I remember visiting the tomb of Ghaus Mohammed and seeing windows with intricate patterns on them, windows that allowed air and sunshine to come inside, illuminating the corners of the room and as a kid I had asked, why do the dead need air to breathe, maa? Maybe that was the day I understood that graves were for the living or did that understanding come with age or was it derived later from the death of a family member, with the death of a close relative, with your figurative death?
I still have a conch shell from the day we spent at the ocean and sometimes I put my ear to it and listen to the oceanic waves. I had tried digging my feet as deep in the wet sand as you had dug your way into my skin, looking vacantly at the luminiferous ether, feeling like an expatriate, I had sat a long time thinking on the sand perforated with crab holes about how life kept changing, the fishermen were counting the day’s catch, uncoiling their nets before they were to call it a day.
My mind had gone back to the lives I had to leave behind even when I knew it was something only the nonsensical did, it was foolish to expect for things, people and circumstances to go back to being the way they were. Sitting there, I had stopped being bitter. It is only when serenity leaves you and returns to you once again, is when you begin to cherish it. It was like being released from a choke hold. The wind was resonating the waves, I think I had almost felt my eyes prick from the tears I could not allow myself to cry or tears I had often seen leave my mother’s eyes.
The atheists had started organizing themselves more, I had always rejected the faith in some God but more so I had decided to not put it in man-made institutional religion and now when atheism was becoming one, an institutional religion, I hadn’t known where to go from there, what was my faith? Did we return to the elements after we died? What was to be done if the only way to burn out was from getting burnt out? I didn’t believe in some miracle but we were made of dead cells and water and I didn’t see how that was anything short of one.
Sometimes we write for peace and other times we pursue peace in the words of others, truthfully a lot of what is written these days, a lot of what we write these days can sound like cuss words and yet I need to write, I need to write because there are words that don’t leave the tip of my tongue and I need my soul to bleed into these pages because to be able to create, ambit my ability had come as a blessing.
I knew rekindling anything between us would extinguish all my senses and so I waited, I waited for the waves to hit me and whether the rocks, eroding some of the sand from between my toes every time they drew back into the sea, unsnarling the vine, taking you away, from underneath my bones. The memories growing fainter every time the waves washed over.
They would take a piece of you with them, steadily and then all at once, the memories had started to appear distant. And, that is how I let her wash you from my skin. We love for selfish reasons, we only stay with someone till the time they make us better and when they can’t anymore because they might be in the need of comforting, themselves, we stop loving them. We sat at a shack set up beneath the palm trees, I had taken a drag from the hookah pipe and you had drunk your coconut water with sand in your shoes. Later, we had driven in a car on the barely illuminated beach, the lamp posts giving us a guard of honor and I couldn’t stop thinking about the news I had heard that morning of a jeep that went missing with five boys in it.
The entropy at the party was infectious and yet I had taken some time aside to parasail through my thoughts, you had become a hyacinth in my mind, gradually taking up all headspace, I sat on the boundary wall of the hotel we were living in, overlooking the sea or was the sea overlooking me? It glistened in the moonlit night, hitting the shore, without making the promise of ever staying.
The knot was coming undone. This was just another life I was leaving behind, why was I so bothered by it?
The sunlight came in through the red curtains only to bounce of a glass ashtray placed symmetrically on the table, creating shadows on the wood flooring and then I had a little epiphany, that when I stood there, at the tomb, way-way back, as a kid, I had no idea that I was actually looking into the future and that the tomb was actually to be my own.
Some places are going to hurt forever, I guess.