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Leaving the Lighthouse

“The dip of the light meant that the island itself was always left in darkness. A lighthouse is for others; powerless to illuminate the space closest to it.” ― M.L. Steadman

I was young and foolish. Agreed, young is an arguably relative term, but then so is foolish. And yet, it’s all I’ve got to work with. I was young and foolish and in love. I wanted to be in love and he wanted to be happy; so that’s really where the trouble began.

Such a small word, and it means so many drastically different things to different people. To some it means stability. To some it means loyalty. Love to me then meant magic. It meant unpredictability and thrill and just a little bit of danger; enough to seek a lighthouse but not quite enough to seek harbour yet.

I think love for him meant peace. I think he was young and foolish too.

Do you know what lighthouses do? I don’t. But from all the stories, movies and legends, they seem to be both guiding lights and warnings signals for each and every ship at sea. Am I the only one who senses the irony in that? It must take everything in a lighthouse to look at a pretty little ship and say “You’re beautiful, but if you come any closer, you’ll get hurt. So go there.”

Some people are like that too. Selfless, you’d think. Strong and selfless and guiding lights to those who need them and those who don’t. But while we’re all applauding these lighthouse people for their maturity, we forget that it must take everything in an unbalanced ship to hear “You’re beautiful, but if you come any closer, you’ll get hurt. So go there.” The unhinged love stronger, you know. They run towards the light and seek warmth and love louder.

You were my lighthouse. I guess it was hard to see my hinges off from way up there. My ship wasn’t even in the midst of a storm, the sea and sky were clear and calm and I think that’s really what led me to you; the insufferable quiet of it all. I thought I’d dance in your light for a while and leave at day break, and so I did.

Once.

Felt like enough, until it didn’t.

It took me months to pass by you again. I even took a detour, for the heck of it. What harm is a lighthouse, I must have thought. What harm is another dance in the light, the light that’s shining for everyone to dance in anyway. And so I came, and danced a while in your warmth, and just as it was time to leave I noticed that the closer I got, the darker it became. You weren’t meant for me to embrace, you were meant for me to love from afar, for everyone to love from afar – little did I know then, it’s darkest where the light is being cast from.

The trouble with our tryst was that you never offered me safe harbour, you just told me the rocky island was secure. I nestled my head on your shoulders and asked if you were comfortable. “More than I should be,” you’d say, because you knew you had no room for my anchor. I was a universe too late and the spoils of the ship at the bottom of your island weren’t mine to keep.

How much we fools in love bite our wretched tongues until they begin to bleed. I loved you till I realised you were a warning sign for a menacing coastline. I loved you till I realised your light was meant to usher me, not warm me. I loved you till I realised you weren’t mine to love, till I realised that who I was wasn’t for you. A cage made of hopes is but still a cage.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” ―John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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There’s nothing quite as heavy as a blank page

A million musings, you know, are floating just under the surface; but not one pops its head up for some fresh air.The fingers tap to an uncertain beat; cautious inspiration for an idea that hasn’t found its rhythm yet.

And all the while, the light keeps fading ever so slightly across the darkened room.
And all the while the text cursor blinks away, asking the same question.

“How do I even begin?”

What series of marks do I leave on this page that will tell them my story? What word or verse will be enough to make them understand? What combination of truth and metaphor, of lies and stories must I tell so that they see the joy and the tragedy, the anger and the irresistible comedy of my designs?

How do I even begin, when here I stand puzzled, grasping at emotions that I can’t even fully understand; fleeting inspirations that bubble up and simmer down below the realm of words. And how they tease us, these compassionate phantoms of the mind; and how all language now feels insurmountably inadequate to express the complexity, the simplicity of the notion that you know and feel to be undeniably true; to be undeniably you.
And all the while the text cursor blinks away, waiting where it’s always been,

While you sit there thinking, “How do I even begin?”


This post was originally written by Suramya Munshi.
All rights remain with the author.

Arrested Feelings

I slept on the couch last night. I felt like a visitor to my own life.

The coin spun thrice in the air before it landed on the cold marble floor. Even so, it continued spinning, displaying unnecessary theatrics as I held my breath waiting for it to decide for me. My head prayed it was tails and my heart prayed it was heads while my stomach and lungs prayed the coin would just stop spinning. It slowed down and I lowered my face so that my eyes were an inch away from the coin, a million thoughts passing through my head.

Do you know what the word xeno means? I chanced upon it once, a long time ago, I don’t even know what language it belongs to. It was explained to me as the smallest measurable unit of human connection. How beautiful it is that someone made a word for that. Moments that are fleeting and random, yet enchanting. Isn’t this a strange thought? That the people we’re walking right past are people that we could have real connections with. What happens if you just keep walking past people? How do we forgive ourselves for all the people we leave behind, all the people we don’t allow to affect us?

Cosmic collisions are uncertain, we find each other on accident, there is no meant to be. You don’t choose the tides, yet your heart chooses who you call. But then again, for something that single handedly keeps the body alive, the heart’s a pretty stupid organ, don’t you think? It continues to hold on while the head is letting go. It holds on to this person so eager to learn about the strange, dusty and awkward answers I offer so earnestly  as I mumble in my sleep about my inspirations and ambitions and insecurities. I bare my soul in staccato rhythm and he listens to all my disconnected stories.

There’s so much lost in between thought and action, half my feelings are just consumed in themselves in time. Yet, people underestimate how erotic it is to be understood, how divine it is to have someone respond with a passion you seek on utterly random chronicles. It’s exciting when you find parts of yourself in someone else. And at the end of the day, it’s always words that undress you.

Not everything is meant to last, but sometimes, just sometimes, you find someone who loves like you do. And it’s worth the fleeting moments. I ignore the coin and pick up my phone.

Xeno is a strong thing.