I am perpetually known as the girl who falls while walking on a flat surface.
I once went to South Africa and blamed the altitude for the imbalance in the pressure in my ears for my constant tripping.
When I wear pants,it’s most probably because I have a bruise or a gash or a scratch somewhere.
And I used to wonder why I kept finding myself of the ground.
Then you came. And every single scar finally found a pair ears to listen to their story.
Forever hoping that you’ll pencil me in for a day, an afternoon, even an hour.
You give me an hour for dinner, and I pray I wont have to count the times you check the time or your phone.
You send me flowers,and all i care about is the note it comes with.
It’s a print-out. It says,
“Congratulations. All the best, –”
I dont feel like we’re achieving anything. And I dont think you’ve ever tried hard enough.
But I smell the flowers anyway.
My line of work allows me to inhabit many, albeit temporary realities. Though they demand some degree of honesty and vulnerability, more often than not, I have not had to channel or convey any part of myself and, rather mechanically, I was happy doing just that.
Every role was like a clean slate, every part a different world. It held me accountable for my words and deeds only until the credits rolled or the curtain dropped. So I was convinced that it was freeing, in a way. I was and still am used to an audience or a camera ,ultimately because it’s much easier to throw lines to a machine or a crowd .
This however, is only for you.
You asked me once why I took to acting and it inveigled me to go on a haughty, long-ass rant about the time I saw The Constant Gardener and became so inexplicably drawn to a world like that. Acting, for other people is an art, a passion. For some it is a job that was quantified by trophies or measured in stars (Stars!). But the reality is, it was just because there was something about not having to be myself that was so comforting.
My big dilemma now, as you may have probably already figured out, is that I need to be no one else but myself.
See, when I take the stage, when the cameras roll, my feelings are only secondary, if not negligible. My face, emotions and actions are guided and dictated by script I’ve had to learn or the director’s demands. I’ve only ever had to feign lovesickness, anger, pain and sincerity. I knew where to go, what to do and what to say because all of them had been supplied to me.
But when faced with this, with you, I find that lovesickness truly is a rabid dog, gnawing at my very insides, making me want to say everything just to be out with it, and also nothing to keep what pride I have left safe. Anger and Pain when I see you laugh at someone’s jokes when you know well I could have delivered them worlds better.
And then there’s sincerity.
Now this, you may think, I have no business discussing as my whole world revolves around only a semblance of anything real. And though you may be right in thinking so, let me endeavour to change your opinion.
I never cared.
When you don’t care or show that you don’t care, losing is much easier. Like in acting, when you don’t make it obvious how much you want a part, there is less emotional turmoil when you don’t get it. You don’t give too much of yourself, you don’t attach yourself onto something so much that its failure will affect you in irrevocable ways. And so I worked quite diligently on not caring or projecting an image of general indifference.
[Enter You. Center Stage]
You came and made everything in my life, everything I’ve worked so hard for so flippant and disposable, so now I am compelled to give a shit.
Because now I feel as though this is the biggest audition of my life, and what I stand to lose is not a part, but you.
My life before you was like a movie. People would come in, and our lives would be like trying to deliver a line once, where if it didn’t work, you could try it again with a different emotion, a different punctuation. And when that still didn’t work, you’d replace the person with another one who might be able to play the part better, or at the very least, say things the way I wanted to hear them.
My memories were cut, only down to the parts I wanted to remember. Those forgettable or insignificant ones easily edited out. It had a soundtrack, for every person that came, every sad memory, every jump for joy came with a song I associated the person or the feeling with. Rooney for a first date. Jeff Buckley for unrequited love and rainy days . The Weepies for good days. The National for horrible ones.
This is theatre.
There is no favourable angle from which I get show you what I want. There is no 360 degree view of the skyline before I say what I need to. All I have is where I stand and where you see me from, I don’t get to choose. I don’t get a do over if I say the wrong thing. I can’t rewind,then play a line again if you don’t hear me the first time. There’s just that one time. From that one view. All the things I feel for you, writ large, waiting to be said.
Whether you know it or not though, you, the audience, are complicit in the standard of the show. Stage actors feed off of the reactions they get. And for me, the greatest victory wouldn’t be an applause but to see you smile when you read this, or lean into the paper or the screen while you attentively absorb every bit of what I say.
The greatest tragedy would be you walking away, taking nothing from all that I’ve just professed.
Still, with the wall of sound and fury (to quote the bard) confronting me in my head and heart, I will say it.
I love you.
And that’s not just a line.
Most people think that because I do this so often, it must not wrack my brain anymore — They could not be more wrong. The walls of my brain are besmirched with the worry that the words will come off insincere, the content banal. It’s a constant struggle to take what I feel, and somehow equate it with a word in hoped that it will convey the depth and breadth inside of me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.
I think I thrive on the challenges my heart poses my brain.
I don’t claim to be any good, but if what I write tugs at somebody or anybody’s heartstrings for that matter, I usually find that I can be quite happy with that I write.
But then there’s SOMEBODY, there’s ANYBODY
and then there’s YOU.
You asked me how I write and how I churn out pages and pages of letters, and poems and what-nots, and I was stumped. There is no real process, no method I adhere to. Just a magnitude of feelings, aching to find their place on paper
and then there’s YOU.
You pose these questions with such sincerity that I find myself both challenged and comforted by your interest. The feeling of undergoing such a forensic examination of my work, 3 years ago, would have scared me. And yet for you, I feel no burden, only real honor that you care at all.
To be honest, there are times when it’s easy. When I finish writing in an hour or in one sitting. And then there are times when they’re never finished. Sometimes, the feelings just never find a corner, never get fathomed into a paragraph…not because I don’t mean them, but because the words fall short of what I want to get across.
This, I fervently hope, will make it not only on paper, but to your hands and heart.
So here goes:
I’ve never dreamed of a long love.
Rash, emotional, crashing-waves-on-the-shore passionate love, YES. But long? NOT YET. 4 years? SURE. 4 decades?…NOT QUITE.
Everything you’ve done, everything you’ve been to me has opened, for me an exciting extension of curiosity for love and it’s perplexities that I have never never explored or conceived.
You,my diametric opposite, have made me look forward to what LOVE, LATER will be. Not the end of it, no. But the love most people don’t care much to know about: Love after the desperate letters, after the emotionally wrought fights, after the wedding dance song fades, after the abuse of flowery, arcane vocabulary. The love we’d all be lucky to have at the end of our lives.
Because of you I find that love is much like writing, they’re both creative acts involving careful choices at times, and heart-wrenching risks on some occasions.It doesn’t have to be long to be good, but it has to be deep and sincere. Every word you choose is a step closer to getting your feelings across and a well-punctuated question can make or break what goes on between two people. Not knowing what to say is hard, uncertainty about “when to say what” is harder, but the hardest part is seeing that what you worked hard for finally has to be ended, even if you still want to keep going. The hardest part is ending it for the sake of your love for it and for the sake of love itself.
You’ve made me see the possibility of having a love so evolved that whatever we say to each other will just feel like the tip of the iceberg of a conversation that’s been going on for decades and will go on for decades more. You make me believe that though we have time going against us, eternity can be on our side. You make me want to stretch the idea of “forever in love” to its actualization, and let that frame challenge our hearts to prove it.
With you there are copious uses for the the”FALL” and various prepositions.
Things fell into place when you came into my life.
Things fall through sometimes, but you pick up the pieces, and for that, I am grateful.
We may fall apart at our worst times, but I vow to find my way back to you despite what we might say or don’t say.
I fell in love with you.
I don’t think there will be a falling out.
I think of all the tenses I want to use to talk about us: I enjoy the simple past, I revel in the continuous present, and with you the future….PERFECT.
I love you, and I will always endeavor to show to you just how much whether through words or the lack of need for them.
Its that feeling we all berate ourselves for:
Having a certain high regard for someone that is unrequited is silly, absurd even. Someone who wouldnt even give you the time of day is not worth the space you doodle on your notebook for. Not worth losing sleep over. Not worth eating a pint of ice cream alone.
It’s childish,immature, unbecoming.
But then, in like or love,
Aren’t we all 13 again?
For a time I was convinced that there was only the past for me. I formed a sort of “Love-Hate” relationship with the past wherein love and hate both shared equal footing. I loved it because the past, to me, was a safe ground to explore all our collective neuroses. Where achievements were revisited, bouts of jaw-breaking laughter replayed, where tears didn’t sting as much anymore and where our mistakes became laughable. I hated it for the same reasons. I hated it because it reduced my “One Great Love” to a “Once Great Love” and my sources of pride as diminutive remnants of past glory.
So I decided to wipe my slate clean and make do with the present. A lot argued that I made a good decision, that “There’s no better time” and all … but honestly, the vastness of possibility that the present brought along with it just terrified me.
I couldn’t move, So I ran.
Without any real plan or direction, I ran. With reckless abandon. I ran with nothing but the proud knowledge that I could. With the belief that my desire for movement, my dire need for something dynamic, would make me stronger.
I wasn’t all wrong.
I just wasn’t all right either.
And just when I thought you were going to judge me for my aimlessness, you said:
“It’s simple really. It’s one foot after the other. Over and over again. Before you know it, you’ll look back and a mountain will be behind you”
I will not claim to have the same level of eloquence as you but I
want you need you to know that I LOVE YOU and that I am grateful.
For helping me let go of my pride, teaching me the dangers of hubris and the primacy of love and humility.
For understanding how I sometimes thrive on escapism and for letting your arms be my frequent destination.
For taking me out of my box and for not being a run of the mill type of love. You were never conventionally romantic.No boatloads of flowers, chocolate or champagne. You were straightforward: “Blanket-roof-soup-sandwiches-watch-the-skyline-listen-to-the-night” type of love and I could not be luckier.
Much of which I think I knew yet denied ever having even an inkling of. And in a moment, you reminded me of a piece of myself I’d long buried for fear that it would hurt me again if I kept it. And it was an absolute experience being reintroduced to it through you.
I love you.
A few more words, a couple of trips and gashes, and many kilometers later, I will keep telling you,
I love you. and I never have to see the end, knowing your strides are right next to mine.