15 Hours Before Now

Sometimes I remember again.

The thought enters my mind
and I hold on to it
instead of allowing it to pass.

For a second,
maybe three,
time speeds across my eyes.

My heart sinks.
It feels as if someone has tugged hard
on a string attached to it,
the way a truck driver would
sound his horn.

My body follows suit, quickly descending
as if it is being pulled into a well of water,
but just before my nostrils
go beneath the surface

I stop.

I mentally shake my head.
I throw the thought away.
I have to,
otherwise this paralysing fear
will spread through my being.

I release the breath
I had sucked in
three seconds before.

I sit upright.
I take another breath
and release it.

This is unproductive.
It will do me no good.
I will eventually die.
I don’t know when.
I cannot change this.
I will never be able to.

Continue to breathe.
Leave death alone.
It will come in due time.

Do not ask questions.
There is no one to tell you
why you were put here.

For now go home and sleep.
You have a long day tomorrow.

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I want to bury
My face in his neck,
To close my eyes
And breathe
Deeply.

I don’t want to smell him;
I just want to hide.
I want to submerge myself
In the refuge
Of that small space –
The darkness
The closeness.

If his arms
Happen to rise up
And envelop me,
I would be
All the more
Thankful.
If he plants
A small kiss
On my temple,
I would fall into the depth
Of the reverberating emotion
That would result
From that slight touch.

Time
And space
Would cease to exist
Until our lower backs
Started aching
From the weight
Of both our bodies.

If only my yearning
Could overcome
The breadth of the sea
Between us.

It’s Okay to Flirt

SKYLARITY

One of the most common questions I was asked during my time as a university lecturer was, “How do I find my passion?” 

My response to that question was the same every semester. And that was, “You flirt.” The students’ quizzical expressions to my response always made me chuckle—it never failed. Here’s the premise behind my response.

People, both young and old, often ask the question, “How do I find my passion” based on the following mindset. First, they do not know and are uncertain of how to get started or where to begin. Secondly, they made an attempt to find their passion, but did not find any fulfillment. 

My response to both groups is to flirt, i.e., to experiment with different ideas until you find the idea that aligns with your person—one that brings you total and complete satisfaction. On the journey to discovering your passion, it is important…

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“While I am telling this man I want to live without him I am waiting for him to text me back…”

My mind is in a similar place now. I forgot that he had said he was going out to bring his cousin to her evening college classes. I have to wait for him to get back home, where there’s internet, so we can talk again. I don’t even have anything to talk about.

This is my problem, or our saviour:  I want to talk to him; I want to tell him things; I want him to hear me thinking out loud. Even though I can’t say the words “I love you”, I want him to hear me speak.

“But can you replace him as my closest friend though if I work up the courage to end it tonight?”

Except it’d be weird to have my closest friend swapped out for someone else. Except I don’t trust you that much yet. Except I don’t want to have to go over everything with you that he already knows. I’m growing rather tired of bearing myself repeatedly to one person after the other.

“Girl you can hit me up anytime.”

Joy and an aftertaste reminiscent of that hole Christians say everyone has that only God can fill.

  *   *   *

Today he gave me a compliment.

“See, and I like you for that.”

“You like me for what?”

I felt something like a 16 year old who had to tell her mother that she in fact didn’t want to be a ballerina, after her mother had invested money, energy and several years to her classes, recitals and shows.

I rationalised the complimented action, made it look like something I would have done anyway. I know it did nothing to alter his perception.

It’s been about an hour and a half; he hasn’t gotten back yet. There’s a student irritating me because she’s talking on her phone even though I told her twice to take the call outside.

Never mind that. This mindfulness thing, or whatever it is I’m doing, seems to be working for me these days. If no one else has disrupted it thus far, she will not be the one to break the chain.

Anything But Strong

Maybe there isn’t anything to say,
But there’s way too much to feel
And it’s too bad there isn’t a dictionary
Embedded inside me
So I could put a name to it all

This conundrum, these convoluted thoughts
That are chasing each other
The way a dog chases after its tail
And the same way it never catches it,
They never reach a conclusion
A solution
Or build a firm resolve to action

It’s a roller coaster –
But a slow one –
Pushing its way through frozen time
And busying yourself
With moving images on screens
And sounds from speakers
Doesn’t make it stop moving
Doesn’t give you an answer

And then you revert
To that old question, thought, whatever:
Who brought you into this
So you could suffer this way?

And you hold your tears in
Because you’re in a public space
And you can’t let the world see you
Being anything but strong.

Afternoon Talks

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“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I smiled, surprised at how good this exchange made me feel.

I hung up the phone and tried to call my friend back. I had dismissed her call because I was on the phone with him. I had 10 minutes until my shift started and I was curious as to what she had wanted to say.

Earlier I had asked her how many times she had broken up with her boyfriend. She said many; they had even almost broken up the night before. I smiled and asked how they got back together afterwards.

“I just wanted to know if this up and down is a normal thing that all or most couples go through. I find it rather annoying.”

“Yes and no…we go through it more because of the distance. Sometimes it gets to you. You start questioning if it’s worth it. You’re stressed out about it. And then most times you remember why you’re in it and you just kinda get through it.”

 

Messages Misunderstood

cranes

More messages. He calls me baby and I shake my head. He doesn’t know what the problem is. I say there isn’t one.

Things had tided over, sort of. I was trying not to think about it and move on, cuz it’s dumb really. I have a life I need to figure out. I don’t want to spend my time arguing over word choice that wasn’t bad or intentionally hurtful. I have mood swings. We both know this. No need to blow shit up.

“Sounds like you don’t want me to call you that.”

“Whatever you want. I’m window shopping cuz I have some time. I’m hungry though, but there isn’t anything I want to eat [the sad face emoji with the eyes squeezed shut]. ”

“Fine. So you actually have a problem with me and keep saying everything is OK?”

I don’t understand this association. I suppose it makes some sense, but that’s not what I meant.

“There’s no need for the ‘with me’. I just don’t like being called baby most of the time. The problem isn’t ‘with you’ it’s with what you said.”

He says he doesn’t get it.

More misunderstandings. More messages. I don’t get to tell him that going to grad school for sociology instead of social work is weighing on my mind. I’d prefer to talk about that instead.

According to him, he doesn’t mean anything to me and things are always fine until he opens up.

We misunderstand each other a few more times. I’ve grown used to this. I don’t get annoyed much anymore when he says something I can’t comprehend. I still get annoyed however, when he doesn’t understand me. Most times I just can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered with a lot of things.

He says for this relationship to work he should lie to me, because that’s when I’m happy. I say “well that’s sad.”