I supposed to do? I put the apple gently on the table. It wobbles on its uneven bottom, threatening to fall on its side and roll off into the distance. It doesn't. It stays perched at an awkward angle. I peek inside the teacup; empty with a shallow rim of brown liquid at the bottom mocking me.
Someone comes up to me. As I look up from scribbling at the page before me their lips start moving, rapidly and their eyes follow suit. As if animated by their words and yet I hear nothing. Nothing, but the dull echo of white noise. Suddenly their eyes change looking at me curiously waiting for something. I am in an agony of my own. What am I to say?
And then I feel my lips move although I hear nothing but they smile and run off. I look down at the page before me partially filled with letters and words. Slowly they form an incoherent mess, drawing closer, in on themselves; an untidy mass that moves from the center of the page to the edges ready to leap at me.
My sudden movement causes the chair to clutter to the ground and the sound of the crash is so deafening as if it might tear apart my ear drums. Somehow, resembling the drag of nails against a wall. It draws to a screeching halt and I look at a sea of faces all lost in the confusion of the moment, eyeing me.
I run. The footsteps echo even in the crowded space. Cold sweat trickles down my forehead. Slowly sliding down as if in slow motion.
The sound echoes. Droplets that fall and the sound rises in the silent atmosphere. Drip. Constant and badgering. Willing me to move and yet I don't. My legs, as if swollen and frozen solid. My eyes blink.
And then darkness again.
My eyes flutter open. For a moment, I thought I'd forever be lost in it. Enveloping and welcome but hauntingly scary. I will them to stay open. Pictures play before me. Everything continues to jumble and unbundle before my eyes. A moving image put on repeat; weary and blurred. With darkness edging closer from its infinite ends. Closer, closer, closer.
A moment of peace. Silence. As if things are paused, voices suspended and then the nagging continues.
Today my solace, my plethora of liberating writings turns three. Thank you, all for the infinite love and appreciation that has followed this little place all through. Here's a little piece that I wrote months back, a little memory to share with you all.
I've started spending the better part of my late evening sitting outside, on a red canvas chair; star gazing. We have been having some random power shortages around this particular time. I've found that it's a good time to unfold my chair under the sky. Without the street lights and other power sources it gets dark enough to see all the little stars blinking in all their glory. Well, perhaps not all of their glory but you get a fair idea of the extent of their beauty.
Its clearer on the days it rains, with an added bonus of the wondrous smell of rain spreading all about you. They flicker like a hundred thousand lights on a vast velvety black canvas. You cannot imagine the extent of magic you feel in that moment with the dark enveloping you and stars watching over. when the atmosphere is slightly cold from the rain,there is no artificial light to impale the glory and the world is suspended in darkness and all you see is infinite stars twinkling. Its a mesmerizing and magnificent vision. And there so much to look at. You know? You look at one part of the sky and then to another and then you look back to the first one and its like a thousand or so more have suddenly popped up! I've never seen anything so beautiful and I cannot stop praising God for this. And to think that this is just an ordinary phenomenon when you compare it to the limitless natural miracles. Like a friend once said,
"Times like these I think to myself how beautiful must the creator be if His creation is so pretty."
And then there are days when the sky is not as clear as you'd like it to be, when you search for the stars among the clouds and din of the nearby lights. You glimpse them up there, faded, not as close or clear as you'd like them to be, but there nonetheless.
She stood under the dark sky that was threatening to break down, rather harshly. Thunder clapped over and over and the light touched the sky for a split second before it receded into the rumbling expanse of the dark. A splendid smell floated in the suffocating surrounding and air lurked thick and musky, as it rustled through the trees. Thunder split the sky again and droplets pelted the earth, one after the other, leaving dark spots where they hit.
The cold rain hit her hard, bringing her back; the sensation as if the raindrops had bruised her skin. For several moments she perceived the dark spots left by rain as blood spots. She shook her head against the vision of a cloudy red sky imprinted on her mind and looked up at the dark misty one, throwing rain in her face. The distinct smell of rain on dry soil rose all around her and she pinched her nose, trying to relieve her mind of the ghastly images she was so intent on replacing the reality with.
Her bloodshot eyes looked around; everything seemed so alive after the much awaited rain; even the grass that had brown patches amongst the green seemed brighter. Hope. perhaps, it didn't just reside in human hearts but in all surroundings. Maybe, its not just a feeling, but a sense born within nature. Hope, that we tread on, that gets rotten and bruised, yet it lives. Its not an epiphany, just reality, peeking at us every once in a while. Like the sun that decides to breakthrough the sky and illuminate so brilliantly even when its just about to set.
She looks about herself, at everything shining even with that tinge of gloominess that comes with rain and the helplessness within our perception, and turns towards the door that leads inside. Sometimes hope does not douse the fire that burns on inside, it doesn't illuminate like the sun, it burns like it.
The air is hot, stale and nonexistent. Seems like every breath you draw in, is a struggle, a mouthful of nothing but emptiness and fragments of polluted oxygen. Overhead the fan whirs in aimless lazy circles even though it is set to maximum speed. It does nothing to help the suffocating atmosphere as it lethargically stirs up the thick warm air. The sun seems to filter right through the thick dusty curtains that stand still and undisturbed, heavy as if with longing and despair. A musky smell fills the room, saturated with sweat, fear and loss.
A limp hand falls off the edge of the rickety bed, every time someone turns in it it creaks as if taking its last breath. The hand hangs there, the fingers opening and closing ever so slowly, clutching through the thin air. The pillow is a chaos of thick brown hair, combed away from the face and neck, matted with sweat that also glistens on the face and leaves dark patches on the clothes that cling to the body. The chest rises and falls, struggling for breath through excruciating pain. The air wheezes in and out in a futile attempt to nourish the body.
She stands in the doorway; eyes weary and body slump, her eyes fixated on the figure in the bed and the constant whisper of a prayer on her dry chapped lips. Her hands hang by her side in a defeated gesture; as if there's nothing more she can do with them, her legs shaking ever so slightly. As the light recedes from the room, the room doesn't cool.
In the early hours of the morning she turns, averting her eyes from the bed, her feet shuffle towards another door, not so far away, which leads her outside. Her tread is slow and painful, as she walks through empty roads. Eventually her feet give away and she drops down on the pavement, on an unfamiliar. Overhead, the clouds rumble as if with anger, making the little light at this hour look rather eerie and unusual. Her eyes scan the empty roads, the stationary cars and the dark houses, suspending her into her worst fears.
The sound and the dampness brings her back, the rain falls slowly at first. The heat rises from the hot road, pushing its way up, escaping in the tiny puffs of dust that rise as drops pelt down harder. It comes down hard, so hard that it burns her. It feels as though it will cause depressions and groves in her paper thin skin. It hurls down at her as if it were the sentiments that she's lived through, as if it’s the abuse and loss she's suffered through life. It breaks her down bit by bit, cracking the shell, bruising her flesh, her existence, her conscience.
What happens when you walk in the middle of a bare road, past midnight?
Nothing, nothing at all.
She walks in the middle of the barren street, illuminated by the street lights at uneven gaps. She walks freely amidst the dark stretches, and then cowers when the unbroken light bulbs continue to illuminate her path. There’s nothing around except the silhouette of overhanging trees and houses suspended in seemingly peaceful silence. To her, though, it’s haunting. The silence, the lights; it makes fear claw at her spine, raising the hair on her neck and bare arms; the fear of being visible in a setting so vulnerable, the fear of an incoming car; the dread that so often stops her in her tracks and shift her head from side to side to evade the feeling of being looked at. Fear haunts her but it keeps her walking, through the unlit and lit patches, through the eerie surroundings and through the distress that doesn't show.
What happens when the lights of an incoming car suddenly, harshly, enters your vision.
Everything unexpected happens, all at once.
Her illuminated form doesn’t pause in its track, but fear leaves, slipping past the hold of her mind so quickly, replaced by something else. It wraps it’s tendrils around her, wounding around her legs and moving them forward so she doesn’t stands still. Escape. It pushes her forward, towards the car. Her life doesn’t flashes before her eyes. There is nothing besides the bright lights blurring as they come nearer and nearer. Her feet pick up pace and she grins in the face of freedom.
Nobody clutches her soiled body soaked in blood. Nothing stops, not the silence nor the night. She lies there frozen, dark shadows hugging her form, a fire burning in her lifeless eyes.
I stand on your door step,
Tattered and bruised.
You get one glimpse
And hold me close.
You shoulder digging into
So painfully comforting
Of your presence once more.
I won't let go,
I hold on tight.
I sit before you
With tales not scarce.
Words are to be summoned
For a sermon too long.
You wait patiently
As I stare straight ahead.
My eyes water,
But words don't abide.
But I won't let go,
So I hold on tight.
They roll of my tongue
Syllables and sounds.
Incoherent and imprecise
To sum up my wounds.
I narrate to you,
The struggle that begins
Each day as the world shifts
From a single view,
So safe and sound
But the war I fight
Just doesn't subside.
I don't let go,
And I hold on tight
As I narrate to you,
Stories I found.
The tears come,
Between restless sighs.
You reach over and whisper
'Don't let go,
Hold on tight.'