Threnody

Dear Maria,

I saw you standing outside Green Theory yesterday. You were on your phone, and though a part of me wanted to cross the street and say, “Hi,” I refrained. I walked away, nervousness encircling the pit of my stomach, hoping you wouldn’t see me. If you did, would you have stepped up to me? There’s this invisible wall between us now. I think it’s because of years of love turning into animosity and ennui.

Remember when we first visited that same cafe? You said, “There’s this vegetarian coffee shop that serves the best cold coffee. We should go there sometime,” and I agreed, not out of a desire to please but out of a warmth engendered by sharing something special with someone. A mutual faith in togetherness that went beyond belief. I always thought it would last. That we possessed the emotional acumen to navigate uncharted waters because of the unparagoned trust we had in each other. I’ve now realised that fate is a strongman who can turn diamonds into dust. But did fate ruin us, or was it our minds?

We always hankered for something more than halcyon days. We yearned for evolution and reached a standstill. A point that promised annihilation unless we found a way past it. The problem was never kindness, intellectual compatibility, or even physical distaste. Figuratively speaking, we kept the joy of cherishing each other’s bodies long after the punitive force that sought to destroy us reduced us to skeletons. Bones and ashes looking for flesh and blood. Maybe I grew supercilious, and you grew cantankerous. Or that’s lousy introspection. I don’t think anyone understands what goes on in their minds. We can comprehend our thinking at a surface level, but we can’t fathom why we look for signs of betrayal and mistrust when they aren’t any.

We suddenly desire control over everything, including shadows. We destroy the other and ourselves because of this. Time that once made me hold you in scintillating glory gave me distorted, fiendish spectres with every tick. You who spoke in verse even when you talked about quotidian things grew rancorous. It was a sudden shift in dynamic. The invisible wall soon grew between us, and even ardour didn’t remove it.

When we made love in the beginning, it sated us in every way. We found ourselves in spaces outside the places that restrained us. Knowing you and tracing the curve of your spine, and kissing you on the back of your neck was the apogee of freedom. The sonata of passion, with its biting allegros and fierce but moving andantes replete with sweet somethings, whispered in breathy voices, added mystique that defined us. So how did we become spiteful? We didn’t force passion during the end, but something was missing. It’s akin to seeing a picturesque sunset for the second time and losing the sweetness that defined it the first. The joy of surrender isn’t there anymore, even though you know the auburn sky crisscrossed by grey ribbons is beautiful.

We still hungered for each other. I think it was mere lust, the love and innocence of discovery hidden behind a veil of bitterness. But what made us resentful? There wasn’t a huge argument that removed the sepia filter that made us see everything in a lovely glow. I don’t think there was anything in us that broke us. So, I believe something from the outside invaded our consciousnesses. The euphonic syllables of poesy that swirled around us in a neon vortex, making kisses stolen in the faint moonlight special, disappeared, and a brooding threnody made us pay attention to the cold bathroom floor, the dusty, patchwork quilt and the ebbing tide of forever and ever.

I loved you once, and I can’t obfuscate that truth. It hurts, but then I look at the city lights that promise new beginnings and fresher outlooks, and I realise even crazy love falls from the strongest hands like a dropped pendant. I guess someone else will pick it up and write their story. We’ll be with other people in a few years and give those relationships justice. I’m sad there’s a wall between us, but perchance it’s for the best. I’m writing you this letter, hoping you’ll never read it. But it’s here and in a box of memories with everything that made and destroyed us.

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