bluebird

I know I'm supposed to write, don't yell at me, I'm sensitive.

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  • bluebird 30w

    23:32

    Closed eyes:
    My fingers sing a song on your arms,
    Tracing the veins, back and forth,
    Meaning to recognise the stains
    You recognise by;
    It's a prayer, if you hear
    Closely enough.
    Placing your arm on my chest,
    I let your fingertips touch my chin
    Barely, enough
    Closed eyes
    My fingers tell a story on your arms,
    Of the lies I told,
    Out of the fear of falling in love with you.
    My nails, broken and bitten
    Follow the outline of your thumb,
    And I lift it gently,
    Enough
    To ask for permission
    To hold my face and touch my lips.
    It's a prayer, can you hear?
    A kiss. Barely enough;
    Your hand reaches the back of my ear
    Tugging a lock of hair
    And playing with my pierced earlobe.
    You kiss that speck on my neck,
    And dial the minutes past us.
    You kiss that speck on my neck,
    And playing with my pierced earlobe,
    Tugging a lock of hair, your hand
    Reaches the back of my ear.
    A kiss, barely enough;
    Its a prayer, can you hear?
    To hold my face and touch my lips,
    To ask for permission
    Enough.

    A question,
    Making excuses
    For me,
    From second hand lovers,
    To second thoughts,
    I ask you;
    If I am a synonym
    To you -
    No longer.
    Lips, chapped, cracked
    Tired, pink, speaking
    Without words.
    Could you look at me,
    If I was still yours,
    If you could hold me,
    Would you look at me?
    Or would you close your eyes,
    Meaning to recognise the stains,
    I recognise by?
    If names were how we knew each other,
    Know,
    They named a hurricane after someone,
    And it was a disaster.
    And someone is no longer someone else.
    Someone is no longer.
    Your eyes, wider than mine,
    Fail to respond, questions that make excuses
    For us.
    Backs turned, aching my heart,
    Looking away from you
    My synonym,
    Reminds me of second thoughts
    By second hand lovers.
    Where do they go when they are tired?
    They turn around. I turn around.
    Your eyes, wider than mine,
    Wet, welled, apologising,
    And I tether myself to you again.
    My hands around your face, pushing back your locks,
    With fingers running through, and backwards, behind ears
    Dialing the minutes to a halt.
    Enough. Look;
    It's where the sun stops setting midway,
    And where our breaths are all I can hear,
    Its where time forgets to pass,
    It's where lovers go when they're tired.

    Hands, again
    On your eyes,
    Asking you to let me in.
    If having you close would mean
    Having to share my skin
    Then I would.
    At least then, I wouldn't have to
    Twist my fingers to feel you,
    Touch you,
    Kiss you,
    Biting my lips, I'd taste you,
    Holding my hands,
    Begging,
    I'd feel safe.
    Close your eyes,
    Hold me close,
    Sit, don't stand
    Smile, don't care
    Do you feel my breath
    Above your lips, do you hear
    The gulps, and my tongue
    Moving back and forth,
    Finding a place to be -
    Tasteful,
    Your lips, the most perfect attribute
    That utters my name,
    And makes it yours, so easily,
    Your lips,
    Meet mine
    And your smile, ceases to exist.
    A fault? A crime?
    A distasteful placement of tongue?
    Your scent, lingers still
    Your hand, moves mine away,
    Closed eyes,
    Your fingers sing a song on my arms,
    And they say, "you're mine",
    And you hold me,
    Not looking at me,
    You close your eyes,
    Meaning to recognise the stains,
    I recognise by.
    It's the way you say my name,
    Making it yours,
    That makes me your name,
    Just the way I call you mine;
    So my hand runs past your ear,
    And my nails tend to dial the minutes slow,
    Digging those claws deep in your skin
    Deep enough to allow me
    To grasp your hair
    And kiss you deeper,
    Softer
    Yet harsher
    Loving you,
    Over
    And over
    Again.
    Time passes by,
    Swaying calmer than usual
    And my skin melts into your palms
    Till the crevices of your skin
    And the edges of your lips
    Are cemented with the essence of mine.

    Hope
    Falters
    Struggling to perceive our existence.
    Water, beneath my feet,
    Puddles under my eyes,
    A feat.
    Your absence speaks words
    That I fail to comprehend
    A comb carries my hair,
    A towel holds the dirt off my body,
    A perfume bottle, the one I never use
    A ring, another, one more
    Enough.
    I fail to recognise your stains
    Over my presence;
    Its senile, the thought of living without you
    Insanity, dangerous
    Like walking on shards of glass
    That was labelled unbreakable.
    Making my therapist cry
    I walk out, proud,
    Looking for a chair to sit upon
    And tie an imaginary chain around my ankle
    Pretending to be busy; avoiding eye contact
    With strangers
    I hate.
    Walking home, I realise how the clock behind my ear,
    It ticks,
    The leaves start falling backwards
    And my hair trickles down,
    Earrings dangle forth and back
    Lips blush, eyes flutter down and up
    Time passes by, negatively,
    And I find myself, covered in blood and bandages
    My pelvis, hurt, swollen
    I lay, with cut wrist, broken and wilted
    I couldn't bloom,
    And there was a man, who told me,
    The day I was made to realise, how
    I can no longer be a mother
    "You matter to me."
    And hope
    Faltered
    Struggling to perceive our existence.

    I believe
    I am a better rider than you,
    Just based on the fact,
    That I spent a year on bicycles before puberty struck me
    And that you didn't.
    A weak frame sits in front of you
    Won't you hold her,
    By her waist?
    My hair, brutal on your face,
    That you tied with your handkerchief
    Were moved aside,
    And your arms, chased mine,
    Till they reached my hands, grasping the handles
    Overlapping, as our fate
    Warming my skin
    And steering away under canopies
    Allowing the sun to brighten my eyes.
    I could feel your heart, beating on my back,
    And your fingers removing my earring,
    Looking for places to kiss
    And you kiss,
    Dialing the minutes forward.
    The sky seems to float, the birds left behind
    The road seems to end now,
    And the trees farther, now moving ahead
    Our teeth now colder from the smiles
    Yours, stingy, bearded
    Mine, uneven, with torn lips
    And a scalp that peels off.
    Close your eyes,
    Hold me,
    Close
    Hold me close
    "Where are we headed to?"
    "Home"
    "Where?" I scream
    "Right here."

    Standing in the dining hall
    It's dark outside, 23:32
    But the sky is chrome,
    Your arms around my waist
    And mine, around your neck
    Closed eyes and mirroring noses
    Foreheads reflecting,
    I smile a smile you aren't aware of,
    Swaying, dancing, falling in love
    Making love, innocently,
    Like bottles filled just up to the brim
    Waiting for an overflow.
    I wonder, what colour my hair would be,
    When I'm old, and dead.
    I wonder if you'll stay awake, all night,
    If you'll remember what my skin felt like,
    When you're old; and with someone else.
    Growing up, I will lie, cheat and break your heart,
    Would you still mean it, when you say now,
    "I can never hate you. I just can't."
    I wonder what your smile would look like,
    When you're old and with somebody new,
    With rings you might have exchanged,
    Would you let me know?
    I wonder if you'll believe, that this kind of love
    Was for the young selves,
    I wonder if you'll be happy that you fell in love
    In your twenties,
    When you did, with someone you might not remember;
    I wonder if you'll remember me.
    I wonder if you'll still know, what my favourite colour is,
    And what I used to be allergic to,
    When I visit for some relative's funeral,
    And eat some cake with tea.
    Would you still tell me that I'm yours?
    Would you still be mine?
    Kiss me, with your coffee lips,
    Before you promise this to somebody else,
    Fall for me, please?
    Sing some song, that is discreet enough
    To propose, like you once did before,
    Would you remember our song then?
    When we grow up, and my scars are no longer yours
    And I no longer can write you poems nor stories
    Because my father passed away
    And there's no one to terrorise my life;
    What will happen when those clocks, behind our ears
    Stop working, or perhaps forget each other's touch
    And when my skin, sheds itself and my self, accepts a new one,
    Letting go of your stains; from every kiss that you left behind;
    I just hope I don't die, after you -
    And you put your hand, over my heart,
    Another behind my ear,
    Looking into my eyes, you stop the minutes
    The time, ceasing to exist
    Just us, in a moment,
    That we claim as ours,
    23:32.

    -K

    Read More

    23:32

    [17/06, 23:29 pm] There's people all around us, all types of people. I fantasize about the good ones and the bad ones, and the ones I have nothing to do with. But they never turn out the way I imagine them to be. I talk to someone, and this is true, I talk to anyone actually, and all I can think of is how it's not where I'm supposed to be.

    People make me feel like people; make me feel like there's a home I need to be at.

    You're my home. It's where I belong; wherever you are. I can be scared and I can close my eyes, and all I'd think of, will be you.

    [17/06, 23:32 pm] I belong with you too. We are home. We: you with your perfections and I, with my messiness.
    [17/06, 23:32 pm] Nothing else makes sense anymore, just you and us.

  • bluebird 48w

    @mirakee hi. Been a while.

    (Haven't yet reread, ignore the mistakes if any for now)

    ,

    "You know, I don't really mind the sugar."
    "Oh, I'm so sorry, I forgot, again, didn't I?"
    "Oh did you?"

    And he chuckled, took a sip and then sat down on the floor. His was a lukewarm cup, held late on account of ill tampered arrivals and traffic. It was a replacement for coffee, just a miracle of how the milk in my fridge ran out every time he was to stop by.

    "It's raining outside, else I'd have been on time."
    "I know."
    His breath smelled of cardamom. There was no mustache to be wiped off, just dried lips, not taken care of, licking themselves over and over again, worsening the flaking skin. His habit of biting his lower lip just after his first sip of tea, seemed to bother me at first, yet then I got used to the fact that he was already trying to compromise his departure every time he decided to share a cup of chai.
    A salted cracker and a small bowl of peanuts was all that I could provide his diabetic self.

    "This is good." He sipped peacefully. There was a faint scream of crickets in the wet grass. A sense of closure, a calm; his eyes closed and his lips smiled. His checkered grey shirt had rolled down sleeves with open buttons on the cuffs and the absence of two from the collar. His wet hair began to curl upon themselves, those lines from his forehead disappeared. His wet socks couldn't hide his curling toes and his dirty jeans had pockets filled with a supposed pack of cigarettes he had been wanting to share with me and probably some mouth freshners for the moments he tried his lady luck. Those wet footsteps led from my room's door to the window pane. The cardamom somehow flavoured the overdue petrichor in a way that it reminded him of his village. "This is good."

    I closed my eyes. I sighed and sipped my chai.

    There was a rush. A rush of voices clubbing together; laughing and shouting, with names overlapping and smiles you could hear. There were peers on my right who wished to drink beer at 14, and satisfied their puberty with fruit beers. Some friends on my left were busy gossiping about a classmate who made out with a senior in the 'Mysterious Caves of Magic'. It sure seemed magical, the idea of convincing the father of my best friend to allow her to get out for a day on a school picnic, where I took the big responsibility of not allowing her to talk to strangers.

    We were standing in front of a menu board. Her stomach was rumbling. There was sweat under our armpits from the compulsion of wearing a coat; whereas there were mobile phones in the armpits of others, from the excuse of being compelled.

    "One plate is for 50. Can you believe that? I'm not carrying that much."
    "It's okay. We can handle this no?"

    With scared school boots we headed on to the cheapest place in the cafeteria and for the first time ever, tried to use the art of flirtation for negotiation. There were huge shoulders and a big mustache behind the counter. If you were tall enough, you could see his stomach being on the risk of catching fire from the proximity to the stove.

    A foot in front of the other, we smiled; hers was a chubby one, with her pretty north eastern eyes glistening in the sun, while mine was intentional, with eyes staring straight into the heart of the vendor.

    "Can you do it for ten? Ten each?"
    "No."
    "What if we say "please"?"
    A sigh. A sigh and a huge skillet was lit. There was no reduction in the amount of noodles, nor in the chillies, nor in the seasonings. There was no reduction in the love he put into our food. And that's when we sat down behind fake plants, on a special table, with huge plates and food that was too much for our bellies. Excited, as if it was an adventure, we laughed, and paid as much as we had promised.

    "A complimentary tea."
    There was this tea, one I've never had before, in a small paper cup, orange in sheen. It smelled of cloves and pepper, with a hint of cinnamon. The cups felt hot to our palms, so we carried our bags and walked in the park, counting the number of times some boys hit an inappropriate dance move. We sat on a porous metallic bench, heavier on her side, and we tried our best not to move much, especially after she did and caused my share of tea to spill on my shoes. I pulled her cheeks and asked her not to repeat it again, but oh well, a kid out for the first time had forgotten to have fun in all this while.

    We saw the sun set until our roll calls were heard.
    Just a moment. I smelled marigold.
    "Let's go."
    Just a moment.

    I closed my eyes. I sighed and sipped my chai.

    There was a clatter in the kitchen. Apparently he had let the cups slide off the counter.

    "Are you sure you don't want me in there?"
    "No, I don't want you in here, K. I can handle this."
    "Doesn't seem like it."

    He emerged with a tray good enough for holding six cups, with mittens on his hands and an apron that smelled of milk. There was a non stick pan on the top of the tray.

    "Ta-daaa. Here's it."
    "What?"
    "What?"
    "You said you were making tea."
    "This is the tea."
    "In a pan"
    "Yeah" his eyes widened and his eyebrows arched, "with straws. I can use some appreciation here. Did you not just hear the cups fall behind my back while I was totally not trying to scoop out the leftover tea leaves floating around?"

    He sat down, took his mittens off, threw away his apron in the laundry basked and began setting his hair off in the opposite direction of their growth. He sat down on the couch and held the pan up to my face.

    "Drink it."
    "I am not mouthing a pan. For some tea. Are you sure I won't die from this?"
    "No."
    "What did you add?"
    "Just some cloves and cardamom,"
    "Hmm"
    "And sugar and pepper."
    "Okay"
    "And I wanted to balance out the extra accidental spoon of sugar with some salt."
    "Some salt?"
    "Yes. And there's some leaves you put in a tea. The one's my mother grows."
    "Basil?"
    "Maybe?"

    He handed me a straw and held one close to his mouth. I counted to three. We sipped and immediately spit back the hot tea through the same straws into the pan.

    A moment of silence for his efforts.

    "So?"
    "The basil really tasted a lot like mint. I don't know how you did that, but it really was exceptional. Stood out for me."

    And then laughter.

    "You really can't make this breakfast in bed for your mother's birthday. Please don't."
    "I won't. Got it. Learnt it. It's all done and settled."
    "Do you want me to make some for you right now?"
    "No. I'm not a tea person. Oh come on, your adorable face makes me want to say yes everytime."

    He sat on the kitchen counter. I put on the saucepan and turned on the gas. There went two and a half cups of water, two teaspoons of tea, an inch of crushed ginger, two teaspoons of sugar, and milk according to the colour. He watched me do it all, and watched it all be done by me. He was watching me. Just me.

    "So you really are beautiful. And the best of everything."
    "Wait for the tea."

    I strained the tea, pressed the tealeaves and discarded them. There were two non matching cups that were filled to exact perfection. I offered one to him and he immediately burnt the tip of his tongue.

    "Why do you do this to yourself?"
    "Well maybe because of this,"
    And he kissed me while I stood there motionless with my eyes closed and a racing heart. I never kissed him back, never known how to kiss.

    I closed my eyes. I sighed and sipped my chai.

    Read More

    ,

    "Miss, are you waiting for someone?"
    The slide of the menu card broke my nostalgia.
    "Oh, oh yes." I said, without looking her in the eyes.

    I pulled down my sleeves and tried to purse my lips. There was a cloth tied around my head. Blue, it was.

    She stared for a moment, as if she had recognised me, and then she smiled the smile that she must've smiled at every other person she had served during her shift. I smiled a smile that hurt my bruise.

    There was the ring of the bells on the door. There it was.
    The shoes. His walk. One foot in front of the other. In a rhythm. It was something about the way he walked, the way he looked at me, the way he talked; it was something about him, something that made him who he is to me.

    I tried to consider getting up and hiding inside the washroom. But you know what they say, kids who are scared of being locked in the toilet, don't hide in the toilets when they're scared; and if they do, then there's something wrong with you.

    There was an attempt to stand up, yet I didn't realise how close I had pulled the table on my side, in the anxiety of being reached out by his hands; and I stood up, my legs did straighten, yet I hit my knee against the table top and the salt & pepper jars fell.

    There it was. His grip on my arm. Over a bruise he gave me.

    "It's okay." He told everyone at the café. "My wife's okay."
    And then he turned to me. With that grim smile on his face, he walked towards his side of the table and fastened his coat's button.
    "Where did you think you were going? I'm right here."

    I sat.
    He sat.
    Silence. A car passed us by.
    "So?"
    "I can't do this."

    "Ma'am, can I get your order?"
    "No thanks, we're trying to..."
    "..yeah. A tea. No milk."
    "And for her?"
    "Apparently 'she can't do this.' So nothing. Thanks."

    "So? What were you saying? What "can't" you do now?"
    "I don't want this marriage."
    "Hmm. And? Anything else?"
    Silence.
    "Nothing. Nothing else. This is what you called me for? This is why I've been searching for you everywhere? This is why you ran away? We could've talked about this at home. This.."

    "Sir, your tea."
    "Thanks."

    He leaned forward. His breath on my skin smelled of liquor; his eyes were calm, like they always were, in every single moment of his anger. And there it was again. His smile.

    "Jasmine, this is exactly what I warned you against the last time your arm got stuck in the doorway. This is what I warned you against, the day your father agreed to hand you over to me. Look at me and tell me what is wrong with being with me when I am the one paying for everything you wish to pursue and when your family is the leech that has been living off on my money?"

    He backed away. The cup on his palm, he sipped. He wasn't as old as I had imagined him to be, probably ten years older than myself. This was the man at every family gathering who offered me a drink since I turned a teenager. Here he was, drinking his tea; his every single gulp visible on his perfectly shaven skin. And there it was: that smile.

    He licked his lips and smacked them in disappointment.
    "The ring."
    I hid my hands under the table in a rush.
    "Where's the ring?" His calmness.
    "I couldn't wear it."
    "I took care of it the last time."
    "You broke my finger," a glance into his eyes, "I can not, wear it. It hurts." My voice broke, almost as if I wanted to cry but there were no tears left anymore.
    "Well then let me do it for you. Give me the ring."
    Silence.
    "Give it, else I'd take it."
    I slid it across the table.
    "Good."

    He looked me straight in the eyes and held my cold hands under the table. No one could see the way he pushed his ring onto my finger and no one could see the way he, and only he, could bring out the tears I always thought to have been dried off. Not screaming is a part of me that he taught me well.

    "Good." He wiped off my tears with his finger and then cleaned his finger with a tissue. He smiled.
    "Take it off again and I'd tell you how to wear it back on.
    Oh don't cry, here, drink something."

    That cold cup of tea felt indifferent against my lips. He held my hand and left the cup in my grip.

    I gulped the cold tea.

    "I'll be home early." He kissed my forehead and left.

    I closed my eyes. I sighed and sipped my chai.

    It was the first time I made tea for my mother. She had always wanted me to learn how to cook and finally, I wanted her to know that yes, I'm old enough to stand close to the fire.

    So I stood on a stool to be able to see the water boiling.

    There was a clumsy effort on measuring the cups of water I put in. My elbows ached from carrying the weight of my head as I waited for ages for the water to come to a boil.

    This was when I realised how my tea always tasted of ginger. So I went down to the lowest rack of the fridge and asked my mother,
    "Mummy, do good girls first ask their mummies before opening the fridge?"
    She laughed and said "Yes."
    "Mummy, can I open the fridge?"
    "Yes."

    I looked for the bag of ginger and finally found it hidden behind the sack of tomatoes. I broke a circular end and hid it in my fist, hoping my mother wouldn't have noticed, right after asking her where exactly she keeps the ginger.

    I went inside the kitchen and cut the ginger into thin slices and then put it in the boiling water. Then there went tea leaves, something I used to love to smell for a minute or saw, right after opening the container. Then went sugar, miscounted. And then went the milk, after a minute or so of boiling.

    And when a skin had formed, I turned off the gas and caught the pan with my bare hands, burning my little fingers, and crying in pain, yet not loud enough. I managed to save the tea.

    I strained the tea, pressed the tealeaves and discarded them. There were three cups, all the same, for me, my brother and my mother.

    I walked towards the room with my wobbly feet; the tea spilled on the sides of the steel plate.

    And there it was. The awaited moment. This was the first sip of my mother, the first sip of the first tea I ever made.

    "It tastes like water. I don't like it. If it's tea, I don't care who made it. If it's bad, I have to say it."

    So I sat down by the window. Sat down and held my cup of tea.

    There was a sense of failure. A sense of hurt.
    Perhaps I was not good enough.
    Perhaps I didn't try hard enough.

    I closed my eyes. I sighed and sipped my chai.

    ©bluebird

  • bluebird 48w

    "What can I give that is all for you?
    My heart's no good 'cause it's split in two
    What can I give that is all for you?
    These arms are all I have
    But I'll hold you like I do love you
    But I'll hold you like I do love you"

    Arms; The Paper Kites

    #valentine #hearMe

    Read More

    FATHOM

    Strands
    Wrapped around your fingers,
    Incomplete between each twist
    Loosened around every ridge of your touch
    Black; soft
    My hair; caressed,
    Denying departure from the forks in your nails
    Hands, porous with the essence of autumn
    Playing with the splits of my scalp
    Smelling of bribed love
    Strands, trickling from the friction they offer,
    Down under your knees;
    Those ends tickling my nose
    And the nose wrinkling over to smile
    With closed eyes,
    Strands;
    Like threads being pulled out of the spool
    Unnoticed, with no intentions,
    And with a head in the clouds,
    Leaving your fingers smell of cherries
    When they reach your nose to itch
    And of the hallucination of oil
    When they run over pages and digits, leaving prints
    Of something you touched
    Hours ago.
    There's this strangeness in the way I love you,
    Love,
    Its the way you linger on my body
    Without touching me like you do
    And the way you don't let me leave
    Without evidences on yours;
    There's this strangeness, love,
    About how you're not quite around
    Yet leave me with something I can't call my own,
    There's this strange love,
    Where I'm afraid you'd leave me with all that there is
    Where you're the movements in my sleep
    The words I can't keep;
    I'm afraid,
    All I'd be left with will be,
    An incomplete kiss, your sweat on my neck,
    A you, a me,
    And you without me.

    Breaths
    A cloud I can't separate:
    Yours from mine, yours or mine
    Bare legs trapped in cold sheets,
    And toes touching with an excuse of accidents
    Cold still,
    Breaths, yours and mine
    On a neck, on a breast,
    Warmer, moist,
    Unaware of the cold feet,
    And the cold beds,
    This is where sleep lingers,
    Where warmth decides to sigh in our presence,
    Your breath on my chest; warmer, closer
    My breath on your shoulder, calmer, colder,
    This is where I can close my eyes
    And wonder why I chose to lay on the wrong side,
    Pulling blankets, gulping a dry mouth
    You're awake, and you smile with your closed eyes
    Breaths; like lullabies,
    Warmer when you smile,
    Closer, even more,
    This is where I belong;
    Where your eyelashes kiss my collarbones
    When it's morn,
    Waking up on the right side.
    There's this strangeness in the way I love you,
    Love,
    Its the way you linger on my body
    Without touching me like you do
    And the way you don't let me leave
    Without evidences on yours;
    There's this strangeness, love,
    About how you're not quite around
    Yet leave me with something I can't call my own,
    There's this strange love,
    Where I'm afraid you'd leave me with all that there is
    Where you're the movements in my sleep
    The words I can't keep;
    I'm afraid,
    All I'd be left with will be,
    An incomplete kiss, your sweat on my neck,
    A you, a me,
    And you without me.

    Walks
    Where no hands are held
    No words are pronounced
    Two bodies, walking
    Swaying,
    Like a pair of earrings, dangling with a movement
    With feet mismatched, and steps miscounted
    A push towards you and a lean towards me
    Walks,
    Where silence speaks nothing
    Just your peace in mine,
    A knuckle brushing past another
    Watches clinging onto each other
    Left with scratches around the rims
    It's the hair on my skin that tell you
    How fast my heart beats still
    When we walk
    And when our hands collide
    Just close enough,
    To roll down your folded sleeves
    Of a shirt I chose,
    For walks,
    Like this,
    Where your eyes search for eyes
    And your hand searches for mine
    With every finger just fitting in perfectly
    Dancing around yours, figuring out the riddle,
    After infinities,
    Meanings to our presence;
    Where every groove of your finger,
    Remembers every spot on mine,
    And where we don't need to catch our time
    For walks,
    Like this,
    To home;
    When home is walking just right by your side.
    There's this strangeness in the way I love you,
    Love,
    Its the way you linger on my body
    Without touching me like you do
    And the way you don't let me leave
    Without evidences on yours;
    There's this strangeness, love,
    About how you're not quite around
    Yet leave me with something I can't call my own,
    There's this strange love,
    Where I'm afraid you'd leave me with all that there is
    Where you're the movements in my sleep
    The words I can't keep;
    I'm afraid,
    All I'd be left with will be,
    An incomplete kiss, your sweat on my neck,
    A you, a me,
    And you without me.

    Lips
    Dried at corners,
    With creases and folds,
    Felt roughly by fingertips
    Cold and crude, with an uneven skin
    Brushing away with pauses;
    Noticing the tremble of my lips,
    This is where your eyes escape mine
    And there's a space between your lips,
    Wishing fulfilment,
    Just perfect enough to let me kiss,
    As if,
    We were meant to be.
    Lips,
    Forming silence, in a moment
    That doesn't seem to explain
    The reasons for existence
    Of a you, a me;
    Yet this is where neither of us doubts
    And that is a reason enough.
    A step closer,
    Lips, touching tips
    And toes, on their tips,
    Breaths leaving sweat above
    And arms not knowing where to lock
    So they fall.
    Still. Straight.

    A distance.

    A silence.

    There's this strangeness in the way I love you,
    Love,
    Its the way you linger on my body
    Without touching me like you do
    And the way you don't let me leave
    Without evidences on yours;
    There's this strangeness, love,
    About how you're not quite around
    Yet leave me with something I can't call my own,
    There's this strange love,
    Where I'm afraid you'd leave me with all that there is
    Where you're the movements in my sleep
    The words I can't keep;
    I'm afraid,
    All I'd be left with will be,
    An incomplete kiss, your sweat on my neck,
    A you, a me,
    And you without me.

  • bluebird 61w

    I wish brightness in everyone's life.
    Hope your festival was as bright as the sunrise.
    Love you if you take the time to read this, this one is important to me.
    (Caption first)
    Some references to "Where do lovers go when they're tired?" by Ghostly Kisses

    ▪where lovers go when they're tired▪

    "It's been a while since I saw clouds in my skies."
    "My clouds are yours."

    It's a certain sense of acceptance that makes me want to hold on to the thought of darkness as a way of existing. When your eyes don't lead you to a visible road, somewhere the sun is just minutes away from rising and the passersby have already passed us by, you learn to adjust your sight to a place that's always so dimly lit yet you'd always hold on to the promise of the rising sun, even though it's not much of a compromise, this closing of your eyes, when you used to worry you'd miss that single moment of dawn if you blink - not anymore. It's dark when I close my eyes, pitch black, and just the same when I open them, hoping it to be a consequence of a long overdue morning where I would've counted the number of clouds that float in pairs.

    I've been walking blind, with every bit of me losing sight as I proceed, just to discover my lost sense of vision. This darkness has been very kind to me, if I think of it, in its truest sense, an occurrence to others. It's not all the same, this becoming; this is not all the same when I look away, behind myself, wondering if I should turn back and walk that way all over again; a place that makes my eyelids appear faintly crimson, telling me there's light behind closed doors; doors that I've knocked against before, doors that were closed before they welcomed me inside, doors that had keyholes through which I could see. But perhaps, that wasn't too beautiful a scene; that light summoning me behind those doors was not beautiful enough to stop myself for and give up on this newly found strength to walk blindly, towards a new morning, one that could make me see again.

    Meet me in the gentle after light, where your world falls apart. Meet me where the light greets the dark, where the lovers go when they're tired.

    I met you where second hand lovers have their second thoughts.

    You were heading South, yet couldn't tell East apart from North, looking for something you weren't quite sure of. There wasn't much in your hands, not much to carry on, not much to lose but yourself. But if you would've asked any blind passerby, she would've told you that you were already lost enough, walking blind, just to discover your lost sense of vision.

    "Miss, this is a two way street."
    "Hello? Who's this?"
    "Just walking by."
    "I've never had anyone walk this road before."
    "Well I'm walking the same way, and I'm glad to have someone along."

    Two way street. All those days and I didn't know that I was racing myself on a two way street. I've walked alone, wondering if this was the right way, if there's two ways, hoping I wasn't going back where I came from. And then, it was you: a voice I was longing to hear, a voice to give me a sense of direction, to let me know where I needed to listen to, to know that I wasn't walking through a void that had no exit to proceed.

    Somehow, you made me brace myself for all the tears, spontaneous and sweet, that would fall once I see the sunrise, once my eyes begin to adjust to the light.

    "Do you want me to hold your hand?"
    "What? Why do you think I need to hold your hand?"
    "I don't. It was just your arms reaching out to me and your feet stomping on mine as you walked."
    "I'm sorry." My hands cutting through the air, wishing for yours to trust me.
    "Oh" you sounded startled, "Okay. Trust me, okay? Just let me know where you wish to go."
    The light.
    "Okay." A confused tone. "Towards the light it is."

    My fingers slid over your palm so effortlessly, it almost seemed as if I needed you. Your skin, rough and folded over edges that were smooth on mine. The ridges on my fingertips could feel the friction of yours, and your hand felt warmer than mine. Dry and hard, strong and rough; strong enough to hold mine if I happened to stumble upon a pebble I couldn't see. It was, as if, your hands were the walls, cracked and rough, porous and grey, the walls I was looking for to be able to stand straight and walk straight, not knowing where it would lead me, but only hoping for it to be the right way on that two way street.

    There was this darkness, and this time around, it seemed viable.

    "How can you walk straight in this darkness?" I asked.
    "Darkness?"
    "Yes. I've been walking this way and haven't had any proof of it being right."
    "I believe my darkness is a bit different than yours."
    "How so?" I asked, walking straight, holding your hand with a strong grip, not tripping once.
    "Maybe there are things we can see that others can't."
    "Maybe."
    "But if I can see the way, I can walk you to it, can't I? And if you can see something that I can't, maybe you could walk me to it? Will you?"
    "If I see something, I'll lead you to it, holding your hand just as strongly as you hold mine."

    We had been walking for days now, weeks perhaps. There were mostly silences between every word I said and every breath you took. Those silences were filled by the faint beating of your heart, slower than mine, calmer and deeper. Your breaths were heavier, falling like a hushed sheet of snow, softly and trying to be quiet. Your arm touched mine as we walked and you made sure it never happened again yet it swung as mine did and brushed past my skin - warm, unsure and apologetic. There must've been sweat patches on your shirt, just like mine, since I could smell our sweat and feel it building up between our palms that had no space to breathe. With time I had forgotten what it felt like, to have a hand hanging free, in front of my face, looking for how many more steps could lead me to a fall from a cliff of false hope.

    Weeks and months, yet the sun never rose.
    Somehow, despite what I really was looking for initially, was never in sight, my sight; my mind had took to wanting to be able to see you in that sun lit sky.
    Somehow, this two way street had more than just two ways.

    "Why did we stop here?"
    A pause. A hesitation. "It's nothing. Don't worry."
    "What is it?"
    "It's nothing really. It's all okay."
    "I can hear a silence."
    "What?"
    "I don't know what's happening. It's unusual. I can hear the silence. I can hear my heart beating and my blood flowing. I can hear your quickened breaths. What is it? I'm scared. I'm scared of this type of darkness. Why did you leave my hand? Why did you stop here? Why are you leaving me?"

    "I'm not leaving you. Hey, don't be scared. Please don't be scared. I'm here for you. Just a little further okay? It was just something you don't need to know about, we can walk past this okay? We will do this."

    Your hands over my shoulders, cold and still, scared and shivering; your left hand raised up to my face, and your right, took mine and placed it on your chest.

    "Trust me okay? Listen to my heart, feel it, the pulse, make it your music. Be familiar."

    My toes felt something and I jumped backwards. You assured me to stay calm and said that it was you who had kneeled down, your back against me and asked me to climb it so that you may carry me for the rest of our path. There was no saying as to what you had seen that I wasn't able to comprehend, what scared me and what scared you as well but not enough to carry me over to a place that was so important to me, in the hope that I would show you something you had never seen before.

    We were on our foot again, walking still, exhausted and broken inside. There were instances you asked me how much further do I wish to go, and I'd ask you to stay a little bit longer. The birds who agreed to sat on your fingers were hesitant to my touch, yet not much if you cupped my hand from beneath. Their feathers, neat, soft and probably stunning to look at. I smiled, you smiled and I could make that out with the click of your lips. There were moments I wished to touch your face and ask you to describe it to me, how beautiful you must've been, probably a little less than what I saw you as.

    I saw you.

    Read More

    ▪where lovers go when they're tired▪

    "We can sit here for a while? Can't we? There's this bench. Sit down, wait let me help. There you go."
    You sat, your shirt puffed with the air inside and you let out a tired sigh, stretched your arms and dried your sweaty palm.
    "Is it a day yet?"
    "No. It's a night. But let me tell you this, it's beautiful."
    "Is it?"
    "You're beautiful"
    It took me a few moments to smile. I smiled, a smile so genuine, it made my cheeks hot and flushed.
    "It must be still dark, isn't it? It's always dark."
    "It's dark if I don't look at you."
    "And why is that?"
    "There's a lot of lanterns around us. Can't you see? Why can't you see?" A despair in your voice. "There's a lot of lights around us. The sky is lit by all of these stars. And then there's you, your eyes, they contain all of this light, so beautifully. You're so beautiful."
    Your hand reached out to mine, intertwining it's fingers with mine.
    "What colour are these lights?"
    "Any colour you'd name."
    "Is there any orange?"
    "There's lots of orange."
    "Can I feel your face?"
    "Please do."
    My hand raised to your face. And I felt you. A blurry image, orange and smudged all around it's edges. There were hints of yellow and white, a lean face that seemed chubby when you smiled as I touched you, felt you. Your moustache didn't seem groomed, given all of this time you lent me. Your eyes, as you closed them, when my fingers gently ran over them, felt large and innocent. Your face was warm and lovely, and perhaps, closer to mine than I last remember. Your lips felt dry on mine, both alike, yet then we kissed and I closed my eyes. There was this darkness, and this time around, it seemed viable.

    This darkness; it was the darkness of that chasm between our palms and of all of those gulfs between our tangled fingers. It was the darkness of the interstices between our lips in that moment.

    It was where the lovers go when they're tired.

    "So shall we get going?"
    "Going where?"
    "To the sunrise?"
    "The sunrise?"
    "Yes that's what we've been looking for, right?"
    "That's all you wanted?"
    "Yes."

    The walk was quiet.
    My skin was warmer. There was sweat on my forehead. There were chirps. There were birds. There was I.

    "This is the sunrise."
    "What?"
    "The sunrise."
    "I don't see it."

    There wasn't you.

    "I don't see it."
    "You're blind."
    "What?"
    "You're so blind."
    "I don't understand. I can't see the light. I can't see it."
    "Well this is where you wanted to be. These are my clouds. This is my sky. My sun. My birds."
    "This is wrong. You must be mistaken."
    "If the sunrise was all you wanted, you should've let me know the night we met. The next morning was a sunrise. And so was the next. And all of those weeks, all of those months except the ones when it rained and we figured out how to dance when we were both clueless."
    "Why did you leave my hand?"
    "I'm leaving. I'm tired of all of the walking."
    "You said you'd never leave."

    There wasn't you.

    This was a sunrise. This was all I wanted. This was it.
    Your clouds were mine.

    But there wasn't you.

    I turned around, walked away, ran and stumbled and fell over the puddles you carried me over. My ankle twisted and it healed, my feet were sore and I walked. I walked, ran and stumbled and fell. I walked, and I ran and I saw you.

    I saw you, in the gentle after light, where your world falls apart. I saw you where the light greets the dark, where the lovers go when they're tired.

    I saw you and walked upto you, reached out my hand to your chest and felt your heart. It really was you. This was you and I could see. The world I was living in, wasn't dark anymore. I saw you, held your hand, as strongly as you held mine. This was what I saw and you couldn't, your darkness so peculiar to me, that it turned into my light.

    There was this darkness, and this time around, it seemed viable. It was where the lovers go when they're tired.

    The two way street led me to a midway, somewhere second hand lovers have second thoughts about the darkness that they share.

    - Jasmine

  • bluebird 62w

    Kindly refer to the first comment under this post, before reading me.

    ▪ tying a noose around my neck with your school ties ▪

    "You should have your dinner. I'll like some time alone. Please turn off the lights when you leave." I tell her after her constant nagging about postponing the arrangement of those green rice lights since the dinner was ready.

    She leaves, muttering on her way out, leaving a slit open in the doorway and allowing the essence lamp peek through. I can smell puffed lemon rice and curry leaves.

    I take my spot with ease, the cold marble floor against my ankles felt indifferent over my dead skin. Or maybe, it's become a habit now.

    There are no stars in the night sky these days, at least where I live. Even the clouds seem to have amalgamated into this huge mass of a patchwork above. Just like that black paint drop you spilled on my scholarship submission painting, smudging it away with your dirty thumb, leaving me with a grey, dirty patch, in life and in death.

    Across the street, there are buildings that haven't yet lit up their view, part of the excuse behind it's postponement. They reach out to the balcony; standing beside their stock of broken washing machines and old newspapers, uncovered air conditioners and dusted cardboard boxes; staring at my fiction, whispering amongst themselves, when they see me sitting in front of my glass door, for the first time without the curtains drawn.

    It's this peace that I'm looking for, as I let go of everything else, but you. Or perhaps, you're looking for me, letting everything go, but me. This is where you left me, a dark room, occupied by guilt so inconsiderate - my cold feet can't feel it's coldness anymore just because they're hanging at the same depth in a pool of memories that I try so hard to forget.

    My pyjamas seem to be an inch shorter after I cross my legs and my hair is always a mess these days. The room I was sitting in had this beautiful sheen from the green lights that blinked alternately, ridding me of the need to switch on the LEDs when I'm scared at night. And that pipe light, white and bright, could've made me visible from across the street. It's all so beautiful isn't it, darkness is just my nonexistence in the absence of that doorway slit. Perhaps you'd be so kind to leave me some fairy lights on, in case you wish to depart? In case you wish to disappear without goodbyes, please don't close the door all the way.

    "These loops you made with the lights, they're not symmetrical."
    "It was too short to complete the pattern."
    "Two bigger loops and a smaller one could've made it prettier."
    "Maybe I don't want it to be prettier."

    You emerge from the darkness, sitting on my right, hoping my knee didn't touch yours. I refuse to look at your face; because if I did, I'd probably have second thoughts about the arrangement of those lights. If I did, I'd wish for things to be prettier; prettier in your eyes.

    "It's nice here."
    "It is."
    "I didn't expect you to choose green."
    "I didn't. My father did."
    "I hope it doesn't hurt much, not anymore."
    "It doesn't if I tell myself that it can't."

    You smile and the nodding of your head fades towards your left.

    "You look beautiful."
    "Do I?" I act surprised.
    "I don't know; I'm you. I'm not him."
    "He would've said that I look beautiful, he would've lied." I chuckle.

    "You need to leave."
    "I never stayed."
    "You haunt my dreams."
    "Doesn't that feel good? It's finally somewhere we can be together. I touch you, gently, we hold hands and rest our foreheads together. Just like we used to. It's somewhere we can love each other and live everything the way we used to."
    "It's just memories. You're stuck in memories. I don't want to live the same memories back and forth."
    "Even if it's me?"
    "It's not you."
    "It's you."

    You try to hold my hand and I free it from your softened grip.

    "You're guilty of feeling happy when you dream of me."
    "I am."

    I wake up, with a feeling of betrayal. A feeling so obscure and pungent, it doesn't let me visit the mirror. I wake up and watch my hands that held yours last night. It's such a funny thought, to wrap you up in cloth and bury you in my dreams, every time the memory tape rewinds.

    Your hand reaches upto my face and pushes back my misfit hair. I smile, at the glass door, looking at my reflection, yet unable to find yours in it.

    "Maybe if you could have a reflection of your own, and maybe if I could see a smile through it, things would've been different."
    "That's all it takes?"
    "Maybe if you stayed, yeah."

    "Choose a memory."
    "What for?"
    "I suppose we have some time until dinner, don't we now?"
    "How about the time you noticed how I was a really quiet little girl in my first grade, so you came to my bus seat and started troubling me?"

    ▪ 15 minutes from my bus stop ▪
    "What's your deal? Why don't you speak anything?"

    I shrugged my shoulders, one of my braids light enough to flow with the wind from your window.

    "Do you want to play something?" You asked me, pinching the sleeve of my shirt and I pulled it out of your grip. Your eyebrows furrowed and you seemed to consider me a crazy child. I was younger; much more calmer and shy. With my bottle hung around my neck and my bag straps falling off my shoulders I prepared to ignore you.

    "Hey, do you?"
    "Okay." I nodded with my meek voice that not many people got to hear.

    "Let's make chapatis. Okay?"
    "Okay."
    "This is the dough. I took some of the dough. Roll roll roll, this is a ball. Now you make a chapati. No no no, that's not a round chapati. Do it again. This is the dough. I took some of the dough. Roll roll roll. This is a ball. Make one."
    I made a chapati. Perfectly round, perfect enough to please you.
    "Is this okay?" I tried to correct my bag strap.
    "Yes. Now this is the dough." You took some in your hand. "Roll roll roll," it was a ball, "now you make a chapati. Wait! Let's add some mint. Make it."
    It was a green one.
    "Roll roll roll, let's add some ketchup."
    It was a red one.
    And a brown one, a yellow one, a pink one, a white one.

    "You were the cutest little girl."
    "You were a mad lad, you dumbo."
    We are sitting across ourselves, making chapatis, stacking them, eating them in a rush. I giggled, you giggled.
    "I miss this."
    "You said you don't."
    "I don't miss you. I miss this. Ah, here comes my stop anyway. Look at him, my brother, he'd wake up, any minute now, knowing instantly that our bus stop was close."
    "You didn't even say goodbye to me."
    "You never even talked to me after this day. You were just bored and wanted to pass your time with me. Like you always did."

    The green lights showed a new pattern. Slowly dimming into darkness.

    ▪ tape #768
    I was standing there, right in front of the mirror, like a fool. Freeing the hook of my bra, with a still developing body, I observed the hair growth in my stomach. My hand racing down, along the birthmark that looks like a scar over my stomach, down into my pants. I removed my bottoms and stood there, naked, looking at what I found ugly.

    You were standing there, right in front of me, across the school playground, laughing about something you didn't bother to share with me. Your friends giggling and commending you, whispering abusive words and enjoying themselves. You were proud.

    "I wasn't."
    "You were proud."

    And I didn't know what it was about until later, when you left me those recordings and videos. I was standing there, right in front of the camera, like a fool. I removed my bottoms and stood there, naked, looking at what I found ugly.

    I found you ugly.

    The lights stop blinking. It is dark. Darker than I remember, so I look behind and find the door completely closed. Probably from the wind coming in from your window side.

    "You think you love him, don't you?"
    "I love him."
    "And me?"
    "I loved you too."
    "That's a relief."
    "I fell out of love with you. As a friend or even as a boredom killing human being."
    "Then why do you enjoy these memories?"
    "I don't. I saw you, being who I fell for and you were beautiful. So beautiful and I loved you and we lived those memories together. Every night. Every morning, after I woke up, I regretted even remembering what it felt like to touch you. I fell in love with this amazing man who loses his mind when he even thinks of something inappropriate about me, and throughout the night all I'm thinking of is you. Then it's the morning, where all my mind can comprehend is him. I hated myself for this, all of that, tried so hard to allow him inside my head at night. But you wouldn't let me go, would you?"
    "You've never even touched him."
    "Maybe that's what it is about don't you see? I'm so in love with him, it doesn't even matter if he's far from me anymore. I fell for him without him touching me, without him kissing me without my permission, without him being you.
    And then I dreamt of this. This crazy bully that you were and never a friend. I dreamt of this idiot that I was for drooling over you. For hating your touch but allowing you to make me believe that I was lucky. And I felt like a loser in my dream but then I woke up. I woke up and finally felt happy that morning. That morning, I won over you. You couldn't haunt me that night. And maybe that's a start."

    "That's all it takes?"

    Read More

    tying a noose around my neck with your school ties

    My yellow coloured shirt and my plaid skirt were out of order, ironed last night and my socks were grey, my shoes unpolished. I frowned smugly with my chubby cheeks and the black kajal around my eyes had watered down after I was scolded for breaking the dress code, wearing the wrong uniform on PE day.

    I didn't want to talk to you, an overactive child who didn't know when to stop talking. You were popular among the older kids while they always teased around with my cheeks. So I looked over to my brother, a senior by many years; with my signature eye glance; who was sleeping and snoring against the window. Apparently I had no choice but to answer you - someone who paid attention to me sharing his seat only after all other children had been dropped off from school.

    "Almost every night I dream of you, doesn't matter how hard I ask myself not to. Given up on every sadness of mine, but you."
    "Maybe I wasn't a sadness of yours."
    "Your death was."
    "You don't dream of my death. You dream of chapatis and songs and people teasing us around. You dream of rubbing your nose against mine. You dream of the tree house."
    "Maybe that's all that was good about you."
    "Then why do you regret it?"
    "I don't."

    "It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
    "It has."
    "Do you miss me?"
    "Quite the opposite actually; I want to miss you. But maybe, it's time to start forgetting your face."

    Your face, smudged, like the cloud mass above me. Beautiful still, yet I wonder if I ran my dirty thumb over it.

    It's all so beautiful isn't it, darkness is just my nonexistence in the absence of that doorway slit.
    But maybe, the loose plugs, if fixed nicely, make the evening more than beautiful.

    "Do you want to forget me?"
    "No, but maybe let me make some new memories. Maybe stop being my ghost of this past that I'm trying to let go, because you're the only part of it that was me. You were my everything and now it's someone else. Someone else can be my best friend and make those stacks of chapatis for me, make fun of my braids and that moustache I had. I don't love you anymore. I don't want to anymore. But there's no one to take your place, I promise. So just open the door for me as you leave, please?"

    Maybe I don't need to forget.
    Maybe I need some new tracks to play, some new memories I could replay.

    Maybe I want to choose green this time.

    Maybe I don't find myself ugly anymore. And this time, I don't need anyone to prove that to me.

    "Dinner's ready!"
    "I'm coming, let me fix the lights outside."

    ©bluebird

  • bluebird 62w

    It'll be safe to say that I was dancing in my living room while writing this after I hit my head against some shelf and bled out, feeling healed and happy after so long.

    And getting over some people. Yeah that too.

    All I want to do is have fun with my writing, just like I used to. So in case you're disappointed, please just let it be. It's okay.

    #pod

    Read More

    baby, we're out of hair dye

    I've been using the strawberry scented soaps,
    From the stock you bought in that discount sale,
    And my skin still happens to be dented up from the glycerine,
    Just the way they appear on the rotting brand name
    On the upper west side of the soap, as it slips out of my hands,
    When I try to give "letting go" a fair thought;
    Onto the drain, till by the end of the month
    Its been grated enough to be stuck upon,
    A fresh one, dry and sharp, flaking over it's edges,
    A name I can't pronounce, etched over it's upper west side,
    And that's when I look at someone in the steam clogged mirror,
    And the taps you used to leave your shampoo imprints upon,
    That I still don't bother to wipe off
    Or maybe I don't want to;
    So I let him know,
    "Baby, I've been smelling like strawberries,
    For about six months since you left me now,
    Give and take a shower or four,
    Wrapping my pillows in your towels
    To pretend you're still around"
    So tell me,
    Why can't I just let you go?

    Every walk outside lends me a boho plant pot for our bedroom,
    Getting used to calling it mine, since you replaced our cactus,
    It seems like I miss mistaking it for the alarm clock afterall.
    The candles over our kitchen counter have melted down to puddles,
    That won't go away despite having them scraped with my license ID;
    So I light them up every night,
    And luckily this time around I decided not to shave
    Just so my hair is long enough,
    For me to pretend that I'm eating the spaghetti you made,
    As it hooks onto my fork and I choke on it.
    All my friends expected me for beer pong last week,
    At the bar you first rejected me,
    So I told them how I'm already over you,
    And would rather spend my evening at home
    Listening to the song on the radio, the one we made love to,
    When right in the middle of the chorus you broke up with me.
    All of that convincing to prove that it's me on my driving license,
    And yet they ask me,
    Why can't I just let it go?

    There's Poppy's dog bowl under our sink,
    And I can't help but wonder how you must be managing,
    When she bites on your toes, just because
    You forgot Poppy's dog bowl under our sink,
    That she must be waiting for.
    Won't you come?
    Took a day off,
    I sit by the window and shove away the curtains,
    Just the way you loved, when it made it hard for me,
    To focus on my laptop screen;
    I'll be reading my journal in which you drew my caricatures
    And left your lipstick mark over my photograph,
    That slips off when I glide my hand over it,
    And reveals a ring that I bought out of my grandpa's pension ,
    For the right day, do you remember?
    Oh honey, how beautiful you were that night,
    Right after the toilet had clogged, when you threw in my ring;
    That night you said "no" and we slept without protection.
    A car or twenty four pass through the window view,
    And I didn't happen to care about those 3 VW Bugs,
    Blue and Pinks, but none Yellow;
    So I begin biting my nails, just because,
    I've left all your things as they used to be,
    Including your ring, that I promise I've cleaned,
    And Poppy's dog bowl from under our sink
    That she must be waiting for.
    Won't you come?
    And ask me,
    Why can't I just let her go?

    At the barber's, men stare and ask me if I've been doing okay,
    I can't say how they make such an assumption
    When I've been keeping up to my appearances,
    With women calling me every night, for a dinner;
    Unfortunately I have to deny, given that beer pong I promised,
    Is still due.
    So I sink into my sofa till my neighbour calls on landline,
    Every night, for a dinner
    Since she's concerned about no visits paid to the grocery story,
    It's a new trend, these long hair and this thick beard,
    And your organic onion hair oil has been responsible;
    Yet I must say, baby, we're out of hair dye,
    But then it doesn't matter, given my age,
    And how we're soon to settle.
    Just worried if I've waited long enough to call you,
    Doesn't seem like you could've forgotten me, within eight months;
    Exactly the way I've been sitting with your stuff, all alone,
    Drinking water from the taps that you left your shampoo imprints upon,
    That I still don't bother to wipe off,
    Or maybe I don't want to.
    Despite looking at all of those pictures on your social media,
    Where I wonder if that man who puts his arm around your waist
    Is your brother,
    Who may ask me,
    Why can't I just let you go?

    My drawer seems to be stuck, and I seem to use my strength,
    For the first time in so long,
    And I find, a rotting cactus, close to my alarm clock,
    With a fly decaying right by it, on your pocket mirror,
    Just the way they appear on the rotting brand name
    Of your memories;
    So close is my razor, and the urge to look younger,
    Despite all the time wasted, eating the neighbour's pie,
    And the bathroom basin overflows, with it's clogged drains
    When I cut my hair short and look the way, you might remember me,
    If you recall my name,
    Just as the officers recognised me on my ID proof
    As I drove around, making sure I didn't bump into a VW Bug,
    Thinking it was you,
    So I stopped around, and saw a stray, picked her up and drove away,
    Hoping that Poppy had moved on too,
    And that your toes shall heal faster than my brittle nails.
    The beer seems to make me better at dart,
    And the boys gift me plants on my birthdays,
    Even a cactus, that I keep on your side of the bed,
    Lately I've been waking up early, it's better for my eyes,
    When the curtains are shoved away, but the sun doesn't bother me
    As I work on the screen, eating spaghetti
    And sharing it with my neighbour.
    My journal is full of all the thoughts I spent,
    Wishing for you, and wanting to swallow,
    All of your strawberry scented soaps,
    Because baby, I've been smelling like strawberries
    Since you left me now,
    And honestly, it's not the first time in a while,
    That I've not quite felt like myself.
    And that's when I look at someone in the steam clogged mirror,
    And the taps you used to leave your shampoo imprints upon,
    That I can't help but wipe clean every time I shower.
    So I let him know,
    Baby, it's time to let go.

    ©bluebird

  • bluebird 62w

    In case I replied to anyone at 4 am, please ignore my typos because I was slightly drunk on brandy and cough syrup.

    BOTTOM FEEDER

    I'd prefer a 'she' please; not so comfortable in pronouncing my own name though.

    There are days my mother would ask me to stop wearing bloomer panties and exchange them for the more 'feminine' ones, at least on instances when she realises that I've grown older than she last remembered; just in case a man happens to ask me out for a movie that he had been waiting for months, only to make out in the back seat of his car. Opportunities like such are always missed, and I'm always the more fortunate one.

    There are bras I wear with no embroidery or colour whatsoever, with straps dangling off my shoulders and a bow that my boyfriend thinks is cute probably without the realisation that most bras have a bow stitched onto them. This is a daily routine that I took to just recently, not because I feel uncomfortable when men feel uncomfortable watching my unnoticeable breasts through a double layered outfit, but because it's been a painful task for me, much more on the physical gradient. Wearing shorts seems too much of a task when I know I will have to shave my legs every two days and having sleeveless dresses in my wardrobe will not be a compliment to my dark underarms. Skirts never were meant to be lifted by old men in the metro but I find it hard to man-spread in those and shirts are not a symbol of masculinity but they somehow have a greater space for my chest to fit in better.

    Lipsticks on my lips tend to smell more like coconuts and Johnsons, red on the usual and maroon when I have to make people believe that I'm actually much older than their prejudgement. Somehow I still fail to leave perfect prints over coffee mugs while drinking tea, while kisses look better when received by myself through the mirror. Mostly it's my smile that's more attractive when I refuse to but then a slight smirk never did hurt. Sadly there are reflections that treat me better than a man probably would.

    It doesn't seem bothering to tick boxes that ask me what pronouns describe me the best. You can refer me as a "she" before a second doubt comes to your mind. But perhaps, this time, it wasn't about what she'd like to be called, it was so much more than that.

    It's so much more than that.

    Shaving my labia and down till I'm close to my vagina is somehow a tricky choice between a yes and a no. The hair probably smells when I'm on my periods and if shaven, my 'socially unappealing' clitoris would hurt when I ride bicycles or perform splits. Within a day or two the tiny bumps begin to bleed but no man seems ready to give me the pleasure I probably deserved for shaving between my thighs, so I let the fur grow till it's comfortable enough for myself. Probably a simpler observation for the next time - I shave when I want to and not because I was looking forward to sex or skinny dipping on a beach in the Indian national capital.

    Men with their oiled bodies and an impressive beard growth seem handsome and good on their looks but it never really made my pants wet. A good sense of humour and opening the door for me when I walk out of my own room isn't that kind of a nice guy trope that I'm looking for. I claim to find a man's intellect attractive yet contradict myself by disagreeing with everything that he has to say. There are men with strong arms that appeal me, that attitude of a gentleman that weakens me, but none that I would dream of when I'm in bed at night. I will stick up my middle finger at you but probably will never lick yours if you ask me to.

    I've never used a condom before, never lost my virginity. Actually it's something that's really not needed when everyone around you waits for you to get to the ripe age of being sexually assaulted by a family member. But surprisingly I carry on my own virginity and the cycle is broken when I hand it over to someone by saying a yes that wasn't interrupted by stammering, wetting the bed or tears in my eyes. Letting my boyfriend know how much my periods actually hurt was more interesting than a surprise, considering how they never really taught about sex, trauma associated to periods, postpartum depression or even the structure of our vagina for the poor lads to at least be aware of where they should lick. Unfortunately the syllabus cuts down to reading about the female reproductive 'system' and an overwhelmingly detailed structure of the male reproductive 'organ'.

    Giving myself pleasure in bed isn't something that I'm fond of, but I don't necessarily disprove it. My own fingers hurt me if I go too deep, and the usual toys aren't really accessible to me. Naked strangers imitating rape don't excite me, but then, they shouldn't. Clicking my own pictures without my clothes and watching someone else's package isn't as appealing as I thought it would be. My underwears are bleached and remain wet almost everyday but that isn't because I am turned on, it's because my body is hyper active when it comes to releasing toxins.

    There are girls I find beautiful and hard to ignore. I get as uncomfortable by a woman hugging me or sitting on my lap as I do when a man's breath falls on my neck. There are men I find beautiful and hard to ignore. Falling in love at first sight was never the sort of thing I admired.

    There were bullies in school who knew how to flirt. Luckily they managed to look attractive. Unashamed to say that I romanticized my bully to the point of no return. Spitting on my face and kissing me without my permission was indirectly permitted. Girls used to wonder if I was a lesbian and felt uncomfortable watching me wash my hands in the washroom. Some were brave enough to ask me themselves, others were scared to imagine their short term boyfriends sharing a book with me.

    Falling in love was always about how he saw me. Falling in love was never about the way he looked.

    My sexuality was never about falling in love.
    I could've easily fallen for a woman instead.
    I could've fallen for you.

    It was when I fell in love that I began trusting him to touch me, to kiss me, to feel me. I'll prepare myself to be sexually active with whoever I fall for. It could've been anyone.

    My sexuality isn't described by who I am interested in. It's not about the person I am in love with. It's defined by who I'm comfortable in.

    I'm comfortable in myself.
    And that's what my sexuality is about.
    It doesn't have anything to do with me having sex with a man or a woman. It's about who I want to be looked at as. It doesn't have to come with a label, it comes with a body you're confident to keep.

    I am a woman. I'd prefer a 'she' please. I am a woman who isn't sexually excited by many things, a woman who doesn't have gender preferences yet wouldn't want any labels to define herself. I'm a woman who probably doesn't love herself but that is who I am and that is who I will be. I'm a woman who's open to change as long as the change doesn't bring me shame, as long as it doesn't make me uncomfortable in my own body.

    As long as I am myself.

    Not so comfortable in pronouncing my own name though.

    ©bluebird

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    Bottom feeder

  • bluebird 64w

    ▪la cecité du savon▪

    #pod

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    ▪la cécité du savon▪

    I've been like a key out of it's bunch,
    A key for room number sixty seven
    Fifth floor;
    Somewhere strangers would request for separate beds,
    Praying for the way they make love behind elevator doors,
    Occupied by three;
    A hand for a waist and another to press buttons
    From the parking hall having stairs for wheelchairs
    To empty lobbies with rugs that haven't been vacuumed yet;
    Those hands,
    Signing off with their fingers playing over the steamed walls,
    Warm tips touching the cold metal, forming endless circles
    Somewhere I once learnt to love a song I disliked a year back
    Through someone else's ears, wired out;
    Camouflaged by the glitches within the elevator music loop,
    Muzak, never recognising the instrument being used
    To be able to end up at the wrong floor,
    At least that's something to sing to
    At least there's still a corner to cling to.
    Those plants which I'd suspect to be plastic
    Never watered along the long, identical hallways,
    With a frame of a soulless art that I cannot put any sense into
    It's half a story and half a wish
    Not entirely either.
    Oh no, isn't it crazy?
    I'm slowly learning to exist in places
    That have no past,
    Empty drawers and beds we've never slept in
    With water that doesn't taste well and drains that aren't dry yet
    Just an infinite present.

    These doors aren't yet marked by termites over the edges,
    And there are no siblings
    To argue about authority over identical rooms.
    Somehow, pushing back these heavy curtains, gives a strange scenery
    Something your lover once wanted you to see,
    Blurred city lights against a window glass wiped with a dirty cloth.
    Chairs for four and cups for two,
    With a kettle inside an armoire, and a spider with its eggs;
    Seven hangers for a day's stay,
    Unlike your mother's way.
    A television that you didn't pay for,
    And shampoos in labelled bottles which you wouldn't use;
    Clean towels on your bed,
    And a pillow with a hair strand before you slept.
    A key for room number sixty seven,
    Fifth floor;
    The only place where you wouldn't feel lonely enough,
    Sleeping on a double bed,
    Under a blanket you couldn't afford.
    Somewhere the calendar ends tomorrow morning,
    And the wardrobe has clothes lined in a suitcase;
    Fans that don't have regulators,
    And geysers switched on before you plan to bathe.
    Mirrors with stickers from whoever they belonged to,
    And those strangers scolding their children in the hall.
    Oh no, isn't it crazy?
    I'm slowly learning to exist in places
    That have no past,
    Empty drawers and beds we've never slept in
    With water that doesn't taste well and drains that aren't dry yet
    Just an infinite present.

    It doesn't feel right, to walk in those shoes,
    Across a room that mimics a place,
    That we pretend to be home;
    Where I spent the night, without alarms,
    Listening to the movies, with no subtitles,
    Played on the other side of the wall.
    Air conditioners making a strange noise after every hour,
    And telephones you've now forgotten how to dial upon.
    There are tissues on the dresser
    Which you'll wonder if used before;
    A dustbin still full of newspapers,
    And a refrigerator with paid beverages.
    Buffets serving desserts you can't name,
    And people who manage smile back at you after you do,
    Serving kebabs along.
    We could've watched people ride ponies uphill,
    And pluck flowers downhill, in the hope of cultivating roses,
    Back at our place.
    Somehow,
    It doesn't seem that scary,
    Living in places we don't know;
    With strangers in the room next to us
    And ceilings so obscure,
    Buying things we can't pronounce,
    And speaking a language they don't understand;
    Among other things,
    When it comes to doing it by your side.
    It's half a story and half a wish,
    Not entirely either.
    Oh no, isn't it crazy?
    I'm slowly learning to exist in places
    That have no past,
    Empty drawers and beds we've never slept in
    With water that doesn't taste well and drains that aren't dry yet
    Just an infinite present.

    I've been like a key out of it's bunch,
    A key for room number sixty seven
    Fifth floor;
    Occupied by three;
    It doesn't feel right, to walk in those shoes,
    And to be able to end up at the wrong floor,
    Somewhere strangers would request for separate beds,
    And telephones you've forgotten how to dial upon.
    Somehow,
    It doesn't seem that scary,
    At least that's something to sing to
    At least there's still a corner to cling to.

    ©bluebird

  • bluebird 66w

    I've loved someone before and I am in love with someone right now. It's almost as if they love you back, except when they actually love you more than you think you deserve. Trust me you'd know.

    ▪honey, there's a pimple on your chin▪

    "What about the things we did?
    You know it wasn't easy letting you in,
    So how could you leave without me?
    How do you go to sleep without me?
    me"
    - letting you in; awfultune

    "I can't really see much, so I'd pluck out the ones I am able to see", I felt my pillow sinking next to my right ear, the ruffling noises making it altogether familiar, just as she got up and put all of her weight on her dominant hand; her hand still smelling of coriander from the afternoon meals. My mother's eyes always squinch whenever I ask her to pluck out the most notorious hair strands that fall out of my eyebrow outline; the thinner ends of the thread slithering in and out of her mouth . Laying on the bed, stretching out my skin in front of her, while she rotates her hand to thread out my unwanted facial hair, makes her seem like a professional who herself never required such a treatment. Sometimes the wet ends of her thread touch my forehead and yet I don't find it preposterous enough to stop her from doing her task.

    "Tsk, it broke again, what a waste of time" and then she makes that face which makes her white hair seem even more beautiful along her receding hairline.

    It often hurts more when she moves over to my right eyebrow; her arm not setting straight enough to feel comfortable on my breast as she shapes my eyebrow.

    It often hurts more.

    "You know how much I hate bright lights, Amme."
    "Yes, but they help me see your hair."
    And then she goes on playing the switchboard like a piano.
    "It's the first switch." I smile while rubbing my eyes.
    "You just lay down."
    "There's three lights right above me, you know I get a serious migraine this way."
    "Just fifteen minutes."
    And I close my eyes.
    "You know, I can see that circular light everywhere when I close my eyes."
    And I disturb her focus, the thread breaks again.
    "Amme?"
    "Hmm?"
    "It reminds me of that bus."
    "What bus?"
    "My school bus."

    My school bus. It was as far as the dairy from our place. But then you don't even know how far the dairy was. There was a huge park in front of our home, a posh area, somewhere we didn't belong. My cousin and I used to walk barefoot around it's pavement and pluck flowers for our mothers, but stopped once I began feeling bad for the flower itself, how could I break it to the prettiest jasmines that all they ever produce is just one smile. Then there was an extraordinarily brilliant plot having all of the lamps around it's vines lit when we got on the road, walking towards the main road. The lamps on the street were still on, dimmer than last nights. And there was another building that had been under construction since I remember. There was a pile of small pebbles in front of it, and once I'd walk all over it, only to have my unpolished school shoes get dirty with faeces. Most of the days I couldn't walk straight and had to cling onto my mother, who held my heavy backpack and a container for milk. Those were the days when old men jogging around and riding bicycles would tell me to eat clarified butter to get my body strong enough to hold my own backpack, all with one hand. Somedays I used to forget my charts at home, so I'd have to run back, open the main door without making my brother awake, to fetch them. I'd ask my mother to reach the bus stop in case the bus reached before I did, which was rare enough. Then we crossed the guard, the temple and finally the road.

    My bus stop. It was where every other public bus would've stopped, where we'd struggle with our mother to find a transport to get to our grandmother's, when our father slept at home with his car keys in front of the photograph of his parents. Somedays rickshaw drivers would stop and offer a ride. Other days pilgrims wandered in orange, drinking a mild drug in their milk, or perhaps in blue as well, with a dagger hanging against their waist. I'd watch the metro go by; apparently, I wasn't old enough to quit the bus route and hop on the metro by myself. But the truth be told, I didn't want to. How could I?

    "Here! Right here! Stretch here. I can't get this hair out."
    And I opened my eyes, the light almost blinded me.
    "Use the plucker maybe."
    "Wait"
    And she'd not stop until my skin goes red and my hands slipped off of it because of the oil that I just applied.
    "Ah, I know what to do. I'm going to use the tweezers. Why didn't you remind me?" She'd say.

    The school bus would become visible from afar. Stopping at the traffic lights, one at a time. One of its headlights blinking all the way through, and the other open always. We joked about how it was winking at my mother. And then some random man, being drunk from last night near the liquor store would sing a cheap bollywood song while passing right next to us, just when I happened to laugh. The bus would come and stop right in front of me, no matter where I stood. And I'd climb up, searching for someone I wished was late to board the bus, just not late enough to miss it altogether. When I didn't see him in the midst of a crowd, I'd watch the metro go by. Somewhere in there, he was. Somewhere in there, I should've been.

    But then, when the bus would be late by five minutes or more, I waited for the rumbling of an engine behind us. Stopping by the liquor shop, next to the restaurant that was closing down, somewhere I loved to be. My mother had never noticed my eyes looking for a motorcycle behind us, whether it was a foggy day or a rainy one. She had never noticed me looking sideways, instead of eyeing the bus, not when she'd get busy scoffing at my father and sometimes at the boys who drove their motorbikes faster than they could handle.

    "Open your eyes, look at me"
    "What?"
    "Pay attention, look here. Should I clean your forehead too?"
    "Yes please. Thanks."
    "And the upper lip?"
    "No. Don't get too handy, you know it hurts me more."

    On some lucky days, my eardrums would tremble from an approaching vehicle. An all black bike, driving in perfect motion, not fast enough to catch my mother's attention. He'd stop, step down and push back his hair, setting them in place as he watched into the driver's mirror. He'd pick up his bag, probably carrying just one notebook, as opposed to mine, carrying the entire library within. "Why is yours so fat and heavy, it's almost about to burst open." My mother would say, when she looked at him despite me asking not to be too obvious.

    He'd have a loose tie around his neck; his hair, brown, still a bit imperfect than the way I would've set them. His hands always in his pockets, a pant over which he wore no belt, a coat and a shirt with folded sleeves. He'd pretend not to have noticed me, until he wanted to, when he gave his deadly smirks almost making me fall down to my knees. A smile traded back and that would unlock his wink. Sometimes I blushed a bit too hard for it to be the winter season. Other times I wondered if I wasn't the only one to receive that smile. And then there were times I wouldn't bother to look at him; times when he made a face that begged for forgiveness, after having just bullied me or my friends the previous day.

    He'd always step in on the bus after me, and that did make my mother proud. Looking back over my shoulder, he struggled to make a clumsy heart with his fingers. And I'd laugh with my imperfect teeth as he followed with his perfect ones. That crooked walk towards me when I dropped my handkerchief, the one with the rose on? The one I painted? Yes. That one. He had pinned it onto his diary through which he wrote me Letters to Inanimate Objects. I'd tell my mother how I had lost countless handkerchiefs to incidents I no longer remember, receiving her scoldings in return. But that was all okay when he asked me to wipe off the sweat from his forehead, the food from the edge of his lips. That was all okay when he wiped off my tears when I found out that in fact, I wasn't the only one.

    That rose painted handkerchief smelled of chocolate when he rubbed against my cheeks, the day I couldn't stop crying when I found out how he and his friends admired me changing clothes. That was probably when I first slapped him, hard enough to remind him how much I had loved him and how much he had forgotten to give back, despite the reluctant kisses he had stolen from me in his treehouse.

    And then he was gone. No more slow paced motorbikes. No more sleepy faces against the window side of the bus behind my seat. No more smiles. No more handkerchiefs.
    Just that diary that I buried with his body. And a letter.

    No more kisses.
    No more heavy backpacks.
    No more walks towards the bus stops.
    Just those lonely rides in the metro, the women's section.

    "Oh my God? Does it hurt? Is it bleeding? Why are you crying?"
    And I opened my eyes.

    It often hurts more.

    "I'm okay. I'm not crying. It's just the light that's bothering me."
    "Okay. Thank God. We're done here. Check yourself in the mirror."
    "It's great. Thank you."

    "What about the things we did?
    You know it wasn't easy letting you in,
    So how could you leave without me?
    How do you go to sleep without me?
    me"
    - letting you in; awfultune

    -K

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    ▪honey there's a pimple on your chin▪

  • bluebird 72w

    Yeah I was missing him okay, shut up now.

    Read More

    that 11:05 sip

    It's usually always you who wakes up in the morning earlier, and the plastic bucket in the bathroom is almost always full to the brim when I walk myself inside while rubbing my eyes and making my sight hazy enough, just after forcing myself to leave the warmth of my side of the bed. Except on Sunday's and Wednesday's or perhaps on the first and second days of my periods, I step inside the bathroom, barefoot, leaving my fur slippers over the hard mat, one of which is upside down but always the stereotypically right way when I come back outside - there's an opportunity for me to leave my footprints all over the wet bathroom floor even though I pretend that my scream reaches you through the running water as I spit into the basin after brushing and checking myself out in the mirror. I don't like wet floors, don't you know? And then there are the dry floor days, when the bathing mug has been replaced by an overbranded shampoo bottle and the bucket is still empty, moved aside, requested to make some room for two, under the shower. Sometimes I shimmy around and turn it's face elsewhere, being paranoid about the fact that it's peeking at us, my hairballs stuck onto the drain and the strands over the tap but then there's you who can't figure out which side of the bucket is it's rear. There's just an utter concentration over your frowning face as you make sure all of the oil washes off my hair.

    Outside there's only noises of water splashing and muffled echoes of us talking about whether we should shave this week or not. A hairy and a not so hairy leg step out, let's leave that to our imagination. I can very well dry my back by myself but you insist to accompany every single time so I let you. One step outside and the mat is still a little bit wet from the overflow; there's four feet fighting over who gets to wear what slipper. Then there's two odd pairs of legs, a tongue out and a puppy face glance.

    Your laptop's been really hot to work at today and you don't seem to stop, do you? The table's been put to more use since I scolded you over your stooping back alignment but you see, it doesn't really alter your bad habits. Your coffee mug gets more screen time than I do when you're busy but I'm trying to get used to it, I promise. While you're making your hours of notes, complaining about your gradually degrading handwriting, your hair's being braided into uneven clumps of hair. Then there's casual occurrences of "Hug me" while I'm learning about how to fillet a fish, "Kiss me" when I'm just about to fall asleep and "Love me" as my head makes it's way between your folded legs and your extended arms, typing their way out, right over your lap.

    My black shirt has fallen down from the clothing line outside, it's delicate enough to be able to show you that the sun is round in shape when you look through it. Last night it smelled of the two of us, one of its buttons has now ridden it's way down under the bed. I did tell you how it would limit movement no matter how oversized it really is, but our bodies still managed to smell of each other's sweat. There's a bedsheet clumsily hung over the balcony railing and there's still a brown patch of blood left even after you spent a good fifteen minutes trying to wash it away with your hands and a fair amount of time arguing with me as I kept apologizing for ruining the sheets - a monthly holiday for your girl. These are the days when there's half a packet of coffee kept safe inside the refrigerator container, as opposed to the usual unopened sachets, because my coffee needs to have a reduced caffeine content at all costs, right? I wake up and for about fourteen days there's coffee and toast set right on the side table, even though I barely suffer for a week. The laptop comes out on such days but it doesn't really receive as much attention as it usually would. And if I'm lucky, I'd get tucked in bed and have a warm bottle ready with my medicines.

    Sometimes I deliberately avoid wearing my long cotton skirts and the pyjamas get more credit on those days. My legs can wrap around your waist much better this way and I can ride easily anywhere I wish to when you choose to take me outside. Your T shirts, whether dark or not, also have a smudged brown or a grainy maroon mark over the shoulder after you rub your cheek against it. On special days, I get to eat breakfast in blue and fall asleep in grey while you leave to buy milk in grey and go to bed with nothing on. There's four sockets in the entire room yet our chargers headbutt everyday, fighting for that one spot, closest to the bedside, and usually mine gets to win.

    The bedsheet isn't always crumpled altogether in the middle of the bed, some nights it's collected on the right and the left respectively and the bed is fully occupied. It's the days when we sit down on the mattress and the cola sweats in my hands while that boring juice rests in yours, wondering "So what shall we do now?" after long hours. And then we talk about the government until it's 2AM after which you remove the pins out of my head and open my oily hair over the pillow. On such days we fall asleep on different sides of the bed but wake up together nonetheless. I like to hold on to your arm and your hand always finds its way up to my belly. By now you've memorised it all and your fingers run over the correct pattern right over my shirt, tracking that constellation of cigarette burns over my stomach. There's a kiss for every single freckle on my skin and six of such on my face. Probably more.

    My freezing hands reach under your back and my cold toes between your thighs. You're more comfortable with your lips now, I've been teaching you, this loving yourself like you're mine, so that you fall in love with yourself the way you fall for all that's mine. Pickles are at the top of the grocery list now, whether yours or mine because date nights made it easier for me to introduce you to this new world where my mouth waters at everything. You've been cutting down the amount of chillies I eat, my plate has just one now. Three of these roll around in your plate because of how I keep a kiss for each hot bite of food on sale. Chocolate tastes better on skin, especially when you let your tongue play with it. And then on some nights we even get to compare our food-babies.

    Washing dishes and a kiss on the ear seems a bit too noisy, and I yell a bit perhaps but then don't I always turn around to tell you that I love you? Don't you just smile the most beautiful smile at that? And then the tickle fights; they rob us of the pleasure of being mad at each other for any longer than five minutes. Crying while sitting on the floor isn't worth it unless you come around and dance awkwardly till I give out a laugh with my red nose. What's the importance of all of this if I don't come around and climb on your back when you come home? And then we can sink into the sofa for the whole week, munching on roasted cashews, just as we like.

    It's not ever worth it till you tell me, "You are beautiful and Spiderman" or till you make me lose my habit of not smiling in pictures. There's no meaning to looking in the mirror if I don't have these smile lines that you've given me. Or if you don't say "Do me instead" when I'm cooking some old-school rice with carrots and peas.

    There's nothing ever worth it till I wake up with "Good morning love" and fall asleep with "Good night love".

    Nothing's worth anything till you tell me that you love me because I was brave enough to write about your underwears or till I tell you that I love you because you've got really cool hair.

    "Men's wallets and sanitary pads" being one of the best purchases we've ever made.

    A ring of your choice on my finger when I go for interviews. No longer having to keep your photograph under my pillow to keep bad dreams away.

    That 11:05 sip.

    ©bluebird