Tag Archives: love

Lethal Addictions.

I have been in a complicated relationship for a while now, and it is starting to devour me as time crawls by. I know you want to ask why; so tonight I’ll give my sorrows the vent they always needed. Tonight, you will know all the concerns that went unheeded. I no longer want my silence to be treated like dirt; just because I kept quiet does not mean it did not hurt. 

For the last three years that I have been with you, for you, around you, I went out of my way to be the person I thought you’d love more than anything else, every single day. I have tried even harder since the very first day you lost your heart, and I did my best to clean your mess despite not knowing where to start. I knew that you would never be the same again, probably never find the will to love through pain; but I burnt myself to the ground to make sure that you’d have at least one reason to change that. Clearly, it wasn’t enough. Or maybe, I wasn’t enough. I was never the kind to openly acknowledge this feeling of jealousy, of envy, that is now a part of me, but what she does to you leaves me wondering if I ever made a difference to the indifference with which you treat your pain.  

She makes you feel the way I could never do, the exact same way I always wanted to. I envy the care with which your fingers caress her lengths. I despise the nights you spend tasting nothing but her essence, breathing her in, leading her in to your deepest, darkest corners. She wanders through places where I’ve always wanted to go, exploring dormant reasons I’ve always been dying to know. I always wished I could be something like that, who you could turn to, but somewhere fate and your actions convinced me that I wasn’t supposed to.

Yes, it breaks me. Sometimes I can’t understand why I’m so angry, but I’ve started to realize it is only because you make me. She isn’t good for you, I am. I am not like she is; a temporary pleasure, a desperate measure stemming from unwarranted pressure. I love you and take nothing in return. I just wish you’d drop the cigarettes Dad, before she truly starts to burn.

Why don’t you understand that I haven’t been oblivious to all the signs that I’ve seen- crushed empty packs under the bed, the bathroom smelling of nicotine? When will you understand that white smoke does nothing to fill black holes, or that smoking kills 5 million callous souls, every single year? How do you not expect me to be overwhelmed? What if in the next five million, you’re one of them? 

I have already lost one parent to cancer, you know it better than I do. Yet you embrace an element that causes the same travesty, that took your wife, your life, away from you. I can’t rewrite your past but I can dictate where your future lies, and that future lies with two kids who hold you as the biggest inspiration in their eyes. So, close this chapter, label it fiction; start a new book far away from your lethal addiction. Convince me that this complicated relationship will get somewhere better. Because I certainly won’t run out after a pack, or fade into the night sky in seconds; I won’t strangulate you slowly as time beckons. The only similarity I have with your cigarettes is that I will love you until I burn to ashes. And you know what? I’ll love you even after that.
I know she keeps you company, but you need to know one simple rule. The human body was never meant to inhale fire, only because it runs on fuel. Your head rushes with emotions and memories, mine does too. But my love transcends the smoke you breathe to keep your sanity next to you. 

So this Father’s Day, I hope that my gift to you, is also your gift to mine. I hope you understand that I’d do anything it takes to make sure you’re fine. You’ve always been there for me, now this is my turn. So please drop those cigarettes Dad, before they truly start to burn.

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Why I don’t fall in love.

I have been asked this one question that always tends to touch a nerve.”Shamir, tell me one thing, don’t you ever fall in love?” I think I’ve spent so much time wondering that I’ve repeatedly hit the end of my wits. But I think I’ve finally found a satisfactory answer, so here is something I came up with-
I remember when I was 17 years old, I took this girl to McDonald’s for my very first date. We’d been seeing each other for three months straight now, and everything was going better than great. She was 10 days older than I was, with skin that looked whitewashed with this unearthly glow. And if her skin was as white as milk, her hair was like fine strands of silk, which smelt of strawberries; it was weird because every time I put my head on her shoulders, I felt hungry.

Anyway, so I thought I’d take her out for a meal, spend a day telling her how exactly I feel; how having her around was a big deal for a guy who didn’t know the first thing about love. She spent a few hours looking into my eyes, and the rest with her face in Chicken McGrills and french fries, but yeah it felt kind of nice, knowing I could be this comfortable with someone. Just being around her made me numb, with a feeling I couldn’t put my finger on, but that emotion would quietly linger on putting a smile on my face that made me look dumb. For the first time, I had let someone into my personal space, and she waltzed in with such grace, that I was stunned.

Anyway, right after she’d had her fill, we walked to the counter to pay the bill. Now see, this is the part that made me wary; because the numbers printed by the little machine were scary for someone who never liked spending too much. I was cautious, being a miser is what you would call it, but it was simple self-defence for a guy with more dust than money inside his wallet. As I reached for the paper, I could feel my palms start to sweat, my throat go dry and my forehead drenched, and wet. She smiled, and I smiled back, in regret.

I think my love blinded me to how she hogged one burger after another. 700 rupees? I was convinced I was dating Godzilla’s mother. I kept staring at the white piece of paper and what was in it, losing my composure with it, growing paler by the minute. She tugged my shirt and asked “Is everything okay baby? (Like if I said no, it was going to make a difference maybe.)
But eventually I thought I could make a few exceptions; after all, wasn’t love all about learning to live with imperfections?

That episode though, became something in the distant past. Fate turned; crashed and burned, and things disintegrated so fast, they just couldn’t last till the very end. First my money ran out, then she ran out, with my best friend. To the fickle concept of love, I said, never again.

Two years later, a blank slate. I found myself in the midst of another date. I’d known this one for 19 years now, in fact right from the very beginning of my days. I stood on a white tiled floor, and she on a hospital bed, in a half paralyzed state. We’d been here several times straight now, and things were anything but great. She was 24 years ahead of my age, but with a beauty that even today, leaves me in a daze. Her skin had creases and had started to sag, her face looked like it had been dragged through six weeks of jet lag, but that smile, oh that smile, was the best thing anyone could ever have.

For an hour we gazed at each other in quiet silence, for the rest I looked at scars left by the violence of the chemotherapies on her skin. Cuts and bruises uninhibited, for a sin my mother never committed. Just looking at her made my heart sink; it was like someone added one part ink to two parts milk. It hurt how a faint impurity could taint the very essence of beauty.

At that moment, one of the doctors I’d seen around walked in. You see, this is the part that made me wary, because the words printed on the paper in his hand were scary to someone who wanted to see her recover. I got up and stepped outside the door, to a suffocating corridor on the second floor. I walked up to the benches arranged in a long line; my mind preoccupied with how she was doing with a chemotherapy needle slowly piercing her spine. Was she crying? Was she fine? I could never tell. Those few moments are the closest I’ve ever come to dying.

During those terrible moments, I was grateful for certain things, like a significantly advanced science stream and a soundproof door to muffle the screams of an angel losing her wings. Ironic why they called the room intensive care.

I think my love blinded me to the predicament we were in. We were breathing the same air, but only one of us was living a sin. I took her out of the ICU in her wheelchair, pushing no faster than what her back could bear. “Is everything alright Mom?” I asked her, with a petrified stare. I dread asking, or being asked this question, even today.

So when people ask me, Shamir, why don’t you fall in love, I give them this one explanation first. I do fall in love but the definition of the word itself is something I’ve never been able to infer. I’ve felt good love at a bad time, bad love at a good time, I just don’t know which one it is that I prefer. Maybe I fear that both parts of love are a paradox I won’t be able to break or bend, or maybe the women I’ve loved will inevitably leave me in the end. I know what I have lost and how much I miss them. Which is why the question of love doesn’t touch a nerve, it wrecks my entire nervous system.

But what I realize, is that I fear not love, but possibilities. I wrap myself in insecurity, but I still admire the sanctity and the purity of what love tends to bring. Maybe I’ll find love hogging over french fries and onion rings, maybe I’ll find it frozen in the midst of chronic cycles of suffering. I don’t know, I can’t read fate; but if love is anything like what I’ve had to take, I think I prefer to wait.


The Perfect Man.

Found something I wrote when I was 17-18 years old. Until something better comes along. This one is dedicated to all the girls I know. And Shambhavi, thank you for the beautiful idea, I hope you like your little birthday gift.

I’m sure that when I came into this world, your face was shining with glee,

You were selfless enough to stand aside, to let Mom have the first sight of me.

Since then you haven’t stopped sacrificing, you did everything to keep me going,

From being a toddler, to girl, to woman; you silently filled all the gaps that were showing.

You gave me every little pleasure I know, and you found happiness in every squeal,

You trusted me to sit on your lap and drive, when I could barely hold the steering wheel.

You were always there- my strongest protector, the first and most trusted line of my defence,

You raised me carefully with everything good, and the bad you meticulously cleansed.

Of all the times I  was found begging for support, you blindly offered to be my staff,

You did silly things (like rub your stubble on my face), just about anything to see me laugh.

You lay the whole world right at my feet, and made it so embarrassingly simple to walk,

Your gentle yet strong presence always around me, quietly negated life’s infinite shocks.

You surrendered your life all to my cause, attached yourself to everything within my sights,

No wonder I loved being Daddy’s little girl, (not just because you took my side in fights.)

You’ve been an inspiration and a hero too, rescuing me every time when I sat down and cried,

Brothers, boyfriends or husband for that matter, can’t match your greatness if they tried.

You groomed me for life’s bigger stage, and you did it relentlessly without a single pause,

You watched me perform from behind the scenes, even when YOU deserved all the applause,

God knows the million times when I fell, you managed to make me fight another day,

You were there on all the big occasions, to hold me steady whenever I would sway.

There was nothing else I could’ve asked from life, you mapped everything out before I knew it,

You made sure no opportunity slipped me by, even if I was naive and stupidly threw it.

You won this woman’s heart, right from the start, in a way that will never again be won,

With all that you’ve ever done for me Dad, you left God’s wildest expectations stunned.

I love you for all the uncompromising love, which flows from your blood and every bone,

Thank you for giving me all this happiness, even before you thought of your own.


Peace in Pieces.

When she was six years old, I remember both of us standing in the street outside our house, looking at her birthday gift. A beautiful, brand new bicycle lay basking in the pale sunlight, the golden lustrous, metallic gleam of its body glowing soothingly on that summer morning in May. She stood transfixed; one tiny, petite hand clasping my index finger tightly, as she looked at the bicycle, almost petrified. “Where are the wheels on the side Daddy?” she asked me, her meek voice quivering and struggling to hide her anxiety. “Love, you’re a big girl now” I said, kissing her quietly on her forehead. As she warily clambered onto the bicycle seat, she looked at me; eyes swimming with tears but not a drop on her flawlessly, white cheeks. “Daddy, you won’t let go, will you?” she asked, while gazing continuously at me. “Never” I said, as I smiled at her, knowing perfectly well that sooner rather than later I would have to break my word.

Two days of skinned knees and bruised elbows later, she had finally learnt to find her feet. As she pedaled, smiling as the gentle breeze ruffled through her hair, I slowly let my hands slip off the bicycle. Unaware, she kept pedaling and then, she turned back. Her expression immediately turned from one of immense peace to morbid paranoia. Deserted by balance, abandoned by composure, her bicycle swerved dangerously to the left and she collided against a brick wall. Horrified, I sprinted by her side, as I saw the tears from two days ago flowing freely from her innocent green eyes. “Why did you do it daddy?” she asked, life’s first lesson in betrayal clearly shaking her steadfast beliefs in the ways of the world.  I told her “Until you learn to let go, my love, you, I and us will never find peace or purpose.”

When she was 16 years old, I stood outside her bedroom, one day after her birthday. I gently knocked on the locked door, and heard a gentle click in return. The door quietly swung open, revealing a dark room, dimly lit by pale lights. The bed sheets lay strewn all over the place, as she stood by the door, traces of tears all over her face. “Why did he do this Daddy?” she asked me, her voice quivering like that day ten years ago. Gently letting my finger wipe her tears, I said “Love, you’re a big girl now.” I kissed her forehead and she hugged me and cried, broken emotions and gasps trying to soothe what was dying inside. I slowly slipped my hands onto her and clasped it, as our fingers reveled in each other’s familiar, warm touch. “Daddy, you won’t ever let go, will you?” she asked, her probing, green-eyed gaze searching the depth of my soul for any lies. “Never” I said, as I smiled, knowing perfectly well that my body was aging faster than my child’s.

Just as my eyes silently moved about her room, they immediately rested on a pile of papers on her bed. Instinctively, my fingers reached for one of them, as I opened the folded sheet to reveal an almost illegible, scrawny handwriting. Seeing the words “love” and “forever” repeated in every alternating sentence, there were no doubts in my head as to who these letters were from. I reached into my pocket, and pulled out my cigarette lighter. I flicked it on, and let the flame consume the paper; as the room grew a little brighter. As the black, carbon remnants disappeared into thin air; she looked at me and asked “Why did you do that daddy?” I just returned her gaze and repeated that lesson from a decade ago “Until you learn to let go, my love, you, I and us will never find peace or purpose.”

Two days after her 23rd birthday, I think she received the biggest birthday gift of her life. Her mellow, green eyes shone ever so bright; her enchanting, white wedding gown looked like it had been dipped in moonlight. Her laugh echoed in every corner of the church, her smile was the centre of the universe’s rapt attention. Of all the times I had told her to keep her tears at bay, I couldn’t keep mine away as they moistened my eyes. She walked up to me, as she saw me overwhelmed; she put one arm around me and asked “Why are you crying Daddy?” I fondly kissed her forehead, and said “Love, you’re a big girl now.” She smiled in relief, her beauty in the world, unparalleled. She held my hands together in hers and said “Daddy, you won’t let go, will you?” I used every ounce of restraint to stop from bursting into tears, as I managed to utter “Never.” In the midst of this atmosphere of harmony and tranquility, I knew I had lied because starting tonight, she would also be another man’s responsibility.

As I walked her down the aisle, I could see him standing at the end of the hall. She took tiny, nervous steps; just like when a bicycle stood waiting for her all those years ago. As I reached the end, I saw him take a few steps forward. I touched the silky, ebony coloured, tailored tuxedo he was wearing, gently squeezing his arm to try and make him feel the concoction of emotions bubbling inside my head. As he smiled at me, I raised my hand and slowly pulled off my wedding ring from my finger. As his expression changed to one of perplexed amusement, I handed him it to him. The weight of loyalty, the burden of responsibility would now be his. Today, I would give away the last fragment of a memory I could never make peace with. She looked at me in bewilderment, and incredulously asked “Why did you do that daddy?” I let my thumb caress her beautiful cheek, as I said “Until you learn to let go, my love, you, I and us will never find peace or purpose.”

At the age of 27, I remember standing outside her bedroom door. Same dusty walls, same musty floor. I knocked, and heard the familiar click I remembered from 11 years ago. She opened the door once more, dim room, heavy gloom hanging heavy inside it. The bed sheet was tidy though, as she stood in silence by the door. Black, blue, red and purple marks scarred her face and marred her beautiful skin; she sobbed and breathed heavily, like she was breaking from within. “Why did he do this daddy?” she asked me, the same question, wrapped with the weight of a million emotions. “Love, you’re a big girl now” I told her, as I gently brushed my lips against every scar on the realms of her skin. I could see her twitch in pain every time her hair fell over her face; so I brushed my fingers through her hair, holding her in a warm embrace. “Daddy, you won’t ever let go will you?” she asked me, breaking into exasperated tears. “Never,” I immediately quipped, despite knowing I had let her fall willingly, into a wife beater’s grip.

I let my hand slip over her hand, as it touched the wedding ring I gave her. I let my fingers grasp it, as I pulled it off her fingers. I put the ring in my right hand and asked her to walk with me. I helped her up as she rested her arm on my shoulder, hobbling on one foot on the cold marble floor. I opened the bathroom door as she let out dull moans and leaned against the wall. I walked right in, making sure her eyes were on me; as I stood right above the toilet. As she stared aghast, I dropped the ring into the toilet, as a faint clang shook both our hearts. One ring would flush down two memories now a distinct part of our past. Still numb from what I had done, she asked “Daddy, why did you do it?” Somehow, I felt she knew the answer even before I told her. “Until you learn to let go, my love, you, I and us will never find peace or purpose.”

At the age of 36, I remember both of us sitting on a bed facing the window on the street. The same street where 30 years ago, our little lessons all began. A saline drip lay attached to the bed’s base, the black, purple, blue marks from nine years ago, etched deeper and darker into her face. “Why did this happen daddy?” she asked him, with a hollow, resigned expression on her face. For the first time, in so many years, I did not have an answer to this.

She let her cold hands slide over mine and said “I’m a big girl now daddy,” gently rubbing my fingers against hers. In that moment, after 36 years, we finally found peace within the definitions of a curse. “Daddy, you won’t ever let go, will you?” her voice now reduced to a faint whisper. “Never” I said, as I finally broke, the floodgates within finally opened.  “But you have to let go, daddy” she smiled at me, as her hand pulled out the drip attached to her vein. I looked on in terror, as the words in my throat died as quickly as they came. “Why did you do this love?” I asked, faltering for breaths; everything around me now slowly crumbling. “Until you learn to let go, daddy, you, I and us will never find peace or purpose.”

For the rest of the night we sat and we talked, about 30 years worth of memories. Of lines crossed and time lost, in the depths of our insecurities. At three in the morning she took that one breath, for which I spent an entire lifetime in dread. But today, I live my life in peace because she finally understood everything I’d said. The only thing that hurts me now is emptiness which I alone, have to nurse. All until that one day, when I learn to let go too, and find my purpose.


Little Window.

It was a merciless winter’s night, somewhere in late December I think. I can’t say for sure actually; time has drowned my memories ever so quietly. We must have walked down that lonely, desolate lane to Block D at least a hundred nights now. I’m sure he has done that at least twice as much. Nothing has changed; and yet strangely, everything has.

You see, me and him, we’ve walked these streets so many times that we’ve discovered its most minute intricacies. For instance, I know that seven minutes into our walk, I would hear the sound of gravel crunch beneath my size 9 Woodland shoes, breaking the effortless silence of the night, but not the uneasy one between us two.
The pale, dim yellow streetlights would dully light up the grey tar roads, the bright green benches with paint scraping off along its sides, the only witness to this pilgrimage of sorts.

And yet, in the midst of this monotony, things have changed. Sometimes, a gentle breeze would tug at my baggy shorts and the comfortable, loose fabric of my tee shirt during summers. And at times, the winter wind howled incessantly, a waft of ice cold breath from the Gods would bite at knuckles tightly clasped around my leather jacket. So much change, and yet so familiar.

Anyway, 15 minutes into our walk, I could see the familiar outline of Block D swarm in front of my eyes. The same rundown building that no one bothered to maintain. It looked like something you would find straight out of an archaeology magazine; chipped walls lined with dark green moss, missing bricks and faded paint making it seem like a page from a forgotten memory.

‘I like this place’ he looked at me and whispered in a rough, sombre voice. It was the first time ever that he had spoken to me during our walks. We always talked before or after it, but in those hundred days I walked with him, we never spoke when we were face to face.

‘This building is my reflection, it is what I am, you know? Weathered, broken down, forgotten. But I like it, because despite its shortcomings, it makes no attempt to hide. It still stands.’

I could see he was struggling to speak, but I didn’t ask him why. This was a change from our usually accepted pact of silence, I decided it would be wiser to let destiny do the needful.

We slowly trudged to the side of the building. The low balcony of the first floor stood right in front of us. It was low enough for me to jump and touch, in fact I could climb it if the drainpipe next to it wasn’t ancient. We stopped. Same place, for the umpteenth time. I’ve lost count. He put his hand inside his pocket and pulled out the same old bar of chocolate. I liked this part, and I made a conscious effort not to blink. He looked up at the open window next to the balcony; these were the only few seconds of the day when I saw glimpses of life flood back into his eyes. That made me happy; knowing he hadn’t completely forced himself into emotional exile.

He carefully held the bar of chocolate in his right hand, and arched his back. With the expert precision of someone used to doing something every single day, he threw the chocolate perfectly inside the open window. It was dark and empty inside, yet he stood there transfixed; staring at the open window for at least 5 minutes. It was a simple yet powerfully serene picture that I wish I could paint with words; hope looking up at expectations, in static and unsettling silence.

After 5 minutes of holding his breath, he let out a deep, pained sigh. He looked at me, which was his way of telling me that it was time to walk back.

‘Once every 20, maybe 25 days, when she’s strong enough to stay awake, you can hear the gentle rustle of the wrapper being torn open, I swear. She doesn’t go out much because the chemotherapies have left blotches on her skin, and she has little left of those gleaming strands of silky hair she had before. She says that it all makes her look ugly, but I disagree. What could possibly be more beautiful than someone learning to smile through adversity? Once every one and a half months, when the medicines don’t drain her soul, you can see the faint orange light come on in her room. She puts her head at the window, one of the rare times she ever lets anyone see her. When that little study lamp lights up the side of her face and she holds up the chocolate I threw and she smiles at me? It is all I ever needed.’

I just looked at him and nodded as if I understood. I clearly did not, and imagining the courage it took made me wish I would never have the chance to find out.

‘I told you, I like Block D. The place reminds me of what I have become. All I have left is a little window; but that does not stop me from standing in front of it every night in desperate hope. Everything around me is slowly crumbling, but something inside gives me so much to believe in. I like this monotony. It gives me faith. So I keep coming back, even if it means confronting my worst fears.’

‘And what are those fears?’ I asked him.

He looked at me, and gave me a tired, almost resigned smile.

‘Sometimes, I fear my chocolate will hit a closed window. Sometimes, I fear it’ll drop on an empty bed, and the hollow thump I hear will be nothing compared to the reverberations in my heart. I dread these possibilities. But when I started off doing this, she used to look through the window every 3-4 days. That number has slowly gone on increasing. Now I consider myself fortunate if she manages to hoist her limp, drugged body to the windowsill even once a month. I fear I’m living my darkest fears. Maybe it’s her way of preparing me for the worst, I don’t know. Perhaps I do know, but I do not care. I do what I have to, and nothing less.’

As we talked, we reached Block T, where I stay. We embraced, and he thanked me for coming. Although we did this every night I walked with him, it never felt out of place or cliched. I walked up the stairs to my house, and then into my room, slowly taking in what I had just seen and heard. I had a hard time sleeping that night.

The very next morning, I got a phone call. She had passed away in her sleep.

Even though in one hundred nights I never saw anything beyond the little window, I felt empty, I felt hollow. I could only imagine how standing in his shoes would be, let alone walking in them.

That night, I got no text message from him asking me to come for a walk. But I did see a lonely shadow, dragging a soulless existence through the empty street on the way to Block D. I saw all of it through my balcony. Seven minutes later, I could hear the sound of gravel in my head, heavier and deeper than I had ever heard before. Tonight, hope wouldn’t look up to expectations; expectations would look down upon broken hope. Tonight, there would be no warm embrace, no thank you’s. Perhaps there never will be.

It has been almost a year since her death. I have always wanted to walk to Block D one night and pay my respects. But I can’t. I can’t find the strength to look at him staring at that little window again. I can’t. I can’t imagine his chocolate bouncing off a closed window, I just can’t. I still watch him every night, just walking. I realize now why monotony isn’t redundant; it is beautiful, almost overwhelming. But for it to exist, nothing must change. Which is why I think we all fear change. Maybe that little window will slam shut or what lies inside it will fade. But whatever happens, it is important to keep walking.


Happy Birthday, Mom.

I remember the birthday we spent together three years ago. It must have been a few weeks into your chemo; but the scars of your struggle were now starting to show. For the first time in so many years, you and I didn’t stay up late. For the first time in so many years, there was no childish, excited wait. For the first time in so many years, there was no birthday cake because no matter what you ate at that point in time, your head would spin and nauseate. It felt sad, having to celebrate your liveliness so quietly.

The next morning, I overslept. So when I woke up, the first thing I did was sprint up the steps to your bedroom door. I imagined you would be sleeping so I quietly pushed it open; hoping that I’d be the first face you’d see as you woke up on your special day. But as I stepped into your room, I felt this quiet, impending feeling of gloom. One experienced in the countless hospital trips that conditioned you and I to feel nothing but doom. I saw an empty bed, and a rush of blood to my head said- something’s wrong. I knew you couldn’t even walk straight without me by your side to take your weight. I could feel my hands shake; I could feel the insides of my head ache and throb and about to break. I called out your name, again and again and again and then suddenly, I heard mine in return. A sigh of relief as I immediately turned to where it came from.

As I pushed open the bathroom door, I saw you slouched against the wall, sitting calmly on the floor. Trying to maintain a fine line between livid worrying and escalating dread, I just stood there with a million thoughts inside my head, and you, you just looked at me, and you smiled. Typical of you, you know? Everytime you knew there was tension you couldn’t dilute, you just flashed a smile so adorably cute hoping I would forget. I almost did. But I asked again.

You smiled once more. And then you spoke. In words I wish I remembered, so I could put them in quotes and show the entire world how you saw it with so much hope. You told me how it hurt to be a burden. How on days that hovered between bad and worse you felt like an absolute curse that just refused to go away. You told me how it felt, when you needed me to walk two metres or less, and how it made you feel absolutely helpless, every single day. So on your birthday, you decided to be different.

It hurts my heart to imagine how you swayed across the room to where you fell, but for that one day living in hell made you feel a little more at ease, even if it meant falling to your knees, at least you did it all by yourself. I didn’t know whether to smile or to cry; but these things you said were like invisible forces pulling me from both sides. I heaved you up, and I walked you back to your bed. You were smiling, but your eyes were wet. I tried to give you the warm hug that you’d mastered over the years, one that had so often given my tears a reason to change into something else. If only you knew how much I live that memory, even today.

Three years later, I celebrate your birthday the same way you and I did back then. There is silence, and a quiet birthday wish in this letter; and an empty realization that things could have been so much better. What I miss far outweighs what I have found; but that balance would tilt so drastically if you were around today. Today, I wish I could borrow your shoulders to keep my head; I wish I could kiss your cheeks and tell you everything I never said, instead of writing things you will never read, unless heaven has a speed post service (which it desperately needs.) What I would give, to have you live, not in memories but somewhere real. Every second spent wondering how that would feel suddenly, be worth the time, and the energy.

Anyway, this isn’t about my wishes, its about how hard it is loving you from afar. I only wish I could find the words to define these feelings of mine with a beauty that was half as perfect as you are. I hope you have fun there (for heaven’s sake) and that God employs the best bakery to make your cake. Stay as lively as you’ve always been, remember to lick the icing from the bottom of the cake tin, just how you’ve always liked it.

Down here, Dad will raise a drink and we all will keep you in our prayers and think about the countless reasons you gave us to call happiness our own. We’ll keep missing you, even if we are three parts of a broken mess; and we will love you, alwaysthemore, nevertheless.

I miss you. I love you.

Happy Birthday.

Love,
Shamir.


Happy Birthday.

“Happy birthday” said a hushed whisper, as a wave of cold froze her veins,

That voice was too familiar for her to forget, it resurrected her withered remains.

Sleep deprived brain and a cocktail of cocaine, she knew she was thoroughly drained,

But deep inside she felt that this was happening, so she rubbed her eyes and then she strained,

To look into the pitch black dark around her, and she could see him standing and glowing,

Her hands started to shiver, her eyes now a river, she doubted the reality in what life was showing.

So slowly  her hand reached out towards him, and groggily said “Love, is that you?”

He stood right there in silence but smiling, and as he nodded she cried “FUCK YOU!”

“You died. You’re dead.. Why did you leave me?” her sobs were now at hysteria’s peak,

Torn between the joy of seeing him again and a disfigured sanity telling her to freak.

“Why did you come back?” she whispered, the cold was now making her body sore,

“I just came to wish you a Happy Birthday.” he looked straight at her and smiled once more.

“I have something for you, a birthday gift” , he walked towards her and said “Walk with me.”

She sat up slowly not knowing what to do- follow a dream into the dark or just let it be?

Her feet on impulse got off the double bed, as he turned around and started to walk,

Strange that she’d prayed so hard to ask him questions, but right now she just couldn’t talk.

He walked out the dark corridor into the living room, his eerie glow lighting her way,

She followed as if in a trance, the drugs and the sleep making her tremble, making her sway.

He walked out the main door and turned to his left, as he started climbing the stairs remarkably aloof,

20 minutes of walking, a 100 hours of silence later, he held open the door that led to the roof.

She clambered into the wide open space, and the fresh air engulfed every inch of her soul,

After a year of rotting alone in emptiness, the suffocation was gone and so was the hole.

“There it is” he said, pointing into the distance, a glowing letter suspended from a thread,

It gleamed like the moon against the starless sky, just a few feet above the parapet.

The light in her eyes shone brighter than him, as she climbed the parapet to grab the letter,

Drops of happiness dribbling down her cheek, she knew things would now get better.

20 floors above the city’s skyline, she could see her destiny finally resting in her grip,

But then she looked down and saw a never ending drop, her head spun, then she slipped.

As time slowed down for those couple of seconds, she looked in horror at him as she fell,

His face as stoic as a dead man’s grace, where his smile was she couldn’t tell.

All she knew that she was falling into the night, closer to the ground and away from her pain,

Just seconds before she hit the ground to her death, she heard “Happy Birthday” once again.