2 AM ACHE

It’s a 2 am ache,

Rising sharp at 5 pm,

Like every hour before it,

Like every hour after.

 

In the in-between minutes,

There are heartbeats,

Mingling and distracting

From this punctual vacuum.

 

I swear I deleted your face,

I don’t remember your name,

I can’t recall your smile,

Or your scent or taste.

 

I’ve removed your words,

The brand of your touch,

You don’t laugh in memories,

Because you don’t exist anymore.

 

You never were, never will be,

It was the easiest thing to do,

After a while of being the toughest,

Reached last but finished my race.

 

But then…

There’s the 2 am ache,

An SOS no other radio can receive,

Emitted and caught by atoms in my bones,

On a special kind of stupid loop,

It’s feedback without melodic genius:

This special, non-hummable 2 am ache.

From The Girl Who Couldn’t Love You Back

Last night, I wanted to tell you that if you ask ‘others’, what does 1 + 1 equal? The answer will be 2. No one will say 3 or 4 or 100014.5. Because no one sees the invisible spaces between the 1 and the + and the 1 again. Those invisible spaces, my ex-best friend, are where you and I reside. Correction, since your call last night, used to reside. So your other friends shall advise you like the objective, rational people they are. They’ll advise you like they would on which mutual fund to invest in, or what restaurant to take your parents out to dine in, or which firm to join. They’ll advise you, not knowing you like I do, not knowing me like you do. Not knowing anything about us worth knowing. And you’d listen, because that’s what you want to do, not because they are saying it.

I wanted to say all of this and so much more to you last night. But my voice was steady, hard even. I heard my words fluid and calm like the practiced movement of a surgeon lifting a scalpel to cut a deep incision in the body of our friendship. To my surprise, there was no blood. The bleeding bit was done. But the hurting bit wasn’t. I tossed and turned, and when sleep finally found me I dreamt broken dreams, my subconscious mind in as much disarray as my conscious mind.

I have never seen love as a bad thing, even when it hurt, which it does so much of the time. But for the first time I saw the curse of unrequited love. You fell in love with me. And I couldn’t love you back the same way. I wanted to, I tried to. But I couldn’t. And that is no one’s fault is it? But punishments are seldom dealt fairly. You told me that you couldn’t see me as a friend, that you’d never see me as a friend. That you love me too much, and that you’ll always love me and so…we can’t talk anymore. Ever. I wondered if you’d talk in terms of a year, or two, maybe three, but no. You tossed in forever so casually, expecting me to catch the word with just as much ease.

I tried to tell you to call me when you meet a girl and fall in love again. You refused. I understand that your emotions don’t allow you to see beyond a few feet into the future. But how can 26 years of living on planet Earth have not taught you that nothing is forever? Neither our promises, nor our loves, nor our bodies. You loving me forever is the most naïve declaration in the grand scheme of things. We inhabit an oval rock that floats listlessly, repetitively in pitch black nothingness. Its doom, like ours, inevitable.

But coming back to our ant existence, you’re hurting now, and that’s because of me. Of course you’ll say it isn’t my fault that I don’t feel the same way. I know that too. But when you tell me you, the boy who never cries, cried because of this, all I think about is how your life would’ve been if you’d never met me. Like an alternate universe where we decided not to overcome our initial dislike of one another. Would you have been happier? Would I have been happier? Crazy, futile questions buzz around my head, and answers have long turned into myths written in a cryptic language in a place far, far away. I hate the fact that I am It. The reason for your pain. That is not what I wanted to be for you. In a world out to ‘break your heart ten ways to Sunday’, I wanted to be the healing hug at the end of Sunday. Clearly not.

However you aren’t the only one lost right now, friend. In that at least we are together. People have asked me during this entire period of back and forth, confusion and angst, joy and friendship, whether I love you. What a silly thing to ask. Of course I love you. You are my soul mate, how could I not? But not in the way you want me to. I love you like family, and I tried hard to change that. That truly broke you didn’t it? You saw me try, and it spread poison in your system like a toxic dart to the heart. You tried to win me over too, despite everything. You tried to make me love you, the way you loved me because in a fair world, input = output. But I couldn’t. And I want to slap the girl I see in the mirror, because I know a ‘yes’ would’ve made things so easy. But it wouldn’t have been true to you or me.

It’s weird. A break up feels worse, sure. That is like a sucker punch to the gut that knocks the wind right out of you. You double up in pain, as your insides bleed. It takes time to get back up again. But this, this is breaking up with a best friend. Not because you’ve drifted apart, or because you had a fight, but because of a mismatch in the type of love. Because if there was a criterion for matching the amount of love, friend, I’d probably win. Why? Because nothing you could do could make me walk away. Why do you think every time you’ve walked away from me, I’ve welcomed you back with open arms? Even now, stupid though it is, I hope. I hope maybe a couple of months down the line, with distance from the constant agony of being around the girl who couldn’t love you back, you will see me in a kinder light. Because love changes form all the time. Maybe your love for me shall transform from that specific angle of romance to a much deeper version that matches the love I feel for you.

You’ve left all our common whatsapp groups. I’m sure Facebook and Instagram shall follow shortly. It’ll be like I never existed. Pity people aren’t as easily erased from the heart as social media. We have so many common threads linking us: friends, family, and now all of that is shrouded in haze. Will you shun them or will they shun me? What about all the trips we had planned? You promised to take me trekking, and the lazy bum that I am, I thought I’ll do it later. After all, I had my whole life to go trekking with you. We were going to be best buds forever weren’t we?

Do you know why I’m writing all this? It’s because I can’t say this to you. I want to cry and yet I can’t. I want to express this pain because pain always radiates outwards, if you force it to go within that spells deep trouble. The thing is there are words that shall express this, this feeling of anguish just right, and in that expression I can find peace. But I can’t find the words to put my pain into prose. I can’t find the colours to paint my bleak landscape. I can’t find the movements to this performance. I stand alone in the grim spotlight of a sloe black stage and am unable to sing.

Sydney Sheldon wrote that when you’re in love all the cheap pop songs seem to be written for you. It’s the same for a broken heart too. Because that’s what you did to me, I broke yours, you broke mine. I’ve been listening to the cover of ‘Don’t wanna know’ by Boyce Avenue and Sarah Hyland on repeat. It’s just because of these lines: “Do you think of me, what we used to be? Is it better now that I’m not around? My friends are acting strange, they don’t bring up your name, are you happy now? Are you happy now?” Are you?

The thing that hurt me a lot is that our friendship meant little, at least in the face of the love you felt. Like a pretty stream losing meaning in merging with a vast, depthless ocean. I wonder if you did all that you did for me because you were in love with me, or because I was your best friend. And that bothers me because somehow it feels like I was a fool for thinking of our friendship like a rare diamond. Because now, because of that, I will never be the best friend ‘forever’ that you let go of. I will now and ‘forever’ be the girl who couldn’t love you back. In popular parlance, the girl who friendzoned you.

Love, just not the kind you want,
Roshi

Shhh, my heart.

Shhh, my heaving heart, shhh

Torn apart by tornados of thoughts,

Wrapped in layers of a black silence,

You know this part, so shhh, my foolish heart, shhh.

 

Promises are word prostitutes,

Whispering sweet nothings in your ear,

An hour of pleasure for which a piece of soul you paid,

It’s the economy, so shhh, my deceived heart, shhh.

 

The wrecking ball slams into your walls,

Tissue and arteries, crushed and burst,

Red and thick, the blood fills you upto brim,

You deal in blood, so shhh, my bleeding heart, shhh.

 

Each throb is a punch, in to out,

Each beat strums pain,

Something shrieks and something breaks,

It’s blind madness, so shhh, my raging heart, shhh.

 

Tears are the currency of inflation,

A lot means little, their salt has more value,

Drip-drip-drip, silent drip, an IV cut loose,

Crashes happen, so shhh, my weeping heart, shhh.

 

Talk distracts, except when it never does,

Which is near always,

So pretend to talk, smile and laugh,

It becomes real, so shhh, my aching heart, shhh.

 

Dogs chasing tails, round and round,

We chase tails of what-ifs,

Perpetual fools, the head calls us,

We’ll get there, so shhh, my stubborn heart, shhh.

The Poem Conversation

I hear your words muffled at first,
Like a glitch in static, like a memory of a memory,
Like music heard through a closed, wooden door,
With my hand on the brass knob, I pause,
Unwilling to open, unable to let it remain closed.

 

For I have seen and seen,
How the music ends in a blink,
When someone enters the room.
And I have lived that silence filled with shiny words,
Your mask so rough it keeps slipping.

 

If you were a place, you’d be a second home,
And I guess when I shook your hand,
I must’ve let go of my jar of labels,
As I write you, to you, for you,
I find more of me than you.

 

In the ball room outside,
They rush to put us in a box,
We must be something, right?
Something defined.
But we aren’t or are.

 

We are old souls,
On similar flights,
“Did you see that cloud?”
“Yes, and I loved it too!”
An imperfect, perfect harmony.

 

In dusty rooms, once in a blue moon,
About shackled speech and angry hearts,
I write letters to you,
But that room is locked,
I don’t have its key,
Those corners know me more than me.
They won’t let me in, unless I need.

To you, who can’t let go.

To you, who can’t let go,

Was it a boyfriend, a brother, a friend, a sister, a girlfriend, a mother, or maybe a father? The one or ones who disappeared, who took a pen, signed their names onto the fabric of your heart and then left. Now you can’t wash off the indelible ink and it feels more like a stain than a memory of love. Most days you shrug it off, the present is full of incredible, sugary distractions that you stuff yourself with till you bloat. But now and then these phantoms come back for a cup of tea and a tete-a-tete. The ink turns moist again, like they’ve just picked up the pen and traced their essence all over you.

So you wonder why they keep popping up on the radar at random moments, why can’t they just disappear from memory, as from life? They are here to teach you a skill that you need to learn. It’s called the art of letting go. Not the kind of letting go that our generation is used to: the no strings attached, won’t-fight-for-the-ones-you-care-about kind of letting go. I mean the kind that despite you having given everything, more than everything to someone, they can’t seem to stick around. You need to learn that people come into your life and go, that is the ultimate truth. Even if they stick with you their whole life, eventually they will die and leave you. So, it doesn’t matter if  they move on while they live or when they have to, the more important thing is, that you need to accept that that is how the world is. And that letting go isn’t a bad thing.

You should love someone with abandon, with such depth, and unbelievable recklessness that your love should be seared into their memory for all eternity, irrespective of where they are or where they go. Don’t treat love like an investment where you put effort and time and energy into someone for returns later and then when the investment goes kaput you think, ‘I could’ve just done all this for someone who actually deserved it.’ You should love someone with the entirety of your yearning, dancing soul not because they deserve it, but because that’s the only true way to love. If you’re looking for someone who will stay, always, then you need to look into a mirror. That’s who will always be with you, and so you need to love that person and be the best of friends with that person. Then anyone who comes around is an added joy, not the source of it. And then when their time in your life is inevitably up, because they need to move on, or because you have tried enough and more to hold on but it isn’t your call anymore, whatever the reason, you should kiss them goodbye and wish them luck.

Perhaps it is only natural that you stare with longing in the empty direction that took them away. But that’s where you have to learn the art of letting go. Don’t stay at that spot watching a closed door, hoping for it to open. Don’t return to that spot either. Stand up, hold your head high, take a deep breath, look to the horizon, and say, “Who’s next?” Because there is always a next.