I do not know if love arrived when it should have but it definitely went away leaving me with poetry. But, there are only so many words you can contain a poem within. And only so many poems you can fill the void with.
I hadn't given it much thought but I had always imagined that love, for me, would come clad in a lab coat since that is how I had been made to envision it. But instead, it came sputtering out the words of Albus Dumbledore. It came wrapped in that's-what-she-said jokes which always earned eyerolls. It came carrying art I didn't even know existed and songs that I never thought I could like. It came with a cheeky smile that had by-hearted every quote it had ever known. It came with such a thrill that I almost pushed it away before it held onto my hands and pulled itself back in. And then love stayed. It stuck around till I didn't fear it anymore. It stuck around till I trusted it enough to tell it to not let me go even if I want to. Till the air around us remained familiar enough for it to not fear the changes that were incapable of being restored to before. Till it wasn't aware of the adamance of it's shortcomings. Till it wasn't scared that it will have to love too much. And then, love left. Stranger seasons came and love gave up saying that it's for the best because it doesn't know how to love someone with it's everything, making me feel foolish for not knowing how to not. And I could do nothing but envy love's ability to take and take all it could when it wanted to. It's boldness to drown all that was fragile enough to sink.
Years later, I wonder if love would ever realise that when it's shelter turned into a battlefield, it won only because I couldn't see it losing. I wonder if love would ever know that there was a girl who couldn't stop writing about it because she didn't know how to.
The last time I met you I walked towards you knowing that this maybe is my last walk towards you and the last time you welcome me with a shine in your eyes and locked away 'i love you's' trying to find a way to leak through your smiling lips. My shivering hands and quivering lips were whispering about the effect you had on me.
I kissed the lyrics of 'Aaj jaane ki zid na karo' on your neck and you reciprocated by lingering 'kash vo pal paida hi na ho jiss pal m nazar tu na aye' on my forehead. We both knew how these lyrics always redefined the meaning of contradiction with fate whenever two yearning souls tried to scratch away the lines engraved on their hands which preached poetries of separation.
We walked on the lines of fate since the day I whispered "walk with me till the point, fate wants us to walk"
Time went away in measuring my hand with yours. I held on your hand tightly and clung to it till your nails left poetry marks on my fingers. You tucked withered mogra in my hair after saying "come back to me the day they would bloom again". I shifted close to you till you could feel my breath and then said "Call me the day you kiss someone else and find universe melting on your tongue"
Two days back you called me and said nothing. Silence again slept between us.
"Buy her some fresh mogra and never let them wither"
With that, I ended the call and hugged the mogra which was blooming again under the sunlight of my poetries.
It was a cold and blue October dayspring, countless Shiuli flowers were on the cusp of blooming. A songbird perched on the window with snow-white curtains. Her symphonies enticed a chilly breeze that slipped into the room, and slept inside his jet-black hair. And for the first time in five long years, he came out of his darkness.
The smell of heavy medication filled his nose, from the injections scattered on the table beside the bed. His joints were rusty. But he managed to pull his hand up, shielding his eyes from the piercing light. After gently ridding off the syringe in his arm, he gaped at his hands without batting an eyelid. One by one, he felt every fraction of his skin. At last, he exhaled a sigh so cold that winter seemed closer.
He cried the monsoons he couldn't feel, with his fingers pressed hard on his back. His pillow was drenched in the tears of triumph, in a battle that he had nearly lost. Sliding into the flip-flops that someone kept there, with hopeless hope of having his feet ever fit in them, he took short steps towards the window to gaze outside. It felt strange. He gaped at the children playing, the orange leaves, the shedding trees, the blue sky, the cobblestones, and walked back. He had to address the soft pandemonium behind the closed door, but before he could, a fragrance tickled his insides. He dragged the drawer of the stinky furniture, and found out dozens of fresh night-flowering jasmines. He soaked in their wintry perfume and felt alive.
"I-I don't think there's any scope left," Aster glimpsed at his mother with a love-longing gaze. She sat sobbing on her couch of sorrow on a call with her friend.
"I'll see you at work, yeah, take care," she rose with much labour and turned around to keep the receiver back.
Her feet froze and she was stunned on catching the sight of a tall figure standing by the door of her lifeless son's room from the corner of her eye.
"ASTER!" she screamed her agony and ran towards him with eyes flooding with tears of happiness. Collapsing to the floor with her arms wrapped around him she cried as she did on all the nights he drifted farther and farther from home. And then both of them sat silently on the table. She covered him in a warm blanket and brewed a hot drink.
"Today is the happiest day of my life," she smiled and occasionally wiped her tears and Aster nodded back with a numb face. He was still processing. He had lost much, he had yet to figure out what was left.
"Mom, where are my friends? I think I should call them," he spoke faintly and softly.
"Your drink is getting cold, c'mon gulp it before it's water," she tried to sway away with nervousness.
After sighing and pondering for a short while, she sat in disappointed colours in front of him.
"To hold onto the very hope that I'd see you again, wasn't easy. It's a miracle. Later, when the doctors said that you were comatose, they felt sad too. Most of them came with flowers. Most of them sad, a few indifferent."
She paused to see his face a bit.
"Sadly. Tragically. But then, they continued to live on. Until one year, you had visitors but they reduced each day. And I haven't heard about 'em in the last two to three years at all. I know it's hard. But five years. Five years!"
He was feeling sedated and sleepy. And he was still processing; his senses weren't awakened yet to their full functionality.
"So, they forgot me,"
"It's not like that. I'm darn sure—"
"The show must go on, eh?" he interrupted her, feigning a bright tone.
"Haha, yeah, that's my queen!" she played in the reference joke and went on to do the dishes in the sink.
"The flowers smelt sweet, what are they?"
"Oh, those in the drawer? I guess they are night jasmines. Alaska keeps them there every day."
"Alaska?" he wore innocent confusion on his face.
"Yeah, since you were gone, she visits you every morning and keeps them there," she had almost finished with washing the crockery and dishes and Aster too got up and went back into his room.
He ransacked every inch of his closet and conjured up a dusty photo album. With every polaroid that passed, myriad emotions came and went on Aster's face. A lot had gone by, a lot more than he could imagine. In all the photographs that he saw, Alaska stood at a distance, there was someone between them always.
Having rummaged through stacks and stacks of photos, he finally found the one he was looking for. A picture of him and Alaska. It was a happy picture. She had blonde hair and her ocean-blue eyes stared at him and he whispered to himself, "Why, Alaska?"
He had to slide the picture inside the album, but before that, he would have to wipe it dry and clean off the brine that settled on it— from his eyes on hers.
Next morning, a bright blue and silent October morning, Alaska came. She grinned at Aster's mother and wished her a pleasant day as she had been doing for the past five years, and trudged towards his room.
Aster was sitting on his bed upright, with a Shiuli flower resting in his palm. She entered into the room without knocking. The songbird was singing, there was a gentle zephyr in the room, and there was him and there was her.
She didn't believe what she saw. But sans wild and irresistible emotions taking over her, she slowly reached him and sat beside with their shoulders touching. She emptied the deep chambers of her trench coat and handed all the night-flowering jasmines with a brilliant smile to Aster.
"Thanks. For all the flowers, Alaska."
He looked into her beautiful eyes that implored not to be thanked, and conveyed all that Alaska was willing to do for Aster.
They sat silently, listening to each other breathe, shrouded by the fragrance of the Shiuli flowers.
It was October, and winter was around the corner, but none of them had ever felt warmer before.
"But he kisses like the devil While keeping all my demons away My friends held my gaze and told me keep him. stay." -unknown. ______________________________________________
Death knocked on my door once, but I slammed it in his face and told him to burn in hell. Now I beg him everyday, but he just smirks from a distance. He watches how I play hide 'n seek with hope and keep running away from happiness, only to trace circles, back and forth.
That day, maybe he took pity on me and asked me for a cup of coffee, I agreed when he said he'd brew it with my sins and filter out the regrets. The aroma was bitter and crisp, just the way I liked, but then I took a sip and felt something, alive, and I knew I'd crave it everyday. He traced my palm with words of sweet nothings and drew galaxies with his fingertips, and I wondered, was I allowed to fall so deep?
His voice was dripping with amber yet reeked of venom, when he sang, or shall I say whispered, a poem for me: "You are, because I am; it's not me you covet, but the feeling that dawns before you are eternally damned; the aftermath is enticing, and so like a moth you are drawn to me, but pay heed to what you wish for, little Darling; for I am nothing, but tragedy, an unholy catastrophe."
He took my hand and stood up, the coffee still lingered somewhere in my veins, and I followed his lead without any question. When he just stood still and said nothing, I dared to look into his eyes and felt something pierce my heart, there was no going back now, I knew. I was already drowning in the blue, more like floating, how could something so wicked be so beautiful?