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Her despair… "Splintered Dreams"

June 30, 2005

A crumpled heap of jumbled words, curled, falling into myself—is this the end? Scratched muddy vinyl flooring of indiscriminate chrome, yellowed paint chipping off the walls of the 8’*10’ living room, the syntex door swaying unsteadily on its hinges. A shaft of dim light from the corridor outside carves a faltering path to the far end, past a battered three-seater and a tea-bush centre-table topped by a circle of cracked dark glass, to where I lie, facing the wall—a mass of weather-beaten cotton in dull grey, enlivened by a tattered shawl in moss green wrapped piteously around my convulsing shoulders.

All around me are scattered the remains of my dreams—an oft-thumbed edition of WB Yeats, the pebble you scooped up at the beach where you first told me you were lonely, faded and dry Gulmohar blossoms you picked that evening as you waited for me in the pouring rain, the wrapper of the wafers we bought at the cinema on our first official date, the plane ticket that finally brought you to me……….and faded foolscap sheets with bold, unwavering slants interspersed with yellow legal papers containing a slim, elegant scrawl—letters and poems we wrote each other, our dreams confined to words, our fates intertwined through feelings we tried to capture in language, like children playing at Lego.

I remember we spoke often and long about love—and you told me it meant admitting to life, to your vices, to your insecurities, to the feelings you have. You talked of watching the sunset, and wanting the moment never to end—acceptance, you said. Love and poetry—did we not create the perfect blend? I believed, and so did you for a while.

The tide recedes—and I’m banked on the shore, my beliefs turned to sand in my throat, dreams splintered on the jagged stones of time, waiting for the end. Will the seas of time churn on irredeemably, or will the flood tide bring you to my rescue?

From where I am lying, I can see the laminated poster on the wall—the one we spray painted one rainy July afternoon and calligraphed your verse onto—
“Pain is a close friend, swerves with me bend for bend;
haunting me gently then, and flowing out through my pen”

There were always three of us—you, me and the long shadow of your pain—but this didn’t bother me. Father Time, I was convinced, keeps even pain on a leash—if we walked together long enough and believed strongly enough, we would leave the past behind, where it belonged.

Maybe I saw the signs coming, when the yellowed, peeling walls we had been able to laugh at started to rankle, when the hand-painted scrolls with our poems on them appeared childish—but I still believed, blindly, consummately and passionately. Didn’t you tell me once, when my faith wavered—
“For instants, or all our days
I would love all your ways.”

A cynic talks of the triangle that drives people—love, acceptance and money. Maybe, if I believed that instead, pain wouldn’t cling as my shadow now. You were right about love and acceptance, but pain’s didactic poetry failed to illuminate to you life’s closing verse—
“Love is always more than enough.”

And I believe that, even now, as I lie in a pool of slowly trickling blood that congeals on the bare vinyl floor and seeps into the moss green and grey, lending colour and life to them—love is always more than enough, if all you are looking for is………everything.

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