Monday, May 21, 2007

Some kind of violence holds this world underneath us. It swells and swerves as your body arches on the branch, your solidity rushing through liquid naked blankets. We live on trees, amidst eternal sundry sating mornings. Yet you long. You long to live in those bubbles beneath us. They’re too expensive to afford.

“We could just go down there and live, you know?”

You love those bubbles; you love the violence they swim in. I love these trees; I love this roughness against my back. I love that we are high up in a place where homes are built out of mud and earth that nurture and feel warm in the cold of a cloudy morning. Those bubbles are fragile, pompous spaces that think they hide while all they do is reveal. But you never listen. You just long.

So I did it. I took the plunge and jumped into a bubble one fine lazy summer song. I plunged, I threw myself away from you to understand and feel what you longed for so desperately. And I entered them. I entered a night for the first time. I saw fire for the first time. I saw time collide into sparks that the flames threw about carelessly. I saw time afraid. I saw people whisper; they were as timid as the night. I tasted midnight oil. Syrupy and bland. Blank and clueless. And I longed to burn. I longed for you to be my midnight oil and burn me through and through.

So we lived on anyway. You folded the sheets every morning and slept with me very morning. We knew night existed somewhere but we just couldn’t find it afterward. I could pass a thousand mornings knowing night existed somewhere. And I could pass another thousand knowing you would plunge with me into it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We know those mornings instinctively. You and I. Nothing much said apart from your ten cups of water and my one cup of tea, your silence overlapping my sighs. We know the ingredients, the spices and the natural aphrodisiacs that make it special. Presumption is a hypnotic art, it makes you mute.

We never washed our hands. I touched you the night before and let my fingers marinate in your impatience. You told me somewhere in between that you could hear my blood soar through my veins. I smiled. I knew we would never wash our hands.

Fingers collided in a bowl of green. Bloomsdales mixed and scurried through the water as we eddied around. The leaves were the most essential of all; water needs to scuffle and run as it senses the green. They need to resist tear and unbind our doubts in the bowl.

“This one won’t work.”

You pick a leaf and hold it up. I shiver at the sight of light bouncing off your hand. Don’t you ever notice how beautiful you are, I wonder.

“We can use it for the base though.”

You shrug and place it aside, brushing your hair back with your wrist. Water can be so parasitical, I think to myself. She sticks onto your forehead and slowly trickles down your eyebrow, spreading through and seeping into your skin. This is not just another course of nature, another biological need. She must love you.

I must love you.

The mushrooms need colour, you murmur. I’ve always known your bias against all things colourless, like old shunned widows off a salty coast, forbidden and cluelessly unappealing, like they had given up. Mushrooms, white onions, radish, muskmelons. I’ve felt for them ever since.

“We’ll soak them in the paste now.”

Making the paste was a short outdoor activity, something you hated and something I loved. You hated how the grass stuck to your frock and I loved how you stuffed the mushroom caps with remnant spices from your hands. It was all fleeting, you pressing against my legs, unknowingly slipping spices off the stone. I picked and placed them back when you turned away. I couldn’t let you know they slipped and fell. It was almost treacherous.

Attraction is simply chemistry gone blind. It didn’t matter that we were making this for someone else. All that mattered passed through your frivolousness and settled on porcelain plates.

We went back inside and you were pink and flushed from the short exposure to the sun. I remembered our first night in your mother’s room. You looked sun-kissed then too.

“Is the shrimp up on the burner?”

I always forgot the shrimp. I was jealous. It was the only thing close to human after you. I didn’t like the idea of you lapping it up.

“They’re up now.”

I felt your glances across the kitchen. My skin propped up like a child for a story, sniffing and grabbing anything that the air brought by. Your glances tugged at my shirt as I tried to finish my portion of mushrooms.

“Olives, where are they?”

“Right next to me. I can chop them up alongside if you want to.”

“Sure. Whatever.”

I could see words floating around and between us. The ‘whatever’ was particularly unpleasant. Like a red blob amongst a sea of comforting unknowns. The ‘whatever’ stared me in my face and sniggered.

I knew you would notice sooner or later, there was just too much green. It was filled with too much possibility for you to bear. We had to add the tomatoes. And soon. Your intolerance surged through that sea of words. I felt sad.

You had once told me that chemistry is spice and love is what makes it sour. Affairs are neutralizers and that’s why people wander. I never understood your anecdotes. The shrimp and spinach were boiling while the mushrooms and tomatoes rested in the oven. The olives stood chopped and solitary. I knew you had already wandered. I was just hoping you would come back.

I watched you dress the shrimp. The mushrooms were ready to devour. Olives alongside boiled tomatoes, only you could do something like that and get away with it. Your arms glistened in the light and your lips parted as a small piece of meat slid in. I heard an unfamiliar moan.

We sat together, I kissed her on her cheek too. You both spoke and I reveled in the taste of you on the porcelain plate. You wanted to call it Lover’s Salad. But it wasn’t a salad and there was no lover in it. There was no love in it. There was only you and pieces of an instinctive morning in my mouth.

I swallowed. I felt the water rush down my throat. That was my meal. You were my meal. You were my morning and you were my meal and she was the love that made it sour. These mornings are a fugue and I never remember too much afterward.

“How is it?”

“Good. Really good.”

And I smiled. I smiled at the two of you.