Under the starry sky they always met,a sky away from their home,it was a different country they met in but they both were from the same country,same city,their date today was like always,nothing really different,they walked,their dates always comprised walking,they both walked from one town to another,along the railway tracks,they’d go from one station to another,never reach the station or the platform,just separate from the train tracks when it reached a station,join those tracks right where the station ends,but they’d walk atleast four such stations and back along these local train tracks,it was a month now since their first date,except for the first two,all the dates were the same.
A few days ago his folks came to know through some other acquaintances that he was seeing this girl.They wouldn’t tolerate that,being orthodox and traditional they didn’t agree to dating before marriage,but he didn’t listen to them,he kept meeting her everyday inspite of his family against it,they’d roam the streets,they’d kiss for hours in the middle of streets that ran along those tracks,they’d stop and kiss,kiss for forever,madly deeply crazy in love,kiss as if they were speaking to each other through that,sometimes break into an impromptu silly dance,sing aloud,both terrible singers though,terrible was not the word,the dogs in the houses adjacent to the tracks would sometimes bark at their singing and they’d run from there,laughing like crazy,though his laughter was not loud,oh he was the soft spoken kind,sometimes she’d struggle to hear what he said,but her laughter like a monster,loud but like applying brakes to a car…laugh breathe laugh breathe…like hiccups maybe,so they were this young,crazy,free,stupid couple, so crazy in love that a minute apart they spent would feel like an eternity to them,she couldn’t let go of him,she loved to death,she hanged onto him as if she was hanging onto life.
That particular night though,she saw he was acting different,wouldn’t kiss,wouldn’t even hold hands,hands his hands she loved,she’d hold his hands and kiss his palms in intervals,from time to time,he had the smoothest like silk hands ever,though his palms had blisters and calluses from work his skin was smooth,not much hairy,very smooth,but that day he didn’t let her even hold his hands,she noticed and asked,he told her that he was leaving in a couple of days,going back home because his mother was not feeling well,it broke and sunk her heart,how she wished she could follow him but life came in between them,they were walking all along and were near a train station when he broke this news to her,she couldn’t even stand then,just dropped to the ground,he was the kind who would never cry but that day to see her there broke his heart,he cried but couldn’t be a lesser man in front of her,left her right there,she was praying to God,trying to make sense,begging the love of her life to not leave,but he was gone,after a while she gathered herself,came back to her senses,got up,looked around,under the light on the platform that was visible from the road,she saw his tall,strong presence,his fragrance still on her hands,it killed her to even realise that this could be the last time she saw him,his hands,those smooth hands,she still felt the warmth of his hands in hers,it all came back to her,those kisses,those songs,those hands,his voice,his smooth skin,his fragrant breath,his laughter,she always told him that a thousand flowers bloomed when he smiled,they did,atleast in her heart,she felt it,a thousand fragments of her heart bloomed and shut each time he smiled,it all came back and she had to stop him,she ran to the platform,still could see him there,she ran for her life,he was very much her life. This place was remote,trains arrived only once in an hour,so she assumed she had time,she ran,in a few moments she heard the platform bell ringing,the bell that signals the arrival of the train,her heart almost stopped,but she couldn’t stop running,by the time she reached the platform after purchasing the ticket the train had arrived,she ran,the doors were still open,she couldn’t see him on the platform,that only meant he was inside,she ran,was almost near the very first door of the long train,almost there,when the guard signalled for the doors to close and she saw her life just slip away from in front of her eyes,he was in the first compartment,near that same door,he stood up and pressed his face against the window and waved her bye,she was too shocked and shaken,she only stood there,watched him fade away into the darkness,her life into oblivion since then.
She spoke to him over the phone after he reached his home,to his mother,and he couldn’t tell her love you anymore,he was about to start a new journey with a new partner upon insistence from his entire clan and she was left all alone,she was fine with the distance,just wanted him to love,wanted his heart so bad that she had convinced herself that she’d love him till forever,from afar,out of reach but in love,she wanted him too to be in love but he couldn’t see the charm,he was way too pragmatic to be involved with somebody far away,she’d write to him,mail him,letter after letter,he still loved,didn’t mind reading but each time he read he was left feeling numb,he begged for her to get a hold of herself,find someone near,something tangible,she didn’t want anything to do with anybody,she had her heart,mind and soul fixed on him and she wouldn’t,couldn’t for the life of her, let go …
one of her mails from those hundred mails she wrote was in his mailbox in a desktop a thousand miles away from where it was sent,he couldn’t bring himself to read for he didn’t see the point of reading it and going numb,he was handling well the heartache and life,balancing quite well,till her mail which he chose not to read arrived,it read…

tangible is not what I want
I don’t want that I need you
I need your heart will make do with distance
even if you’re another’s my heart’s yours
why can’t you see the magic
whatever happened to old times
when love spanned oceans
when love was unconditional
didn’t even need touch
lovers waited for ages
committed themselves to each other
without ever promising meeting again
all they promised was love undying love unconditional love
times have changed yes
but the poems are the same
we still feel the same
when we read a Shakespeare’s sonnet
so what has changed it’s not like I can
switch off my love for you
or switch it on when I please
it doesn’t work that way
why is delusional bad why are dreams bad
why is us not good
I love you enough to wait forever
knowing well we’d maybe never even meet
I’ll make do with your dreams
you say emotions well emotions are always involved
whether it is for someone near or far
can’t you see how I love you I dig myself up scratch the wounds keep them fresh
to keep feelings for you fresh to not let us wither or die
if there is even an us
clenched is my heart by your gaze
your smile I dwell there
I am in the air you breathe
the ground under your feet
I adorn like trees the lanes in which you live
the corners where you turn
I’m in the mirrors of those buildings
looking at you but you look right through
I’m those bridges you take pictures of
I’m those weeds which you can’t get rid of
adamant don’t leave your back yard
no matter how much you try
I’m the smiles on the strangers who greet
spread on those papers you read
the rain that pours on you that is me my tears
the sun that shines on you my warm love for you
the clouds that you look at
my love enveloped in soft packages
I’m all around you the earth the air but
as tangible as the sky
as tangible as the sky

and the sky’s everywhere

©Seema Tabassum 2016
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