Verses and Walls – Atipriya Dev Sinha

Disclaimer: This story contains content meant for mature audiences.

 


“Why do you poets never write about happy stuff? Your life cannot be this sad,” he says with a smirk as his fingers trace my eyelashes and cheekbones.

“I am no poet, you know. I just write sometimes. When I feel like it.”

“When you feel sad,” he says, correcting me. He is covered in a sheet, like me, exhausted after a night of making love. It’s strange how you often find comfort in the arms of people you barely know. But then the ones you do know, cause you pain, don’t they?

“That is not true. I just can’t force myself to write happy, even when I feel happy. The ink of my pens does not know happiness, they blot the paper if I force them to write joyous words.” He is staring at me and I realise I am making direct eye contact with him. I look away. Eye contact may be beautiful and intimate, but it makes me uncomfortable. It’s like opening a window to your soul, and my soul is broken. Fractured. I don’t want him to see through me.

“Do you really feel happy though? Ever?”

“You do realise we just met tonight, right? And you’ll be gone tomorrow morning too.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t want to know you. And I don’t think this is the last time we’re seeing each other.” The smirk is back on his face, but this time I’m smirking too. No one stays, it’s a fact.

I get up from the bed, go to the refrigerator on the other side of this room. Pick up a bottle of wine. Pour a glass for myself. I don’t think he wants wine. He doesn’t seem like those who drink wine, no, he feels like the bourbon that burns your throat, makes you warm, and leaves you satisfied.

“You haven’t looked at me the entire night. Am I really that ugly?”

“Beauty is very subjective, don’t you think? And my opinion doesn’t matter, I spent the night with you anyways. Are you sure you don’t want to just sleep or do me again rather than waste your time like this? Trying to get to know me? I’m not giving any answers, you know.”

“If you didn’t want me to know you, why did you let me read it? Your diary? With your poems?”

“You took it away from me!”

“And you didn’t attempt to take it back.”

I glare at him, trying to make sense of how this simple one-night stand could get so complicated.

His hazel eyes are warm and clear as he comes towards me, takes the glass of wine from me, sets it down and opens my diary. I try to snatch it away from him, something I should have done at the beginning itself. He keeps the diary away, pulls me closer, and kisses me; deep and hungry. As if all we have is this night. Maybe that’s all we have. He takes me to the bed, puts me down and keeps kissing me. I don’t resist him – how can I, when I am literally craving him, when he is all I need in this moment. He stops kissing me, and says, his breath hot against my wet lips –

‘The daffodils are beautiful, yellow

but they too are meant to be broken, someday

by petal or by stem

if everything, everyone is broken;

then who is whole? to mend us?’

“Don’t repeat my verses to me!”

“Ever thought of mending yourself? Being that “who” for yourself?”

I look at him. I am tired, I want to tell him. Of being that “who” for myself every time. Of letting my walls down every time, only for them to be broken again. Of listening to the same promises so many times that they don’t make any sense now. Of giving all of me to people who couldn’t care less about a piece of me.

But he doesn’t need to know that. He didn’t need to know any of it, and yet in a long time, I want someone to know me – I want him to know me. I want to stay here, with him. I want to stay because he feels like home. He feels like the cool breeze on your skin before the storm that comes. He feels like the fireplace in your cottage when it’s been too cold, and the logs of wood finally start burning. And maybe, if I didn’t know any better, I’d take a chance. Tell him this. Tell him to come, meet me again. But I don’t. Because I’m tired.

“It’s dawn already. I’m going to sleep. You should sleep too.”

“You saw me. In the crowds of thousands of men that you could have chosen tonight, you chose me. Because you saw yourself in me, your sadness, your scars. You let me read the poems because you knew I’d understand you. Your poems are sad because you don’t do a good job of hiding your sadness behind your well-constructed, decided face of happiness all day. So, you take it out in your words. But I don’t do well with words, you see. You see my sadness written all over me, only not everyone chooses to see and ask – you did. Because we are alike, you and me.”

“Your theory does sound good.”

“Because it is true.” He takes me in his arms – they feel safe, certainly somewhere I’d like to be. He kisses me on my forehead. “Sleep. I am going to be here when you wake up.”

And they are breaking again. The walls. My heart is warming, and I know it is wrong, yet I don’t stop myself. I close my eyes, take a deep breath of him – he smells like the beginning of autumn – before finally dozing off.

 

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