Smiling at People You Knew Once
it was uncomfortable
to see you like that
how should it be easier?
I am a coward,
I wouldn’t confront a thing if I don’t have to
but I did and I am bloody wounded.
What happened was
I decided to wander off into the afternoon
tired from typing away a few pages
that led me nowhere
to what an uninspired hack I am,
‘witless talentless narcissist’ I typed finally
then I slammed the door and got out,
leaving the papers scattered on the floor
thinking about suicide.
I slowly made my way to a coffee shop
keeping my eyes glued at my shoes
stamping on the gravel
all the way,
I didn’t want to see anyone.
The place was mostly empty
and I felt a passing relief,
I ordered sandwich and coffee
sat at a table by the wall waiting,
thinking some more about suicide
and that is when I saw you
through the glass partition,
right outside on the curb
with another man
your left arm locked in his right
and your head leaned on his shoulder.
I was mortified.
How did I not see you as I entered ?
I thought of fleeing
‘Would the server yell at me if
I rush for the door? I mean I have not
eaten anything.’ I thought.
‘I come here often. Don’t ruin this.
This will pass.’
‘If you leave through that door,
it is very likely you will be noticed.
So sit the fuck down.’
‘I wish I had a pistol.’
You saw me -
how could you not?
I know when you were with me
you had a 270 degree vision,
your head would swerve on your slender neck
and you would look everywhere
and at everyone
at all times
and you would tell me —
‘That girl doesn’t look happy. Or is it her face?
If I had a face like that, I too wouldn’t be happy..’
‘Did you know I could get you a discount in that shop?
The guy there has a crush on me. I can tell.’
You raised an eyebrow,
and I gave no indication of recognition,
as milliseconds stretched and time became relative.
I hoped in my heart
you would just ignore me
and get on with it
but you were waving,
and you tapped his arm, and
I saw him grinning at me
‘Two happy people over there,
one sad one over here’
counted the Neanderthal in me.
I feigned surprise,
muscled my face unto a broad smile,
and waved back.
You whispered something in his ears,
as your lips curved to form words
and his eyes remained fixed at me
his jaw went up and down,
as he took stock of the person
on the other side of the glass
I couldn't know what you said,
I lowered my gaze and pretended to
be busy looking at my hands
and that is all,
that is all that happened,
and I am depressed since
and I can’t get this out of my head.
I have racked my brains for an explanation.
what is it ?
this is what happens
when two people stop circling
in their mutual orbit
at different escape velocities ?
You zoomed right into another
while I drift in space
like a dead satellite?
I mean, it’s normal to
not be able to write
anything the whole morning
and feel suicidal
but it really freezes you in the tracks
when people pity you,
for something that you were oblivious to
until you weren’t :
that you are lonely
and when you think about it lucidly,
may be they didn’t pity you
(or may be they did)
but now YOU do
which essentially segues to the same thing,
only it makes you feel
a whole lot worse.