And there will be a flame

It is a cloudy Sunday morning – the autumn sky looks like a very light grey shroud devoid of shadow or light, making the world around, that flavourless cityscape I can see through the widow, look anaesthetized. There is no wind; the trees stand very still; the electric cables here and there hang motionless. I can hear no rushing cars, no laughing school kids and no old ladies of many colours argue down the street, near the bakery shop. Somewhere in the house, dad is watching television as he always does – the lulled voices of commercials and various programs are an unescapable background noise in the flat.

It is a day neither good nor bad. It is not a day that calls for an epiphany; the special moment of revelation seems even less likely as steam gradually builds on the windows which take on the wan colour of the clouds. I can no longer see the buildings across the street, or the trees that stand very still and the electric cables here and there hanging motionless from their posts.

I have caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror earlier – sleep-deprived, sallow, hollowed cheeks, hunched shoulders and lank, unkempt hair. My pyjamas have stains on them; I can see all around me that the house is not so tidy. I have been sad for too many days.

under-the-sea

And yet, I can feel a new emotion crackling inside. It is not a flame; I could not even call it a spark, but perhaps it needed to begin on such a dull, faded day for if it can catch fire today, when there is no precious light and no vivid colours, perhaps it will endure. It speaks in a really soft, barely audible voice and sings to me: “This is not you in the mirror; remember the promise that you made”. It is true that I made a promise to someone, a vow to keep on drawing, writing, painting, reading, studying and laughing. It is also true that I asked this person to promise me she would endeavour to get better and heal so she could be happy. She promised she would try – I want her to succeed because I know she can, but the only control I have is over my part of the contract. And my part I want to fulfill, because if I do, perhaps the crackling sound inside my heart will catch fire to be a flame. And maybe I can keep it ablaze, one day at a time.

If I must lose you, or…

If I must lose you, promise me only that you will become a brighter, more accomplished person. That if I cannot spend this life with you, you will use the strength inside yourself to get better, that you will not let the apathy and fears that control your lovely mind take hold of you, but instead, endeavour to find your inner light and hold on to it forever so you can let this spark grow into the flame that I could always see within your soul.

If I must lose you, I can only promise you that I will not let myself wilt away, because you once told me I was your favourite flower and never wanted me to fade. All I can offer is to try and be studious, creative and good. To make my PhD the best work I can, become a better artist and complete the stories and the poems that I have begun to write. That I will not stop drawing, reading, writing or laughing because I am missing you.

I never wanted to lose you though… I never dreamt of this life without seeing you smile, without being the first to witness the look in your eyes as you wake up in the morning, or watching your eyes glitter with joy as you eat pomelos, grapefruit, mushrooms or spaghetti.

My heart brings tears into my eyes as it asks: “Who, then, will you share your reading anecdotes with? Who will read your poetry and who will you write it for, now? Whose happiness will you guard and whose soul will you cherish and blend with yours? Who will call you with a thousand questions and whose hand will you lace to yours? Who will you share the morning cup of coffee with and whose bread will you toast with jam and butter? Whose tears will you dry but your own?  Whose eyes will you simply, kindly look into?”

No one. No one’s. But if it means you can start to heal – I do not mind as much. If it means that in a month, or in a year, you can stand on your own two feet and look at yourself in the mirror thinking “I am happy” then it does not hurt as much, because I love you far beyond my own pains and desires – I love you so very much that all I ever want is for you to be fulfilled, even if it means that you must be forever away from me.

So if I must lose you, please be well, please be healthy, please be your truest, most beautiful and loving self, be the sublime, intricate, colourful sunset I fell in love with.