A Faded Year

It has been a year now. I have something to tell you, for it has been eating me; something that the irrelevant last pages of the unsent letters have been screaming I’m words of black and white.
Since you’ve been gone, I have tried to find you in the lights of the city skyline and the howling of the tornado sirens. I have tried to live carefully, cautiously, thoughtfully. I tiptoe across the floor because the creaks of the floorboard spell catastrophe more profoundly than the radio silence you left me in. I have guilt tripped my way into putting away my pen and my better sense of judgement. Driven by my passion for memories, I flipped through every page of the album from that night – the night of dancing, storytelling and long walks; the night that ended prematurely with a drastic fall. Longing for evidence to disprove my insanity, I have only come up short.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. And here I am, scribbling the time with you in the margins of my life. I am sorry, the ticking hands escaped me. Now I see you, shoulders tensing at your sight, realising that flowers are the heaviest when placed on a grave.

~Ritika

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History

There is a lot of history on these

streets. We are the debris of the same

disaster – I am the creation, and you

are the process of reconstruction.

Darling, you paint yourself a better

picture – watercolour skies instead 

of brooding storms. And yet

they say you look like me – the same

dark eyes, nose bridge and the

gentle smile. We make a 

really good team, we do. We are

the same gunshot in the dead

of the night – you are the trigger, I 

am the safety lock. I wish I could do more

to make you feel better,

today. I wish I could show 

you how the sun breaking through

the curtains will chase your 

demons away. It is hard to not see 

your parents in yourself. But smash

every mirror you come

across. You were given 50% of 

me to make it on your own. Do it.
~Ritika

P.S : For those who were unable to figure it out, this is a poor recreation of the advice my father gave me 🙂

Give Me Summer

These are the days when you look at someone and it doesn’t matter how close you get physically; you don’t care about intimacy, the grasping hands, the sharp breaths. These are the days when you feel like a real person – thick flesh, sturdy bones. Someone who on other days is a passing cloud, only a temporary state – coming and going at the commands of people who did not love you. Someone who, now, is starting to dance under the moonlight near the dark ocean water. You are dancing with someone, not caring for the world.
Until the music ends. When you look up at the stars and within the blink of an eye, the moment passes and all it left you with was its memory. And yet you will not memorise every freckle on his cheek in your chest; your mouth will not taste of regret; you will not send letters with no return address. Even though his memory lingers in your burnt tongue, it will not ruin the taste of whatever you choose to consume next.
Summer makes you realise that one can love someone for a period of time that isn’t forever.
Now is sufficient. Forever is contingent.
Give me now.
Give me summer.
~Ritika

A Letter to My Sister (for when she turns 18)

Dear … No. No terms of endearment. It is time that you learnt that the world will not greet you like old friends. Sometimes, even you won’t.
Forgive me, I didn’t realise that you were me. I shouldn’t be surprised, for all that you’ve wanted to do since you were a little girl, was to emulate me. And I wouldn’t blame you because, for someone who has been putting up a front, for 27 years, that told you how in control of everything I was, I somehow seemed to be the perfect role model for you at facevalue.
Mum must have told you how life was perfect when I was 18. Sitting shotgun on a road trip with my bestfriends, looking around as the world flashed past in glorious colour outside my window. Clear nights with a warm breeze and an endless span of the night sky with infinite stars to surround me as my mind is filled with a torrent of memories and slow melodies.

I wish she had told you how complicated it all was. Like swallowing rusty nails and crawlin my way towards somethings didn’t even know I actually wanted. I wish I could rewire my brain to not care so much, to stop overthinking, to stop going a million miles an hour, to let me rest. Where they saw skin, I saw bruises. I wish she had told you that I was a friendless Friday evening, a burnt piece of something sweet. My smiles were empty and my chest was only a faint echo of a lost heartbeat.

Forgive me, I didn’t realise you were me.
I wrote imprecise ballads and weaved stars and tornadoes into my words, that’s what you heard from Dad.

I wish you had heard that I wanted to paint galaxies, worlds and storms, but I wasn’t that great with the manifestation of colours. I loved art but I could not create a masterpiece, nearly as alive and enrapturing. I was willing to break myself on the wheel for it. I wish you had heard how skeleton hands never did stop shaking me awake at 4 am. The past sinked into my veins. When 4 am tells you, “You can’t do this anymore,” you believe it. It was a well-rehearsed dream. Chaos and anarchy. Dark clouds and limitless bounds. Rage made my blood, and terror, my bones.

Forgive me, I didn’t realise you were me.
Today I see the stars in your eyes shine particularly bright – like fireworks and fireflies that, despite being vastly different, cause equal wonder when seen up close.

You may be told that you are meant for a clichè novel-esque life. But resist, little girl. There is something bold about being defiant. There is something about having soft petal skin and still showing sharp teeth. You have 27 bones in your hands, all structured beautifully to hold your world down for you. Remember, no one wearing a crown comes in the name of peace.
Now you know the colour, the texture, the softness of my mind; what my veins knot into; what the underside of my restricted, most private thoughts is like. Now, I believe is time to tell you what this inconsistent rambling has been building up to.
Let nothing, ever, stop you from going back to the start, to commence a new journey, to kickoff something that you and I will remember for the remainder of our breaths. Do not let the lazy days in and the feverish nights out faze you. And though the a heart will break as many times as it needs to, you will still find another reason to pull trust from the stars. There is no white knight, no dragon, no tower. If you’re waiting to be rescued, don’t. Become your own hero. And when the night exchanges your blanket with fear, I will pick you up, dust you off and walk with you to the sunrise.

Love,

The one who you wanted to be