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This will only get worse.
I will not concede that
I love you
And I say with certainty that
We were never meant to be
I was stupid to think
We can last forever
I felt as if
You have never loved me
And I’m wrong for thinking that
I could be the best for you
I am trying to show that
My studies
Are more important than
You
Now, I realize
Love is a waste of time
It’s not true that
I love you.

Now read this in reverse.

Ok, well, I exaggerated this a bit, but you get the general idea.

***

The fear has been creeping softly in ever since I acknowledged the dead-lock I trapped myself in half a year ago. It fully unleashed itself these last few days leading up to Christmas, a season of love and reconciliation. Reconciliation, something I am still unwilling to accept from her; forgiveness, a liberty from hate and anguish I refuse to grant for both of us. And love, a power distorted into its ugliest form in our adamant manipulation and stubborn insistence of our own dignity.

Contact is inevitable. It means having to face someone I no longer care about, to relive the undulating memories she’s forcing onto me, wave by wave. Nightmares grip my endless nights, so many early mornings I have awoken with a prickly sweat, straining my ears for a comforting bird’s call that does not penetrate my mind thickly shrouded with dread. Memories I wish to forget— Recollections of times long past, which I have incarcerated into a dilapidated, banished prison of thought in the hidden recesses of my mind, burst out like flash floods of a hot summer. They break through the strong dams I have painstakingly constructed to suppress the tides, the eddying flows and currents that took so long to calm once again go raging, forming monstrous waves that tower over my dark, rocky shores.

They are not memories solely of her, but of all the repercussions that came from stepping into her world, their world. A world of empty souls, aimless shadows of human beings that hedonistically pursue transient possessions in a vain attempt of self-gratification. And aren’t all of us like that, at some point in our lives, to some extent? The stark realization that there is no absolute line dividing right and wrong, the wracking acceptance that we live in a gray world, that there are different definitions of “right”, and if one chooses to do “right” things, one often has to be alone.

The turbulence and chaos that resulted have reduced me into nothing but a flitting remnant of my old self, for I have lost my confidence in seeing through people, no longer perceiving their fears and fantasies with crystal clear vision, but as though through a haze that will never lift. These months I have slowly recovered, locking up these banes within walls that I thought were secure. But it was a form of escapism; I was delaying the moment of confrontation. It was all in vain, for I had never recovered.

So it all boils down to this. A forced exchange of fake, transparent greetings and Christmas wishes built upon superfluous words alone, carrying not even an iota of meaning or sincerity. A forced reconciliation— the air is heavy, weighed down with false cheeriness— creates an illusion that all is well and forgiven.

No… the hate and pain still lingers…

***

It’s unfinished and I don’t plan on ending it. Merry Christmas.

Haven’t written narratives for a long time… This piece is entirely fictional.

The Scent of Fresh Blades

(If I could, I would like to bring the scent of fresh blades with me wherever I go, to remind myself that sometimes, it’s alright if you’re not perfect.)

“Do you know what I like most about grass? Not its biological versatility of survival. Not its colour, not its soft touch on your bare arms when you lie on it, when it comes brushing at you, sometimes with dew, soaking your shirt in damp streaks. Not the way it feels so springy underneath your feet when you run on it. The best thing about grass is its scent. The scent of fresh blades.”

She said this the day I kissed her. We were lying on grass, with her curled up around me, and I was staring at the sky flushed bloody red and golden yellow with the hues of that long sunset. She plucked out a long blade and twisted it into a ring. I held that fragility in my fingers, and, pointing it towards the descending sun, realized it ringed that fiery globe perfectly.

(Perfection within imperfection. I had been trying to paint that ever since.)

“Take roses for example. If one of them has a ruffled petal, or a crooked stem, or a bent leaf, then it can’t belong anymore, because roses you give someone are supposed to be all perfect, to symbolize all that love you are trying to express. You’d have to get another one to replace it in your bunch of 99, or 50, or 36, or whatever number that people make up, which they claim it signifies some unending love or something. Bullshit.”

We were at a boutique looking at roses, and disdain for such flimsy and superficial emblems of love was clearly written on her face. I got one nonetheless, not particularly for her. It was nice to look at, with a ruffled petal, crooked stem, and some bent leaves, still beautiful, and she took it as we walked out onto the pavement. She ran a big, sharp thorn along her arm, and her delicate skin split open, hot red veins creeping out from the cut.

“Hey, why do you do that?” I had become accustomed to her eccentricities, her little unexpected acts of self-inflicted minor damages, that this did not surprise me. She turned around and I gazed into her dark, unyielding eyes.

“What are your thorns?” She asked softly.

We walked hand in hand.

“And what are yours?”

Maybe we couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be compared to roses. Going back to that piece of grass, we lay there in unbroken silence for the rest of the afternoon, each of us immersed in our own thoughts. Such sweet silence characterized the rest of the days we spent together.

“You know how grass smells like after it rains?” She asked one day, when she came to my workshop, fiddling with the rose I bought that cut her. “Fresh. Raw. In it you could also smell the soil, the earthworms and the bugs crawling underneath our feet. They don’t exactly smell good, and you wouldn’t like to acknowledge their existence, but you can’t separate them from the smell of grass. Without their complement, grass wouldn’t feel like grass. That’s why I like its scent, the scent of fresh blades. It has imperfections, yet I like it’s scent because of them.”

Her fingers lingered over the sharp, unforgiving thorns, tempted to pierce them again. Gently, I took it from her hands, and placed it in an empty beer bottle next to the window sill. The sunlight, sifting through the trees outside, splashed brilliantly all over it, forcing life into its shrivelled, blackened petals.

(Remember the sunset.)

“… so grass is the ideal.” She continued another day. “Each blade is different, yet that doesn’t matter. Whether it’s long, short, bent, or ripped… it’s still grass. Grass is allowed to have defects. One blade does not get plucked just because it doesn’t look good enough. But imperfection cannot be tolerated in roses. The way we look at roses, is the way we look at ourselves now. The models, the weightlifters, the singers, my neighbor. The perfect body, perfect look, perfect smile, curvature of the lips, the hips. But it’s not appearances alone. Everyone wants to be the perfect man, woman, dancer, artist, girl-next-door, athlete. Fuck, it’s not about ability too. It’s about being a perfect person. I know you, Ed. You’re trying to become the perfect man, perfect son, perfect artist. You don’t have to.

“If only we could be like grass. It would be ok to be yourself, to have your own personal shortcomings and flaws and weaknesses. Of course you’d have to work on them, and of course you’d have to at least try being better all the time. But all this paranoia about being the “right” one, well, Ed, you’re not the only one. I find it unnecessary.”

I brush the locks from her face and caress her. (Clarisse, sometimes, I think you think too much. But I think about these things too.)

And she would make those rings of grass endlessly. Occasionally I would pocket one or two, only to find them weeks later, withered and dry, in my shirt-pocket stained with blue ink. These rings gradually became a muse for my painting, as the months stretch, I would always think back to the day when she first made me one, when I pointed it at the setting sun, and marveled at how an imperfect, insignificant blade of grass, when bent in a certain way, could still possess the perfection of a circle.

I was trying to paint that sunset into a rose. The one with ruffled petals, bent leaves, and a crooked stem.

“What is it about flawlessness that is so encapsulating? Is such a state of being desirable, if it is achievable at the first place?”

(It gives one a sense of calm to have an ideal to aim for.)

To have a fictional goal, even if it appears to be out of reach. You need… a purpose. That way, perfection would seem to be possible. Belief in perfection, isn’t this all that matters?

Each stroke of the brush has to be carefully considered, how you angle your brush, the layering of paints. Where do edges end and shades begin? It is up to me to decide, to manipulate. Focus.

“Back to my point about grass. It is the ideal state of imperfection. A way of perception. Not delusional, being blind to your own weaknesses; but… you know, living with the knowledge of it, forgiving, not overly scrutinizing every meticulous detail, every flaw. I’d like to see you finish your sunset. It would be something new for a change, something different, not the glamorously romantically beautiful but ugly roses you see in cold department stores.”

(Smell my sunset for me, Clarisse.)

I pondered over her words with every stroke. Sometimes it took an hour to decide which brush to use, or the proportion of paints I should have in mixture. Not every stroke may be perfect, and this rose, certainly, was nowhere near perfect. But it did not matter, as long as Clarisse like it.

For hours she would stare at that unfinished canvas, sometimes hung over the poorly plastered wall, sometimes spread out over a wooden board. Would it be “ideal”, in her terms? Could it be? It looked different on different days. Once, there was a storm, and the shadows from torn, aimless leaves outside kept flitting over my sunset, like homeless ghosts in the horizon, desperately seeking for respite. And when it rained lightly, it was as if my rose was masked in a thin veil, with the whiteness of air that damp days brought.

Nonetheless, it looked as if the sun shone eternally through my rose. One perfect sunset, blended into an imperfect rose. The richness of colour, the emotional intensity, the unspeakable beauty of near-twilight that day.

Nearing the end, I tried smelling the rose. It had the scent of fresh blades.

this

is a playground for my unspeakable thoughts.

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