The Soulmate

The clock ticks on. Five minutes to go.

He thinks of calling her, but he figures if it has to be her, she’ll call herself.

So he goes and opens the refrigerator for the twentieth time that hour, pulls out a slice of cheese, heads back to his laptop and plays some music. There’s beats in the background now. Beats and vibrations. No words. He closes his eyes and breathes in deep, then lets out a long sigh.

It’s about time he met her. The one. Whomever she was.

There was no guarantee that the astrologer had been right. But three years back when he’d been told by the old man in orange robes the exact date and time he’d meet his soul-mate, he’d laughed it off.
He couldn’t tell why, it hardly seemed funny anymore.

Four minutes to go, and his phone vibrates with a message from her.
Hey I’m coming over. Getting pizza.

He’d been with her for over five years now. Of course she knew about the prediction. He smiled to himself.  She’s making sure she’s with me at the time I’m supposed to meet my soul-mate.

“Maybe it’s the moment you realize I’m your soul-mate” she’d said, arguing against the astrologer’s prediction. “The orange dude didn’t say it’s the time you meet your soul-mate for the very first time!”

The orange dude did, actually, in so many words.

He finishes his slice of cheese and his phone beeps again.

Low battery. Three minutes to go.

He sets an alarm on his wrist watch for three minutes and just as he plugs in his phone to charge, he gets another message from her.
Almost there. Come downstairs.

He leaves his phone to charge, picks up the house keys and goes downstairs, his heart beating a little faster now. He did love her. Heck, he’d loved her for five years. Then why is he feeling uneasy? Almost as though he’s thinking he’ll meet someone new in the next two minutes, as ridiculous as that sounds.

He lands on the ground floor with one minute to go.

He sees her car approaching in the distance, waiting at the signal, and he lets out a bittersweet sigh.
So that’s that.

He’s walking out onto the road to greet her when a speeding car runs into him from the other side of the road and knocks him out cold. The girl driving it rushes out to gauge the damage, and as she holds his hand to check his pulse, his wristwatch alarm goes off. He looks into her eyes long and deep before he shuts his own forever.

***

As the hysterical girl from the approaching car at the signal accompanies her dead boyfriend into the ICU, the speeding lady orders Chinese in the hospital cafeteria.  It comes with a fortune cookie that reads “Oftentimes, your soul-mate and life partner aren’t the same person.”

***

Later that night, the speeding lady’s husband pulls off his orange robes and casually asks her whom she killed today.

***

The Green In My Autumn

Some people bring out the best in you, some bring out the worst. And then there are those remarkably rare addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.
– Karen Marie Moning


It’s just that time of the year. October, with its purpling skies and orange backdrop. With its smell of bonfires and warm vanilla sugar. There’s this nip in the air that makes it a bit harder to get out of bed every morning. I push my foot out from under the covers and quickly pull it back in. No. This can wait.

Whatever it is, it can wait.

The trees are busy showing the world how lovely it is to let go of the inert. I walk on pavements, occasionally smiling with these lips more scar tissue than skin as I saunter out of my way to step on a crisp leaf, brown from having lost its soul, still making me smile in its afterlife, and I think to myself how  this fallen leaf can be dead and still dance like it does on a windy day.

It’s so easy to be completely wrong about people. To see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole. What if we only notice the unfamiliar parts later? Sometimes we see something perfect and we fall in love. Sometimes we get lessons and sometimes we get lucky. In time we see the imperfections, and we either get scared or we fall in love even more. Or both. People can be adventurous these days and souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another.

I could write a dictionary on all the words I have used to describe how it feels to have finally, finally found him. But ask a painter and he’ll tell you, there are olive green, bottle green, peacock green and sea green, but not a green in the world can capture the image in the painter’s mind.
Well, I think I found my green. Is there a word for that?

No one can tell you what goes on in between the person you were and the person you became. There is no conversation, no overlap in time or space. There’s just a feeling. The kind of feeling people write novels about. It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you ask someone their name and the next, you can’t imagine a time when that name wasn’t set on your tongue like stone, repeated over and over again through the day in every tone and decibel level possible because he makes you happy and sad and crazy and excited and furious all at the same time. You feel your walls coming down like dried leaves, and you smile even though you’re terrified, because intuition says you should.

Peace is not an infinite state. It exists in fleeting moments, silent more often than not. Eyes meet, fingers brush, sometimes there’s no contact at all. It’s just in the air. And you spend all your time with this person in silence, and try not to laugh at the days when you fought with people for space, not knowing that your space was a person. There’s no peace in the world like being in love with someone who wants to be loved. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

They fill up your glass with responsibility for their smiles and tears and you take it with open arms because this can’t wait.
Whatever it is, it’s the green in your autumn and it can’t wait.

I think I like who I’m becoming.

We All Start As Strangers

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew – Pocahontas


At what point does a stranger stop being a stranger?

Is it when the stare lingers on one moment too long? Or when your hands brush and then don’t pull away? Is it when they voice out your thoughts for the first time?

We all have two kinds of songs we love. The first kind, you want to share with the world and sing out loud from rooftops. But there’s always the other kind, the kind you want to keep to yourself, with tender greed, extracting all the joy from it as if to feed your soul and your soul alone; as if any other soul extracting joy from it would mean less for you. With the right music, you either forget or remember everything. People can be like that too.

And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. And the silence is warm and the conversation is intoxicating and there’s one part of you that’s holding you back because you know the sparks never last but there’s the other part of you that makes you realise that he’s a favourite song of the second kind, and so there’s nothing to worry about.
For once, the sparks aren’t the best part.

I don’t know when I became such a sucker for familiarity. I don’t know how it is that he is so familiar to me, or why it feels less like I’m getting to know him and more like I’m remembering who he is. How every smile, every touch brings me closer to the impossible conclusion that I’ve known him before, kissed him before, in some other existence.

You can always get to know someone by asking them straight forward questions. Where do you work? How tall are you? What did you study and where did you grow up? Grown up questions about things that grown-ups think matter. If you only ask the questions everyone else is asking, you’ll only get to know what everyone else knows.

What if I have different questions? I’m not interested in who he thinks he is. I’m not interested in who other people think he is. I don’t care what car he drives or what brands he wears. I refuse to fall in love with anything but the words that flutter from the crevices of his mind people failed to explore. I want to know what colour he likes his sunset. I want to know what he thinks of when he drives alone. I want to know what makes him sigh. These aren’t questions you can ask people, simply because these aren’t things most people know about themselves. The only answers we have ready are the ones we think matter.

I think that’s when someone stops being a stranger. When you ask them a question that makes them think and they answer it honestly, smiling as they talk, their eyes wandering, knowing they’ve never answered it before, oblivious to the part of their soul leaving through their words.

I want to talk to him, about his dreams and fears, and begin everything from the beginning. Taking time, if you think of it, is actually less time consuming. And only when the tide pulls back the sand from under your toes, you realize that you can’t hold onto something by holding on. Happiness doesn’t leave scars and peace is so difficult to remember. That’s why you need to keep it with you.

And that’s why I’d like him to stay. We all start as strangers.

Grown Up Fonts

Hi.

It’s been a while I think. I used to write in Calibri 12, its Arial 10 on a 120% zoom now. It’s weird. Not bad weird. Just different weird. The kind of weird that takes getting used to but you’ll do it because you know it’s good for you.

Arial 10. I never would have imagined.

I’ve had this strange feeling inside of me for a while. Like while I was asleep, somebody disassembled me and then hurriedly put me back together. Like I’m made of the same pieces and the same experiences but there are air pockets from the haste in which they were put back together. Air pockets trapped in spaces that used to be filled with something I can’t quite remember.

These days sometimes go on for days. Some days I function on caffeine highs and praises transferred via email and some days I get my soul pureed and served to me in a melancholy cup of leftover tea. I feel people jump into the corporate whirlpool just to have an excuse to not think. About songs that get them nostalgic or places that get them dreamy. Sometimes one sees someone who looks like someone they used to love but luckily there’s so many floors to shuffle through and heels aren’t easy to walk around in and calls go on for hours at times and they forget. Sometimes a song hits them but then their playlist is on shuffle and they’re holding coffee in one hand and taking notes with the other and  probably already late for something and they’re just like ah well fuck it.
They start clocking the hourglass instead of wondering whether the sand comes from a special beach.

I think it was feelings, that held in those air pockets. I think it was superlatives too. Nobody ever warns you about the barrenness of a busy life. They say it’ll be difficult but it’ll be worth it. They say you’ll earn enough to eat whatever you want and live wherever you please and drive whatever you fancy. They don’t tell you about the spaces that stored the smell of his daily cologne and the feel of callouses on his palms, now lost in the 9278 tabs open in your brain. Work until your bank balance looks like a phone number, they say. Work until you don’t have to introduce yourself, they say. Funny thing is, we forget that we don’t have to do it all; we don’t have to prove ourselves to anybody.

And yet, life is short and good energy is contagious and the air pockets can only stay empty so long. So you stop waiting around for feelings and you try working with energy. Good vibes and new music that don’t violate your rhythm. It may have something to do with growing up. I think I like who I’m becoming. I’ve realized that people aren’t good or bad, they’re just either charming or tedious. And everyone is someone’s devil. I’ve learnt some stories don’t need endings and secrets are only safe in pillowcases. I want to be spoilt with loyalty and witty comebacks in the midst of food that feeds my soul and art my eyes can feast on. Everyone has a deep end, but people are so afraid to dive, busy worrying about tomorrow like it’s promised. I don’t care what you look like, just make me laugh.

Maybe it has something to do with growing up, but the air pockets now feel full. There’s a voice in the air that doesn’t use words. Listen. Some people are whiskey is a teacup. Taste. Eye contact is a dangerous thing, but oh so lovely. Look. Everyone’s in love with either a person or an idea. Feel. And at the end of it all, trust the timing of your life.

Maybe it has something to do with growing up, but 650 words through, Arial 10 feels just fine. It’s just not superlative enough, but then these days, what is?