Thursday, July 11, 2013

The crackle at the other end of the line
told me that he was still there,
despite the dead silence.
The click at the back of his teeth,
and the sudden sharp uncontrolled intake of breath,
Impatient at the rising pitch of my voice,
wavering perilously close to tears.
Tremulous and shaky,
for the third phone call this month.
I am stricken by the irritation in his voice,
and struggle to make amends.
I apologize for being irritable,
for being a bore, for being predictable
and for the lack of sparkle in our conversation.
I dredge out the same dull things each time.
The worry in my thoughts
translate to a crease in between my eyebrows,
turning into a ceaseless litany of woe on the phone.
I can imagine the mouse
hovering over a link in red
and the impatience perched at the corner of his absent smile.
I hang up feeling stupid.
That evening sitting with work,
with cats lolling on the floor,
and stray roommates behind closed doors,
I remember my grandmother,
and us children rolling our eyes, every time her voice would start to rise
about my dead grandfather,
about money, and the servants.
The crack was coming, we knew it
because it came so often.
Impatience, and irritation.
'I love her, but why can't she just keep her misery to herself?'
I did not think those thoughts,
I did not vocalize them,
not even to myself.
Am I a bad person,
I wonder.
Don't think so much,
a friend told me over the phone.
Isn't it exhausting,
she asked, bewildered, frustrated.
Yes, I said.
But not giving shape to the thought in your head,
doesn't un-make it.
But I am a fool,
who thinks too much, and sleeps too little, and gets confused,
and cries on the phone.
Offering apologies, swallowing the knot in my stomach.
So I keep my feelings to myself,
and try to take up littler space.
I will not intrude in your world.
I will back away one half footfall at a time,
and you will not hear me leave.
You will not care.
And I will make a mental note to myself,
to be kinder to my grandmother
when she tries not to cry.


Spin said...

Long distance relationships are not worth the trouble, unless you can be chill, and if you can balance being chill and still being invested in your Person. I haven't ever found that balance and won't ever try again.

Have read enough of your blog to figure out who you are (via your JUDE connection, and a short conversation with Arunava that I remember from a couple of years ago). Ashamed of my stalker memory but pretty chuffed with it too.

R said...

I go through periods where I'm super chill and then get sucked into being super invested and anxious, and then have to take a step back again. Long distance inevitably makes things less chill, sadbuttrue.

Achha, my Jude connection was that I was a Judean for some two months and that all my closest people are Judean or Jude adjacent.
Stalker memory is fine, because I have been reading your blog for a while, only surfacing to say something now because clearly 'shob baal' is the sentiment that calls to me the most strongly :p