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Deep breath….. It’s just a cupboard.

She walked past every section but stopped to pick up on of those little pencils and lists. She took  two steps forward only to take take two steps back.

“I think I’m going to need two of these, ” she thought, grabbing another pencil, “and another one of these,” grabbing another number list.

She walked, hunched, past families picking browsing through potential bedrooms, potential bathrooms and kitchens, potentials ……

She hunched.

Seeing a man draw his partner closer to him while they stared at a baby’s crib reminded somehow her to straighten her back and broaden her shoulders.

She walked in and out of bedrooms. Fingers grazed surfaced like silk and absorbing their feel like sponge. Then she touched something. The wood was smoothened but with a minimal layer of wax.

Opening her eyes fully for the first time she saw a moderately sized four-door wardrobe. A reddish hue tinged its surface.

The doors opened to comfortably spaced clothing racks and shelves. It was tall but not tall enough to make it unreachable. It was wide but not wide enough to cramp the space in her room.

Item number jotted down, her little legs took quick strides with wide eyes and wide shoulders.

The narrow pathway soon expanded leading her to the warehouse-like room filled with neatly stored furnitue.

She loved this place. The enormity of the space spread out the distances between people. There was so much air to breathe, and that smell of cardboard boxes, which calmed her senses.

A1380 …… A1380

A….. 1…3….

“1380!”

“Yah!”

“Huh”

“Hi!”

Startled she took a 360 degree turn and saw no one around.

She swore she had heard a man’s voice come from somewhere near by. No not just somewhere, from right in front of her. She peered closer into the shelf.

“People always get surprised when their furniture talks to them, relax. I’ve been waiting for you . I’m the last one of the batch left here on the shelf, let’s go!”

She blinked.

There was no one. Just 1380 printed boldly on a large, lone cardboard box. Everything else was at least a few feet away.

The box is talking to me? I’ve gone insane. I have been single for way too long. I need to eat.

“I’m sorry.”

He interrupted her thoughts. His voice was warm and soft. It very well could have been a woman’s voice if it didn’t have a underlying baritone note.

“I’m sorry, I’ve just been waiting for quite some time, frankly I don’t think I was ready to be taken away until now. I didn’t mean to startle you. The trolleys are at the end of the next isle. Grab one, come get me and we can sort the rest out once we’re out of here.”

“Oh… Yes… Oh…kay….”

Wobbly legs worked their way through the isles. She processed nothing, just grabbed the huge box in which her dismantled (talking?) cupboard sat in, and went to the counter.

Into the back seat he went. She sat infront and gripped the steering wheel.

“I’m Lionel by the way.”

Ok it’s real. She turned her head around.

“M.. M..Mel… Melissa. That’s my name. You talk. Is it the box talking or the cupboard?”

He laughed. “Cardboard boxes can’t talk, silly!”

“Well up until today, as far as I knew,neither could cupboards.”

“Fair point.”
It took her two days to put him together. She’d come back from work, turn the kettle on and the house would smell of coffee. He said he never acquired a taste and never understood people’s love for it. But in here, on her, he liked it.
For the last time she put her screwdriver down, swung the doors back and forth to make sure they worked smoothly and fell back on her bed.

“I feel good. It feels good to be in one, big, useful piece.”

” You look good.”

” So come on! Get your clothes out of those boxes. You have a cupboard now!”

” They can wait. I’m going to sit back and enjoy my craftsmenship.”

They laughed together. He liked this. He was home.

 

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In Your Hands

The doorbell rings.. once..then twice. And then nothing. It always does when he’s been waiting outside for more than 5 minutes.

Take a deep breath. You can do it, you tell yourself. Breathe . You clutch your old back-pack and open the door before he has time to open his bag and take his phone out.

“There you are! I was about to call you. We seriously need to make a duplicate for that key now. It’s been 4 months since we moved in.”

He comes in, drops his bag on the floor and grabs you. A tight hug. You need a tight hug. But you don’t give into it.

Instead, you say, “That won’t be necessary. I have to go.”

“Oh! Where you off to?”

“Jones’ Street.”

He looks at you with little curiosity in his eyes. “Hmm, well let me drop you.”

“That’s fine….” Just let me go, you think to yourself.

“C’mon Sandy, I just got home, I’ve been looking forward to some ‘us’ time. I know you have somewhere you need to be but at least if I take you there we can spend a bit of time together.”

Doesn’t he notice the back-pack? He never notices…You don’t have the heart to say anything so you nod your head in agreement. Maybe you can say more in the car.

 

He strips himself naked, washes his face, swings the cupboard’s doors open.

Did he see?

He grabs a T-shirt, shorts, skips the underwear, doesn’t skip the flip-flops, keys…out the door, you follow.

He didn’t see.

 

In the car now. How do you bring this up? You can do it.

His hand is on you thigh, a loving look in his eyes, that beautiful smile on his mouth.

“Jones’ Street is pretty far.”

“You don’t have to take me.”

‘Too late!” He laughs. “I told you, I want to.” He takes your hand, squeezes it. You try not squeeze back. You can’t validate how he’s feeling, you have something to say. You squeeze it back. Maybe this can wait. You’re going to go anyway.

 

He starts to talk, you start to talk.It’s half an hour into the car ride and the two of you are laughing.

“So Jane walks through the door, right after me and she slips.”

“Why didn’t you warn her?” You know the answer to this but you ask again, rhetorically, just because. Just because his eyes glow with a childish naughty look that always amused you.

“Because, because, because. Hey!” He looks up at a neon sign. “Shisha? It’s been a while, and I’m kinda hungry too. You hungry?”

“A little.”

He rubs your stomach lightly, kisses you on the head and parks the car. “Unless you’re in a hurry…”

You laugh, and mimic him. “Too late!”

Seriousness kicks in a millisecond later, your head’s in a knot. Maybe you can tell him now, in the restaurant.

 

Nothing comes out, except for this, “Did you see the cupboard?”

“What do you mean?” Puffs of smoke rise from in between his lips. The food arrives. He’s digging in, and he repeats the question.

“Nah, nothing.” Nothing? Really?! Didn’t notice your back-pack, didn’t notice the cupboard…typical.

Another half hour passes, and now you’re losing track of time. Well time’s not an issue. He needs to know. Dinner eaten, shisha smoked and  inspite of the fact that he tends to be oblivious you’ve had a lovely time. You always do. The two of you always do.

 

You’re back in the car.

“Oh crap! It’s 10. I”m sorry! You must be getting late!”

“It’s fine.” The keys are in your hands. You can go to Jones’ any time you want to. “Let’s go back home..to your place…I mean…”

His hand is in your hand.

“Our place, you mean.”

You say nothing. Maybe today is not the day?

“What’s with the back-pack?” He finally notices.

You stay quite.

“Sandy?”

Your eyes sting.

“Huh? Umm..” You briefly look at him and then look back down.

 

He sees it..your eyes well up. You see the tension on his face, his beautiful face. You feel the tension in the space you share, your beautiful space.

” What’s in the back-pack?”

You look at him. A tear rolls down. You stutter.

“I’m…I … I’m leaving you…I’m leaving us.”

 

 

Lit Up

So you lost someone….not the death kind of loss, but the kind of loss that you had a little more control over…the kind where you had too many walls up, and they couldn’t wait around till you were ready to break them.  So they walked away in a storm and broke your walls. And the breaking was painful but beautiful. Light came in.

All those you cared about and knew you long enough to be able to peak through some holes in the wall could see the light.

And all those you got to know were welcomed into the light.

 

 

Accomplishments So Far – Part 2 – Anushka

I’m not sure where to start because I never saw the things I did in life as accomplishments till I sat and thought about our bucket list. I started to realize that I was so busy chasing things, and beating myself up for not getting far enough, that I never looked back and saw the things I already achieved, the things that made me who I am today.

Here are the things I think I have achieved so far:

– Move out – Since the age of 14, I wanted to leave home. Yes, I was too young, and no, my family was/is not evil. I just always wanted to do my own thing. When I was 23, after years of trying and failing, I moved out! I was always relatively independent, even when I lived with my family, so it wasn’t difficult. But it was definitely more liberating.

This is the last picture I took of the first place I moved into. (I was packing up to move cities)

first big step copy copy
– Talk to people and be comfortable in a public place – I used to be an outspoken and straightforward kid. Somewhere along the line my confidence began to break. I became extremely self-conscious and found it very hard to just be around people. If I was in public, without a friend, I would get very nervous.

I forced myself to change that. I do not think there is anything wrong in not wanting to always engage people. But I just wanted to be comfortable and unafraid in my skin.

So I forced myself to change my outlook. I decided to say “Yes” to things, as much as possible, because 90% of my responses were “No”.

And the first time I decided to go to a gig by myself I met my ex. Thanks to him I had the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people and a world of opportunities opened up and I began to break out of my uncomfortable comfort zone. Thank you Martin, and everyone who I met along the way.

– Open up to people – Letting people into my space made me uncomfortable and I would perhaps hug one person, once a year, if it seemed like they reaaaallly, reaaaaaaalllly needed it. Now I enjoy hugging those I care about, and I also let them know that they mean something to me.

– Confrontation – Everything was always fine, and okay, even if it wasn’t. I believed that no one, and nothing could change. So I never wanted or needed to confront anyone about anything.

And I managed to get through life this way, escaping situations and cutting out people. But then it hit me, that sometimes confrontation is really the only way when it comes to those you care about. And it’s worth it.

– Pick up the guitar – I have loved singing forever. I thought that there was no way I could pull off playing an instrument, but I did somewhere, along the way, pick up the guitar. And after years, I’ve started making music of my own!

You can find some of them here:

Originals on Soundcloud

– Play at gigs/ busk – Playing in front of people seemed so scary, and it still does. But now, it’s the good kind of scary. I feed off of that nervousness and push myself to just sing. Although busking is illegal in the UAE, people have managed to set up legal busking points at outdoor markets and events, which gives musicians a chance to sign up and perform.

 – Put videos up on Youtube -I forced myself to put videos of me singing on Youtube to help build my confidence. About 4 years ago, I kept taking videos of myself and deleting them. After months of trying to convince myself I finally did it it!

Here’s the very first clip of a home recording I did

 – Finally, have more self respect – When we were talking about this whole achievement thing,  Hina pointed out that she’s seen me take care of myself much better than I used to. And she’s right. I had a lot less self respect before, and I barely valued my health or my sanity. Nowadays I find myself making better decisions for myself. My body feels a lot healthier, and my mind feels a lot clearer. =)

 

 

 

Conditional

I always disliked labels…but I made allowances for some…..like partner, acquaintances, friends, family (and by this I do not mean the ones you are born with) and love…

But once I develop the label, I don’t think much about it, because I commit to it. It has become a truth and it would, I figured, stay forever a truth. What I forgot is, change will happen, and my commitment doesn’t come with a ‘Bye 1, Get 2 Free’ tag. As in, just because I’m committed that doesn’t mean the other person will be, and the same applies to them.

Of course, Love and stuff is supposed to be unconditional, so regardless of the tag that the other person puts on it….it should stay the same, right? Right….well…not quite, I guess.

I guess there’s a saturation point. And the unconditional can become conditional if enough damage is done. Oh don’t judge me. I trooped it out long enough. I don’t know why I stuck around. I’ve questioned it everyday. But when it comes down to it, the only truth that rises up is that the love is still there. And today I realized why I question it everyday. It’s because it now, it is conditional. And that just doesn’t fit my initial label. Something feels wrong. Yet something is right. (I’m sure I may have other reasons, but I’m also sure that the fear of loneliness is not one of them)

So what is wrong now, is that the label has changed and I need to acknowledge that.

But I couldn’t even guess where we’d go from here.

He’s walking on a thin line. I’m walking on thin air.

Take What You Get

I’ve accepted that no one can love you more than they love themselves.

It’s a fact. Parents, hold your horses, I know that when it comes to your children you may put their lives before yours. But everyone has to also look out for themselves, and sometimes when we get mad, when we get hurt with regards to someone else, is because we feel unloved by them. We feel like they are ‘ungrateful’ for the love we give them.

But what if we accepted that no one could love us more than they love themselves? Then we wouldn’t get disappointed, we wouldn’t draw conclusions on  their level of gratefulness, or the level they love us.

We accept facts, and we accept not expecting.

Of course this is different from being mistreated (whatever degree the mistreatment is) and just living with it. Firstly, I believe everyone deserves basic respect of being human, even your enemy, and then when it comes to a loved one, there’s a degree of giving, understanding, communication, a bond.

And I guess all those things and more create the line that distinguishes friends, passer-bys, family and lovers.

But I believe that the moment we stop expecting this love to be absolutely unconditional and focused on us, us and just us…and the moment we accept that even though we think we somehow do “more” for them than they do for us we actually, are also only capable of exhibiting so much love…..then we don’t get disappointed when some gestures don’t match up to our so-called standards….

then we accept and give love more freely..

because disappointment…which we do not want to create….is also something we should avoid feeling…especially unnecessarily…because it creates little tears in our hearts that get bigger and harder to mend and can rip is into two, even when it didn’t need to….because people show their love in different ways…and although they may not have shown us the gestures that we expected to see ….there are other gestures that bring out their emotions…. because life doesn’t work like clock work…. and we’re not going to see and feel things as and when we want, especially when these things come from some one else….but their actions will happen in their own time….. and sometimes, there will be a coincidence….and that is wonderful, beautiful…. but in other times we can’t let ourselves give into our own grand expectations.

Those expectations, actually mean that we are really just creating the sense of disappointment for ourselves…

Just accept and give love more freely….

Let those shoulders go slack, welcome that back rub when you’re too angry to be touched, take that hug when you’re mood is off, hold that hand when you’re mad that you can’t lift yourself up…