Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What it takes

She revisited that place tonight. Its been months since she was last there, but it feels like she's never left at all because she instantly feels safe and at home there. And then again it could have been years because she's changed so much and so has her life, its hard to remember the person she used to be in minute detail. The hopes, dreams and wishes dissipated with time. It was here that she had said farewell to the fancies of the young her before she stepped onto the threshold of adulthood. Back then she'd been craving something real in life. Living it in her mind in theory was something she'd had enough of. Her heart craved something that would turn the beautiful candy floss that her thoughts were made up of into something more than an illusion-give a more believable base to them.
Today she wishes she'd never looked beyond what she had then. Dissatisfied though she was, she'd been happy in her soul. She still believed in believing, in love, in happy endings, in the fluttering of hearts, of your heart feeling bigger than yourself, in having true feelings towards someone. It was these beliefs that had been her driving force-the sparkle in her eyes, beauty in her life, blush in her cheeks, dance of her limbs.
Right now, right here, that illusion and that she is shattering-it has been for quite some time now, like a glass wall hit by a car in a hurry. So it was with her, she'd been in too much of a hurry for the experiences that she settled for less and in turn got heavily disillusioned.
Every single time that she came here in the almost forgotten age, she'd write letters addressed to nobody in particular, each weaving a tale of her world, incorporating every whim, fantasy, dream, hope, belief. Its to find them that she's returned today, clinging to the last strand of hope which tells her that on reading those letters, some semblance of the lost her will be rediscovered. She scrambles over to the spot next to the willow tree where she'd kept them imprisoned, hidden from the world. Her hands start digging the soil, getting dirt underneath her carefully tended nails, which she does not pay heed to. Its the least of her worries now. One hand pushes back the long hair streaming into her face as the other, clenched in a fist against her heart tries to control its thud as she desperately wishes for the wooden casket enclosing them to remain. She feels a flash of joy as her hand hits wood and the familiar dark brown box with the tiny butterfly carvings appears before her. Her anticipation grows as she opens it and sees the small pile of colored folded sheets of paper. But as she picks one up, this changes into a feeling of dread. Her throat suddenly goes dry and her eyes well up with tears which without notice give way, blurring the words on paper. She can't bear it-her former happiness and optimism might make her feel more alone and lost than ever. What will she do if the largest piece of herself outside her body fails to have the desired impact and instead appears shallow to her? How much will that break her? Will there be anything at all be left after that? No. She can't make herself take this great a risk.
She now stands up, still holding the letters, dusts soil off her knees and skirt and walks into the water until she is calf deep in seawater and then holds them out in her hands till the wind blows them away, depositing them onto the surface of water where they float. Now her dreams are free to take whichever form they want. Now they are unencumbered. All of herself will come back to her when it wants to-when she is ready for it. Though this is not what she'd come here for today, she is more relieved and at peace than she's been for a long time.

By Nirmitee Mehta