I haven’t heard from you in months. I hope you’re well and only wish the best for you. You foxtrotted into my life, burning incandescently and setting the dance floor of my fate on fire. You changed things; introduced me to Jackson Pollock and Francesca Woodman; imprinted your word on my heart, and then you left just as quickly, but traces of you remain when I read the texts you sent me; parts of you drift through my consciousness like shooting stars in an empty sky when I recall our phone conversations.
I miss you, and I love you, and I wish an out-of-body experience took you to me when I spend lonely nights frightened and writhing with perturbation. But all I see then are dull brown curtains and beige cupboards reeking of nonchalance. There’s a panopticon in my head, and my thoughts lie imprisoned in tiny cells; starved and emaciated. I wish I could pull the structure down and torture the guards of paranoia the way they’ve tormented me.
You’re the most intelligent woman I’ve known with a mind as sharp as an Obsidian blade. Your rational approach to each problem you faced in life inspired me and made me want to abandon my reckless impulsivity. I look at things in shades of black and white. It’s either fight or flee. You look at something from myriad points of view; running five streams of thought at the same time and steering them with the elegance of Zinedine Zidane controlling a football. I miss all the advice you gave me. I miss how you never let yourself get more perturbed than you should be.
Time and distance separated us, but our thoughts aligned and this kept our relationship alive. It’s beautiful when two people who’ve never seen each other create synergy by the union of their intellects. It’s fascinating when emotion adds depth to this union. It’s mesmerizing when this union transcends to something almost spiritual because of that unseen element: the soul. You were my best friend and my confidant. I shared things with you that I don’t tell people even though they think my life is an open book because of the confessionals I write.
You were intriguing and alluring with such a mature charm that most of the women I’ve known lack. I see people these days trying hard to be someone they’re not. I watch them try to lift their social standing, but you didn’t give a damn about any of that. Prestige, the limelight, the hoorahs and the whoops meant nothing to you because, like me, you saw it for what it was: a circus filled with garish showmen and absurd acts; a freak show of incongruity and exaggeration; a nightmare masquerading as a lovely dream.
Sure, we may not have agreed on everything, but that only added spice to our relationship. Insipid flattery without emotion fuels most relationships. You can compare them to purple prose about the most inconsequential subjects. Too much scent, but way too little substance. But we were different, or I’d like to think so at least.
In the end, we went our separate ways and perhaps that was good. I’ll never understand why we grew apart, but there are variables to every circumstance that we can’t control. So, I’ll end this by telling you how I’m doing using droll self-mockery: I’m living my life, smoking and popping antihistamines. There are times when I wish this plane would autopilot and crash because I can’t be bothered controlling it anymore, but then there are times when a drag of the cigarette followed by a sip of coffee makes everything worth it!
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)