Niloy

 

He sat stirring a spoon of sugar in his coffee, wishing the choice between cowardice and courage was an easy one to make. Stains of yesterday’s dinner were visible on the tablecloth, he absently scratched at them with his fingernail. He had woken up with a sudden bout of nausea and his head swimming with guilt.

Before he could sip his coffee, his phone chimed with an agitating urgency. The sound of incoming messages were syncing with that of the irregular rhythm of his anxiety, every message tipping him closer to yet another moment of weakness. Niloy told himself that he was afraid of confronting her, afraid of her words that dig their way under his skin and nest in his heart. He placed his phone face down on the table and took to pacing the room instead, the harsh light of the sun’s glare exposing the worry lines on his forehead. Nothing is real till he confronts it, and he intended to keep it that way. Downstairs, his instruments groaned in exhaustion. They knew they had another long day in front of them.

He knows he is in trouble, he is in love. He has been in love before, he was just never consumed by it. Falling in love with her took him by surprise. It swept him up in its torrent, desperate and demanding, almost infantile in nature. He didn’t know then, it crept up on him when she laughed and he felt something detach from the familiar tinkling of her laughter, and come to rest on his tongue. He crushed it gently, the sweetened nectar pouring down his throat and filling up his ribcage. That’s when he knew. He carried the secret with him everywhere he went, rolling it around on his tongue, moulding the unfamiliar shape, testing its weight, asserting its existence.

Each time they spoke, he would wait for another piece to detach and add to the shape. The first time she cried, he tasted a piece of his bruised heart. The first time she said ‘I miss you’, he tasted an unripe bittersweet nectarine. What he couldn’t swallow was her rage. Her rage was acrid, angry words laced with hurt; they stifled him with their need to grow. They would feed on his inaction, grow to consume a room, burn down curtains and beds on its way. Niloy never housed her rage, he dealt with it like most men do- by shutting the front door on it and hoping it dissipates. Men after all have grown up with the privilege of being able to ignore a woman’s anger, of never having taught to acknowledge it. When confronted with a woman’s rage, men either discard it as an unnecessary distraction or stifle it with the remnants of their bruised ego in an attempt to bury its existence.

Yet the fruit of Niloy’s love matured, he nourished it with her softness and watered it with his attention. Niloy was an artist, and as is the case with artists, he sought out vulnerability. He would coax her pain out of the phone, will her to tell him when it hurt, where it hurt and who did the hurting. He would lie down on his blue bedspread, shut the door on his life and curl the night around his body; he only ever spoke in hushed voices to keep their world a secret. Then one night, when she had made him laugh harder than anyone ever had, made his body feel lighter than air, he told her he loved her. ‘Be mine’, he said. ‘You haven’t even met me yet’, she laughed. He told her it doesn’t matter, he loves her now, in this moment. He would love her when they met, when he could stare at her face unbidden, lightly touch her cinnamon skin, and see her eyes crinkle up when she laughs. He scattered his words like flower petals, letting the wind carry them where it wishes, throwing them without real intention.

She sensed his nonchalance, she refused to answer it with intent. He tried to part the heavy fabric of her silence, his pride willing the eight letters to find their way to him, wishing and wishing she felt the same way. After she said goodbye that night, he couldn’t sleep. He stepped out of the door and into the familiar darkness broken infrequently by the glimmer of stars. His thoughts wrapped around his shoulders like an unwelcomed touch, Niloy walked and tried hard to shed them. She didn’t love him, not yet anyway. And if she did, it didn’t glow bright enough for him. When he came home, his ego had made his decision for him. He would disappear, he would dissolve into his world once again, a world where the sound of music was loud enough to drown out the fitful knocking of love.

The next morning, he woke up in his old life. The smell of breakfast greeted him at the door, his father cooking. He ate, showered, slipped into a musty grey t-shirt and jeans, and stepped out of the house. His instrument on his back, he took the metro and seamlessly traced his steps back to where he was before he met her. Back to a life of pastel colours, diluted of real meaning. She called, she left messages. But he was far away, her words funnelled down, into the life he had slipped out of, a life that held her at its centre.

In the time he withdrew himself, her affection stumbled. It questioned itself before it even bloomed, it produced a half-hearted fruit, a sorry looking thing with orange flesh and splotches of brown. So when he did leap back to her, convinced he had secured her love, he plucked the fruit and tasted its over ripeness, and mistook it for love. He thought it was his for bruising, for loving, for consuming. So deep was he in his desperation for her, that he mistook her friendship for love, didn’t notice the fruit rotting. He tortured her, he demanded declarations of her need for him, of her want to be with him. He hammered down pillars and corridors, shrunk the room till all it contained was him and her.

But he didn’t foresee the other side of warmth, the flames willing to lash out and lick the remaining bare walls. She set ablaze the words she had buried deep within, which he now sits dodging. Hurt, more than anger spills out, bubbling at the cracks, frothing and flowing towards his heart. He couldn’t love her rage, couldn’t accept it, and couldn’t love all of her. So, he yearned; a pitiful whine. He yearned for the rage to subside, yearned for her to play a requiem for her harshness. Now he runs far away from her words, back into his world insulated with his narrow understanding of love, of women.

Men, brave or weak are after all cowards in the matters of heart.

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A Disease Called Fascination

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Illustration by www.bitesizedsanity.com

My spoon scrapes up shards of blue stained glass, the exact shade of my melancholy, only slightly watered down. Your knuckles make that sound again, echo around my ribcage and reverberate in my head; I love you. You seem to be the kind of man drawn towards objects of fascination, after all, you have affixed your eyes on me. You swallow a teaspoon of this fascination every day, feeding your delusions till they branch out into acts of desperation, till you think you need me to even continue living.

Alright, I think to myself. I let you climb inside my mouth, slide down my throat and cling to my lungs. My ribcage made you feel safe, so close to my beating heart. My teeth crunch glass, drowning out the sound of your desperate appeals to be heard. They don’t go down easy, but that’s what you get for letting the paranoias of your mind feed you. Was that a scream I heard? Sounds of scampering, feet shuffling urgently, as if to flee. You grumble about the sharp pieces of glass, your feet are cut and bloody. I cannot stop, I am ravenous. I spoon more into my mouth, even beads of a confusing colour, all mixed in. Is this what anxiety looks like? When the streams of thoughts have lost direction and come to seek each other, like moths drawn to light? Thoughts of different colours, from the bluest of blues to the murkiest browns, spun around and around in a complicated jumble.

My throat is dry, I wash it all down with water, one easy swallow. Help, you scream; I am drowning, you say. You beat against my insides and plea for your freedom. But darling, I never imprisoned you. You were always a prisoner of your own fairy-tale. When you said you loved me, you meant when I was at my best. You loved me when I put up a string of Christmas lights around my rib-cage, when they glowed warmth, enveloping you in a womb-like safety. Two fingers down my throat, out you come, awash in relief. You run away, almost expecting me to hold you back, perhaps a little let down when I don’t. Maybe you know better now, you watch me from afar. You don’t wish to drown, merely to stay afloat in your fascination of me. I wish you were wiser, I wish you rather knew how to swim.

Foolish Lonely Girls- A Symphony

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Artwork by my fav Neha Mestry aka  @procaffeinator_ on Instagram

My loneliness has a sound; loud and desperate, it screeches when I open up my heart. The beasts come sniffing, vulnerability is an easy prey. They don’t tell you this about loneliness, about the desperation coating its hands, like grease they run up and down your flesh. So you find another body, you rub yourself clean of this mindless need, your loneliness lies content in the tangle of limbs. They don’t tell you that your desires are lying to you; a stranger’s body is not a time machine. Their tongue in your mouth is not a portal to when love found you, when it called upon you like an old friend. Fuck that nobody ever told me to stitch up my heart, I pimped it out till it was blood red and goose pimpled, an old whore wearing a loud lipstick and a cheap wig. Ghosting these midnight streets, heels tottering and a shadow of a smile, selling my affections to the highest bidder. Loneliness is a disease and I am its favoured host.

My Foolish Lonely Girls

 

Do you ever get so lonely that you can hear the emptiness rattling inside your ribcage. That you can feel the black bile your mind churns? The suffocating quality of your thoughts?
And you will do anything, anyone to not feel like you are building an echo chamber right there in your heart. Anything to not hear the sound of emptiness, its screeching tone of voice and sandpaper like hands rubbing against your back.
Have you ever felt so lonely that you let someone warm you with their body? Unfamiliar lips snaking up your body, hands without a destination, hands without a map, their unsynchronised breath trying to make you feel, trying to open up your heart, trying to tear the steel like stitches apart?
Does your loneliness crystallise in the morning again? Sunlight glittering off of your icy heart, vulnerability laid bare. Do their arms feel like home? Their body entangled with yours, do you find your refuge? Does your loneliness believe their promises, oh how well these lovers weave words. Silken threads of brilliant colours, blinding and hiding.
My foolish lonely girls.

Absolution

Like shadows

filtered through moonlight

we blend softly

around our edges.

 

Darkness has always been

a confidante

for the outpouring

of our unspoken vice.

 

The politics of our carnality

we dissolve each night

when your mouth seeks mine

and when my body arches under yours.

 

Absolution and other love stories

 

 

 

 

Worms on My Body

Cold earth for company
twigs and worms crawling
all over me.
I remember the summer night
i came to be here
you were there
you were watching over me.
Winter’s bones
are building their empire now
it is dark and I shiver
wrapped in nothing but
the frayed weight of your promises.
A voice inside my head
tells me to scream for help
but who could possibly hear me,
through the packed silence
of the soil?
I wait
because you dig me out now and then
when you miss the warmth of my body.
You lay me down after;
you selfish bastard
and tell me
it is because i am yours
that you have caged me
in your uncertainty.

the only art you ever mastered 

is the one of letting me down.