Tuesday, April 9, 2013


he makes an odd face. what? 'nothing.' a few moments pass. what?
'your poor mother'. a few more moments. 'it's hard to think of you as the easy child'.
(a few more moments).
when i was six (i remember this, or its fantasy, but i know it's real, mom and i have discussed it so many times 'remember that time...') i remember this , my sister must have been a week old , my mother coming down the stairs to where i was playing - on the rug - this one here (i point to the rug under the coffee table that my mother gave me as a house-warming present. the one i used to play on as a child. and that was in the formal dining room when my mother was a child) and said q-jaan: grow up now. i don't have time for you anymore. you have to be a man now.____And then walked away.


it's 11:30pm i decide to pair my grilled cheese sandwich with coke. glass bottle. small glass bottle - barely a few sips in it. i can smell it already when i open the lid. the first sip tastes like dark medicine. feels like warm, softened blood. so this is what it is to be a man. to make this decision. to drink coke with my snack. to feel it sting the back of my sore throat. to wish for nonexistence but settle for coke at 11:30pm.


well done for yesterday she says as i walk past, it takes me a moment to understand what she's speaking about, i've never seen that happen that's... it means something. congratulations. she's the secretary for another group, a few cubicles down from mine. i say 'hello kat' every morning when she walks in. i sit opposite the door. i don't know what to say. it seems whenever everybody looks away i don't know what to say. she's caught me off guard. i smile the best i can and nod and say th-thankyou. and scurry away whichever way i came from went.

two days earlier, in the kitchen, a different secretary fills her water bottle as i make my tea. so are you happy? she asks.
- do i look happy?
- yes, you're always smiling, that's why i ask.
- but how big is my smile?
- it's big.
- and you think i'm crying softly on the inside?
- who said softly?
i smile at her, which we both ignore as we stare into each other. looking around the caves inside the holes of our eyes. (i wonder what she can see. if she can see).
this is my happy face i say.
- face huh? (and with that she walks away).


she wants to come over. maybe later. i'm happy just being alone right now. it's slower that way. i need slower. when i wake in the morning i'm out of breath.
___she insists.
maybe it'll do me good. i try to think of her body, but it doesn't help. i'm beyond that now. it's gone away. this flavour of loneliness needs something else.
___i'm happy just being alone right now. (even as i type it a second time i know it's a lie).


- it's a book - about the whole corporate thing - lawyers, bankers, CEOs and how miserable they all are.
- oh i can't read that.
- why not? sounds like that whole... like your thing.
- probably is. but i've had my mid-20s crises. ain' nobody got mo time fo dat.
- you think it'll mind-f&ck you?
- no. i think i'll pack my bags and disappear.
- as ifffff
- sweetheart, you don't know me.
(someone jumps in:
- he can't leave he's the star now
- what!?
- you don't know?
___- alright that's enou-
- did you go to the monday meeting?
- no, wha  -
[at which point he got up and left]


my hand shakes from all the caffeine. i have no choice. i'd be asleep by 3 without it. slumped in my chair. grey, with my corpse wheezing and muttering from a last minute nightmare. so i drink another. a sharp pain starts in my stomach. i clench my teeth.


i like your beard she says. thankyou. i was hoping you would approve. i'll add your name to the list of people who approve.
- i've never kissed someone with a beard, what's it like?
- i don't know. i haven't either.
- how will i ever find out?

she returns my gaze and doesn't look away.

what i want to tell her is that my family is falling apart and i hate my job and my life and my body and i want to slam her against the wall and kiss her and i love her wit and kiss her ankles and squeeze her neck and kiss her chest and her constitutional theories and redeem everything i hate about everything in her body which i want to wear like a flower.

i wonder if she sees that as i stare at her.

she's leaving in a few months.




Anonymous said...

To wish for non-existence but settle for a coke.... at six....

This line landed like a punch to the solar plexes. I don't know whether to commend you on good writing or curse you for writing too well.


K. said...

this made me cry.