Boomerang

It now rests somewhere buried beneath books and dust, with my initials still carved at the back, your fingerprints still lingering, your throws still within.

You gave me a boomerang and you said that with me is where it belongs. I asked if I could use it and you promised to take me to some place I could throw it and not break a neck. That was a time when you still kept your promises and I trusted you. You took me down a winding road until you stopped in front of my favorite park and you told me there was a place even better than the park, and in all the stories I was yet to discover, I discovered my first: an empty land, untouched by the growing minds behind the dinosaurs and the giraffes under construction at the park next to it. It was here that you taught me how to hold the boomerang. It was here that you first held my hand and threw it with me. And when our hands together threw this beautifully pieced wood, it danced in the evening sunshine as the boomerang spun and until I could no longer make out my initials carved at the back of it. When I looked at you afraid we had lost it you smiled without looking at me. In your smile was a promise and I followed your eyes to see the spinning boomerang come back to us. Spinning, turning, twisting, a dance in the sun that even the shadow of yours I wore couldn’t hide. It was the best dance I saw, the best thing that could happen to both you and me. We threw this over and over again, and every single time it came back to us. You jumped to catch it, and when you didn’t, you lifted me in your arms so that I could reach heights I never could on my own. The wind on my face was a sweet melody that wrote itself all over my happy fingers that held the ends of the wood tight so that when I threw it again, I could throw it alone this time. I did, and the flight it took was short before it fell crashing onto the ground. I ran to pick it up but you were faster. You examined the edges and then you examined my fingers. You taught me how to hold a boomerang, you were proud of how when I threw it the next time, it didn’t come back, but went into the park instead. You took me to the park to pick up my priced possession and at the feet of the wire caged structure of the dinosaur I picked up my boomerang. Holding your hand, we made our way back to our practice grounds. You told me you were thrilled by how far I could throw it, but this time you told me you wanted to see it return so that we wouldn’t have to go back into the park. Because parks were for boring people, and you made me believe that I was much more than swings and slides. I was a boomerang. I was a boomerang that flew perfectly in the air, bringing down fruits of the jack tree and branches off all the overgrown mango trees. The boomerang fit in my hand almost as if it were your fingers interlocking with mine. And slowly; slowly you replaced your touch with that of the fruits reaped from a good throw. Slowly, but surely you let go. The boomerang was mine and you taught me well to use it. Every time I felt lost or alone I threw it into the air just the way you taught me to, and every single time it came back to me. This was comfort, this was all I needed. But when I realized you weren’t coming back this time, I threw the boomerang into the air one last time. Through the back gate into the park, and past the dinosaur and the pond and all the stars we counted and the UFOs we looked out for. Past your stories, past the fires we burnt, and well past the pillow fortresses and the stolen conversations. Past all this and more, so that the boomerang would return to me this time with no corner of our past unexplored. It now rests somewhere buried beneath books and dust, with my initials still carved at the back, your fingerprints still lingering, your throws still within. You left, and never came back. The boomerang never left my hand again.

Speed

There comes a time when even the fastest legs can’t take you distances you once dreamed to go. Wrong time, wrong place, and your leg’s gone.

When you rode that bike and I was afraid of falling off of it, you held me tight. You let go of the bike so that your hands could tighten the hold on me, so that I’d know I was safe. So as not to hurt my tender heart. You knew hearts heal slower than bones ever do, and I didn’t see it back then. I wish I could tell you now how much I’ve grown up. How the last time I rode on your bike was the last time I ever did. How sometimes I still walk beside one and imagine you walking with me. I long for your presence in your absence, your voice, the things you used to say, the lies you used to web together to cover up for me. I stood on your feet as you helped me take my first steps, slowly letting go so that when my feet touched the ground you ran to tell the world I could walk. The girl you saw walk began to run, she made new friends, she lost many and slowly you let go. Slowly you watched me grow up in a world where conversations were no longer stolen time and voices didn’t shake as often. I dreamed dreams, you crashed yours. I hid backstage watching shows being put up while you were somewhere hiding behind yourself. Distance between us was only a dialed number away but that number only managed to convey lightly crafted words of new year wishes and “call me when you get home”. Calls that were never returned, messages that were never read. Time played with us, we played with distance. The instants in which my eyes looked into yours were limited to those in which someone brought up the times before smart phones could trace back to secret girlfriends and hidden profiles. We grew up, but we also grew apart. You were eight, and eight was never a number smaller than seven so you were never a name I mentioned into my notes. You were there but you were outsider. The one with fast legs and smart eyes. The one who’s legs could carry you distances neither you nor I imagined. A shared fear of animals that sent you running so fast that you ran right into your school sprint races. The one who wished to share something as close to your heart as your speed with me. How we both let go of our hands and took the long road home and let it take where us wherever it  wanted  to. You and I were two dreamers who let the wind speed past us. A secret so well kept that you and I are still the only ones to ever know how the wind felt on our faces that day. How you fell into the mud so that you could break the fall for me. Shared moments of life’s best times when the only thing you lost was your family, and when the only thing I lost was a game against you. We couldn’t be half as good as them and they couldn’t be half as good as us. We made a pact, we were a team. You with your speed, me with just my presence. We knew we couldn’t make it out on our own. I learnt to run but I only walk now. I learn to ride a bike but I never get onto one now.
Today, I sit miles away from you with nothing but all the things I hear about how you were too fast for the world. How a lonely night took away everything they thought you had. You lost your speed, but you never lost me. It was never just your speed that made us the best team – it was also your presence. And here now, without all the words they used to define us, you can hold my hand. I’ll help you take your first steps back into the world, and I’ll run to tell the world you made it. When you let go of your hands, I’ll hold your heart. Hearts break faster; I learnt that from you. We’ll never be as fast, but we’ll still be the best.

The Flood and the Escaped Zoo Animals (Tbilsi, Georgia)

If you’re not updated with the news, there’s been a massive flood in Tbilisi and over 30 predators have been reported missing from the Tbilisi zoo. The situation is “grave”.

It all started the night two days back when it rained so heavily that it felt like the sky was having a big breakdown and crying down all the tears it never did. Watching from the eleventh floor, the rain was beautiful but what made me pull the blinds down was the lightening that split the sky. My friend, who enjoys watching the light streaks on the sky sat in her room letting the flashes entertain her. I sat with her for a moment, and together we had a conversation about imaginary boyfriends and moved on to have the caramel pudding we had in the fridge. So, three of us ate the pudding, talked of lightening and rain and told stories, and I went back to my books, my friend to a movie, and the other gave in to sleep. The rain calmed at about 02:00am and I went to sleep a little later.
When I woke up yesterday morning and went through my facebook news feed, there were shared links of floods in Tbilisi and escaped Zoo animals. At first it made me laugh because “zoo” or “zu” are names I’ve come to make my own here. I thought someone was pulling a prank on me, but that was before I read the details or noticed all the helicopters circling around the area. Over 30 predators escaped from the Tbilisi zoo, which only happens to be two metro stations away from where I live. The last time I checked online the causalities had been counted to 12 (including the 3 zoo keepers), and 24 people were missing. Quite a number of houses flooded, massive destruction around the areas of the river and a devastated city of mud, muck, broken buildings and escaped animals.
Facebook was filled with images of lions and cheetahs and wolves roaming the street, and even a bear hanging onto an air-conditioning unit somewhere, a hippopotamus stopping by to eat some leaves off a tree, and a cat riding on the back of a dog as he walked through the flooded city to reach dry ground. Though we all saw how grave this situation was, with people afraid of their lives and having lost so much already, it had it’s own sense of adventure to it. It was mixed emotions everywhere. There were the jokes of “we found an elephant” with a picture of a friend, and a hoard of comments about how another friend called himself the hippo eating leaves off trees, and someone who even saw beauty with the cat and dog story and referred to Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’. Then there were the videos clips from news channels all over the world, a few in English and loads more in Georgian and Russian. Jurassic Park references to “If something chases you, RUN” and Jumanji-like horror moments of “how did all the animals escape?!” Among the people affected, were people I know as well. All in all, we being people living in Tbilisi were as amused and confused and scared (and deeply saddened) by the event as those around the world. We were asked to keep indoors so the internet and friends were the only source of information we had.
With animals on the run and an entire day dedicated to watching the helicopters flying parallel to me, I still had a midterm to study for the next day. I was occupied, and by the end of the day it was announced that the following day (today) has been declared a holiday for safety reasons. That gave me a break from the books but in the sad and grave situation, my prayers are with those affected. All the people who lost their lives, homes, loved ones  or personal belongings.. I pray for them to remain strong. The zoo keepers who lost their lives, I see them heroes in my eyes for all their devotion to the animals in all the previous years. The animals themselves, who tasted the first bite of freedom only to be brought back down again, my heart mourns for them.. for they are no less than we humans and this is as bad on them as it is on all of us. They are lost, and confused and in a territory they have never set foot on before. They may harm the people they come to face but they wouldn’t do so on purpose so please try and keep your emotions in check. I hope everyone out there finds some hope to hold on to while the world seems to come crashing down all around them, and I pray for them to make it through this. In the meantime, let’s help in all the ways that we can and stay away from trouble’s way.
Stay Safe everyone, Tbilisi or not.
The wild animals are on the loose, and sometimes they walk on two feet and talk.

Remember me, for all the things you figured out about me. For all the secrets I couldn’t keep from you, for all the darkness in me you could shine a light on. Remember me for how I asked you for answers. Think of me when you’ve got an answer years after the question was asked, and think of the smiles I thought you never saw, think of everything you told me you wished to reach. All the places you are now that were once only fragments of your imagination. Remind yourself of how you could spin my head, how the mere thought of you still brings a numbing pain within me, remind yourself that you’re more than you claim to be. If you meet someone on the street who asks for your name, don’t lie this time. I won’t be around to cover up for you. Don’t pretend you accidentally called someone, because that doesn’t work past the age where hiding behind a wall can protect you from the world. Don’t lie; don’t lie at all. Don’t throw rocks and hide. Show up. Step out of the shadows, and maybe you can even give it a break and take the blame for yourself. There are no malfunctioning spies anymore, they’ve got better jobs now. There’s no one to do the job for you, or play pretend. No active members or sleeping ones. No one to stop you or say you’re wrong. None to poke sticks at and none that would take your insults anymore. So think this time. Think again. Hate me if you want to, but think back to when it wasn’t this way. When my eyes saw your words the first, when my voice reached your ears the first. Dreams we dreamt and futures we longed to see. How simple and how complicated. The dares we dared to do, the battle scars, burnt kitchens and trips and falls that kept us holding on to each other. The distances we ran, the things we hid from, the pictures we painted, the stories we wrote.Remember me, for more than all that everyone else knows.. Remember me for all the moments that stand between me and you; the only bridge we have left anymore. Remember me for just what you knew of me… I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

Lighters

I took no offense at all, but this is to let you know the conversation was appreciated. It really was.

You don’t often find people like myself walking around looking for seats in an empty arena full of opportunities, so don’t look over the heads hoping to find a black and white image of a prank you didn’t see the other side to. I’m the kind of person that gets soaked in the rain and floats away stuck to the underside of a paper boat that would eventually reach the estuary and sink at the meeting of a gentle tug of an ocean current. The kind that has edges so rough that a shoulder that brushes past could start a fire; a fire so tired and exhausted that all it needs is a sigh of relief to be put out, much less a cold gush of evening wind; fires that don’t last as long as anyone would ever want them to. Fires that give life to bored conversations that sleep takes over soon enough. The kind of person that comes wrapped in layers of paper and wax, revealing gun powder on the inside, enough for child’s play but never allowed close to one. Always a disappointment, always slow to light up, always put off before it’s time to go. Always unconsidered, a back pocket option, a last resort and nothing else. If all else fails, people like me; we’ll be there. I’ll be there… to be blamed, to be cursed at, to be thrown or forgotten. The kind of person that waves on seas named after colors accompany along with cold winds as tired fingers write letters to people they’ll never come to touch. Voices they’ll never come to hear, souls they’ll never come close enough to see through. Words written by moonlight at 02:42 that may or may not reach the eyes of a person who dodged the responsibilities of a prank by questioning my presence.
Because when you asked for a matchbox you didn’t ask for one at all. You simply asked me if I belonged to the world you were witnessing, because matchboxes… Matchboxes don’t mean much in a world full of lighters.