To the Olive Grove, a Haiku.

You’ve read every single one of my WordPress posts since I started this blog 6 years ago. This is me hoping you’d read this one too. This is me being optimistic.

Between the two of us, I always wrote about someone’s absence, and you glorified the moments spent before the absence. With you out of the picture, you’d expect me to write about how when you’re gone the walls echo the sounds of all of your big words that I can’t explain, how I’ve got stories about the platypus and the penguin, an alternate ending to the olive grove, about how I see a different constellation each time I look at the sky now. But I’m not here to write about how your absence feels more tangible than all those words that we dropped in your presence, how the ghosts in our stories aren’t really ghosts anymore.. I’m not here to explain in detail how incomplete it feels like without you around to say it isn’t. I’m not going to tell you I’m angry, or that I won’t talk to you unless you have an answer… because the truth is, I’m writing this to catch your attention. So that I’ll know you’ve boxed yourself into a shape that I don’t know the number of sides to, but I’ll know that you’re comfortable there. I need to know that.

I never asked you for explanations. I always believed you’d tell me all about it when it was time, but this time I’m not too sure. Remember how one day I deleted my twitter account overnight because I knew I wouldn’t have the answer to your only question? The weight of the shadow that followed me around for the next couple of weeks still feels like it’s following me around when no body’s looking. I wonder if that’s how you feel too. I wonder if you keep looking around to see if the shadow’s following you again, only to realize it never left you. You asked me once, twice, three times and then you said you wouldn’t ask me to do something I didn’t want to, but that you’d be the happiest if I chose one day to defy the list of rules I had chosen to lock myself behind. I always admired you for those words, but I wish now that I could tell you exactly what you told me then … except that I don’t know how.

I know you hate outbursts like this because you were above ordinary emotions and you always turned a cold shoulder when your friends asked you why, but you and I both know how our minds can’t help but race us to the finish line to fit the right words into these empty spaces of the internet hoping that the one person we addressed it to stumbles upon it by accident. This time, I’m writing to you..

I could point at a map to mark all the places where our stories lead us to, but if I drew a map of everything outside the context of a geography book, it’d look like the outline of a plan or a half built auditorium that made sense at one point but doesn’t anymore.  And even though we’ve put ourselves far enough to draw dotted lines to mark the transits that our planes would take before we reach “home”, our definitions changed before each other but we were finally on the same time zone so all the tennis jokes and shared links about game rules that I don’t understand reached me before the sun stole the hours between us. We knew the world was too big for our words, but we kept spotting the symmetry in numbers on the passing cars, made wishes on stars that made constellations that reminded us of the stories we lived through…  The map now looks like someone did a bad job at erasing the landmarks because you think you’re gone, but you’re still there in all the marks you haven’t cut out, all the lines you forgot to erase and the locations you’ve still marked on the map that I received via an e-mail last week to notify me that you’ve read another book. Another book you wouldn’t talk to me about, because it seems like you knew, though I didn’t, that skype calls come with expiry dates.. But like the worn out cover of a paper back I’ll hold onto the tumbled contents of life that I’ll sort through to find a trail of notes I once left behind. The ones that you’ve still got in a box somewhere to remind yourself how when things don’t make sense on their own you just have to wait till they all fall into place.

“Change is something inevitable in all of us” you said to me one day, “No matter how we might think of ourselves I think everybody changes. Even a little bit.” I don’t know if I ever told you but “inevitable” became one of my favorite words ever since you said that. I tell my friends “change is inevitable” and each time I’m thinking of the constant that you were. I’m stuck mid sentence now trying to reason with myself how change is inevitable but accepting the change is a whole lot harder.

I’m not good at writing haikus and I’ve never tried it even though you insisted I should. But I’m going to write one to you (my very first one) and I hope this, of all things, will prod the haiku writer in you to leave a reply that says that I’ve got the syllable count wrong or that it’s a good start. Or just tell me that you’re fine, or that you’re not- and let us be a part of this climb you’re taking on your own.

I hope you read this
Because I need to know that
You are well and fine.

Empty Screens and Cancelled Plans (Remind me of you)

Empty screens and cancelled plans remind me of you, but it isn’t the loneliness that does.
Sometimes crowded rooms remind me of you too- even when you’re in it. It’s not your absence that punches holes into my skin, but rather the void you fail to fill that echoes louder than all the voices that scream your name. 3pm and I’m having lunch late because I was stuck in a class and all I have in my mind when the teacher asks me a question is how you always had an answer- maybe not the right one but an answer enough to get us both out of trouble. It’s not what is right that keeps me holding on to your memories, it is almost what isn’t right that does. And I’m almost done writing letters to you though I know I’m far from it and you’re neither going to read them nor receive them but I try to push past the things that remind me of you- like the spaces between the keys that I strike to spell my name, or the beautiful silence that envelops me and then suffocates me. It’s been a while, and I wonder how many lines have filled your screen, how many plans have you cancelled, how many missed trains to your next class just because you caught a glimpse of someone you thought was a reflection of your past?