When you were young, you saw beauty in everything. She painted the monal’s wing a surreal aquamarine and infused the rice fields with layers and layers of green vivacity. You dreamt. You believed and reached for the apple of glory without Eve’s hesitancy. Now, older, you look at the street outside your apartment complex and only see the malnourished mongrels and litter.

Once, you opened your mouth, and fireflies of inspiration poured into it, making you burn incandescently with ideas and abstractions. Now, maggots of apathy gnaw on you, plaguing you with shallow pools of thought from which you can never draw a muse.

Life has a way of fucking with the best of us. People praise us growing up, saying, “One day, you’ll be someone! Mark my words!” But when time starts testing our mettle, we drop like soldiers falling to artillery fire. It’s those they don’t coddle and cosset who end up making it.

You shake off your lover for the night when she puts her arm around you after the post-coital cigarette, and walk to the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. The years have been rough on you. The irony is that when you wanted a fast life, scrupulousness prevented you. Idealism reined you in and whispered, “There are better things.” Dreams added another layer of richness to the oak in your backyard. But that tree now lies withered with decaying bark, and you look at everything with voyeuristic eyes. You’ve traded those mystical scenarios in which you’re a conqueror, lover and poet for ones in which you’re a lecher and a cuckold. You’ve given up a home for a seedy motel room. A lounge bar for a greasy spoon. A phoenix for a hyena. And you hate it.

You return to your lover and get on top of her without any kissing or foreplay. She isn’t your girlfriend, and she likes it rough. You can’t be bothered if she comes or not. You grunt and think about her fucking a more attractive man to remain hard. Gone are the days when you ran five rounds around the football field, or when you possessed the enigmatic charm of the naive. Face it. You may have been a sonnet once, but you’re a doggerel now. A horrible lyric filled with verbose descriptions of the sunset. Misplaced images in a bawdy song. You might as well stop shaving, stop bathing, stop brushing your teeth, and walk around in come stained pants.

You try your best to get inspired by watching intelligent science fiction or reading a historical novel, but your mind drifts to the next lover for the night. Then in heat, you call some washed-up friend who also wasted her life, invite her over and climax while a few more brain cells die.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2020)

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash


4 thoughts on “ Anathema ”

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