Sunday, January 9, 2011


How would you feel if you were constantly thinking about someone, and he materialized, as if out of thin air?

It was as if my very thoughts had lent the crisp air a shimmery aura and shaped it to behold his form.

I wanted to smile at him, but it froze before it could form on my lips.

The air broke out into a volley of greetings and high fives. My heart hammered in my chest, and I panicked. I felt torn. Part of me wanted to go up to him and say something. Act normal, act normal, I repeated to myself like some kind of mantra. I chided myself for the jitteriness, reminding myself that if I had had the guts to do that in the first place, none of this havoc would have ensued.

The rest of me skulked in the shadows, and hid its face in shame. With the horror of realizing the degree of effort it had taken over the past few days. Weeks maybe. This being tugged at the other half and pulled it down into the depths of misery.

I sat on the cold steps, frozen like a statue, head bent in abject wretchedness. The cold that had already seeped into my bones had nothing to do with the icy draft wafting over us. It had already chilled me and frozen over.

I wanted him to come over and talk to me. I mentally willed him to. And he did.

A pale moon floated low in a purple sky. Some light from it revealed a crescent-shaped glint; a hint of a smile. A shadow moved; the dark of his jacket. He came and sat next to me. My mind went into overdrive, digging at every nook and cranny for a thread to start the conversation. A fucking word, for Godsakes.
I came up with nothing. I berated the helpless me.

He said something inconsequential. Whatever it was, I snatched at it like a hungry animal and blabbered something equally ridiculous.

Deep throated laughter. Matched by a high pitched, nervous one that could only be mine.

Fresh waves of shame engulfed me. I remembered, ashen faced, the last time we had had a conversation. Eyes downcast, afraid to meet his. Even if there was no accusation in his, there was blatant regret in mine.

I hated myself for it. And I hated him for having that placid calm all about him. Because when he had that, I couldn’t figure him out. I couldn’t read him. There was nothing in his eyes I could decipher, because even if I had bolstered enough courage to look up, the turmoil within me would have left me perpetually harried.

I wanted to shake him, punch him, kick him. Or all three. Anything that’d result in a nosebleed perhaps.

But I was too tired, too weary for any of that. The fight had left me, and only despair steeped in my marrow, chilling it more than the cold wind did. I stared at the criss-cross of black and grey shadows that changed form on the ground as he gestured in emphasis.

Confusion suffused my being. What the hell were we doing? Was this worse, this forced cordiality, this block of time where we were forced to pretend that we didn’t hate each other. Correction: I didn’t hate him, but I wasn’t ready to love him either. Forgive him? Maybe never. What good would forgiveness be if it didn’t make things better? Would never make things better?

I had tried my best to fix it. People said that it was ok to try, because even if things didn’t work out in the end, I could be happy that I had tried my best. The thought had comforted me a bit. The notion promised peace at the end, didn’t it? But as with all other things, the theory rebounded and impinged on to everything around me.

The shame burned through me and heated my skin, washing over me in waves. What was this, after all? A mockery? What was worse, salvaging the remnants of a camaraderie that once evoked notably fond memories, or this, this, wretched caricature of drawn out civility? A meeting. An obligation that had to be fulfilled in body if not in spirit. What did he think of it? For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom.

Whatever it was, then, that nameless miasma that swarmed about us- I hated it, I liked it. It comforted me, yet I dreaded it. But above all, I wanted it to be there. And some miniscule part of me regretted it when it was time to leave. When it dispelled itself and let time flow uninterrupted.

How far should one go to save oneself from the perils of regret?

I had no answer for that. I had already transcended everything I thought I was capable of.

The cold swept in and filled in the void between us.
I looked up in surprise, not having picked up the end of the conversation. That meaningless, yet meaningful string of words we had carried forth. He looked up in that instant too, an instant where I had caught him off guard.

As much as I wanted to believe in what I saw then- that wide-eyed, hopeful, remorseful look- I told myself that I’d imagined it. And looked away.


saad said...

Heart Pouring at its best

Palwasha N. Minhas said...


Maryam said...

Thanks! Palwasha: Why are you not on Fb anymore?

Sohaib said...

i just read seems a piece from a literature work..

p.s: seems u hav burnt up yur arsenal of vocab =P

weird diary said...

lovely piece of work i must say.... what you write is really's your follower :)

n plz go through my blog too, its pretty new, u might want to comment or criticize

Maryam said...

Sohaib: Thanks! Haha, and I don't know about that, I guess only future posts will tell :P

Weird Diary: Thank you so much, but I rarely write deep literary pieces here, as my previous posts will tell :)

weird diary said...

hahaha yeah i have seen that :P

Alpha Za said...

There had better be a book coming on soon! That was great, emotional, evocative and a bit surreal!

Sidrah said...

Sometimes you just have to let go, no matter how much it hurt. Really gald I read this, needed to!


Maryam said...

Alpha Za: Thanks! Maybe after a graduate. Like a gazillion years into the future :)

Sidrah: This is a fictional piece, but yes I agree. The crux is about how you get what you want and still aren't happy.

Talha said...

Very nice I loved the your post.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You have some interesting thoughts! Perhaps we should contemplate about attempting this myself.

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