Saturday, May 28, 2011

Only we know.

I could never understand why it was so hard for him to laugh.

That's all I asked of him sometimes: laughter, pure and simple and unrestrained, like the rest of him.Instead he would reach out for me, eyes full of things he never said. Sometimes he'd say things which scared me because they were bold and unafraid. Sometimes he insisted on dressing me up in the morning, and telling me what to wear. Sometimes he picked out my perfume because he said he knew what I should smell like. Planned details, small, insignificant things, the dip in the back of my dress, the way people would look at me when I entered a room, he planned everything. He'd set me free then, observe me as I talked, laughed, frowned with people, like an outsider, a narrator in some depraved plot. When they came to ask for a dance, he nodded his approval with his eyes, signalled with the smallest blink and I obliged. And with these freedoms I was bound to him.

I remember how hard I tried, donning weird outfits, singing 'single ladies' on his street, throwing pebbles on his window but he just spoke with his eyes, smiled like an omniscient god. Sometimes he put a violin in my hands and asked me to play it when I had no idea how to. I must play it myself and not be taught and when I am tired of it, he could have it, should have it, so he could complete the notes where I left them off.

They say you can't plan love, but the way he played at it, I was sure this was his plan too. I tried conjuring him, but he wouldn't move and then out of nowhere he came out and asked for it all. I didn't get it. I didn't get him. I was scared of him, of what he made me feel, of the power I let him have over me. I was scared of loving him more than I already did. So scared, so, so scared of him, of the possibility of us, that I ran away because the alternative frightenend the hell out of me. In the alternative, he was the one who left tomorrow, or the day after, or ten years down the line, left me with a broken heart, an accidental baby, nothing but his memories full of desire and longing, but no laughter.

I met him again then, after so, so long. He was still the same, smiling, but unlaughing, still a god who could tug at me and erode my defences if I came close, with my body physically requiring his proximity, his approval, his anything.
Why did you never laugh?
I asked finally, after being haunted by this question for years.

He laughed then.
Pure and simple and unrestrained, like himself.
He laughed.
I was so happy with you, I didn't need to laugh.

Laughter is for those who need proof, and it isn't love if it needs proof.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening.
There's something about the rain which reminds me of the way your eyes were when you tried to not laugh.

So it is on days like this that I want you again.
Want you, between the bookshelves that closely line your country home.
Between the unfinished paintings that lie still undone in your studio.

When the rain soaks through my shoes and socks, on to my toes, I want you.
When my knees are wet with the rain water, you are there with your university hoodie drying my legs. By your fireplace, between my neatly organised notes, to the sound of thunder, to the lick of fire on wood, on the Iranian carpets on the floor, running through the rain to get me a Krispy Kreme because that's what I want when I'm cold and ill and feeling desolate and loveless. Krispy Kremes and you.

Across the pond, you light another cigarette, with the rain in your hair. Sometimes you write, others you ask if I have tried falling in love with someone else. Here, I dry my own feet. And even when the days are dark and the nights cold, no one else's body covers mine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Roman re-birth.

Animals; you, me, all of us were.

One minute you're convinced there's no such thing as one true love, because you have two loves of your life; the other you tell yourself there's no such thing as one true love, because there's not even one.

They always make the same mistakes, the two of them, and you, so they're just you with a different name and face. You love him till it makes no more sense, he chases her, she kisses him, he loves you. There was a pattern to all the chaos. Your shoulders move in a firm, circular motion as he slowly edges closer on the dance floor.

By default, you don't get to complain, or pass judgement because you're all in it together. So you love each other, hate each other, carry with you the touch of one skin to another like a disease in an ancient Roman orgy.

One night you talk to him, till it's no more night. The intensity of a mundane action all lovers undertake kills you. Map-shaped scars on your knee, sickle-shaped ones on my hands. His knees to my hands to the sounds of his heart in his chest. In his head, he decides for you, why you must have Davidoffs, not Dunhill; Jack Daniel's, not Stella; why you must not dance with anyone else till his fingers grasp you so tightly you want to run away to the other sea of men who ask no questions and require no explanations. When your friends say they don't see you with being with anyone because no one ever will be able to complete you, it makes sense in his head. No one but him. Because no one elses hands fill the spaces between your fingers like his do.

On other coffee mornings, you choose instead green tea and black coffee, no sugar and no sugar. Just like it's meant to be done. She sits in front of you and her fingers go up his elbow. He responds to her touch and your neurones are in a straitjacket, though they have no right to be. They playfully tuck at each other, choose items off the menu for each other, she dumbs up for him, lost, confused, distressed. Betrayed. She was your friend, till one day, suddenly, because of the way he was looking at her, she was not.

She talks to me all day long. And she understands that you need me as much as I need you.
I don't want her to feel like you're away because of me.
I don't know how much you need me.
I don't know how much you need me.
Enough not to need anything else.
I don't let myself really believe that because it scares me.

And then, suddenly, they die out, because you cannot extend the permission of loving more than one person to them. One man's love can never be enough for you because of the enormity of your thirst, but it drives you crazy how your love can be not enough for them. With a whiff and a flicker, you push them out of your life because they simply forget how you want them to exist.

When you fall in bed together at the end of the night, you don't see how anything else can ever matter.
How can you study after this?
How can you sleep after this?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit." (Oscar Wilde)

I could almost feel how bent my back was under the weight of all my self-imposed morality. Girls this, girls that. Moral, but not excessively religious, so neither in this world, nor that. Must not date anyone, must not kiss him just because of the way he makes you feel in towering, loveless cities, must not wear the sleeves too short, must not let my eyes wander on the charmingly lit face of a broody stranger. And the way he called me out, I wanted to break away from it all.

And he called me out all the time.
Why, hello there.
Why are you following me?
Because you're beautiful.

Silence. Him, smiles. Her, the dull ache of withered passion.
Just once, to shut his smile with a kiss.
Just once, to return his advances, shove for push.

God was always sitting between you and me, when I wanted to reach out and touch your face. Sitting there, with a wan smile, an eyebrow arched, almost daring me to go on. You goaded. He just mocked. I never will forgive Him for that.

Come over, my flat mates aren't in, we'll make pancakes.
Want me to teach you how to touch the strings of a rubab in a way that coaxes them into making music?
Can I sketch you?

No. No. NO.

Sometimes, it was almost as if I was incapable of saying yes, even when I wanted to, so I kept on frowning into his merry eyes, hoping he would keep coming back.

In the meantime, Rumi spoke low and soft from behind his lop-sided smile on the streak of blue paint that was his overstudied mouth.
"People who repress desires often turn, suddenly, into hypocrites."