I used to watch her sitting right across the table. Every day without missing. Something was there in her. The way she drank her coffee, the way she smiled at some character in the novel she used to read. There was this unearthing kind of emptiness about her that was almost irresistible. I was in love with her or maybe I wasn’t, I am not sure. But I like to think that I was.
There’s a Japanese phrase that I liked: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will. That’s what I felt for her.
I watched her, unaware of her memories.
After months of watching her, one day, she finally noticed me watching her.
She rolled her eyes and asked, “what?”
I couldn’t help but tell her, “You are beautiful; beautiful like the ripples on the water disturbing the melancholy, beautiful like the rays of sun on a frigid day. You are the kind of beautiful that could inebriate someone to live.”
“Hmm”, she replied with total lack of interest
I glowered at her response so went to her table and caught her by her arm turning her towards me to see her expressionless face disturbing her tranquil oasis.
“What’s the matter with you? Why can’t you just take a compliment?”
She squinted her eyes, a soigné lissome which was neither idyllic nor unpleasant, just merely absent.
“Yes, I am beautiful; beautiful like the great ball of fire against the azure sky, beautiful like the faint light of morning that consumes the last star on the horizon, beautiful like a paroxysm infinitesimal yet hard to subdue. You say am beautiful, yes am beautiful. Beautiful like the wild mad forest fire or the strongest tide on the shore. I am the kind of beautiful that could kill you
With tears in her eyes she ran away leaving her diary behind. I waited for her for months, staring at the empty table where she used to sit but she never returned. I never saw her again. She became my memory. My fondest memory.
Memories: good, old, sad, tough. All kind of memories. Memories make a vital part of what we are, of our very existence. Memories that fill your heart, erode your soul, kill your mirth and consume you whole. But then, what kind of memory is that, which doesn’t destroy you? Which doesn’t cause a stir in your soul? Which doesn’t fill your heart with agony or budge your life? Such are memories, just like the fruit of Cherimoya. Sometimes hard to penetrate and other times melts to touch. Such were her memories, as I read in her diary.
It was about that time when the unknown grayish mystifying forest was benumbed into frost-covered cold again and the tremendous pines towering above the dark marshy soil resembled a gathering of beasts unleashing the coldness in the glorious night sky as well as her. Even the high walls of her tower wouldn’t save her from her memories. In those colds she would run, run to hide, hide into his words, and hide from her memories.
She closed her eyes like she closed her heart and yet again there she was. She would run across the icy roads and slip with a giant thud. He would be chasing her, but then would stop and break into fits of laughter as he would see her clumsily let herself be covered in snow.
“You should not be running this fast” he would quip
“What if you trigger an avalanche?” she would look up to him n squint.
She opened her eyes, opened the gates and ran on the icy road. And now she fell again, but instead of laughter came a rush of warm tears, falling comfortably through her cheeks to their perilous design. The pain was too much for her alone to handle. He wasn’t there to protect her from her coldness, the inside out cold. She sat there in the snow caught with a paroxysm indomitable and then her reverie got disturbed by a cadence.
She tried to bury him in her, only she didn’t know that he was a seed. And then her mind got filled with the voices light years away from her, her vision got blurry
“What” she asked him
“Nothing” he said.
“Why are u looking at me like that?”
He half smiled, “because you are so beautiful”
Her shimmering mirage was making her sick now but with the snow touching her weathered skin she could feel him and this was peace to her. She knew it in her heart that he would always be watching her. She closed her heart and hazelnut eyes to the world with a belief that in some other era, some epoch away, she would meet him again.