Monday, May 14, 2007

Love's Long Awaited Tale

The Distance

At last, she decided to mosaic her bedroom floor with his letters. They had been enabling her past. A past which she wanted to rob of the form and the structure. She wished she would find his amnesia, left behind in his forgetting, lying in full carelessness, on the creases, in between the folds of the letters. Manifold. But as always he had forgotten…. To leave back his amnesia. She decided to create her own amnesia.

She decided to tear his letters, off. Carefully down the creases. Exactly from their seams. So as not to hurt them.

He had written each of his letters in pencil, in some nights. He wrote them all in the light of the candle. She could still sense the smell of molten wax on them. All his letters bore this strange broth of a fragrance: of wax and lead. Each of his letters he had written in the form of dialogues. Each one he had decimated in acts and scenes. And she knew he had been writing one of his greatest plays in the form of letters with her as the protagonist and him, as her fool. She loved living in the play. She loved to take a dip in each of the words that made the letter. Words written by a trembling hand. His hands trembled most of the times. More so when he was excited. His words quivered down the line just as his hands did on her skin.

Once, he had written a story on her belly. It was a pseudo-whirlpool that originated from her navel and spread outside as loops. It tickled her when he began. She giggled incessantly but as his orders were, she didn’t open her eyes. She started to read the words from the feeling of them being written. She had never felt words on her skin. She had never read words with her eyes closed. She had never imagined words moving on her body with each of her breath. And as the words moved, so did the story. Slowly, the story kept running deeper into itself and she found that she could laugh no more. She was becoming a captive in its thoughts. The farther the whirlpool spread, her expressions were more choked in tears.

“What’s happening to me?” she had asked.

“Words have just engraved themselves on the other side of your skin. They’re now playing inside your body.”

“But how come it feels as if the words have repositioned themselves to create new meanings? Why is it that the way of your thoughts feels so distant?”

“Are you sure that you feel that way?”


“….. Which means that the curse has befallen”, he had said, shaking his head, forcefully.

“What curse?” she had to open her eyes.

“….. Of the creation becoming greater than the creator; of a son who would despise his father, of a barrier more powerful than the distance.”

“But if there is distance there must be nearness, too.”

“Yes. That’s true. But there’s something else that you need to learn: The distance moves away like time. One day when you wake up from an empty night’s sleep, you’ll know.”

He had bid her farewell, unbolted her door and stepped out in the naked darkness that majored the night. The hungry darkness like a perfectly camouflaged man-eater had taken him. And as he faded slowly, she knew he’d never return.

He had written each of his letters in pencil, in some nights. He would say that he loved the music that was created when you wrote with a pencil in the dark. “Each word”, he had whispered into her ears, one night “has its own music.” Even after he left, his pencil written letters that really was the somber script of a play kept coming. And slowly, as she went through the dialogues she realized that he was losing her to the character of the play. He had that dangerous amnesia and she had become its aftermath. Day after day, as she went through his letters she came to realize that he was forgetting her slowly and was replacing her with one of her many imaginary characters. But this, somehow, turned her on. She wanted to know who she would become in his play, until the catharsis.

Then, one day, the letters stopped coming. And she realized that he had forgotten her address.

The catharsis was incomplete. And she understood that she must live on as an incomplete protagonist of the play. She tried for days, months and years. But then, when she couldn’t take it anymore she decided to tear his letters off carefully from the seams and mosaic her bedroom floor with them. She’d love to watch them in their perfect formlessness and let her past lay scattered on the floor.

Only when the words had repositioned themselves on her skin did he leave. “Let my memories scatter, too.” She wished.

When she finished mosaicing her floor with his letters, night had befallen. So, she lit up a candle to take a look at them. After looking at them for a long while from different corners of the room she suddenly realized something. The play was very well crafted. So that if you looked at its torn pieces from any of the directions it would still have an artistic flow of thought and more importantly, a plot. However, the genre would change – it might become a tragedy, a comedy or even, a monologue based on the direction from which you watched it. And all of these would happen because the distance between the scattered pieces of the mosaiced letters would change on being viewed from the different corners of the room.

The distance.

The next morning when she woke up she found that the distance between her bed and her bedroom window had increased. The window had moved farther away from her bed. And so was the case with all the walls. They had all moved away from her. Then, she considered the chances of this being a dream as she would often find happening with the protagonist in many of his tales. But no, this couldn’t have been a dream. She was never taught the art of dreaming. And so, she walked towards the closest of the distances and yet with her falling steps they all seemed to move further away. She would have to put her steps carefully so as not to step on the letters

“The distance moves away like time”, she remembered him saying.

“Reality has now become one of his prophecies”, she thought “What could be any worse now that I was trying to forget him?”

It became worse everyday: the distance kept increasing. And that included the distance between the different pieces of the letters on her floor. Their plots expanded and their spaces expanded. She had to be less careful these days on where she put her feet.

On some evenings, she would sit on her balcony, looking at the sky. It seemed to have moved away as well. She wondered how so very far he might have moved now that the distances have increased. She wondered if he still wrote letters and dispatched them to random addresses since he didn’t remember any particular addresses. She wondered if he still created the musik of dementia when his pencil moved on the white paper, whether he wrote much slower these days, whether words had replaced her, and whether time too, had moved away with the distance. She wondered. And wondered how she had been wondering.

Then, when she walked into the bedroom, she would find in the expanded spaces of her mosaiced letters, new acts of the play have been introduced. That night, she sat on the floor reading the newly discovered acts of the play in the candlelight. But it would take infinitely more time for her to move from one torn piece to another. She realized that time had now, full control over her. And that she was infusing into the time itself.

All of it came within that one unconditional revelation. She understood catharsis.

She remembered once again the days when she received letters from him that she thought that slowly he was forgetting her. It was not true. He could never forget her. So, he was forgetting himself, voluntarily. Fading. Melting himself into his letters. And taking himself to her. Letters that had become his creator; letters that wrote themselves; letters that were his home. And then, one day, letters stopped arriving. It wasn’t because he forgot her address but because in his last letter his melting was complete and he was all there in her room, without her knowing it. But she knew now. She knew it all.

And all at once, she recognized what he had said – “The distance moves away like time.”

“When distance moves away we come closer”, she murmured.

All this while she had been shrinking into herself. Melting, too. Because she was a part of the play, too. She realized that all this while the moving distance had brought her closer to her self. She had been a reader for all too long and now, it was time that she became the protagonist of the play. This, suddenly made her laugh out loud.

“We’re all fictional characters and we never realize it. That there are people who are reading my life as a tale. That I was always a tale that started as a whirlpool on my reader’s belly…. On your belly”, she said looking into your invisible eyes.

And saying this she faded into one of your letters that you’ve been reading all this while, here.

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