[First published on 24 February 2010…..for all those we loved and let slip through our fingers]
I’ve written to you every day since you left. Formulating sentences in my head and stringing together words that hopelessly fail to capture the depth of what I feel.
I have written to you every day since you left. My mind tiring of the constant need to run away from the thoughts of you that haunt me – my heart tiring of the exhausting enterprise of trying to bury beneath layers of nonchalance what I feel for you.
I’ve written every day since you left. Failing to hold back the miserable tears that take over from where speech fails – a language that only an aching heart can speak. Tears – how eloquent they are and how I welcome them.
Welcome the relief they bring, welcome their silence as they course down my face for it would not do to let the world see my misery – for it is private grief no one can share and a sorrow I cannot seem to escape.
I write to you every day since you left. In a language of sighs and when the mask I wear slips off to reveal how truly wretched I feel – I feign a headache, plug silent earphones to my ears and hope to keep the curious eyes and inquiring glances away from me.
I write to you every day since you left. Crossing roads where we once stood, my mind refusing to forget, even the most mundane of things.
How perverse is the heart, to cling so tenaciously to every memory, to guard so jealously every feature of your face and store so faithfully every dimpled smile that lined it and every frown that marred it.
I write to you every day since you left. Write – because I cannot bring myself to speak of you – cannot bring myself to get the words past this stubborn lump that permanently lodges in my throat… I cannot think your name without this flicker of pain flashing across my heart and I cannot bring myself to speak of you for the tears threaten to overwhelm me. So I write to you every day.
I write of trivial things. To tell you of a bad day at work, with the shadow of your absence hanging over me, to tell you of a headache that I nurse from morning till night from the constant effort of trying to outrun my misery.
I write to you every day since you left. To tell you of my long nights, how I still wake up in the wee hours of the night, in the room that we once lay trying to recapture the scent of you; knowing there’s no trace of you that remains – yet that night is faithfully preserved in my thoughts carefully stored in my heart.
I write to you in my head –every day since you left. But the words freeze at my finger tips and my hand refuses to meet the keyboard… so I know you got none of the letters I wrote.
Now as I lay in that room where we once lay; the wind howling outside my window – I allow myself to weep. To grieve for you as I have refused to do; for to cry would be to acknowledge that I am hurt – that the pain is real and not a figment of my imagination.
I cry now, because the yawning silence between us has not diminished what I feel; I cry because that’s what I do when I run out of options – when my mind has tired itself and my heart has grown weary of the constant ache.
Tears are an ugly thing. So pitiable, they are a capitulation – an acceptance that life has beaten me once again, that I must accept defeat and that I must embrace my loss.
I write to you every day since you left. I write of places I avoid because they remind me of you – no more spicy pies from that Oriental deli you loved and I write of the pathetic lurch in my chest that I can’t stop every time I come across the car you once drove, my heart squeezing in pain at the maroon sight of it.
I write to you every day since you left. My feet hurrying to work each morning in a vain attempt to outrace my thoughts – how I drown myself in work, trying to marshal my thoughts to coherence and gather my scattered emotions into a mask of composure.
I write to you every day since you left. I write to tell you of my longing, of my yearning and of my impossible love for you.
Impossible because you are too far – yet I would follow you to the ends of the earth… my heart leading me to find you wherever you are.
Impossible because you were too late or I was too hasty.
Impossible because our paths crossed when I had made promises I had naively thought I could keep – yet I would give it all up; my own happiness taking precedence over any sense of duty. I never was one who could live a lie in order to conform.
I write to you every day since you left. To tell you of little sorrows – of a cellphone that got stolen, of how my only regret was that your precious numbers vanished into the void of an automated voice telling me the number I’m dialing is not reachable.
I write to you every day since you left. Sorting through the clothes I wore when I was with you, the bitter-sweetness of remembrance and how I smile against my will as my mind relives moments that only you could have given to me – moments preserved by a mind that refuses to forget you and a heart that refuses to stop loving you.
I write to you today because the words would not remain sealed within the confines of my mind. Because for once, the fingers were willing to let the emotions come alive on the computer screen – to give shape to the feelings that elude me.
I write at last – fearing that I may drown myself in the attempt to drown what I feel and that I may lose myself in the attempt to forget you.
So I go through the motions – laughing on cue and pasting a smile on my face; I fool the world but I do not fool myself.
I miss you. I miss you as if —-
As if I could not face the next hour without you – and yet I find I do.
As if I could not face one more day without you – and yet I find I do.
As if I could not go through one more night without you – and yet I find I do.
As if I could not endure one more week without you – and yet I find I do.
As if I could not survive one month without you – and yet I find that I almost have.
As if I could not make it till the end of the year without you – and yet I suspect I shall.
I write to tell you of these things – of the irony of life: how life has the audacity to go on despite our pain. How the sun has the temerity to keep shining despite our gloom and how the birds have the gall to sing in spite of our personal grief and oh, the brutality of it – how the flowers dare to bloom while our hearts wilt.
I write to you every day. To ask how you are, to tell you that I wonder if you think of me as much as I think of you. I write to ask whether you still remember me at all or if in travelling, you have had the fortune to meet new faces and the luxury to forget old ones?
I write to you every day. To ask you whether the ache in my heart resonates with yours? Or whether you have perfected the art of insulating your heart from the inconvenient tangling of emotions?
I write to you every day. To ask you if your mind ever strays to me – if you ever allow your fingers to hover over the keys thinking you might want to write something to me.
I write to you every day since you left. To wonder what you’re doing, to wonder whether you’re happy, well? To wonder every other minute whether you’re smiling, laughing, talking, sleeping or walking. I write to tell you that I hope you are happy, that I hope you are loved, embraced and accepted – that you are treated with kindness because someone as precious as you deserves no less.
I write to you every day since you left. To tell you that I hope those who meet you recognize you for the special soul you are and that one day as you unpack your suitcase, from yet another journey – you may find the heart you unwittingly packed from Africa – my heart.