Tag Archives: relationships

A Fixing

It’s warm in December and I wake up to crows cawing with a ferocity I’m inexplicably used to. Little worm heads poke out of my strawberries that were never good enough to eat to begin with, and the rat that lives in the kitchen now has a partner called Martha and they seem very happy.

It’s terribly warm this December and the sweat that has settled into my hair seeps down to my scalp and begins to smell like the rot of the day that gets caught easily in fingernails, but can’t be completely scratched out. And who even invited the houseflies? Look at them, settling themselves down casually on yesterday’s muck before launching on today’s lunch.

It seem inevitable, that the death of the calendar year come with some sort of gloom. One must, however, celebrate the survival of it all. All the baseless worry and the baseless hope.

It starts with the cupboard. A lot of people say it starts with the bed; it ideally should start with the bed. But for me, it always starts with the cupboard. It starts with getting out all I have and arranging it into neat folded piles – the dresses, the bottoms, the never-once-worns. Once in a while I shuffle their assigned places in the cupboard. One never knows what works till one has tried it all. Fixing the disheveled heap of cloth and cloth and cloth, because it’s easier to fix than whatever it is that really needs fixing. Hanging the chiffons and georgettes because they unfold too easy, keeping the belts away because clothes don’t slide down any longer, making a mental note to fix this button, that hook, those straps because you’re now with new people in a new world and what may be old to the old people in the old world is still new here, if you just fix this button, that hook, those straps.

I find the patchwork shirt I wore the first time he found out I was crazy. I find the black skirt I wore the first time I found out he was. The shirt I failed an interview in. The sari I never wore to the wedding I couldn’t get myself to attend. All the cloth of all the clothes in all my lives except this one, lying there awaiting new meaning from the new year. If only it was easier to forget why what must end even began.

It always starts with the cupboard, the fixing. Easier to discard, easier to mend, what must be. Easier to discard than mend, which is where it gets complex. With humans too though, much more. Easier to discard than mend, is where it gets complex.

I pick up the old green dress with a hole in the hem from a cigarette burn three years ago. I bring out my sewing kit and sit cross legged with the dress in my lap, ready for the fixing. The needle is threaded with the remains of the green (olive green, not the bottle green of the dress) thread I have, and pushed in from back to front, repeatedly, till a shoddy job of fixing is done. It takes a short five minutes, and if one were to look from afar, one would never spot the gaping wound and the scab I’ve crafted on it.

Imagine now, fixing a soul. Finding the hole, feeling it out, understanding the reason behind it. Then taking the time to find the thread of the exact colour and threading it onto the needle that’ll hurt least. Having the strength to push it in from back to front as the soul winces in pain while it knows it’s for the best. Ensuring you’re doing a stellar job of fixing so that the soul itself can’t find the wound again if it looked. You can spend a year, you can spend a lifetime, and at the end of the day you’ll still question yourself on who it was who told you that you had the right to go about fixing souls, deciding what’s broken from your limited perspective.

That is why it always starts with the cupboard.
It takes an afternoon.

Advertisements

The Nest

There’s a pigeon in my kitchen. She’s a lovely grey, if there’s even such a thing as lovely grey. It’s not silver, it’s just a clean warm earthy grey, accented by highlights and shadows from the sun catching her feathers. She frequents my kitchen window, and there’s a twelve-twigged hint of an upcoming nest on the parapet outside. I presume they have something to do with each other.

But today, for the first time, I find her inside my kitchen. She’s crossed the windowpane, a feat no other bird of this bashful species (or any species for that matter) has dared to attempt before. Somehow the birds always know to stay out of houses, even when windows and doors are left ajar. I imagine the thought of the imminent confinement scares them away.

And yet, and yet, Pidge the pigeon (I have decided to name her) is in my kitchen, stomping on the cold black granite with her orange claws, pacing up and down the kitchen counter in a hurry, like she has important business to attend to on the top of the fridge, but this can hardly wait for the important business that needs attention on the opposite end by the sink.

She stops for a breath every now and then, her neck’s purple green plumage vibrant in the sunlight, and cocks her head up to look at me. I must seem quite unthreatening to her, for she gets back to her many businesses immediately, marching across my kitchen counter, no time to waste.

***

I’m back in the kitchen. There’s the human standing at the doorway and looking at me. She lets out a low gasp at first, but I look at her and calm her down. She switches on the fan, and continues standing at the doorway and staring at me. I can tell she’s scared, but also curious. We’ve seen each other before, but always across the windowpane. This is the first time we are on the same side.

She smiles at me, and I can’t bear it. I think she’s named me in her head. The other birds warned me this often happens when a bird crosses the windowpane in the presence of a human. This, or death. I’m glad it’s the former.

My heart beats faster in my chest, and I don’t know what to do. I’m walking from one end to another frantically, trying to get my thoughts in order. I look at her, time and again. She seems calm now, her beautiful brown skin smooth as the insides of a worm on a warm summer afternoon, her black eyes darting across the room at things she’s worried I will kick over as I scurry around, trying my best to buy time.

She leaves momentarily, and I make the most of it. I rush to the clothes stand, and peck the fragrant pink towel as it dries, picking up each strand of her delicious black hair from it. There’s thirty six in all, and I carry them lovingly back to my developing nest, ready to spend the day weaving them in. They are weaker and finer than twigs, but smell like mogra some days and rose on others.

One day, when it’s done, I’ll invite her in.

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.