It’s time.

Hello,

If you find this in your inbox or on your feed and you forgot that you once subscribed and read this blog, don’t fret because sometimes I forget I ever wrote this blog. So..

Hello, again. I hope you have been doing well. 

Hope to see you around here more often. You’ll certainly be seeing more of me.

With all my love,
TheGirlThatCan

(guess who’s back, back again, TGTC’s back, tell a friend)

Coffee and Cigarettes

“My mother will start to worry
– Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor
– Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry
– Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more
– Put some records on while I pour….”

The faint sound of Christmas carols fill the air with a cheerful buzz, accompanied by a whiff of cinnamon. She absent-mindedly looks for her coat and keys, and puts it on. She takes out her phone and sends a quick text.

“A few more minutes. Need coffee.”

She puts on the only pair of rain boots she can see, and grabs her umbrella as she tumbles out of her apartment. She should have worn her own rain boots, because his are too big for her.

It’s Christmas Eve and everyone is out doing a bit of last minute shopping. She wonders if she has anyone else to shop for. She bought only one gift. Should she have bought a gift for anybody else? How long has it been since she bought a gift for her parents? She cannot even remember the last time she talked to them for more than a few minutes. But she does remember the last time her father bought her a gift. It was a bar of chocolate that was as silky smooth as her hair when her mother would brush it on cold winter mornings. They were quite well off, and she could and would have anything she wanted. Yet, a simple gesture of love was the one gift she remembered the most fondly. The chocolate had tiny caramel chunks that tasted like buttery sin heaven. The day her father gave it to her, she almost cried. They had just fought. Again. The small offering of peace restored her faith in family. She broke off a sizeable piece and offered the rest to her parents. She felt happy and content. It was one of the last and only happy memories she had with her family.

Her house always had the lingering scent of coffee, especially when her father was home. As things started to turn sour, that omnipresent scent became oppressive. Screaming, fighting and shattered objects became a frequent occurrence. She sometimes wondered if her neighbours had gotten used to the war-torn family that lived next door.

When she was sixteen, she declared that they weren’t a family any more, merely three people living in the same house. When she turned eighteen, she packed her bags and left, vowing never to set foot in her family house again.

Her anger intensified over the years, but also drove her passion to succeed in her life. For one of the last things her father told her was that she would never be successful at anything, certainly if she took up art as her choice of profession. Today, she co-owns her own graphic design house.

She tried to emotionally and psychologically distance herself from her parents as well. Her biggest fear was that she would turn out exactly like her mother, or act like her father. She didn’t want to become the people she couldn’t stand. However, despite her best efforts, she retained her mother’s penchant for baking and her father’s love for coffee.

Oh, how she loved coffee. It would not only wake her up, it would also remind her to be alert, a quality she always associated with her father. Only when her father was in the house would the strong, almost suffocating emanation of coffee pervade through the air.

She trudges along in the muddy snow, steaming coffee in hand. Reaching her destination, she winds up the familiar set of staircases leading to his apartment. The door is ajar. He’s expecting her. It’s so warm inside that she takes off all her clothes, one by one, until she is wearing only the thin dress she layered under all the coats. Sipping her coffee, she sits down on his lap.

He is facing the window on a settee with a cigarette in hand. The fumes of the cigarette and the steam of the coffee mingle, finding the same way out of the apartment though a tiny opening in the window.

“Did your mum call today?” She asks.

Taking a puff, he says, “Yes she did.”

“Did you answer?”

“No but she left a recording. The usual. ‘Merry Christmas and today is the anniversary of your father’s passing. I hope you pray for him.’ She knows that I don’t pray. I don’t know why she insists I do it every year.”

Taking another sip of her coffee she mumbles, “She’s your mother. She cares about you.”

Another puff, and he replies, “I could say the same about your family.”

Irritated, she gets up and throws away the empty cup of coffee. In the kitchen she takes out bags of flour and sugar.

“You should really stop smoking. Your father died of lung cancer. I’m not asking you to care about your family, I’m asking you to care about yourself.”

He gets up and follows her to the kitchen.

“You love coffee, I love cigarettes. We both know why. Some parts of our family life will never fully escape us, will they?” He says as he leans on the counter while she makes a cake batter, her mother’s recipe.

“Yes. But I’m your family now. And I want you to stop smoking.” She demands.

“Yeah, I’ll stop. I’ve been meaning to, anyway. Dad is gone. It’s not the same any more.” He says as he rolls his hands around her waist.

“If only your mother knew how you honoured your father.”

Turning her around to face him, he whispers, “Maybe bad relationships lead to bad habits. Mine is to honour the man I tried to get away from all my life by adopting the same habit as him. Yours is to make the same Christmas cake your mother used to make each year, all the while speaking not more than three words a year to either of your parents.”

She smoothens out the crinkle in his shirt and replies as gently as she can, “Yes, but my habit will not kill me. I want to spend my life with you, trying to forgive and forget our pasts. I do not want you to be my past.”

“I know. I decided before you came in that this is my last one. It’s been 5 years since the old man flew away. I don’t want to join him any time soon. This is the last. I promise.” he utters as he throws the cigarette into the trash. The empty cigarette butt falls into the empty coffee cup.

He breathes in. And out.

“Thank you.” She says before their lips meet and the taste of coffee and cigarettes dissolve into each other.

An Awkward Collection Of Poems About Death #3

 

The thing about loss
Is that it didn’t hit me
When it happened.
I didn’t feel loss.
Not when I got the call.
Not when I attended our last party together
Everyone wearing black.
Her favourite colour.
Not when there were two bodies
and only one person
that last time I saw her.
Pale.
No, I didn’t feel loss.
I felt everyone else’s loss
And made it my own.
A vacancy inside me
Filled with pain
not of my own doing.
And that made it worse.

It was three days later
I was checking my phone
And I didn’t see her name
Pop up at the crank of dawn.
She wasn’t on my recents
Only recently passed.
The vacancy started to fill up
With the deafening sound of absence.

A week later I was at a book store
I found a book with chapters named
Only in odd numbers.
She was an odd little one.
She would have liked it.
I almost bought the book for her.

Thirty one days later
That movie she wanted to see
Came out.
I went alone.

It’s just one never-ending monotone.
Sometimes you forget she’s gone.
She’s still there, you know.
Writing, eating, breathing.
Am I lying to myself or is time lying to me?
And my ears pick up the monotone again.
A frustration.
Of so much to say
But when you turn the recorder on
You realise you have nothing to record.
Succumb to the monotone.

A year and a half later
I shift to a new city
Unloading the pieces of my life.
I find a stone.
Our hike up the mountain.
When she told me
She’d move mountains for me.
And suddenly I feel selfish.
Because I had not thought of her
For a year.

The vacancy never really gets filled.
The pain just numbs until
You trick yourself into believing
You are as you were.
Whole.
Without loss.
With nothing to find.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking.

An Awkward Collection Of Poems About Death #3

The thing about loss
Is that it didn’t hit me
When it happened.
I didn’t feel loss.
Not when I got the call.
Not when I attended our last party together
Everyone wearing black.
Her favourite colour.
Not when there were two bodies
and only one person
that last time I saw her.
Pale.
No, I didn’t feel loss.
I felt everyone else’s loss
And made it my own.
A vacancy inside me
Filled with pain
not of my own doing.
And that made it worse.

It was three days later
I was checking my phone
And I didn’t see her name
Pop up at the crank of dawn.
She wasn’t on my recents
Only recently passed.
The vacancy started to fill up
With the deafening sound of absence.

A week later I was at a book store
I found a book with chapters named
Only in odd numbers.
She was an odd little one.
She would have liked it.
I almost bought the book for her.

Thirty one days later
That movie she wanted to see
Came out.
I went alone.

It’s just one never-ending monotone.
Sometimes you forget she’s gone.
She’s still there, you know.
Writing, eating, breathing.
Am I lying to myself or is time lying to me?
And my ears pick up the monotone again.
A frustration.
Of so much to say
But when you turn the recorder on
You realise you have nothing to record.
Succumb to the monotone.

A year and a half later
I shift to a new city
Unloading the pieces of my life.
I find a stone.
Our hike up the mountain.
When she told me
She’d move mountains for me.
And suddenly I feel selfish.
Because I had not thought of her
For a year.

The vacancy never really gets filled.
The pain just numbs until
You trick yourself into believing
You are as you were.
Whole.
Without loss.
With nothing to find.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking.

 

An Awkward Collection Of Poems About Death #2

If you die, I will let you be dead.
I will not try to resurrect your memory
Eulogise your accolades
So they forget you were a person.
Who cannot be summarised by anecdotes,
By stories that make you seem
Happier than you were.
Because you had bad days too
And demons
That got the best of you, it seems.
I will not speak ill of the dead
But I will not deify the dead either.
Because we both know
You chose this.
And there was nothing I could have done
To divert the path you chose.
I tried.
So I will respect you.
And I will always love you.
The way the living love the dead.

When you die, I will let you be dead.

An Awkward Collection Of Poems About Death #1

Heart rate increases
She slurries her sentences
Feels weak in the knees
Eyes dilate
She sees him like it’s the first time
He’s beautiful
She knows
In that moment
She knows she’s always loved him
Pulse is out of control
Her entire body melts
And she thinks
“Finally.”
Across the country, he gets a phone call from a mutual friend.
Her funeral is in three days. It’s best if he doesn’t attend. She needs peace in death.

Nothing

The truth is I actually have no idea what is right and what is wrong.
What is success and what is failure.
Who I should love and who I should hate.
What is happiness and what is misery.
What I need to do and what I want to do.
Who is a bad person and who is god.

I know nothing.

Irrevocable

I’m not afraid of what you think of me.
I don’t care
As much as I used to.
In fact
I don’t think I care at all.

I’m afraid of forgetting you.
Because I know
Times will change soon
Irrevocably.

And I will forget you.
Everything we’ve shared.
All your secrets
All your mistakes
All your little things that make me shake.

I’ll forget them all.
I’ll forget you.
And that will be a shame.

So until that time comes,
And I know it will dawn upon us soon.

I will stay right here,
And believe in you.

To the Forsaken.

New beginnings.
Is what I’m going to do.
And before anyone else
I’ll start with you.

I was so caught up
In trying to bury the past.
I should have stopped trying.
Lowered the mast.

And now in this season
Of happiness and warmth.
I call you to me,
We’ll celebrate, alone.

Pick up your phone
And dial my number on speed.
I shall answer you in good greetings
Even in my sleep.

Do not be afraid.
I will not treat you like an after thought.

So drop your heavy baggage
And pop open cherry wine.
I’ll drink with you, my friend.
For long ago, I called you mine.

Three and Five

I like the time
Between three and five am.
It is a time
I am pure.

I do not judge,
I do not remember.
I see my life through a memory.
As if it were acted out by some woman
Whom I have only known briefly
An acquaintance.

I see her struggles, I see her hope.
I see her hate, I see her lust.
I see how she has fallen apart
How lonely she feels,
How she isolates herself.
How she doesn’t trust.
Even the ones she loves.

I see the grudges she holds,
I see the mistakes
She keeps under her skin.

I see her fight the memories of a person
She cannot stop pondering.
I see how she hates herself for it.
I see how she hates him.

But I do not understand.
Why she insists on war.
And why she cannot lay down her pride.
To accept the wrong committed
On both sides of the field.
And forgive.
And trust again.
I don’t understand why
She refuses to take him back.
For she may never see the sun rise
Again if she doesn’t.
She is unhappy.
And I know she will be happy
If honesty comes into play
And mistakes are forgotten as the past
No black or white
Only grey.

If he were to ask for acceptance now,
I would grant him permission
Into my life again.
For between 3 and 5 am,
All is forgiven,
And I welcome all
Because there exists no history
Nor a future.
It is just the present.
And I welcome all.

Small Town Regret.

For S.

This is the kind of regret that hits you when you find a hand-written card from them, one you forgot to throw away, and you sit down and read it because why not? After all this time, you’re over it. There should be no reason to feel anything. But you do. You feel this kind of regret.

This is the kind of regret that isn’t the first on your list of regrets when you get interviewed for a magazine. When they ask you, ‘What is your biggest regret?’, you won’t say it was me, that it was this kind of regret. You’ll say that maybe it was not pushing yourself hard enough, or that regrets are not something you think about, or maybe you’ll think about not keeping in touch with your childhood friends. But no, you won’t think about this kind of regret.

This is the kind of regret you’ll find yourself drifting to at the most random of times. Its’s not the regret you’ll feel after three bottles of whiskey. It’s not the regret you’ll feel looking at the stars. It’s the kind of regret that hits you at 3am before an exam when you’re desperately trying to finish portions.

This is the kind of regret that years of shattered memories have made easier and milder to digest. It’s the kind of regret you’ll feel only when you find something tangible from our time together, a truth that will forever remain a truth. They say that every time you call upon a memory, your mind edits it a little bit. And I know you’ve edited your memories to make them seem hellish. It’s an easy justification for why we spontaneously combusted.

This is the kind of regret you’ll feel when you can look back in hindsight and know that had you said just one little thing instead of giving out childish, ambiguous hints, we would have prevented our maelstrom. That one tiny apology in the beginning that would have prevented it from becoming a matter of a loss of pride to say sorry in the end.

This is the kind of regret you’ll subdue till you think it no longer matters, till it’s so deeply buried inside you hardly think about. But this is the kind of regret that will hurts the most when it does hit you.

This kind of regret isn’t the glamourised regret that was a ‘life changing experience’ and taught you ‘the most important life lesson’ or ‘made you who you are today’. This isn’t the big city, flashy lights type of regret.

This is the quiet, small town regret.