Loneliness for me, is this painful feeling, like I'm being squeezed from the inside and my throat is closing up. It's this feeling that no one will ever love me or care for me as much as I love and care for them. My efforts will never be reciprocated in the same manner from the people I thought were my brothers and sisters. It's the feeling that I will be left alone in the end and nobody will even bat an eye if something were to happen to me. For me, loneliness is akin to being physically left alone because I fear that it is exactly what will happen as I age and grow. In fact, it is happening right now, as we speak. The people I have grown up with no longer require my presence or even crave it. For them, I am like a burden, a duty that they must fulfill, with their customary hellos and how are yous. But as of late, we barely speak to one another. It's as if our relationship was one-sided all along. Once I stopped approaching them, our bond ceased to exist. It was then I knew where I stood in their lives. I sometimes ponder whether I ever mattered to them at all. I feel stupid now, looking back at all the times I acted silly in front of them, if only to make them laugh. However, now that I know my place, I have distanced myself. Now I watch them from behind a screen, posting pictures with the people who really matter to them, while I start to feel a certain loathing for them as I gaze at their smiling faces. Nothing will ever be the same now.
life along the shoreline
Nestled in the moist sand, I breathe in the balmy summer air, feeling the occasional spray of salt water across my tea pink shell, as I watch the sun go down, looking as glorious as ever. I can feel the warmth emanating from the glowing orb. It feels like I've been cocooned, sheltered by its embrace for an eternity. But by nightfall, the couples have gone home and the sky has turned a midnight blue. There is a deafening silence broken only by the chirping of the crickets and the rustling of bushes nearby. Meanwhile, I lie embedded within the sand, staring up at the frosty stars, wishing for the hours to go by quickly so that it is sunset once again and I can bask in its warmth, for as long as it shall remain.
This is what life is like along the shoreline. It is lonely, yet peaceful. It is monotonous, yet exciting. It is the only life I have ever known but I have never wished for another, because I am content. I am content with my solitary existence along the shores of this beach, because it makes me feel special, like a spectator being entertained with their very own private show. I am content with the biting cold that is only intensified by the lukewarm ocean, washing over me every once in a while, because it increases the longing I have for the sun and makes the fruit of my patience all the more sweeter. I am content because I get to live out my days surrounded by nature before I erode with time or am sweeped up by a particularly strong wave and carried away to lands unknown.
When I look in the mirror, I see two, big, fearful eyes looking back at me. Sometimes I can't even raise my head to look myself in the mirror because of how scared I am of the person looking back at me. As if looking at myself would unleash some great power from within, one that I nor the world would be able to handle. So I keep my head bowed low, never truly appreciating what's in front of me, what's inside me, in fear of letting it get to my head and driving me crazy. Isn't it strange?
An awkward, little ghost.
I like to think of myself as an awkward, little ghost, blending with the background, moving about unnoticed. Moving in silence, yet hyper aware of all that is happening around me, as if the numbness hasn't set in yet and I am a newborn ghost, someone with a youthful soul, someone who has not yet tired of roaming the earth but feels like it's a whole new world just waiting to be explored. As if I hadn't done enough exploring alive. I get to revel in the feeling of being an outsider, looking in, examining each and every person's life, closer than ever, never giving away even a hint of my presence. I feel sneaky, like a child watching something that they've been warned not to, but it's fun in a way because I get to see a whole new side, to people I thought I always knew. But this is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss and I should remember not to indulge my curiosity by following people into their homes because sometimes, curiosity breaks your heart. It leads you to answers you realize you never wanted. You were perfectly content with the version of themselves that people wanted you to see. So I move, from place to place, person to person, hoping I might find someone who's the same as they are behind closed doors. Until the panic sets in, until I go mad with worry that nothing is as it seems, until I feel no more like myself, I am content with moving in silence, examining each and every person's life, closer than ever, never giving away even a hint of my presence.
Millions of silver stars dotted the sky that chilly summer night as I sat cuddled up with my periwinkle-blue blanket on the brass swing, looking out at the neighborhood dollhouses, the soft lights within them, blowing out like candles on a cake. An engine burred faintly in the distance, teenagers drinking and driving their way into oblivion, their crazy laughs echoing in the night. A sudden wave of sadness washed over me then, a lone tear slipping past my cheek, leaving behind a salty trail. A home in the suburbs, a beautiful garden, a nice car. I had it all, apparently. But what use is all that, when you have no one to share it with? I always thought I'd be able to survive on my own, away from prying eyes, at peace in my own little world. Little did I know how lonely life gets when you have nobody to go back home to, nobody to confide in, nobody to lean on when the going gets tough.
I let out a long sigh and look down at my hands. The skin is cracking and I almost start to pick at it, before I force myself to get up and get some lotion from the fridge so I can massage it into the cracks and smooth them over. As soon as the creamy liquid hits my palm though, I shiver from head to toe. It's as cold as ice but once I start to rub it in, body heat comes through.
Looking back up at the shaded sky, through strands of sandy hair, it's a beautiful sight. The moon is back and brighter than ever, illuminating the world with its heavenly light. I almost feel it looking at me, softly. As if it too, understands what's it's like to be alone.
You and me, we're like two peas in a pod, aren't we, mister?
I imagine getting into gardening at the age of 71. Tending to your garden whilst breathing in the warm, fragrant summer air with all the flowers in bloom has a very relaxing and satisfying feel to it. Turn this into a metaphor and it could signify watching your kids and their kids bud and blossom with the passage of time. I also imagine I'd be spending a lot of time in parks. There's this one near my home, it's called Hilal Park and it's beautiful. It's always buzzing with people laughing and chattering away with their loved ones yet it's something about the infrastructure, the way that the park itself is built on layers of rock that makes one feel peaceful and connected to nature. So yeah I think I see myself sitting there with a bunch of old ladies, chatting away about life and what it's become.
out of focus
Millions of tiny raindrops pitter-patter across my windshield as I drive along the flooded streets of Karachi at 20 kmph. The sky is flashing purple every now and then and I'm seeing blurry but I keep on going straight ahead with my blinkers on, hoping and praying I don't crash into anybody's car or bike. You must be wondering why I'm out and about at this hour. It's cause our generator's running through petrol like crazy and now there's none left.
Finally, the petrol pump comes into sight and I release a shaky breath. I take the dusty blue can out of the backseat and start to get it filled up.
"That'll be Rs.5000."
My eyes almost roll out of their sockets at that but I reign it in, pay the man and start to move back out onto the streets. 20 litres for 5k. Can you believe it? My parents and I could get a 3 course meal for that price. I shake my head and resume driving, making sure to hide my watch and rings under my sleeve so I don't get robbed or something. This is the state we live in.
Oh, how much I miss my bed. I could give anything to fall asleep right now but I gotta keep my eyes wide open so I don't run someone over. In our country, people don't use the footpaths, oh, no. They just think they own the damn road and walk all over the place so you gotta be extra careful, otherwise you'll end up paying for all the damages. Keeping that in mind, I drive along the broken roads of DHA, trying to avoid the many potholes and failing miserably. I hope to God I don't dent the car. It's not the dents that'll get to me, it's my father's disappointment when he sees them.
At long last, I see my home in the distance and soon enough I'm turning into the driveway before getting out into the cold and running to the generator with the can so we can finally have some peace while we sleep.
My bed, my best friend, here I come.
Waves Of Blue
Deep blue waves of aqua waver in the wind for a split second before crashing inwards, foam bubbling and spreading across the sea as they still. The sky pales in comparison as puffs of grey begin to accumulate, ready to burst any minute. The water is wild now, the edges sharp, the air crisp. In the middle of it all, a lone ship makes its way to nowhere in particular. One might think the man had a death wish. They would be right. This man is ready to embrace the raging sea. He is ready to let it swallow him whole and he will do so with a smile on his face, though you can't really tell whether he's smiling or not. Maybe it's just the wind pushing back against the loose folds of his skin. Or maybe he's lost it. You'll never know. Because before you try to decipher it, a giant wave will envelop him and all that will remain, will be the chipped boards of the ship. r what's left of it anyway.
Swirls of grey brood in the sky above my little head, imminent danger lurking in the wind. There's now a strange hole up there, the kind that throws you up into another world: puffy white clouds, sunshine, rainbows, only to bring you crashing right back down. It seems to me exactly how life is. One moment everything can seem perfectly fine and the next you're right back where you started: in your very own shithole. So I guess that's what it looks like. A shithole. Ready to throw itself at the ground and mercilessly devour everything in its path.
I don't know how I came to be here. I guess it was my mind that brought me to this place, though I can not, for the life of me, remember being here in real life. It's a lonely place. I'm picking soft, white daisies growing on moist, dewy grass. The plains stretch for miles, beyond my sight's reach. There's a plateau behind me and the grass on it seems to be freshly cut and shaved. Minty aftershave lingers in the mist that seems to be growing heavier by the minute. It settles in my chest, almost suffocating me. It takes every ounce of energy in me to turn myself around, maneuver past the chubby ducks in the pond, nibbling at pieces of floating bread and lay myself flat out at the top of the plateau. My bones ache, my muscles are heavy, I can't move.
It's when the first few droplets hit my face that I shake myself awake. They feel like bullets, piercing my heart, where it aches the most. I try to get up and run but to no avail. It's too strong, I can't survive it. The annoyance at my lethargy, mingled with this irrational fear makes me twist and turn in bed. With crusty eyes I try to glimpse the face of the clock, faintly ticking beside my head.
I groan softly. Another dream gone by, another night wasted. Will I ever get my happy ending, if only in my head? Probably not. But maybe that's the point. You gotta fix what's out there in order to fix what's going on in there. Or is it the other way around? I don't want to know anymore. I just want to sleep.
in constant motion
When I think of seasons passing by,
My mind goes to puffy white clouds, drifting across the blue sky,
Giving us momentary relief as they still for a while,
Only to disappear, not to be seen again for miles.
These clouds never seem to stay put in one place,
They're constantly shifting, changing their pace,
But when I look at the colors of the horizon, fading into one another, time and time again,
I feel a glaring truth in my brain:I feel a glaring truth in my brain:
The seasons will change and so will we,
Everything is temporary.