20°, the sun unusually strong for a day in mid October. A woman leans against a tree, her feet bare on the grass still luscious green. Her bike right next to her, her head buried in a book – she makes me pause. A group of seniors playing cards on a stump. Fallen trees all around them like wooden corpses as the last remnants of a storm so heavy it knocked out an entire city for a day. Unusual for us. I look at them, the splinters, bark and branches. They make me sad. All those golden crowns depleted on the ground, the random specks of red like drops of blood. My park was wounded badly, I can see that now. And every tree that lost its grip with roots too weak to withstand a tempest on muddy ground slows my steps and makes my heart cry out. How vile that force of nature, a tantrum really, sudden, crass. Such a reflection of my year or less self-centered: the world at large. That’s why the woman sitting by the tree caught my attention. Engulfed still by her story, she oozes calm.
Missing you has lifted my spirits in a strange way today. I don’t know how, nor why but feeling my gut knotting up over longing for your voice, the sight of you, your touch, has helped me breathe through turmoil and frustration. My aching heart too preoccupied to care about things that do not matter, about developments that normally would blow my mind. But you keep me calm, my love, in the eye of any storm. Not having you a whirlwind of emotions that outdoes any other I have faced before. No pain left, just sweetened sorrow and the gratitude for knowing love, not just desire. Love, not plain but simple. Each thought of you a happy one, putting the puzzle of my self together, improving me. No fear left, no doubts there, none.
Across from me on the train sat a large man of Greek descent or so at least my guess, his middle-age bordering the old, his eyes warm and friendly. His arm full of roses, their colour pink and so intense they rivaled the beauty of a sunrise half-hidden in a cloud-cluttered sky. Next to him a woman, her skin mocha smooth, her red-rimed glasses giving her an air of quirky elegance. And as we exchanged a smile over flowers displayed to us in such magnificence, her eyes lit up infecting mine. It was a smile I carried with me on my way to work as I poked along, past worker bees and office ants and parents in a rush tugging at their children’s nerves, always ready to be the first ones at their daily crosswalk, bakery or coffee shop. I shrugged them off, their rage mild today, unfeasible somehow with the sun still lurking behind some sleepy clouds. So when I reached my morning hangout, my mood was balanced, frolic even – minus the fatigue I cannot shake without my first hot chocolate of the day. So I placed my order and my favorite waiter met my smile, then brightened it by knowing exactly what I wanted. “Almond milk, an espresso and a croissant,” he beamed, “Early morning order. Busy day.” I nodded. “And with a start like today, I don’t mind one bit.”
Your smile a temptation
Your eyes a maze
yet your soul’s bewitched me
like nothing else
Two days of summer this year. August 30 and finally a clear blue, no clouds anywhere to be seen except those plane-painted lines up high in the azure. To say this year so far has left me unscarred, my soul untainted, my heart intact would be a lie, but through my tears I’m finally able to embrace my blessings. No need to count them really because for every blow I took, a gift was there to help me breathe, so they were plenty. I just had to see them through the mist of heartache, rage and longing. My favorite season blown away by wind, the heat I need to make it through a long gray winter washed away by storms and heavy rains – the weather matching my mood so painfully, my life, my situation. Or was my mood inflicted on me by a sun just smiling in absentia, depriving me of energy and warmth? On the days that counted she was always there, however, shining through a cloud-cluttered sky. And although my skin’s still pale, my heart still bleeding from every dream that burst this year making my smile look crushed, these two days of summer have lifted my spirits and patched me up. With autumn fast approaching, I hope this vigor, verve and and vim will last.
I hear a seagull laughing in the sky as it passes by my window and instinctively I turn around to share my amazement with you, but you’re not there of course. I often feel your presence like this, see things I’d love to show you, details I know you would appreciate. But then I remember, you are not part of my life the way I wish you were and yet you’re always there. It’s that kind of madness that drives me out of my mind, an ambiguity laced with longing, palsy and desire. I close my eyes just for a moment, my heart taking me back to us first sharing an honest smile, a joke, a laugh. It sent a jolt through my body then, made me quake. I was so unprepared for how you made me feel, so at ease and yet so tense, reminding me of everything I wanted and everything I missed. It was then that I realized what an emotional wreck I had been and without knowing it, you told me why and showed me a way to be true to myself again.
Happy thoughts, I need them now but you are sadly not around. And although I know I should not rely on you to uplift my soul and kill that scream muffled in my throat, I cannot help it. Nothing makes me laugh anymore. Just a glimpse of your face or a piece of your art revealing your soul. Only you know how to make me smile like that. Your perception, your longing, your depth. How that happened, I still don’t know but I’m done questioning my feelings for you. I love you and that is that. And I love you enough to let you be and do not crave a hug from you to wash away my misery, nor do I wish to vent or cry. It seems so idle, such a waste of precious energy and time. So I’m embracing the gift of loving you instead. It’s a choice I had to make to get through my days without you distracting me with every breath. But once at home all I want is sit in silence by your side, our fingers entangled, awaiting the moonlight. And while the sun sets and colours the sky, your head rests on my shoulder and there it is, in my dreams at least, my happy sigh.
There they are again, my tears, because what you say resonates so much, touches my heart in a way you’ll never know but probably understand without me saying anything. I just don’t have the words to express myself to you, admits the writer, the one whose love flows right into another poem to hold onto them, my feelings for you out of control. Before you I never believed in that bond I feel whenever you send a picture or a line. But your timing is so impeccable, throws me off balance for you always seem to know when to say what I need to hear or when something preoccupies my mind.
“Is that a hickey you are covering or why are you wearing a scarf,” she asks, unaware of the wound she rips open by asking her question, the inner turmoil I’ve been trying so hard to keep to myself.
“Of course,” I say with a forced little smile, images of my dreams still vivid to me as her curiosity darkens my mind, leaving yet another scar from missing you so badly day and night.
You’ve made yourself comfortable in my head and I never really had a say. I see images of you come and go, always leaving me a little out of breath. Your eyes I usually remember first when you are not here but crave to be alone. And when you’re gone, I wish I wasn’t so shallow as to always revere your beauty first, but it is your inner wealth I love the most. Although I’m not even sure if that’s the truth, because from your eyes, your smile, my thoughts always drift off to the whole of you: your freckles, your mind, your laugh. I wish I could say that’s where I linger, but in my thoughts I’m always quick to explore your scars, dents and curves. And unlike before I do not wish to be repaid for giving you pleasure for it is your happiness I seek above all else.