Sunday, 28 February 2016

To You, The Boy From Far Away

(Backstory: Most of my To You letters are written after long phone-calls and email exchange interviews, this was the first which happened over several cups of coffee and too-loud laughter. This letter is not for a boy (though, of course there is a boy). This is for a feeling which, in the white noise of everyday and too many internet trolls, sometimes comes far too rarely. With this girl it took years coming and the letter is so she can trap it on paper for posterity.
For those who are suckers for plot-outlines: these two kids aren’t "officially dating"; they’re not more but they’re not less either. They’re stuck somewhere in the interesting: in the in-between).

To You
The Boy From Far Away,

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of memory. 

The way it lends itself more to what’s happening right now than to what has already happened. Maybe this is what makes me want to rush in like a firefighter and scoop all the sounds and sights and smells and tastes on my tongue and ledger them in a ruled notebook, alphabetically for posterity.

Maybe this is why, I’ve always had trouble thinking and talking linearly and why I can’t tell beginnings apart from endings. And yet, I remember you with a fluorescent burn clarity from that party I never intended to go to.
I was running late, with a mocking half fever and absolutely no desire to meet “new people”. My best friend badgered me through a slew of two word texts and there I was, waiting for her, because like always she was running on promises and behind time. I want to say I saw you glimmering through the crowd but the only time I remember you is when suddenly for the first time that night the “my name is this/this is what I do/etc” conversation actually had my attention. 
The gauzy haze of wine, mostly white, intensified my interest in your interest of me.

This is how I’m doing most of the retelling, through feelings and Granta-approved  detailed anecdotes. Wondering if what I feel for you today is shiny, sparkling brand-new? Or is it a lumbering awakening of what I felt before, the last time I started to fall into love and a relationship? 
That was 10 years ago; five of which were spent in a beautiful relationship and five in unwrapping myself from its hold.
That’s what you did, BoyFromFarAway, you smashed your too-tall self through the explanations, flow chart order, grand plans and way of life I’d outlined for myself. 

I'd pledged allegiance to the church of the Agnostic to Love. I’d eventually wanted a companion, sure. Someone I loved and wanted to go home to, but here you have me fussing over the texture of your voice. The slow drawl of the “hey”, each time you call, and the way you make my insides squeal, dance and behave like a 14 year old girl at a concert. I stare at my phone far too often, willing for you to text and I’m a distracted heap of nerves during meetings when you do. I’m alien to my own body and it’s mutinous defiance of the importance of a working Monday!
Was it only a few weeks ago when we were at my house drinking merlot? Your fascination with full-bodied wines being a point of such deep interest to me that I wonder why sociologists, anthropologists and artists aren’t dropping everything and paying attention to this fact and its obviously startling beauty. So there we were, drinking Merlot and talking and soon it was 4.30am. 
We’re warriors of time, you and I, when we’re together. Beating it, bending it and slipping in and out of black holes of sleep, schedules and pauses; what Amelia Earhart I think was really attempting to do.

Which is what I almost told you that evening when I spent an hour discussing my theories of the multiverse with you. I self-edited hastily, which I’m excellent at and wondered if I was talking too much? But you taste my rambles, like you do wine: swirling what I say inside your mouth, keeping my point of view there and never forgetting to savour. 
I do the same with your operatic silences. I can lie on my back and float through all that stillness with you. It was in one of these silences when I first mentally mapped your body. Knowing well that if I was an architect or had any way with brick and mortar, I’d draw buildings and cities in tribute: clean lines, angular planes, sharp symmetry but once inside: all home.

In my home, my mom wrapped us in hugs more than blankets when we were growing up and yet a part of me never learnt how to give affection, always hungry silently though for its receipt. I’d forgotten how to be affectionate with touch.  You brought tenderness back into my life, and I’m not quite sure how to navigate it. Next time just don’t kiss my forehead so easily and carelessly. It’s unchartered territory and leaves me more vulnerable than my rambles can find words to explain. 

I don’t know if this is scary for you to read. Spelt out loud, in text.
How much intensity of emotion is ok to display? For your health? For that of others? 
Those are questions I never felt I needed to answer, until now. Because I find myself wanting to spend my evenings, bleary-eyed as I may be the next morning, with you. Like that work Wednesday when we ran into each other at the bar. I promised to stay for a drink, rapidly forgetting my own internal scoff of promises (especially those I recklessly, valiantly and repeatedly make to myself). Details flutter away from my hold, but I remember fragrances, too many wearied, dismembered peanut shells strewn around our table and all the energy of all the world intensified around your mouth, as you told me stories from when you were 15: the boy in high school who played too much football and built a house with his grandfather from scratch.

So what next, Boy From Far Away?
Maybe we’ll have grander adventures. Maybe we’ll officially date. Maybe we’ll succumb to those famous thrill-dulling vagaries of time. Maybe we’ll walk into many rooms and laugh together at many fun-house mirrors. Maybe this too will become a caricature, as most things are ripe to be.
Maybe you’ll finally have heard all my stories and maybe I would have thrown a dance-party to all your silences.

Let’s take another second to find out.

The Girl Who Never Thought She Could. 

                              (In memory of evenings out, this one is from my fav one last year with my childhood friend at Perch, Delhi)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )

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