Half Baked

I am a dust mote floating,
caught on a single ray of sunlight
that is your eyes,
and your laugh,
and your touch,
burning into my skin.

Look, goodbyes are all I know. They mean that there are more adventures to come. With me, it’s always time to go. But, well…I knew right away that there was something different this time around. I didn’t want to be anywhere else. Around you, my guilt seems to melt away, and time feels like an alien concept.
“Are you ever happy?”
Everyone has times when they know that they’re happy for the most part, but moments of pure, crystallized happiness are another matter altogether.
“I can pinpoint certain moments in my life when I’ve had this pure burst of happiness. It’s like- hang on, let me say this right… it’s like… I was floating, suspended- a dust mote lit up by the sun. If i could explain the fierce blaze of happiness I felt with my entire being- that’s what it was like. Like being tiny, tiny, tiny but so large that the happiness consumes you. In a good way. It wasn’t like being overwhelmed by a flood- it’s like floating, suspended, with a mind wiped clean- no, not like being high- like… I don’t know. I was never much good with words. You know what I mean.”
I was really, really happy that time in the fourth grade when Mrs. Gomes, my favourite teacher said that I was an asset to her class. I looked up the word ‘asset’ in the big green and black Oxford Dictionary we had at home, and I felt like I had something to be proud of.
When else? When we, my brother and I, were at the backseat of the family car, tired out playing Antakshari and finger chess. We’d fallen quiet and our parents were talking, laughing about grown-up things that did not include us. Not fighting. Never have I felt so happy to be excluded.
Watching cartoon after cartoon on Fox-kids, watching Spiderman with Ma and Bhai in the master bedroom made me really happy.
When else? Laughing till my skinny ten year old sides ached, my head on a kolbaalish as my Grandpa read ‘Haw-jo-baw-ro-law’ to me. The story about the crow(?) that I’ve now forgotten.
An evening on a deserted college campus, after the rain, with a cool breeze, and a few errant souls and old music playing on their phones. I wrap my arms around a lanky frame, and push my chin into the small of a back. Close is not close enough, I realize. All the time is not time enough. Kissing is not kissing enough. Too much all at once. I am startled, and taken aback by my discovery, but fiercely, fiercely happy.
Another sort of happiness- lying on a too-thin mattress with an eye peeping at me from behind skin, blurred, Neruda streaming into reality.
Almost every time I’ve danced un-selfconsciously, I’ve been very happy. Almost every time I’ve allowed myself to get caught in the rain, I’ve been happy.
Reading really, really good books, realizing that I was beginning to love them, I’ve been happy. Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind, curled up on a couch at a cafe, with crumbs from finished butter-tarts littering my clothes.
“Listen, you probably don’t remember this. The first time I came over to your new place, when you lived by the cows-”
“I did not live by cows!’, you interject.
“Uff, you did. Yes, you did! We passed them everyday on our way to your place. Before the auto and before Papon De, but after that advertisement in Bangla we couldn’t read”
“Yes, but that was a good 3 minute walk away- that is not the same as living by cows”.
“Okay, okay fine. That house, anyway.”
“Yes, yes, carry on”.
“We were supposed to go exploring. North Calcutta, and old houses touching elbows, and sweet-shops. But it started to rain buckets, so I came over instead. We had the place to ourselves because Lahiri- bless his soul-was in Sodepur. And we wanted to watch a movie about a talking lizard. Johnny Depp was a talking lizard, and I really liked Johnny Depp so we were going to watch that movie. But then you slid over to me and wrapped a long arm around my tiny waist. You bent down and put your face next to mine, and breathed into my ear. “Koto din tokey dekhini”, you said with feeling. It had only been three days. “Far too long”, you answered, and that was that.
Something deep inside me was singing then. Happy-happy-happy, it went, and I knew how happy I was. Who knows what strange twist of fate, or chance brings people into our lives, but how unutterably lucky, lucky, lucky when someone you could really love comes along and rubs their eyes, disbelieving, at the dumb luck of it, too.

Kissing you goodbye was not the hardest part because it did not feel real. Wanting so badly to reach out and feel your bony shoulders and bury my face in your neck- wanting to do that and not being able to- that was hard. It took me nine months to shed tears over the distance, but I did.
Dilli door nahi.

Like a sadness I can’t shake. You were right. That time when facebook fucked up and I got all the consolatory and concerned messages, and you got none- you were right. People probably knew that you’d be okay, and you are. They knew I wouldn’t, and I’m not.

I’m going through my midlife crisis early it seems. I can’t eat because it’s too much effort to chew. I sat at a cafe for hours and hours today because I just couldn’t go to the big empty house and face myself. I tried to eat this delicious brownie and managed to finish only half; it made me nauseous. I’m such a cliche, it’s stupid. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t focus on my work, I’m perpetually two seconds away from tears. I ordered a guitar today with my roommate. It’ll come in five days. I’m going to get a tattoo in March, my first one. I’ve already decided on the design.

I can do all of this. I can eat the mixed-berry ice cream that my roommate made at home, and I can sing along to Lana Del Rey and Augustana. I can change the wallpaper on my cellphone and desktop, and shift around files and rename folders on my laptop. I can try to hit on the deadbeat barista with a bandana. But all the while my heart beats a dull tattoo beneath my skin: I want you, I want you. Honey, I want you. So bad.

I miss you. You don’t miss me. It’s that simple really, isn’t it?

2:17 am

I watched ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ today. Right before I rewatched ‘Juno’. And earlier in the day I finished watching the second half of ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’ cuz I’d fallen asleep halfway through it last night. So I didn’t really get the point of Coffee and Cigs. Seemed sort’ve like all aesthetic and no substance. I mean it had the coolest cast- you stick Tom freaking Waits in there, he’ll make anything cool. I guess watching Waits and Iggy Pop trying to awkwardly one-up each other had its moments, but those moments mostly revolved around “OMG TOM WAITS” in my head, than anything else. The ‘Cousins?’ sketch was strong, I thought, but it didn’t really have anything else going for it. The boyfriend sort of half assedly recommended it to me, and I was a little annoyed that I didn’t like it, y’know, I really wanted to like it. But yeah. I mean I didn’t see the point at all. It seemed like the kind of movie everyone says they like because everyone says they like it.

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ on the other hand was fantastic. I love Wes Anderson. Every movie I’ve watched by him so far has made me happy. He has a great aesthetic going on, but thankfully that’s not all. And what I love about his movies are how warm they are, despite his heroines who don’t smile. My personal favourite of his films is ‘The Darjeeling Limited’, but I haven’t seen ‘Rushmore’ yet which S. says is absolutely fantastic, and he should know. I’ll watch it soon, I suppose. It’s one of those films that have been lying around on my hard drive forever because I’ve been reluctant to watch them out of this strange feeling that I won’t like them.

‘Juno’ is brilliant, obviously. This time it made me teary instead of providing the usual snarky chuckles. Maybe I’m just PMSing or whatever, but I guess I identify with that bit in the middle- I really need to know that it’s possible for two people to be happy together forever. I guess I just need to believe that true lasting love is possible. I’m only about to turn 21 but I feel like I’m growing up at breakneck speed, and people back home- my best friends at least- have found the person they’re going to stick with- and I don’t even know where I am on that front. It’s just scary to contemplate.

Distance is a bitch. Time is a bitch. Space is a bitch. Life’s a bitch. But it’d suck to be dead, so here we go.