The Damkeeper and the Baker

The dull ache that had made itself home in my chest was heavier than usual. With every breath and exhalation it tightened a bit more, constricting itself, adjusting its dense body and making itself a little more comfortable in the nook surrounding my heart. It was alive and it grew, just the same way any ‘thing’ that was alive grew. It needed the same essential ingredients for its survival, which I, though unwilling was bound to keep feeding. I convinced myself I could, at times, hear its hoarse rattling breathing when i stilled my own. It came from deep within; a low grumble, a tremor that I could feel like a shudder through my bones. Slight it may have been, but ever present. It had become a part of my existence, a weight I had to bear with every waking moment. The ache in my chest was like a living lump of coal that I had swallowed years ago that had lodged itself inside me, getting heavier and heavier as the days passed tethered to my heart and living off my grief.

What was the word for a form of love that was willingly given, but not returned? Like a cupcake freshly baked and warm out of the oven, it was made of chocolate with gooey melted chunks of rich goodness inside. It was decorated with a swirl of pink strawberry cream with a casual handful of sprinkles thrown on top. The baker had made these with her heart full, each one a little insight into what was felt inside, for someone. At first, he had taken them gladly, he had savored the warmth and gave smiles in payment. That was enough, at first. His smiles sent sunshine into the darkest of places and sent molten gold bubbling to the surface. His smiles spread smiles to her face, and those moments were enough to keep her heart full. But as time went by, the smiles slowly turned into passing comments; conversation which once flowed easily and smoothly like a river of crystal clear water downstream over the ease of polished smooth boulders allowing transparency into the depths underneath, had slowed down to a trickle of muddy water in damp, cold, wet sand and a desperate thirst hanging in the air. It was as if he had built a wall, a dam, across the river.

She had seen him carrying the bricks but had refused to believe he would ever complete it. ‘I’ had refused to believe that he wanted to, I wanted to believe that his indifference was only skin deep, and that he was good inside to appreciate a person who cared for him so much. Reassurance in our friendship was not something I ever received. And the smiles that never came anymore were replaced by silence. I could not bake any more cupcakes, when I didn’t know whether he even liked them anymore. Maybe the chocolate was too rich, or the cream was too sweet or just that maybe, he had had too many to eat these past few months.

I could only speculate the reasons, though they kept me up at night. The silence was deafening, and in a moment like this is when the Ache had creeped in. It had come silently, one night, starting off as a little cold pebble picked up from he riverbed as the water had started receding. I hadn’t thought too much of it at first, the hope that things will get better was still too fresh and continued to bake. The pebble had found itself a place inside me, and as the months went by, and though the cakes went unreceived, I never even knew if he took a bite out of the last ones I had sent. The pebble had grown, become harder and coarser inside, a living thing with its tail wrapped around my heart. It was heavy, an overwhelming weight in my chest, aching for its thirst to be quenched.

But the dam seemed shut, its walls even too hight to climb and peek over, and there was nothing I could do but sit on its shores and wait until a time when the Damkeeper might let his walls down, quietly longing for a small piece of cake because after all, the cake had been a small yet secret indulgence in his life. I didn’t know if that day would ever come, it was all but a fantasy in my mind, a wishful dream that he even felt the slightest bit of affection for my being. He acknowledged my existence, yes, but I could be nothing more than a face in a crowded bar with whom he nods the cordial hello, or passes a quick amicable hug. But his attention lasts only a few minutes as if he on purpose moves on to the next person in passing. Politeness, should not be mistaken for kindness?

Sunny side up, or Paranoia-over-easy?

There is no escape from the gripping clutches of insecurity. It shadows over you like an eclipse blocking out the light of the sun, wiping away your smiles and laughter within moments. Huge and ominous flying machines cover the sky in your line of sight, foreshadowing the fields of green and turning them into barren wastelands. It only takes one word, one misplaced thought, one drop of ink in your cup of gold and it spreads with veiny, twisted urgency blackening the view out of your rose coloured glasses. The plains were covered in ashen downpour, darkening mist looming over the horizon, there was no sun shining where you stood anymore. It was getting hard to breathe.

Its grip on your chest tightens with every breath you let out, you suffocate in your own irrational thoughts, your brain swirling in a vortex of unrealistic conclusions. You sit in a whirlpool of despair, going over the same fears in your mind a million times, and you begin to question your reality, your relationships, your friendships. You find yourself waist deep in a river of grey matter slime, it sticking to your arms and legs as you struggle to wade through it to the other side.

Your thoughts have become twisted and thorny, tangling themselves up in your brain resisting your every urge to rationalize them. Devious thoughts that were ready to harm your relationships with the people you cared about the most. Lashing thoughts like whiplashes made of double sided blades that was ready to slice the people you loved to pieces. Malicious thoughts that wanted to mutilate your own heart and watch you break, and weep mercilessly into the abyss. Paranoid delusions that created scenarios of exchanges between a best friend and Him; you saw they way he looked at her, she was far more beautiful, and far less in need of your affections. Would they like each other more than they loved you? Why was he ignoring you; why were you left hanging with those two little blue checks for proof of his evasiveness? Had he got tired of your attention, or did he just need some space? Were your friends lying to you, were they conspiring against you, with their heads together, speaking in low voices? Covering up a web of deceit spun in a invisible thread that you felt caught in? The more you struggled to get out of it the more you got entangled in its wires. You irrevocably damaged mind was rearing you up for slaughter, sending you like a bull to its death. Almost like it relished the agony it caused you when it fed you these nightmares.

It was your own mind, fabricating this destructive web, getting your own self trapped in a maze with no way out, each turn leading to a dead end, ending with a painful death each worse than the last. You run blindly feeling your way through this maze, unaware that it is your own mind that is playing the role of the cruel puppet master.

You toss and turn, sending out consistently more erratic feelings and thoughts like rattling pulses out into the universe. You urge with all the hope in your heart for some reassurance, from him, from yourself. You cannot let yourself be submerged in this sticky depraved misery, for that is when you lose your sanity. Knowing in your heart that you loved and trusted all these people, and that they would never deliberately hurt you, gives you a flutter of hope for yourself.

It was the fear of loving someone, and the insecurity of dealing with betrayal in past incidences recurring that made you so irreparably afraid. But could you trust your own instincts, could you trust yourself to even know whether the attachment you felt to deeply for this person was even worth all the struggle to cross the river of muck to the shores of reality on the other side? You look down and you realize that it was the attachment itself that was what you were stuck in, clinging to your body and creeping in to every crevice, holding on to your skin. But you did not need to struggle against it, because you could ease yourself into it and it would embrace you, and you might find yourself in quiet appreciation of being immersed in it…

 

 

 

The Blue Fairy is not coming.

What is the rational amount of time and energy a person should spend in the pursuit of someone who may or may not be interested in return?

Wherever you go, you carry around a little effigy in your pocket, it sometimes sits on your shoulder, sometimes peeks out the front of your jacket pocket, sits beside you while you sip your coffee and pour hollandaise on your eggs. It sits on your table, and on those mornings where your heart has sunk to your stomach, where you are left alone with the expanding feeling of quiet loneliness, you stare at it sitting there and you face the reality that this figurine is not and never will be real. It is but a clump of cloth and wool and drumsticks in the shape of ‘somebody’, to which you have attached all the little trinkets and charms you have collected along the way; memories and moments over time, sewn, glued and pinned in the hope your little soft doll, would be visited by the Blue Fairy one moonlit night and turn it into a real person.

You know that fairy tales don’t come true, not in this reality, and yet you continue to nurse and keep this puppet close to your heart because it has become your lifeline; your float that keeps you from drowning in the thunderous ocean that is heartache. Yet you hold on, you nurture the idea of the ‘somebody’ transitioning from beyond the veil, where you can’t touch them, flirting in and out of sight to finally stepping through the curtain into your reality.

However, no matter how hard the candle of hope burns you cannot turn a blind eye to the true fact that your doll is nothing more than a statue. It had no feelings to return, no glint in its eye that expressed emotions, no words to respond with to your proclamations of grand future plans. It stared on back at you, ever present, yet ungiving.

Beep. Beep. The texts were all that you received from beyond the veil, casual friendly messages in response to your prying inquisitions. You wondered whether you should break the line, but you didn’t want to drown either. Friendship was better than having no ship to be tethered to, in this ocean you feared so intensely, you thought. He was real, yet he lived in another reality, which despite your attempts to reach his dimension, was not possible. Yet, you hoped, and continued with each passing day to keep the candle burning so he may find his way through with the Blue Fairy’s help, from wherever his world was to yours. So you may one day wake up not next to a doll but to the ‘somebody’ with his arms around you and his long hair all tangled up in your own, to say a real good morning in return.

But, how much longer should you continue to keep your secret made up figure of cotton and wool and one-dimensional emotions, before something or nothing ever happens?

 

A Tale of two Brothers.

How ethical is it to be, in whichever level form that romance can exist, whether it be a physical attraction, an emotional connection, a lustful desire, playful banter, hopeful desperation, soulful comfort, a friendly affection or a deep love; how ethical is it to be, in any form of love with two brothers at the same time?

They each represented different things, to you.

One, who paralyzed you from within just by being present in the same room. One, who you craved to be closer to, to stare into his eyes and feel the world go silent around you, floating in a vacuum of space-time, just the two of you alone in the entire world. One, who haunted your dreams and the edges of your sanity, flirting with your mind in imagined conversations, sending you spiraling into the borders of hysteria over manic excitement of his being. Yet never being able to find the courage to speak to him in the moments he was around you, save some stolen words from an alternate reality. One, who you wanted to feel against your skin, whose past and present you desperately wanted intertwined with your own, and yet so unattainable that it made your insides ache to think of him. One, who you feared could break you into a million pieces if he ever knew how intensely you wanted his arms around you. One, who could probably not ever be with you because he was already with someone else.

Two, who was a distant friend of years, though never too close until suddenly, you find yourself having late night conversations, flirting in the realness of now and enjoying the attention. A warm, strong and sensitive man, slowly yet surely playing on your need for comfort and security. Two, who promised to cook you dinner, and rub your shoulders when you became a little too tense. Two, who expressed his desire to get closer, for intimacy. Two, who you trusted, and considered who wanted you for more than just sex, who you thought could be more than just a sexual fling, who you felt might have been more than just a friend, two, with whom you subconsciously thought you could spend nights in bed with, spend days cooking with, and weeks and months falling with. Two, who might possibly have been something or everything, turned out to be nothing in the circumstances that unfolded, on a spontaneous night two awkward lovers went separate ways.

And now, you, stuck between the pain of forbidden desire and the pang of regretful longing, stood still thinking about what could be and what could have been. In a swirling vortex of confusion and strange surrealism, you stand dissociated from them both, nursing a quiet flame under each of their names, a quiet shame that should always be kept secret; for though neither flame will ever catch fire and set ablaze the entirety of your existence, though in their own ways each flame was of special significance, it is clear that it’s not ethical to be in love with two brothers at the same time…

Uploading Attachments

NETWORK CONNECTION ERROR.

The server is not responding. Uploads have failed to attach. System failure, malfunction alert, operating system crashing…

REBOOT.

. . .

Restarting your machine may take longer than expected, after all yours is a complex sentient machine. You have to process the data loss and re-evaluate the update.

You may not have realized at the time you began your connection that it was something you wanted to be a lasting feeling. You thought then, that it was just a mutual ‘coalition’ with an air of breezy romance coupled with flirtatious passing comments. Nonetheless, aura of new relationships never fails to excite you; though you may deep in your heart know that you do not have the patience to nurse this long and grueling process, so it may not even pass the initial stage of stolen glances, flurried touches, and butterflies tingling in your stomach, you still find yourself utterly disappointed when you realize the attachment you had been trying to upload has failed.

You find yourself questioning whether you acted too fast, if you made your move too soon? You obsess in spiraling roundabouts of confusion whether it was your inability to wait, to delay the inevitable climactic encounter that would ultimately impact, either with smiles or with sadness, the course of the continuation of your relationship. You look behind you at the road taken, and you are certain that it was not just your own conviction, but rather a reciprocated eagerness to partake in the kairos. So how could it be your fault that the server was not responding. Clearly there had been some kind of unforeseen malfunction, an underlying unmentioned dormant virus, laying beneath the surface waiting for the opportune moment to make itself shown, crashing the server completely.

The virus now had complete hold of the server, there was no way through its firewalls so high that you could not find a way to reach in and reconnect. No matter how you tried, the virus just kept sending in advanced defense mechanisms, the walls got higher, thicker and more and more distant until all connection to the server flatlined.

Your attachments, now fell crashing down. The crash caused more damage to the operating system than expected. You stand there at the foot of its pile of broken feelings, watching the integrity of the system failing around you, pieces falling out of the very floor you stand on, the sky slowly blacking out pixel by pixel, rejection and regret filling in those empty black squares one after another until you are wholly consumed by its sticky dark glue of self-depreciation.

You also understand that though you may have entered into this chaotic simulation with mild intention, a subconscious urge for a fulfilling human connection, had found some eager feeling ready to formulate themselves into a solid program, and you may have developed a sense of blind hope in a glimpse of a possible future. Yet now, while you struggle in the solitary confinement of your own mind, you stare at your demons in the eye facing the dark shadow of what might have been. They ask you why you are just SO unlucky in love? What is it about you that makes you crave a deep affection so profoundly and yet despise the process of its creation so intensely? You wonder whether to blame only yourself in the mistakes of your past relationships, or were your choices mere reflections of an effect after a cause out of the world around you.

Your next step is to upgrade your system, with a stronger antivirus protection, and solid core stability. This update may take months or maybe years to fully complete. Yet you must decide whether updating to an abstinence program would benefit the system’s capacity for forming real personal connections in the future? and would it be worth it in the end?

The Room we live in.

“We believe if you let go of your need to find somebody, the universe will present you something wonderful in due time.”

“You can’t keep looking for it, it will come to you…”

“You are not alone, you have us!”

—-

There is a room, which appears to be perfectly whole at first glance. A room with four walls, a window and some furniture. There is sunlight entering the room through the window, lighting up the floor.

The closer you look you begin to notice that the room might not be as perfectly fine as it appeared to be initially. You might realize that the walls are cracking and faded in places, the wallpaper coming loose, floors creak and might even collapse if there is too much weight to bear, the chair has a broken leg, but is fixed together with a nail or two, the window is withered and yet painted to cover its scars, the sunlight illuminates the best features of the room so that anyone lookin in may not notice the damages present. A passer by will peep in, and think to themselves, ‘oh what a quaint space this is.’

They will judge my room, depending on what their own rooms look like. They will only see what they are used to seeing themselves. They will not notice my cracks if they don’t have cracks in their own walls. Everybody feels and thinks differently so who are they to judge me in my struggle?

It is easy for all of them to say, they have forgotten what it felt like to sleep in an empty bed every single night. They don’t fall asleep clutching as many pillows as possible, hoping to find some form of imagined comfort. The have forgotten the empty feeling inside, the cold hard dread, the barren wasteland devoid of emotion, a desert starving of human connection. The walls ready to crumble, the floors ready to collapse, the chair waiting to tumble, all into the depths of the emptiness beyond.

The emptiness that I sometimes find myself relishing greatly. I find myself feeling content in the calmness of my own mind, the steady stream of broken thoughts and questionable mood swings, the ideas swimming around the very concept of being alive and the meaning of life.

But what is the meaning of our inconsequential existence? It is purely to love, as many beings as we can, in all love’s forms and shapes. The only solution as I see it is to fill the emptiness that cannot really be filled with anything but love. I am not ashamed of my desire to connect with someone. When there is love to give, there should be someone to receive it too.

 

‘I can’t fix your broken heart’

“I can’t fix your broken heart…” he said, as he ungripped himself from my embrace. Shifting his arm from beneath mine and unlocking his legs entangled in my own, he got up from the bed. As I lay there, clutching the sheets closer to fill up the void he left behind. It was not his fault, I knew. Nobody could fix my broken heart, and he was not the one that broke it in the first place; but I had broken his, years ago.

So maybe the pain I felt now, as I lay huddled in the blankets, pretending to be sleeping, was what I deserved for the mistakes I made in the past. The feeling of being abandoned at the bottom of a deep well, wet and cold all around and the walls so close on every side…You look up and the light is only a small disc in the distance, fading in the dusk. Holding in my tears, allowing the light to completely disappear. Was what I wanted just a stolen moment to feel that deep sense of comfort in the arms of someone familiar, in the wake of the rejection I had faced only a few days ago? Or was it that I was feeling regret in ever letting go in the first place, and I wanted reassurance of the idea that I still exist for you too?

Maybe it was a little bit of both. It was strange business, to be close friends with your ex. Whose newfound happiness in finding himself a new person, who excites him, makes him smile and feel good about life with; makes you so bitter and cynical. I was feeling raw, exposed, vulnerable already. Sore hearted, heavy hearted, after knowing that someone I cared for, did not have the capacity to care for me in the same way. I found myself asking him personal questions, inquisitive, to mask my own sorrow.

“I have never felt happier in my life, with anybody else” he said.

The only words that rung in my ears that night, through a haze of drunkenness, we had talked, argued and I had flung my emotions out, yet they had not dried. Am I resentful that you are happy? Happier than you had been with me? Or was I offended that you had not considered my feelings when you raucously exclaimed of your current exuberant state of existence?… Either way, the words stayed with me, along with a sharp clinging painful fishhook in my heart, a memory of how it felt to lie with you, to feel that closeness again for a moment in time. Just a reminder, that I needed something, or someone, I did not know. Was it your embrace that I crave, or just the idea of your comfort? Am I bitter because I am jealous? Or is it because I do not know whether I could be happy?

I fall in love with people whom I know will not return it, ever indulging the cycle of heartbreak, like a necessary drug. And having pushed you away years before, the only one who deserved the love I should have given, I lie in a pool of self pity and stew in regret, wondering whether it was always a mistake to have let you go…

I hover like a dark cloud.