Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Letter.

"A wise man once told me, "We can't change the direction of the winds, all we can do is adjust our sails and try to reach our destination." Sometimes we set sail without knowing where we want to go, where it is that the winds want to guide our ship, and how the storms at sea will treat us. It is in times like these that we learn our most faithful companion is our conscience, our worst enemy a broken will, our best guide experience and our only motivation time and greed.

One day, I too pulled the anchor of my ship, cut the ropes that tied it to the deck and set sail bereft of even the knowledge of the weathers I was going to have to suffer.

Had it not been for that voyage I undertook 17 years ago, you probably would never have had my blood streaming through your veins, and I would never have had to deal with the regret of seeing you shudder at the thought of being the closest anyone can be to another man... A Father to his Son.

Today, I write to you, trying to fulfill the last of those duties I never realized I had. I write to you trying to share some of the few stories hiding in secrecy of a parallel world I now visit only in my dreams. And I beg for this one chance to acknowledge you as my son, for I have longed this chance ever since reality dawned on me...

It was the summer of 1985 when I first saw a glimpse of that pretty lady in Blue. I saw her standing on our new neighbor's balcony, staring into space, smiling occasionally at the pigeons walking around her feet and perched on the clothes' line. Sometimes, I still wonder what it was about her that caught my attention, what it was that shook my world every time I looked her into eyes, what it was that made me smile even when she wasn't around... What it is that still makes her one of the most pleasant memories I can ever have. If there's one thing you should know, it's that I think of her when I talk about everything under the Sun. Because as far as my memory allows, that's all we ever talked about. But unfortunately for most of us, we can never get the things we want, the way he want them because they're not meant to be. We chase one thing after another, feel like we've finally found ourselves a place we'd like to make home with someone who we think we have forever, until one day the dreams we had, the ones whose vividness made them feel like a reality too good to be true, start smudging away like the water colors of a painting under the drops of sudden rain on a beautiful sunny day. But what the weather can't take away is, the longing to bask in the sun and all it's glory and all the happiness that we're brought up to believe it signifies.

I used to think that people come into other people's life for a reason. And I still like to believe that the reason your mother came into mine was to teach me how to be with someone when you know all their flaws. It was the best of lessons learned in one of the 'not so good' ways. As I plunged myself deeper into her mind, I realized it was a beautiful place, filled with questions that I never thought she wouldn't have the answers to. It was a pattern of criss-crosses that depicted the contrasts of her realizations that often only led her to believe that there was no way she could follow something or someone to happiness. As courageous as she was, I could feel her whimper to the thought of being unloved and uncared for. There were times when I could feel her running away and instead of stopping her, I only pushed myself away further, only to realize that all she ever wanted was to be followed by someone who wouldn't keep the promise of helping her retrace her footsteps but would hold her hand to jump across railway tracks to reach the platform that could help her catch the right train home.

We fought, we shouted, we hurled the strongest of words at each other and she, only she cried. Because neither of understood, or maybe we didn't want to be misunderstood. And with every fight we had, those dreams we had together broke, and we only cut ourselves deeper with the crude edges of the glass house that we could never turn to stone. All our lives we learn how to be the bigger person, how to forgive and forget, to let go and move on, to remember and shrug away the hurtfulness of the memories we will always have, and to love and try not to hate. The joke that life makes out of us all is that we keep learning these things time and time again as we try and keep loved ones in our life no matter how many times they falter... But one day, all of us run out of forgiveness, patience, and tolerance. And end up losing the people we thought we would always have, which only leads us to stop thinking about the people that will stay, because in the end the people who're with you, are the ones you never knew you had. And somewhere, that's what happened to me too.

My summer grew cold. Not only had the time to go back to New York  come, but the thought of leaving her behind with all the mess that I wanted to fix, left me desperate to find a solution to all the unhappiness we had created for ourselves. But even in midst of all that I had faith that this love was right, because she could belong to no one else. I had faith that she would never abandon me, because she knew it was my biggest fear. She never felt like family, but I wanted one with her. Somehow, the urge to be happy with her had taken over my wish to be happily married to anyone else.

I was in New York for about a year more. I wrote to her, I wrote for her. I made every promise to come back sooner than she expected and hoped that things would exactly the way they were when I had last held her hand. But how poisonous wishful thinking can be. It makes one hope against hopelessness.

But she was unhappy, and as much as I hated to admit back then, so was I. I found her writing in grief of her worst fears that I had suddenly brought to life. She crumpled her thoughts on loose pieces of paper that eventually found their way to trash cans and fires that she lit as an attempt to make herself believe that she'd taken one step further than she had the last time she saw the black carbon ashes in our favorite corner of the terrace. When I got back, the distance that we thought would do some good to help us realize how much we wanted and needed to be each other only made the brick walls between us thicker. What bothered me was our willingness to break them down, because we thought there were so many things that were better left unsaid. We did try though, but in vain. She was always right about me when she said that I could NEVER let go of things, whether good or bad. And she was right when she told me in the end, that she was sorry that there was so many scars that she had left me. And as much as I wish she could take those scars with her, they're as fresh today as they were years ago... The only difference is that I've learned to live with them. 

In all of this, I don't want you to think that there was never a moment of Joy. Even though there were more bad days than good, the best of days make me smile even today... And as much as I'd like to tell you about them, I think I owe you the reasons for my absence more. 

We try day in and day out to be good people. Some of us live in the fear of Karma, others in fear of losing the people they care about. But all of us try... But they're always those people we can never be good to, for whom we'll always be the bad people, the selfish ones, the insensitive ones.... And we get to live with being their biggest regrets. All of this.. Not because we want to.. But because things just happen whether you want them or not. Maybe your mother was that person to me. Maybe I'm that person to you. "

I crumpled the letter and tossed into the bin. Because he could never know the person I knew my mother to be. 

*To Be Continued*