The construction on the highway
Has the traffic crawling
So I cannot normally cruise
But rather spend long hours in line
Looking at blank faces
Men and women
Some have children in the backseats
The rush hour has everyone
Running back to their homes
To their bored lives
Running to watch soap operas
Which shows a life of romantic grandiose
The likes they will never live but only see on the telly
Running to watch the news
Cursing the government but unable to start a revolution
Running to the end of the day
Only to start again
What we need is a revolt
Against our old systems
Rip it out from the root and burn it
Throw it in the air
But we don’t
Because, a revolt against the system would mean
A revolt against self
We’re quick to take action against others
I pick a bottle of whiskey on my way
Running to no way particularly
Cheers to my own revolution
Maybe, I’ll be a changed man
Or so I would like to think
When I first met you
I liked how fast paced you were
The thrill excited me
You once asked me, why we were friends?
I said, you’re exciting to be with and you teach me things
You laughed and asked what things?
Well, I could not answer then
But now I know exactly what you taught me
Love will always conquer hate
But never enough
Truth will always take you close
But never close enough
Happiness is everything in between
Your hand and my hand
Tiny but plausible enough
Life will always make you breathless
But never enough to knock you out
Until it does
And you are six feet under
Unable to come back
In that case, it is enough
You were always just so much
But never enough
May you watch the heavens burn, kid
Wait a while
I’ll bring a lighter soon enough
Rest in peace
With lots of love but never enough
I look at the long stretch of road ahead
As I drive home after a day of doing nothing
The truck I see in my rear view mirror
Looks very tempting to crash into
I imagine how it would be
Tilting the car to the side
The collision would have me drifting off
Off the highway to the other side
Impact from the collision would leave me unconscious
I hope dead
But then someone laughs
I think in my head, or the radio
You see the thing about bipolar disorder is that it creates scenarios
Shit that won’t happen but it is fun to imagine
My mind will convince me that it’s the best thing to do
Crash my car
Vandalize public property
Or go on an excessive abusive spree
Disturbed cognitive functioning sometime means that I alter my perception of reality
So I’ll imagine cruising down the highway at 100km an hour
After having a wonderful time out
And suddenly it would hit me that I don’t want to live anymore
At times I will go silent in a second
Because the happy switch that made the world seemed perfect
Was flicked out
It’s time for the gloom to take over
When you swing between extremes
You’ll be out hiking with your best pals at 8 am on a Monday
Laughing and dancing
But the very night
You decide that you’re not leaving the house for the next five days
The very sun you embrace
Is like thumb pin pricks on your skin
And your bones decide that the weight of all of this is too much
So your mattress on Wednesday will have imprints of your skin
On Friday the voices will haunt you
This is not real, you know it
Yet you won’t move
You know that happy days have a price tag associated with them
This is the price you have to pay for being so happy the previous week
Sometimes, you imagine that nothing is real
And that you don’t want to wake up from this
Other times you slap yourself because it’s unbearable
Your friend comments how happy you look
And you don’t tell him that you’ve practiced this smile in the mirror
All the way from home
So next Monday
You refuse to give up
The world is not beautiful and it’s not painted in your favorite colors
And sunny days are not the best ones
A lot of times you want to kill yourself
But you don’t
Because, fuck! You deserve to live and carve out the life you want
The happy days will be back
You’ll live this one through as well
Scream on your way home
Don’t crash into that truck
I seem to always ask myself in moments of sheer clarity, “Who am I” and try to conjure up as many identities as I could.
Woman. Millennial. Muslim. Pakistani. Punjabi. Feminist.
At the top of my head these are some of the identities that I use for myself. Sort of like ribbons i’ve wrapped around my existence.
I ask myself again, Who am I?
The voice replies “nothing”.
It’s like the different ribbons wrapped so tightly around my existence are there in place to hide the fact that I am nothing. It is a dead end oblivion but not particularly the negative one that we attribute to the nihilistic concept of living.
But i’ve learnt with time and of age to undo every ribbon around my existence and unveil a cosmic cluster of nothingness that will slowly dissipate into the void that it belongs to.
A kaleidoscope pattern from the spill of cosmic cluster. The ribbons have come off. I know who I am.
I ask myself again, who are you?
“Nothing and everything”, this time I make a note to say it out loud.
In third grade we learnt about gravity and how it functions
It pulls you towards
But the opposing force makes you stay on ground
That is why the earth never fully consumes
I imagine this sometimes
When dark days takeover
And I find my bones sinking in the mattress
Unable to move
I look at the sun but the light never touches me
One of these days
The force that keeps me afloat will come back
Till then I lay still
And pretend play with this emptiness
A gypsy heart
You and I
Wanderers running in search of the next best thing in life
A nomad soul
You and I
We danced our way through life
Khanabadosh, someone once said
You’re one of them
He is too, the woman pointed
Bound to leave eventually but you’re meant to be
Somewhere up in the constellations
I don’t believe in chaining people down
You don’t believe in commitments
We head for a shipwreck among the stars
Let us drown
Let us drown
Among the ones where we belong
Sometimes love doesn’t show up at your window
Holding a rose
Asking you to come out for a kiss
Sometimes love seeps through
3 a.m wave of insomnia and memories
Asking you to reach out with a text
You will always be
The poison to my heart
A storm in my lungs
But never will I be
The redemption that you sought
I once loved a person.
He was a mysterious book
where every chapter ended with cliffhangers
I was hooked
I read the book and paid attention to details
A good reader learns between the lines
I once loved a person
Who made me a part of the mystery
Only a killer can stitch you up in between fine prose
Find a way to hide you in plain sight
In between the cracks of pavements
Or spill you like the color palette of a sunset
Without anyone noticing
I once loved a person made of mysteries
Who made me forget myself
Replaced it with the charm of aloofness
Shrugging off 5 am sadness
With stories that made you want more
But never get enough of
Then the person left with an ending that just didn’t fit right
So I picked up the pen
And wrote my own mystery
You know that is the thing about falling in love with mysteries
You become a cliffhanger to your own story
My parents tell me about their youth. Times that they would like to live again. Memories, back to when they we’re not married. They drape their lives across for us to listen and get a glimpse of how carefree they were. My mother talks about how free she was until she fell in love with a man. A man who made a cage out of false promises and she chose to stay in it. My father talks about how he always meant well but never well enough to hold his ground.
He had kept the door of the cage open, always. He never believed in chaining someone down.
They don’t ever leave one another; the one free or the one captive. The cage has room for both of them, now. They sit in it with the door open. I think this is what Stockholm syndrome is like.
I learnt the importance of detachment at a young age. My feet are quick to change direction towards an exit even when my heart tells me not to. It’s been long since my heart sounded like mine.
Tiptoeing around the ones I love, biting my nails and avoiding interactions as I make my way out of their heart.
This isn’t a heart, I say to him. This is an iceberg and I push the ones I love off the tip.
My mother taught me to have a hard heart. Having a stone heart is better than having a cold one and if you don’t have one at all? That is the best. Shut them out before they see that you’re just a tangled mesh of nothingness.
A sadist ode to the inner masochist poet.
We’re all tiny galaxies orbiting around the ones we love. We make them our center of attention from time to time. I learnt from the cage she was kept in to know never to stay around anyone longer than their intended purpose in my life. Never slip through into their universe.
A failed union taught me to never let anyone become everything; even when great poets tell me otherwise.
I become watchful of boys who spin cages out of promises that they don’t intend to keep. Boys who tie ropes around your fingers with promises; and my mother still hides the jute marks from her wrists as she talks about love.
I remind myself to always be on guard when it comes to feelings. Never get close enough for people to lure me in with their ropes and cage me.
Practicing on the ones you love is the best way to be perfect at the art of running away. Never getting attached but always making it seem like you’re emotionally dependent on them. This way you can always have someone to love you but never run the risk of collateral emotional damage.
My psychologist calls this “fear of attachment” but I call this, survival in a world where everyone believes that love is a simile for imprisonment.
Because once I knew a boy who told me that his mother refused to leave his abusive father because she loved him. Months later, I saw myself in the same position- very familiar to our conversation. However, I decided to leave because in the end-we’re all just somehow fulfilling the patterns and scripts laid out by our parents.
I decided to break the pattern as my mother talks about how I should have stayed. I wonder if she realizes that love and hurt are not similar. “There is no need to associate the notion of hurt or pain with something so beautiful as love.”, I say, and she dares not look into my eyes.
Being “present” has never been one of my strongest attribute. I like to run away on purpose from people so there is no chance of emotional attachment which can lead to detachment, later on.
Escaping everything and everyone, like a social Houdini.
However, instead of magic tricks I just disappear for days on end because that way I can be friends with the empty space of my room.
Ignoring every attempt that people make to reach out to me with the phrase “I’m busy.”
I’m not busy.
I’m just chugging in sleeping pills and valium with a tenth of whiskey to sleep off whatever it is that is bothering me. Sleep off whatever it is that has been growing inside the pit of my stomach that I have to escape to deal with it but not deal with it, at the same time.
He tells me escapism is a magic trick that is getting old
I say, “Abracadabra” , and smile.
vi) I take two pills with a glass of wine. I realize that I’m getting old and so is this liver. I find myself trying to be careful in the destructive path that I have chalked out for myself.
Shit! I think I might be in love. Because why else would I be so careful?
The next day, he tells me that I’m not as bad as I like to tell the world. I smile knowing that he doesn’t have half the clue or maybe he does and accepts.
What I am in front of people is not who I really am or maybe that is exactly who I am. Someone so volatile, raw and absurd that everyone thinks it’s an act.
A reality mistaken for illusion.
He tells me, I’m more of a habit than a love.
He says, that my attempt to throw people off is forced than natural.
So, I push him and we laugh
He touches my hand
I can feel the ropes tightening on my wrists. The same ones I saw on my mother and warned myself about.
Every man I know searches for a lava heart underneath this iceberg even though I keep on telling them that there isn’t one. They try hammering their name on it.
Freeze their fingers trying to hold it.
Break them off.
I find their attempt at trying to find something real under something false so beautifully heart wrenching, I almost give them a chance.
I run before they realize that I’m not the person they want to freeze over.
Run as soon as their fingers become blue.
Run as soon as I feel the rope creeping up on my wrists.
I say their names like an empty prayer I will soon forget. A prayer that creeps up on your lips only when you realize that “loneliness”, is a word laced with melancholy and wrapped in abandonment.
I leave because the cage door is open and I’m not going to take a chance on captivity by choice. Never by chance.