Puppet


Staring at the last embers of the dying fire

He saw the light in her eyes shine through there

But when he reached out to understand that desire

He couldn’t; because he couldn’t dare

  Continue reading “Puppet”

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Song of the Week- Early Winter


Early Winter by Gwen Stefani.

You, you know how to get me so low
My heart had a crash when we spoke
I can’t fix what you broke
You, you always have a reason
Again & again this feelin’
Why do I give in?
& I always was, always was one for crying
I always was one for tears

The sun’s getting cold, It’s snowing
Looks like an Early Winter for us
Looks like an Early Winter for us
An Early Winter
Oh I need you to turn me over

It’s sad the map of the world is on you
The moon gravitates around you
The seasons escape you
& I always was, always was one for crying
I always was one for tears
No, I never was, never was one for lying
You lied to me all of these years

Why?
Why do you act so stupid?
Why?
You know that I’m always right
It looks like an Early Winter for us
It hurts & I can’t remember sunlight
An Early Winter for us
The leaves are changing colour for us
& it gets too much, yeah it gets so much
Starting over & over & over again
& it gets too much, yeah it gets so much
Starting over & over & over again
& it gets too much, yeah it gets so much
It looks like an Early Winter for us

Changes—Part Three


Jenna was staring at the blank canvas in front of her. She wanted to paint something; the need to put brush to paper was overwhelming within her because there were too many thoughts waiting to explode.

She was so busy, she didn’t notice the door of her studio opening behind her, nor did she realize the footsteps sneaking up on her.

She gasped when she felt the hands slide around her waist, she reacted by letting out a deep breath of exclamation, thinking of Jack. But he was swinging her around and the brief glimpse of brown eyes that she got were Chris’s before his lips crushed down on her.

She’d been caught unawares but she responded out of tenderness; his lips were moving against her with a desperation because he did not know what would happen when they parted; his urgency caught on to her and she was swimming in the taste of him, the smell of his cologne filled her nose; his hands moved up along her waist until they were cupping her mouth to his, drawing it all in.

She did not protest; she could not think. All she could feel was the heat of his chest around hers, protecting her. She felt safe and giddy like she hadn’t in such a long time.

When he finally released her, he gently stroked her hair; her eyes were closed and for a few seconds she did not respond, did not push him away. He waited and sure enough, Jenna regained her senses and pushed away from him, her large eyes fluttered open and he saw the panic in them. He knew what was going on deep within those beautiful eyes.

She turned away and still he waited; he knew she would speak when she had gathered her thoughts.

Jenna was trembling. He longed to hold her shoulders and comfort her but refrained.

She said, ‘I don’t think that was such a good idea Chris’. Her voice was shaking and he had the satisfaction of knowing he was not alone in the way he was feeling.

‘Jenna, I let you be for two days. I couldn’t take it any longer, I had to see you. I couldn’t have stay away anymore.’

She turned to face him; there was an urgency in his voice and his eyes were pleading. She sighed.

‘Look’ he continued, his voice more controlled now. ‘I know I enraged you the other day but if you’ll just listen, I can explain things!’

‘Oh yeah?’ she said harshly. ‘Well, try me!’

‘Jenna, Jack isn’t here anymore.’ He said, the urgency had crept back into his voice now. He kept thinking of the way she had responded to his kiss; he had been a bit taken-aback. ‘And I know what he meant to both of us and I know you think we’re not doing him justice but if you think about it…we’re not really guilty because neither of us cheated on him during his lifetime and now, if he saw you from up there, he would be glad to know you had someone to take care of you, someone he could trust.’

She stared at him for a while and then shrugged helplessly, putting her hands out in a surrendering gesture.

‘Chris all this is really overwhelming and new, all right. I’m not sure I’m prepared for anything yet. And I don’t think I will be for a really long time. I just want you to know that I need some time alone, I need some time to sort myself out. I want you to go away for a while Chris.’

‘But Jenna-‘

‘Chris’ she cut him short, staring straight into his eyes. ‘I really want you to do this. Won’t you just let me be alone with myself for some time?’

He sighed, defeated. ‘Well all right ma’am. You can have the time you want Jenna. Sort out your feelings. Whatever.’

He turned on his heels and before she could stop him, stomped out of the room, making her wince when he slammed the door hard.

                                                                                                             *****

A few weeks since that fateful day, she was slouched on her bed, thinking about him.

Suddenly her phone blew up with his ringtone.

‘Chris!’ she exclaimed into it.

‘Yeah well’, he grunted from the other end. ‘I’m sorry I know you didn’t want me to disturb you until you were ready but I couldn’t help it anymore, and it has been so long. How are you doing?’

‘Good!’ she heard herself sing.

‘Yeah?’

‘Yes Chris.’

‘All right, well I’m glad to hear that. Anyway, listen can you do me a favour?’

‘What sort of a favour Chris Collins?’ she asked, smiling.

‘Well’ he replied, ‘Its my parents big silver anniversary this weekend and they’re celebrating over at our farmhouse. Well, they wanted me to invite over a bunch of my friends because they’re really young at heart and everything, and they want young people around them to  get the music rolling and stuff, so I was wondering…would you like to come?’

She laughed, despite herself. ‘Oh I don’t know Chris.I’m not much of a party person really.’

‘Aah come on Jenna. I’m sure you can gyrate a little bit.’

‘Gyrate indeed!’ she exclaimed.

He laughed. ‘See Jenna. There’ll be a bunch of people you know. You won’t be bored.’

‘Well, all right Chris I’ll come’, she said simply.

‘Wow, just like that? No more convincing required?’

‘Yes just like that.’

‘Great guns Jenna!’ he exclaimed. ‘Now look, I’ve got to run, my parents have to talk. I’ll see you then, okay?’

‘Yes fine, bubye Chris.’

As Jenna Waite tossed her cell phone aside, a smile lit up her face and she was surprised to realize that she was more than eager to see Chris too. It made her feel warm and giddy on the inside and for the first time since Jack’s death, she no longer felt guilty.

Changes-Part Two


They bonded well. It became imperative to talk to each other every day. Over walks, drives and occasional lunches, Jenna learnt things about Jack that he’d never gotten around to telling her. A dog had bitten him once, he had beaten up a bully with a stick, he had won a local spelling bee contest, he’d asked out the hottest girl in high school to prom and she had turned him down…

Chris, in turn learnt that Jenna loved dancing and she had forced Jack to take up salsa lessons with her, at which they had gained enough mastery to consider entering into the annual dance competition. Jack had wanted to have three children; two daughters and a son and also a dog. Jenna and Jack had once been to a skiing getaway, quite impulsively.

Slowly but surely, Jack became the medium that connected their lives together through his normal and yet so important past.

Chris dropped her at her art studio every morning and picked her up in the evenings without fail. It began to mean a lot to both of them to be together every day, even if it was only just for a half hour.

That day, it was raining when Chris stopped outside Jenna’s studio. She was waiting for her, a mackintosh draped over here shoulders and her purse clutched tightly in one hand. She ran through the rain, he opened the door to the passenger seat for her and she climbed in besides him, flushed.

‘Some people from this renowned art magazine stopped by today and the liked some of my paintings. They want to cover me in their next issue.’ She gushed.

‘Wow’ Chris exclaimed, starting up the car. ‘Congratulations! This is just so great news. Which ones did they like?’

‘Thanks! Well they seemed to take a liking to Man in The Shadows and Semblance-‘

‘Ah I love Semblance’ Chris interrupted. ‘Its one of my favourites too.’

‘That’s all there is to my life now anyway,’ Jenna muttered, her mood suddenly taking a dark turn. ‘I feel like my life is a semblance. Love, happiness, excitement..all of those good things are just a thin layer on the outside.’

‘What are you trying to say Jenna?’ Chris asked quietly as he started up the car. ‘Isn’t there anything else in your life but the pretending anymore? What about all the good stuff?’

‘See Chris’ Jenna replied, staring ahead; avoiding his gaze. ‘The good stuff is still out there somewhere. But it is mostly lost.’

‘Well it isn’t in my life’, he said. She noticed how he looked at her as he said that, out of the corner of his eyes; some sort of a fire was blazing in there. And then they both lapsed into silence.

The car finally stopped outside Jenna’s house.

‘So’ she said. ‘I’ll probably see you around tomorrow, I guess?’

He was looking at her with the blaze still in his eyes and she had to turn away from it. Something in there; something unreachable was pulling towards her and she didn’t want to feel it.

He took a deep breath and spoke, ‘There’s something that I need to say to you Jenna.’

She had turned her gaze down to her purse now, her hand was inside it, pretending to hunt for her keys but she couldn’t feel anything; the objects moving against her fingers were impossible to identify. ‘What is it?’, she asked, trying to sound casual.

Her hair had fallen forward over her face and he reached out hesitantly with one hand to tuck it behind her ear. She startled at the touch but did not draw away; the parted curtain of hair revealed her vulnerable eyes to him.

‘It is so crazy, my doing this right here…right now.’ Chris said in a low undertone.

‘Do what?’,  she asked, still casual.

‘You know, just…’ he shrugged. ‘I just wanted to tell you Jenna that having you around has really helped me get over the pain of losing my best friend.’

She finally met his gaze, her eyes were pained and he was suddenly reminded of the Jenna he had found a few months back on the fateful day when they had first strengthened their friendship.

‘But you’ve done a lot more than just that’ he added, his voice almost a whisper now.

‘What do you mean Chris?’, she asked, her voice quivering.

‘Jenna, I’ve fallen in love with you.’ He sighed. ‘I don’t know how or why or when but…I just want to tell you that somewhere along the way…while we were fighting all the grief and coping with the loss, I started to feel more for you than I would for just a friend.’

He stopped but when she said nothing, continued, ‘I know how strange this must sound to you, hearing it from me…from your dead husband’s best friend but the truth is it happened and I had no control over it.’

He waited but she hadn’t moved. Her eyes were focused on a distant vision, something he couldn’t see.

Finally, she said, ‘Chris all this time you have been nothing but a friend to me. A very good friend, a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold when I was lost. And I was happy to think that that’s what I was to you too. But there never was and never will be anything more than that.’ Suddenly, she rounded on him, ‘Tell me. Was it me? Did I give you the wrong idea? I am so sorry if I did Chris, I never meant to…’

‘No Jenna!’ he protested. ‘Oh Jenna, don’t say it like it’s a crime! It isn’t a crime to fall in love. Least of all when its you we’re talking about’ his voice softened. ‘It’s all right.’

‘No it’s not all right Chris’ she said. ‘And you want to know why? Because Jack was your best friend and my husband. You were the best man at our wedding. Imagine how he’d feel, how very betrayed, how utterly broken if-‘

‘But Jenna-‘, he began.

‘No!’ she yelled. ‘You were there! You were there when we said our wedding vows and promised to be there for one another, loyal and faithful until our last breaths. And we said we would never, ever cheat on one another. We meant it Chris.’

‘Jenna’ Chris said firmly. ‘Jenna, Jack is dead’.

She had opened her mouth to argue back but no words came out. She closed it again; he noticed her hands were shaking in her lap as she tried to steady herself but he had to go on.

‘You had a wedding and it was beautiful and sincere but now your husband’s dead and he’s not coming back, Jenna’ he said, in the low undertone again. He couldn’t bear to raise his voice. He couldn’t bear to reveal the raw emotion. He looked across at her, shivering in the passenger seat and he wanted to reach out to her, touch her, hug her, comfort her and hold her. He wanted to protect her. ‘You have to move on Jenna’, he said.

‘Right’ she said, recovering herself. ‘Right.’

Before he could stop her, she got out of the car, slamming the door and walking away while he sat in muted surprise, his hands on the wheels.

‘Jenna, come back’ he yelled after her through the rolled down glass of the door. ‘Jenna, I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.’

But she ran to her house; he saw her fumbling within the purse for the keys. He wanted to run after her and take her in his arms and kiss her, let her know how much he meant what he had said but he contented himself with watching her unlock her door, go in and then lock herself in. He sat at the wheel until the light outside faded, staring at the closed door while the sky filled out with stars.

Possessiveness


I’m starting to feel like this blog is some sort of a brainchild of mine. I’m starting to feel possessive about it. I love the feeling; though of course I might not deserve it. But I love the warmth I experience around something I have made (written). Or something I hold very dear to me.

There is so much I have felt this way for; I have always been possessive about my books. Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. I lend it out with pride when someone asks but anxiously await its return, too polite to ask back for it but most people have this irritating habit of holding on to your stuff and not giving it back unless you ask; I think they expect you to forget all about it so that they can keep it for their own.

And I am possessive about my diaries and my poems, of course. And my ipod. But I am quite unforgivably possessve about my phone and its contents. (:

Off late I have also taken to be possessive about stationary, having lost quite a lot of it when I lent it out during the past year. I remember my friends, amused laughter twinkling in their eyes, as I sighed in relief when a classmate offered back  the thread he’d borrowed for his file, just after he’d finished his submissions, without my having to ask him.

But I feel some of it is good, really. This possessiveness about things and people. It lets you value things and hold on to things. It lets you gain sentimental attachment; I’m not going to be able to take any of these things out with me when I die but while I am here, its good to have a collection of memories and emotions (because things we own generate emotions and invoke memories in us after all) to help me tide through life with.

Changes- Part One


I found somewhere deep inside my drawer of diaries (back from when I was still active with my writing) a notebook of stories; one of which with the above-mentioned title, I have proceeded to put up here. I honestly have no clue how you might find it but I would love to know your opinion. Thanks for reading! Enjoy!

Jenna Waite stared listlessly at the box of old music records that lay in front of her. It contained a lot of the Beatles and Elvis Prestley but also Bryan Adams, Madonna, Linkin Park. These were all the songs that Jack had ever liked. Only Jack would know how each and every one of these songs had made him feel but those emotions were now dead. Because Jack was dead.

She had hardly gotten used to being Mrs Waite. They had barely got through a month of their marriage. It seemed as though bliss had touched her life temporarily and then flown away from her forever. She had cried everyday since the day he had gone, but now as she unpacked slowly, she realized that her grief had moved beyond the point of tears. It was almost as if her brain knew how hard the agony of taking in the flood of memories these boxes were sure to invoke would be, and hence it had blocked everything out. She was glad.

She looked around her. The walls of their new house- her new house, she quickly corrected herself- were beige, just like they had both wanted. There had been no arguments on anything; a house in the suburbs, a beautiful garden, a porch and a hammock, a miniature basketball court for him and the guys and a studio in the basement for her. Everything had fit in perfectly.

Now she had years of life to look forward to in this house- but alone.

The recliner, the chairs, the T.V., the tables, their bed and everything else- still wrapped up in plastic and she didn’t want to take those things out. She felt as if she was waiting for him to come back from work so they could begin unpacking together.

A car screeched to a halt outside but Jenna was too wrapped up in her own little world to have eyes or ears for anything else. She jumped when the doorbell rang.

It was Chris Collins. She had met Chris three months ago at Jack’s important basketball match. Chris and Jack had been best friends forever. They had worked together, played together and done everything together for as far back as they could remember. Of course the moment Jack and Jenna had gotten serious, Jack had wanted her to meet his best buddy but Chris had been in another part of the country and one thing or the other had gone wrong, delaying that important rendezvous. But once they met, it was only natural that everything would immediately fall together for the three of them; they were meant to get along, the two most important people in Jack’s life.

She hadn’t seen Chris since Jack’s funeral and there too, she hadn’t really seen him.

‘Hi’, he said with a feeble smile she did not reciprocate. ‘I was just passing by here and I thought, well it has been a while…’

She nodded and opened the door wider to admit him in. He followed her into her kitchen, watching her slender figure move underneath a casual white shirt and jeans. Her hair were tied back in a messy knot, escaping in tangles down her neck. Chris admired her in pained silence; so much loss and so much beauty together. He thought it would take his breath away.

There was much too much hurting between them.

‘Would you like a drink?’ she finally asked, her voice slow, soft and restrained. Chirs felt the contrast; he had seen a different Jenna some weeks ago. ‘It is really hot and somebody-‘ she waved her arms around vaguely, frowning as she strained to recall but failed-‘somebody just installed the refrigerator’.

‘Just some water would be nice’ Chris replied, smiling. Jenna nodded once and turned her back on him as she reached out for some clean glasses over the sink.

Personally Chris knew he came the closest to empathizing with her. Jack had moved away from home years ago and Chris was the closest family he had had in all this time. There was little they hadn’t known about one another, practically brothers as they were. Jenna had courted Jack for a year before their engagement and Chris had known how their bond had grown, he had witnessed Jack’s emotional growth during that period. Yes, he came the closest to understanding how she felt, what she must be going through.

‘How are you doing?’ he asked him as she handed him a glass of water.

She shrugged, crossing her hands across her chest, almost as if to block the gaping hole of emptiness there, her hips leaning against the slab of the island. ‘I am all right. And you?’

‘I’m good’ Chris replied firmly. ‘It has been a while now’.

She nodded and he noticed how haunted her eyes looked, and the dark circles underneath from lack of sleep.

‘So will you show me around the house?’ he asked suddenly, building up a force of feigned energy in an attempt to distract her.

‘Oh’ she said. ‘ I thought you’d already seen it…?’

‘Yes, but not with the furniture in place and also, I am sure there must be other modifications since I last visited.’

‘I’m still in the middle of all that’ Jenna replied vaguely moving towards the hall. He followed in silence. ‘I was still figuring out where the stuff needs to go…’

She stopped besides a half-wrapped frame that lay on the floor. Chris bent down and pulled back the bubble-wrap. It was a photograph of Jack and him, arms around one another; comrades pretending to be martyred. It had been taken on the night of Jack’s bachelor party.

She joined him on the floor as he smiled down at the photograph, feeling the pain and loss within him intensify.

‘You know’ he finally said, after a long moment had passed. ‘The only reason that I-I’ve been able to cope with this somewhat is because your pain is so much more intense than mine. I mean, whenever I think of Jack, I end up thinking of you too and that makes me stronger because I can’t desert you in the middle of all this. He wouldn’t want me to. He’d want me to be around.

She said nothing but as he looked up at her, he noticed her beautiful round eyes beginning to moisten.

‘I’m sorry’ he said abruptly. ‘I shouldn’t have said all this; I didn’t mean to make you cry. I-I think its best if I…I should maybe leave…’

He began to get up but to his surprise, her small and cold hand closed around his big one. He stopped midway , on his knees.

‘No Chris, please stay’ her pleading eyes compelled him to drop down on the floor besides her once again. She didn’t let go of his hand and he squeezed it once, gently waiting for her to speak.

‘Maybe’ she said, ‘maybe we need to deal with this together. I- I feel that’s what Jack would have wanted. And you are the only link I have to him and I don’t want to lose you, understand?’

There was an urgency in her voice, like it was really important to her that he understood this and he nodded.

‘Jenna’ he said, squeezing her little hand once more, ‘You must know that wherever Jack is, he wouldn’t want you to cry so badly, okay? He would want you to be happy and strong and to hold on better because he still loves you.’

She nodded again and now he saw the tears beginning to roll down her cheeks. He reached out and wiped them away.

‘And God makes your life so that you can deal with whatever it is he gives you. He wouldn’t give you more than you can take, would he now?’

‘I know, I know Chris’ she whispered, rocking back and forth on her knees. ‘Its just so hard, so damn hard and so unfair…’

He clutched her shoulders tightly and they remained there for a long time while the light outside faded, feeling one another’s loss.