Who teaches you to come back?

Travel—it’s a common theme these days. So many of the inspirational posts doing the rounds these days are about letting go of the vagaries of life and travelling.

Travel to your heart’s content. Travel until your feet can’t move anymore. Travel until your heart expands to fit the whole world in. And then, travel some more, they say.

It’s a beautiful concept. And travel one must.

But who will teach you to come back home?

Home with it’s chores and daily schedules. Who will remind you of their urgencies and the reason why you withstood the painpoints?

Home with it’s shackles and binds, heating your skin up that was, until a split second ago, cold from the breeze blowing against you on the tall cliff.

Home with it’s dull grey skies and polluted city centres, where only the young and foolish think they’re free. Wasn’t it not too long ago until you were one of those?

Home, where the parties have come to an end and the after-parties only rise and ebb in the chorus of the sonorous snores.

Home, where the 5.00 am alarm rings you, and you don’t jump out, excited about chasing the sun rise from the east. No, instead you drag your feet to the bathroom and drape yourself in the anonymity of dreary clothes.

Where all texts you get are from colleagues and a handful of friends left in the drainage pipe, ready to ride away the time train. Not, from friends made a few minutes back, making excited plans to discover a pristine hidden beach or get up close to a tall mountain peak.

No. How do you get back?

When all you’re faced with is the list of compromises you made to stabilize reality. When you have to relive the decisions—the friends cut off, the people you retain; the habits newly formed at the behest of old ones gone. Everything that formed the new skin you sew for yourself over time, shedding bits and pieces of the old one again and again, minutes and hours at a time.

Will you agree with each of those?

Would you take the time to mourn what you left behind long before you travelled? But adhere to what’s left?

Or will you rethink your life, change the compromise that’s no more comfortable, and chase after what you decided to leave behind?

How do you answer all your questions about yourself, the people and the world around you, when all you’re expected to do is be normal…again?

And so, you escape. You relive your travels again and again in your mind, avoiding the realities unfolding before your eyes. You forget the life you’re living, and love the past, holding onto it with a desperate vigour, all the while being painfully aware that those memories are fading.

Going, going…. Gone.

There. Now you’re back to reality.

Or are you?

A love letter to the guy who disappeared

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Dear you,

As autumn turned winter, you disappeared, leaving the bed an even colder place to be in that season. As I laid shivering under the sheets, my heart cried for the warmth of the moments when we laughed together. I poured over ever syllable you had ever uttered; listened to your voice notes to hear the familiar bell of laughter; read each and every chat, and cried or laughed along. Somehow, I held on to fill the gaping hole in my heart. Nothing worked. I wished I could turn into a baby that raises its arms when it wants love. As insomnia struck, my favourite lullaby was the memory of your lips on my skin. All the while, I kept asking why. Was it something I did? Could I have done to stop you?

But, time never ceases. Life moves on. Seasons change and spring came. I finally learnt to let go. It took me a year, though. But what a year that was.

I went from being a disaster to strength. From lovey-doveyness to cynicism. And then I healed. I finally gave up on you.

You came back a few months later, but it was a different you. I was not me too. It was not easy to look at the new you. I kept going back to those times we shared. Those easy laughs and conversations.

Finally, I learnt to see reality without the rose tinted glasses of the beautiful past. It took a while, but I did.

Finally, you taught me to love myself. To not associate the goodness in me with the actions of anyone else, even their love.

What started as a love story with you, ended up as a love story with myself. And I must thank you for that.

I would not call you a villain. I call you the lesson that I needed to learn to appreciate myself, to learn not just self-preservation, but also self-love. After all, in those times I spent alone and lonely, I only had myself. Tomorrow, when I am alone again, I know I can bank on one person for sure — myself!

It’s been all these years, but I still haven’t forgotten. I haven’t stopped loving you — the you you were that glorious autumn. I just love me more.

Thank you.

Yours lovingly,
S