He would have allowed it too, being as he was on the verge of wanting to rid himself of life, his heart skipping a beat as she turned away from him, her face blank, unafraid of the sword hanging around his waist, his grip tightening around the metal. So he watched as she transformed from the beautiful purpose of his existence into something unattainable, out of his reach, beyond his reasons. His eyes glazed over, refusing to accept the reality of truth, intent on deluding himself with the memories of a swollen heart, rouge with desire, softened with love.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of watching Nadeem Aslam from a distance, notice him stutter with nervousness and then smile at his joke, allowing me a glimpse into a dialogue that wasn’t for the masses. A privilege of his presence, his broken words weaved into beautiful poetry just before they fell to the floor, scattering the rhythm of silence. I remained still, intent on catching each of the fallen words, the reminiscing thoughts. How do you get over grief, he asked the audience, amazed at their presence as he turned towards them for the first time. Sometimes I feel I have never gotten over anything in my life, he confessed, surprised by the subdued laughter resonating through the hall. He wasn’t trying to be funny. I wasn’t laughing.
I started reading Maps for Lost Lovers late last night, and stayed awake through the dark. At first, I had to fight the urge to dip my hand into the weeds of words and sweep it from one depth to another, watching as the knots of detailed descriptions and others get pulled through the pages and away from the story I was trying to immerse myself in. I wanted to discard the excess and tut at the author for having fallen for the bait, a fault I am aware of in myself. But it didn’t take me long to realise that what I wanted to first discard, I now wanted to treasure. Precious words, magnificent images. Quintessential. I had mistaken my passionate envy for mild irritation, an obvious denial, every aspiring writer’s worst nightmare.
She is trying to write, crumpled papers lining the corners of her room, her mind miles away, remembering things she had previously sworn to forget. But that’s the thing with love, it never truly leaves you, only disappears momentarily, waiting around the edges of time, waiting for a moment of vulnerability, waiting and watching and calculating each stab, each slap of reality, of life without love. I thought I was stronger, but that was before I fell, and refused to stand back up again. She thought she knew better, but that was before he ran away with the family treasures, on the day of their engagement nonetheless. And I lie back on the floor, having lost to love yet again.