This fire can burn two ways…

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Our emotions are very much like fire. They can either roar with life or flicker down almost to the point of extinguishing.

The anger that bubbles to the surface and becomes evident on our face is like gasoline on a flame. It takes like wild fire, smoke everywhere, sooth clinging to every surface and leaving destruction in its wake. Our words sometimes get the better of us at these points and every control switch that we learned to flick off suddenly switches on and every insecurity and point of hurt comes tumbling out. At times like these we find it difficult to take back our words, in fact it’s impossible to take them back. There they lie on the table naked and exposed – your heart and everything that it stored away for your mind and your mind alone.

It’s okay, though to spout these thoughts because our shoulders learn to breathe and drop their weights at our feet. We learn to let go of many things and instead take large gulps of air after air. Because you feel like all the air in this world will never be enough for your lungs and you cower at the thought of what your confession might entail. Don’t be afraid. It’s okay to unclench your fingers sometimes and just let go, deep down even you knew that this fire was going to cause a major blast that would send your thoughts exploding in every direction.

There are moments that I imagine in my life that might cause forest fires and building fires and city fires that could end up destroying almost everything and I’m watching from the sidelines clenching my throat for air only to cough up a fit due to all the smoke.

It’s okay to speak up, from time to time instead of causing gastronomic destruction. Speak your mind.

Destruction always happens in most painful and impossible-to-fix-ways. Better not to let it get that far otherwise our bodies start feeling foreign and our skin becomes a home we no longer feel safe in. Don’t start to break within yourself. Don’t start to break parts of yourself away. Chipping away pieces is the first clue.

Learn to say no.

She once told me, “You’ll give up your dreams and what you want for someone else, because that’s just the person you are. You care more about others and helping them prosper in their life than about your own. You’ll let them leave without putting up a fight because you know you’d be happier knowing that their doing what makes them happy.”

This fire burns within us all. The passions and dreams and ambitions run in our veins. The dreams make up more percentage of our body than the blood in this heart. And it’s what keeps us going and pushing and careening towards our happiness. Learn to cling to them a little longer but always remember that you have the option to toss them in the fire, watch them burn and then flip to a new page to start again.

There is another kind of fire. The one that moves sensuously, swaying lazily from side to side just waiting for the oxygen to finish so that it can fall into slumber till all that is left is warm ash and rising smoke. Stay away from that fire. Never reach that point where giving up is more appealing and dreams that you see when your eyes are closed are much better than the ones you can accomplish while awake. I swear that fire won’t burn you but its dance will make you an addict till all you can do is watch it sway, captivating you in a trance.

Hypnotism works no better way. Don’t fall prey and everything will be fine. Take that aerosol can and toss it in. I give you permission to watch the flames grind and gyrate before you like bodies swaying in close proximity to music that makes the blood pump in your body and your feet move in unison. Dance a little longer, I dare you.

I’ll Be Waiting…

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The foyer remains well illuminated through the approaching night, almost welcoming. Yet, the windows have curtains and blinds drawn, glimpse into life not allowed. The apartment building appears well maintained while the creepers are ethereal; one wrong touch and they could all tumble down.

I see a fortress guarded well, behind gated borders and a force field that protects its foundation; a building that nature itself has taken upon itself to look after.

Remember when you said that we would buy an apartment adorned much like this one, so that our love would always remain protected against those trying to penetrate our fortress. You made me believe in a fairytale surrounded by skyscrapers and tall buildings, where we had a place of our own to create our own happy ending. You made me believe in our own happily ever after in the city, among the cars, buses, noise and people.

Now I wait on these very steps, each and every day, day and night so that you may come, whisk me away through the door of our castle. And when you hand me the key to our very own forever, I’ll clutch it to my heart so that every time you put it close to your ears the only thing you hear is the sound of my heartbeat every time I’m near you.

Our kiss will open the door wide so that without the other we may never find a way home and even if Ali Baba feels tempted, he may never get a hold of our treasures. Because I know, the city is littered with broken hearts and aching hearts and stitched-up hearts that will look to us in disdain. I want to give them hope so that they may love again and those who want nothing more than to see our downfall, let’s promise to always keep them at a distance. So that our happiness, our sorrows, our lives remain unaffected by their actions.

But these creepers grow denser and you take three steps back every time you take one step forward. All the dreams we saw together, the future we imagined now rests between us except you keep moving further away.

I still believe, even if I appear pitiful but these steps are where you’ll find me. Because I tasted our happily ever after and now I find myself an addict, for even your simplest touch can make me relapse. I’ll warm these steps for your return and I know the city is big and hearts are littered all over the sidewalk but mine has always rested near this foyer. Let its light guide you back to me and let my love beat its song once more.

You told me it was fleeting like a bird thrown out of its nest before it has a chance to spread its wings and in that moment of freefall it has a decision to make and if it chooses to flap and flap and flap then even the sun learns to clap for it. I hoped that somehow you would learn to fly but the step towards the fall was not a risk you wanted to take.

And on this journey I learned self-love while you missed the intersection along the way which is why I ask you to shut off Siri and listen to my voice drone out directions.

Put on your running shoes, place them on tight and take a left from your broken thoughts, the first right will lead you back there so ignore it. Take the second right, the street will be titled ‘Self-Love’ take small, steady steps till you reach the second left. The street is ‘Wishing Arbor’ where the people scream their wishes to the sky. I want you to scream it out, so that even you know what you want. Keep going straight till you reach the bridge, cross it with the expectation that when you reach the other side you’ll give it your all. When you’re on the other side…you’ll know where to find me.

I’ll be waiting. I’ll always be waiting.

Farzana Parveen

A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death and killed by her family outside a high court in the Pakistani city of Lahore, for marrying the man she fell in love with. Parveen was killed in broad daylight, in the presence of several bystanders, in front of the top court in the second largest city in Pakistan.

Its time I taught you
All Rumi etched onto my skin
And breathed into my heart
For love is not a sin that
I am guilty of

I imagine her cries
At night they haunt me
Her pleas
She shouldn’t have had to make
Were you blind to her crumbling before you?

I see bricks raining down on her
Each blow aimed to kill
Her outstretched hand
Grasping at the future
Being torn away

Tell me
Do you see her as you cradle your daughter
Whispering lullabies
Kissing the monsters away
You teach her love every single day

Every time I close my eyes
I hear that last gasp of breath
When her lungs gave up
Her heart succumbed
And her eyes remained open
So she could always remember the faces of those she called her kin

Tell me
Were her cries not enough
To bring you to your knees
Were her pleas not enough
To make you shudder in your skin

Claim all you want
That those outside our lands
Pollute our systems
Our lives
Our people
But how do you plan to justify this?

Tell me
How do you fall asleep at night
Safely tucked away
When you stood by
Shoving popcorn down your throat
Watching the smash hit play out before you

One hand would have been enough
A drop makes a trickle
makes a stream
makes a river
makes a sea
makes an ocean
Why weren’t your hands raised to cease?

I wonder
Did she rest her head on the concrete
Where once her feet stood
Among the feet of those around her
Did she helplessly look before her
As she realised her undoing
Or did she say a last prayer
Glad for the ending
For even as she stood surrounded
She felt alone
And even while her warm blood wasted
She felt cold and forlorn
Or have you lost the voice
Bestowed upon you
And by keeping quiet
You chose the path
Most travelled upon
Silent acceptance
Then perhaps
Sealing our lips together
Would be a befitting punishment
For a crime we all committed

It Never Should Have Happened.

It never should have happened. None of it should have happened.

The agreement. The meeting. The contract.

They should have never met. She should have never interfered. We should have never tried to change the course of life.

What was to take place, had to take place. The fact that we even knew our future was a crime on its own. But then we had to go about and change it as well. It not only lead to the death of us but to the death of all.

How could such a monstrosity have been created? Why must man try to find answers? Why must he try to challenge everything? Why must he make sure that life is his to control and his to make?

When they came to shut us down, it was like the world shook beneath us. A strange sort of frenzy entered my body. My eyes searched for loop holes. For gaps. For anything that could save my life. But I knew. Because I was a part of this. Because I was among the creators I would not be spared. They were just a few steps away from us. Only a thin piece of wood separating us. One I was sure would fall to its doom when it made contact with their burly bodies.

What I didn’t expect was for him to hand me everything. Everything. I thought he was going to leave. That his eyes had found a way out that mine did not notice. I think he saw the fear in my eyes to which he put his finger to his lips and pushed me to the back of the room. When my body made contact with the cold metal, I knew. I tried to make it back to him. But it was too late.

He had already pushed the button. And then I could see him no more.