Thursday, February 17, 2011


Once upon a time, a humorist said that love is a fallacy. I never quite understood the import of his statement. And then, you came along. 

You were always the charlatan, never too close and disappeared long before you could disappoint. And I was proud enough to believe my appeal could make for a revolution.

I remember watching you sleep. You made for such an ordinary illustration- eyes closed, oblivious; limp and on your stomach, spread out like the tail of a horny peacock. Your long blonde curls, wanton but soft: a fitting imitation of your charming disposition. 

You made it easy for me to transform your confidence into conviction, make your curiosity my allure. Your mesmerizing, singsong voice and easy passion thieved away my reservation at the most convenient of moments. In your defense, I was eager prey. 

Your notion of love as being a transient, simple, enthralling, and uncommitted experience was certainly beautiful, and tempted me to forget all about how I was more conventional about love- I valued it’s unconditionality and the sacrificial aspect of caring it begets. Unfortunately, I remembered about it at the least convenient of moments. Again, I was eager prey. 

I’d memorized you. I think I could even pretend to be you for a day and no one would be the wiser. I knew you- and I knew what was coming, but I’d learned the delicate art of deceiving myself absolutely. It was fairly easy, everything blurred past us without reassurance, and spontaneity is the perfect guise for imprudence. 

I remember your room. Messy, but not smelly, and only messy until you had a sudden urge to clean, usually triggered by the sight of an ant on your bed, foraging about for stale crumbs of sweet foods. You’d run to the aerosol cans, your enviable hips moving distinctly, all the more prominent with  your slightly puffed pants and tight t-shirts. Stimulated by the fireworks, you’d walk out and light a bidi, and I’d watch the flame bring your pretty face alive with color before it ceased, still leaving your dead white skin aglow, but meekly; foretelling the brevity of your passion like a well written introduction. 

I always put the hearts (which I found desirable) first, followed by the diamonds (they are ever so beautiful), the clubs (barely tolerable) next, and the spades (the very ugliest of them all) last whenever I played solitaire. It troubled me infinitely to see them out of order: I’ve always found solace in the tiny details of routine, and even in the stark hallmarks of a scheduled life. But I could never live the clockwork- my thoughts are far too volatile and my emotions manifest themselves despite ardent determination. My open ways made this abundantly clear, and you knew me well enough to know where the window of effortless exit closed.

I wondered why you waited until it did for a long time afterwards, but at some point, even later, I realized it didn’t matter.  Our experience had nurtured me enough to eventually embrace the laborious birth into myself that was imminent. I feared I’d be lost without you, but I realized postpartum that your disappearance let me, in fact, be found by what I was looking for, at my terms. And it helped me find me: I uncovered myself afterwards, I realized that I was less willing to part with myself than I pretended to be, I became more aware of my idiosyncrasies and integrities and I saw that juvenile romanticism just wasn’t for me. I was so much happier with myself at the end of it all. 

I remember leaving. I built a little pile of domesticity, minus the bedding (which you’d need), right outside your door. It was a strange moment, seeing exactly what I’d brought you; but not half as strange as seeing your room without my touch. I felt like a bad clean-up technician had rescinded my existence with Photoshop. You weren’t there, because you were somewhere else, but not far enough. 

I was completely shattered by your methods. It was undoubtedly callous to subject someone to the vision of your utter indifference, and constantly at that. I suppose you had far too much to lose: there was barely a month left to embrace what you couldn’t before, and what is granted always pales in comparison. 

And besides, I can hardly blame you for being heartless. The young aren’t human; they’re still learning to be- immaturity doomed us from the start, but it was one of those falls that is entirely necessary. It helped me to see you so audaciously embrace everything you told me you wouldn’t, to be aware of the fallacy of our premise- and even more, to know I’d always known it. 

I imagine it was amusing to see me deal with the difficulty you posed. It wasn’t the first time it happened, but I’d never experienced anything like it at quite this proximity. You’d colored me invisible that year, and I was still unaware of how to give myself back an identity. I needed help, and it seemed natural that after everything I’d given you, you were the person to approach. You refused me consequence, and that just sank me lower. I had to reiterate my beauty and significance both to myself and to you.  I might have been extreme insofar, but it was the only way that I knew; and I was left in a place that refused to let me trust any helpful whispers. To make matters worse, I have no comprehension of social graces, I’m only extremely fortunate to be naturally agreeable most of the time, understandably not this one- and so there I was: tactlessly acting on every whim that struck me. 

I remember falling sick. Very little within me willed life- the image of my drained figure expelling the last glimmers of nutrition along with what sickened it seemed to mirror how my mind was banishing all my tenderness with its anger. I didn’t sleep at night, and the red night lamp of that sordid room still frightens me in the depths of my dreams. I’ll never forget the dirty brown of my bloody bile, the repulsion that it engendered, or the endless assault on my wrists and throat. I looked in the mirror one day, and recognized a flicker of myself behind my bloodshot, raccoon-eyes and bony figure. I was astonished and heartened; I expected that the illness would have erased me. It woke me up- you were irresponsible, and with full reason, even if you lacked warrant and moral consent. I was on my own, and would probably always be- it was mine to choose to revel in my individuality or repudiate it. 

I was glad not to be alone, glad not to have you thrown in my face. I had time to think, and love to fuel recovery. I made a few promises to myself, mindful that nothing would make me keep them. The process of avowal was what held more prominence with me- it separated my assumptions of self-sufficiency from its comforting reality: I would always be as alone as I wanted to be. I finally realized that the only way to be rid of you was to honestly let you go. 

I remember the emptiness. All that was left were the sheets, and the clothes you gave me. I finally took the sheets back, and you were finally, literally, gone. The room seemed long abandoned, although you’d left only hours before. It was cold, and too open to be inhabited. The little house with the crooked chimney and smoke which stood beside the spatially-deceiving tree was still there, etched on the wall- but it had lost you, and I felt nothing when I saw it. The moment, lamentably, lacked drama: there was no rush of memories, or sudden peace- only a prosaic and hard-earned apathy. 

As I stared at the evidence of loss you’d left behind, I wondered if I’d loved you. I thought I had, and I searched for that feeling, but I found a sort of emptiness that stung me in my chest and gut. I only loved you with what I knew of love, and that was not what you knew of it, leaving us both unloved and loving.
The humorist’s words struck a chord. The fallacy of love lies in its refusal to be defined.  

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