Love stories! They are like broken glass beads thrown ashore to the dead sea! You, as a lone bystander, may happen to step upon the sharp ones every other fortnight! Then, you may bleed a little and your lips may sin to mumble a soft curse at their beauty. When that happens… don’t fret away from taking another step!

In every love story, there comes a time when jasmines begin to smell like lavenders. That’s when you must pick your tears up and run!

Why? 

Because nothing heals better than the sweet nectar which oozes out of those flowers… and healing, my friend, is a scary business!

Here’s a funny thing about scars! They walk the face of this planet with a tiny bag of peace hanging down their shoulders. When you happen to bump into one, the thorns may sting you for a second… but, sooner than you realise, you will find yourself swooning to the tunes of their tranquillising sorcery.

Having said that, love is a nightmare to the broken and boozed. It is the kind of torment which makes wolves howl on dark and lonely nights.

The worst part?

Once you trip and fall on the side of this road, you won’t wake up before dawn. Your eyes will be left yearning for the dark.

Befoolery, in our world, is a celebrated virtue… and love has always been a fool’s master trick!

So, for once, let yourself fall for the trickery and gasp at the magic. For once, make your jasmines smell like lavenders! Healing must be a scary business, but since when have the broken started shying away from fear, huh?

You know, our world has lost its music to the broken records of numb melancholy! Our hearts look like abandoned graves with dead corpses of beautiful love stories buried underneath. Those despised gravestones glow at night, and one of them grows a tiny pink flower every time it rains!

Do you know how much it pains to be the only ray of life in the land of death? It hurts as bad as the last push, which devours the life out of a birthing mother… except, this pain won’t end in the music of a baby’s first cry! Instead, it will fall in the shallow curve of a fading smile!

Three months ago, when I met you, I remember frowning at your story! It was the same old chronicle of a saddening sunset that kept you from gasping at the beauty of your mourning sun.
You told me how you ran behind the dying glaze of that somber afternoon, trying to pause time… you wanted those shades of gold to paint your life forever. I remember listening to you as you sobbed on my shoulder, in the silence of those lonely midnights.

In those moments, you know, I wanted to take your hands in mine, spill my sunshine into your world and then call it a sweet accident. I didn’t… I didn’t until you told me to!

I didn’t, until you woke up one day, pulled me into a corner, and bared your heart. You wanted my fingers to trace the hem of your bleeding wounds. You wanted me to fall into your tired arms, put all the scattered pieces back together, and build a humble abode for us.

I don’t know if you will be happy to know this, but I fell for those dreams! I fell for the way your eyes shined at the thought of that! I fell for the way you set my soul ablaze. So, I… I chose to stay there!
I unpacked my bags and started decorating those old wooden shelves with shiny charms and painted vases. I pulled the old curtains down to let the sun in! I made the bed, smiling at the idea of ‘us’ in it! I cooked food… and then!

Then, I took a chair, sat in front of the door, and waited… for seconds, minutes, hours… I waited as the noisy hands of your wall clock went around it! I waited until I ran out of breath; till my eyes started to daze in sleep… I waited for an eternity!

You never came back home… you never did!

I wanted to wait, but I can’t wait any longer! So, I am leaving this letter under your favorite blue vase. When you find it, it may rain over the gloom in your heart. Just walk around and look for a tiny pink flower, smile at it, and bask in its rarity.

Because it takes courage to be the only ray of life in the land of death. That courage, when shown, must be celebrated!

Still waiting in a flower somewhere,
G.

 

You were that lazy sip of wine under the beaming silver of falling stars. You would swirl on my skin, tingle my tongue and tease my throat till my lips would break into a dimming smile and my eyes would spill love.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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My fingers traced… they traced the chiseled edges of your jaw just like they run over the cracked hem of my wine glass.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You were special…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You… you were the rare cassette. One that’s worthy of honoring every vintage collection. Kept in a case of shimmering gold; draped in velvet.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You would sing the songs of pinching nostalgia, paint the walls with colors of retro sepia and calm my nerves like forbidden magic.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You were rare…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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But then… every writer has a fancy oil lamp in her room, and I am no exception!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Every night, I feed some oil to its fire. It burns with somber brilliance and dies by midnight.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Every night, I stare at its dying flame like a doomed lunatic. I stare long enough for its soul to haunt my eyes every time I blink.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Every night, I witness fate! I listen to its hushed lessons as it howls back at me!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Flames die, you see!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Now… sitting beside those dying flames, sipping on wine out of my crooked wine glass and listening to a stuck cassette tape… I know what made you leave…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Flames died sooner than I wanted them to!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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These days, I find myself swooning over lazy afternoon naps. I may have found a strange solace in the cruel lucidity of my dreams. Well, it’s strange how sleep is my refuge in ‘our’ memories, away from the worn relics.

So, this afternoon, after I was done meandering in my beautiful dreams, I woke up…

I woke up to the taste of honey, dancing at the tip of my tongue.

An hour later, I stood there, with hot pancakes piled over my plate and the memoirs of my peaceful sleep hanging down my lashes. Warm soul hugging-fragrance of pancakes bathed in the gleaming yellows of honey… and that is how I paint winter on a white plate of bone china.

The glass jar sat in a lonely corner of the mahogany table, basking under hushed shadows of the evening twilight. Sliding into a chair, I grabbed a spoon and unscrewed the lid.

First spoon…

Second spoon…

And the third one to waltz on its way, from the tip of my tongue to the cusp at its end.

And… Ahhh! It stung! I gagged at the bitterness, stomped the plate against the table and then leaned back in my chair, frowning at the sugary scam that just stabbed me in my throat.

Right in front of my house, there is an old Sheesham tree. It has been there for years now and I wonder if it has ever heard me cry in the silence of lonely midnights… for, when I wake up to the dawns of such nights, I find some wilted leaves mourning at the ground underneath and the tree feels a little naked without them.

Four years ago, I walked up to it and drew a heart against your name, with the tip of my finger. Oh! Don’t worry, no one came to know… but, now when I walk past that well-kept secret…

The wind blows;

Leaves rustle;

And I look at the tree and sigh back… We have a language of our own.

I mean… of course, it has seen it all! From that dreamy smile, when you walked past that door for the first time… to that sly spark in my eyes, when our lips touched; from those quiet questions that yearned to leave my lips, when you left the door frowning… to that lonely sigh when you didn’t choose to return.

I am afraid… it knows way too much for comfort! I might have failed to hide the piercing hatred my eyes spat in the last four years.

I am afraid that the tree breathed in the poison of my rage, flowers wilted in the ruthless fire of my pain and some lost bees took that nectar away…

I am afraid… that those broken pieces of my heart burnt in my throat today… I am afraid that you left our story behind… and it lives here with me… I am afraid!

Have you ever stared down the demonic depths of a dingy abyss?

Or

Have you ever felt that sudden urge to resign…when those dark eyes of lucid heights call you?

If not… then allow my words,
To take you,
Through the tranquilizing horror,
And the anxiety-ridden silence,
Of that moment.

That moment when life knocks you down,
You hit your head on the cold and rough floor;
The world goes dead;
Your feet go numb;
Your eyes meet the dark;
And your ears…
Your ears embody those maniacs,
Who talk to the hushed nights
And claim to have learnt the secrets of life.
Those maniacs might be poets!!

Anyhow…

That moment, my friend…
Can be the death of your soul.
That moment, my friend…
Can bequeath you with scars…so deep;

So deep…
That an artist won’t shy away before carving them onto a stone and shouting out loud,

“Has the world ever seen a carve so abstract?”

You… my friend,
Will be standing in that crowd of mute spectators,
About to raise your hand to claim that,

“This is the relic to my crippling agony!”

But…
Those words will never leave your lips;
Your teeth will bite your tongue before it sins to let them out!

Why?

Because…
When you take your pain and pour it onto those words;
When those words escape your mouth and reach some ears;
Then… your pain comes to life;

It becomes your “Forever”!

The night smothered you,
With the smoke that rose above,
The burnt remains
Of your tender heart.

Now…
Now, your lungs ache,
Your guts lie,
Tied in knots,
Churning,
Wringing your life out of you.

Coiled like a foetus,
Drenched in tears,
Is that you?
Who carved these scars
Deep… in the tenders of your skin.
Is that a memoir
To your unworthy sin?

Pulling your hair,
Clenching your jaw,
Is that you?
Who strangled that beauty,
Over the rotting remains,
Of the fantasy of a paradise?

I know…
I know my friend,
You’ve waited for the dawn…
Like the staunch nightingale,
Waits for the last of the amber,
To fade away.

Don’t you fall prey,
To your bouts of fear!
Don’t you dare concede,
To the taunts,
Blurted by the deadly demons,
Of your crippling anxiety…!

For…
The dawn mustn’t shine
On your grave….

“Do you believe in ghosts?”

Yeah…

They live in my closet,

And yours too,

Don’t they?

 

There are nights, when I wake up,

Lying in this pool of sweat,

Or… is that blood?

I never chose to know…

 

Those eerie nights, I hear then growl,

Or… is that, their kind of a scream?

I never chose to know..

 

They must stare at me, from the creek and crevice,

Of the worn wood,

To know that, I am trembling with fear,

To know that, they need to howl,

Sing those tears.

 

There are days when I hear them knock,

Knock on my mind,

Knock me, off my ground,

In a ditch of worms,

Eating me up.

 

Perhaps… they’ve been dead since the dawn of the last summer,

But they are waiting for me,

To bury them,

… And, what am I waiting for?

The night of the next winter?

 

They are dead, yet alive enough,

To have an appetite,

To fantasise a feast,

the want… to feed on my soul.

 

They are dead, yet alive enough,

To be ridiculed for their deeds,

To be cursed for the gore,

Yet… to be called a part of my heart,

The corpse of a dead Ghoul.

It was a dark and lonely night.

The sky would have been a vision to behold with all the lovely stars, and a bright full moon…. if…. only if, it wasn’t bequeathed with an awning of heavy storm-ridden clouds.

The air was taught… It prophesied a demonic storm.

There I was, beside the lake… kneeling down.

My arm bled…body covered in scars and bruises.

My hand, pressed against my chest as I gasped for breathe.

My eyes squinted as the pain rendered me numb and senseless.

Everything seemed like a blur.

In front of me, my sword had lain for years, waiting for me…. desperate for victory.

It was a blade of Honor, it shone with brilliance, a luster like no other…. except, now, its shine was a gleam of crimson…for…it was now drenched in blood.

I gathered my strength. My body lost its power, but …. I couldn’t have lost my desire to conquer.

I stood up… Limping….my legs quivered.

My hands clinched around the hilt of the blade.

I swayed it, in all the ways known to my kind…. like a sloshed fool … hoping to kill my rival, once and for all.

But…alas, the knights of obscure wisdom shouldn’t dream the dreams of their reign.

Another sword came flashing, piercing through the air. The assailant aimed at my calf and knocked me down.

I was lying there… helpless… grunting curses at the silhouette of my enemy.

Suddenly, the clouds withdrew their rebellion.

The Moon enlightened the world… revealing the face of my opponent.

It was me.

I hated myself.

 

I was lying there. Still. Lifeless. Numb….yet breathing.

With a body, curled up…. curled up like a fetus, waiting for light to dawn upon her untouched body.

But….with a body, cold…. cold as a dead and stale corpse, waiting for the ferocious hungry beasts to take away what death left behind.

With eyes, wide and open…. wide and open as they tried to make sense of the warm whispers in my ear, prophesying a life longer than I would want.

With a brow, frowned…. frowned to greet the thought of filling my lungs with the poisoned air…. poisoned with crippling regrets.

I was tired. Exhausted.

My eyelids felt heavy, like they weighed pounds. So, I allowed them to fall and shut the world away…. for…. I wanted to explore my world, the realm within.

But alas, torment doomed over my joy.

I found myself standing in a cage of glass, a cage that I built for myself over these years of agony….

Within no time, I was out of breath.

I was helpless, running my hands over the four glass walls.

I would have cried for help…. but the dark is cursed to be deaf.

I would have broken the glass…. but I crafted it to be unparalleled.

My lungs ached, I was choking….my body lost its power and my heart lost its hope. I surrendered to the fate that I chose for myself.

I was lying there. Still. Lifeless. Numb….yet breathing…. for…. I learnt to breathe in, on my emptiness.

Click here to read chapter-1.

Stella stood in front of the door; her hand was resting on the door knob and her eyes were closed…not to hide the gloom that ruled her heart for the past seven years…but to feel the warmth of the sun that had just dawned on the sky of her life.

“Are you sure?” asked Alex as Stella signed the cheque.

“I don’t think that I have any reason to not be sure!”

“But, didn’t you save this money to start your own company?”

“I did! But, when I was saving this money, I was wasting my life like a wreck, ignoring my happiness, my family’s happiness. In the last seven years of my life, I have tried to live a fool’s dream! I was trying to barter smiles for applause; I was trying to give away the beautiful life that I already had to buy a much cheaper and a fabricated world, a world of mirages, it does not even lets you see its voids before you become as hollow as this world! If giving away this money brings back those smiles on my parents’ face, then I don’t think that anything or any reason is valid enough to stop me from repaying this debt!”

A wide smile graced Stella’s lips as she relived that moment! She was proud…proud of her decision…she was proud of the fact that now, she knew what she really wants from her life.

That moment, that serene moment…as she stood in front of the door of her room, was the happiest moment of her life.  Nothing beats the beauty that lies in the strength needed to rebuild the fortress of your life.

She took a deep breath to feel the happiness that surrounded her and pushed the door open. She, then, slowly opened her eyes as she stepped inside her room. She witnessed every memory coming back to life, greeting her on her arrival. The woody scent that filled the air soothed Stella’s senses. She wanted to freeze that moment, then and there.

She felt like a traveler, who just returned from a long journey; she just came back to a home that she left behind in her endeavors; a home, that she once despised for its comfort and beauty, for the fact that it lacked adventure! That adventure, which was offered by the rugged roads that waited for her, outside the four walls! She left this home for them…but today, she could fight the world to call this home her own!

“Help me!”

Stella turned around to find John struggling with the luggage.

“Oh! I am sorry! I forgot that you were getting the luggage out of the car!”

Stella helped John and kept the bags on the table beside the bed. Tired from carrying the suitcases all by him, john threw himself onto the sofa. Meanwhile Stella got busy in unpacking her suitcase. To make some place for the clothes, Stella decided to examine the closet. A huge blow of dust came on her face as she opened the closet door. She started coughing.

“Oh God! This place has to be cleaned!” she managed to utter those words while she still coughed badly.

“No need! The lawyer has completed all the paperwork. Just sign on the dotted and we will be free!” John played with his fingers as he said that, trying to avoid making an eye contact with Stella. He suspected that after meeting her parents, meeting Alex and listening to their story, she might have changed her mind. His fear found a very firm ground in his head when he got to know about her decision to repay the debt using her life savings.

Stella gave out a deep sigh. “I am not selling the house!”

From her tone, she sounded uninterested to voice any further arguments in this regard. She expected her boyfriend of five years, and now his fiancé, to take that affirmation as obvious. She wanted his heart to answer that question before his mind would have even decided to give birth to it!

The fact that it was still unanswered, felt like a sword through Stella’s soul. The fact that john still expected her to sell the house was a red-flag for her, and definitely not the first one! She came across a similar red-flag when she saw a change in John’s expressions on hearing her decision to pay back the debt!

She knew that John was not on the same page as her…but this time, she was determined to not move even a single page to please him!

“I knew it!” John’s lips twisted in anger, his brow frowned in frustration. “I knew that you were an emotional fool! Oh God! How stupid am I? How did I even expect practicality from a person like you?” John was blazing with anger. He jumped up from the couch and started pacing back and forth as he attacked Stella with those words.

But Stella…her armor was strong; it was made with her deep emotions. An armor made of reasoning can be broken with an arrow of a strong argument, but an armor made of emotions is unparalleled!

“You can call me whatever you wish to! I am not selling this house!” Stella’ eyes oozed out the firmness of her decision.

John felt helpless! He kicked the side-table as he exited the room. The vase on the top of it fell down and broke into a thousand pieces. This time, those pieces were not a metaphor of her broken heart… but they represented the fall of that hollow and vulnerable Stella, whose part she played for the last seven years.

A tear left her eye to pay the due condolences to that Stella, and then she resumed her work as she gulped the rest of her feelings!

“Pass me that blue color!”

”Yes Sir!” Stella exclaimed as she passed the tube of color to her dad; she went, stood beside his canvas and started looking at his face!

“What are you looking at?”

“The face that I yearned to see for so many years!”

“Well! My face has wrinkled a lot since then!’

“Makes you look cuter!” Stella pulled her father’s cheek as she said that.

David took some blue paint and stroked it on Stella’s nose.

“Dad!’ He smiled and giggled.

“Don’t you trouble my daughter!” Emma entered the room with four glasses of juice. She kept them on the table and handed over a glass to Alex.

Stella noticed his plaster, “Hey! How is that so white? Why haven’t I drawn on it already?”

Stella picked up a marker and started drawing on the plaster in his hand. Emma took Stella’s place and started watching David paint with keen interest, her hand resting on his shoulder. They both looked at each other and smiled every now and then.

Looking at these smiles filled Stella’s heart with joy!
“They look so happy!”

“Yes! I can die for those smiles!”

“What about you? Are you happy Stella?”

“Yeah! Of-course! I am very happy! I am still pursuing my dream job and helping my father with his art gallery at the same time! I can’t even explain how much joy that brings to my heart! I won’t lie! Travelling every weekend is a little exhausting, but it is totally worth it!” Stella said that with the widest smile on her face!

“Do you have any idea about how beautiful you look when you smile? Start smiling more often, Stupid!” Alex said that as he pinched her nose.

Stella giggled and continued her drawing.

The wounds of her past were still red. She was still not over John…but her heart was not dead and barren now . Her heart was waiting for love to blossom!

She knew that Alex liked her…she liked him too!

But…she was not ready, her heart was not ready to risk a beautiful relationship, to exhaust its purity, force it to fill the wounds of her heart. She knew that she had to heal herself first, fall in love with herself again…and then allow love to cover her scars!

She smiled as she told that to herself!

THE END!