A certain place where fireflies are asked not to wander

I have let you go. So many days have passed since you let me go. I have lost count so I won’t try to gauge. Approximation is as ridiculous as assumption. I have put too much at stake on my assumptions already. But right now I love to believe that I am free. Though, there is a damp ache still where pain used to burn. I don’t think I can boot them from the acre I had leased where sensibility had wanted to stay. There is a place here, where the charcoal headed matchsticks have accumulated after the evening lighting at the Tulsi pyre. And there is a certain part of myself that I will never retrieve. No. Not because I have been poetic enough to have gifted it to you. I had never even offered it. If you ask time to deliver evidence he would come back empty handed. I left the handkerchief in the carriage, and realized it as soon as I left my seat but I did not turn back to pick it up from where it must have already been maligned by the dust and grime of busy shoes… certain lethargy to collect myself. A certain part of me has been left behind in those soggy rocks of the vacation sea. I never cared to go back to it, already maligned by the dust and grime of unacknowledged teenage love. Teenage love… the condescension of those words. I have always found a rancor in the sound of it. Even its pronouncement twists one’s lips in a sneer. As if a band of broken lovers were jeering at themselves because they had fallen in love with the wrong person who had fallen in love with a wrong person.

But I did not fall in love with you. Love is supposed to be more fulfilling. I fell in a pit with you. The hollowness of it kept driving me towards something, away from something else. I never carried you like a chalice or hoped you to be my talisman. I am still too afraid to be near your shadow for that long, because I will break you. I break things. I don’t intend to harm people. But I do. I press the better porcelain wares a tad too tight I yank on the itchy silver chain a little too hard. I think sometimes that I never wanted to be so near to you to press too tight or love too hard. But you were certain moments of respite for me. Even in your absence you became those distant ghost lights of trawlers of the liquid horizon as soft thrash of foam quelled my soul. Or when I felt a numbing peace settle on me like premature death you came to me in vehement anger of hurt… in the turning back. Those streets have changed, old bricks broken down as they concrete their conviction of society. But I turn back. Of course you were not there. But does it stop you wanting to smell jasmine when the bare strip of your garden holds nothing but weed? You were to me those sudden hints of roasted spice as I passed the streets, and you cannot even be sure if that was your neighbor’s casserole or your hungry imagination. I still am not sure which one you were. There is pain here. But in its ruthless pledge to hide itself away from you, it grows wild orchids on rotten wood stumps in that place. It is quite a sight. And it convinces me that I have let you go. So many days have passed since you did.

You never did count, right?

Sohini Sengupta


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