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From The Afterglow

Verses, Tales, and Thoughts: A Literary Odyssey

By Varsha Panikar

Not everything is meant for keeps.

There are things I notice, and things I don’t notice enough. Perhaps, I do not notice the specific day the trees begin to droop and grow old with winter, or how people walking in groups align their footsteps, though I notice mine, or the personality of a child by the way they hold their arms out and stroke your soul.

The things one learns about life are not always meant for keeps, like the collage of absurdities, presented to you as standards and absolute certainties that rule the polite civilized society; like the hint of an old bruise, or the wild splash of soap in your eyes; like children who learn too early about death and sexual intentions, and are not yours to teach; or how some stains resist all detergent. Like the night and days of clutching to my bed because I couldn’t face the world, and myself, or how for a moment as fleeting as the firefly’s glow, he looked at me differently because he was just as lost as me. So what do you do? You turn around, walk away and keep your balance. Some things are just not meant for keeps, because they will rot inside you and make you regurgitate their poison.

These are the few of many things in life I have learnt. The powerful manifestations that can arise from conversations, how to shovel the pain and numbness, day after day, to clear the driveways of my brain so I can make it another day, the way I can move the shine in my eyes to a certain spot to hide my disarray of thoughts, how my friends do not know I can hear the tone in their voice as they says things are fine, when they are not; the way she doesn’t have to smile for me to know she is happy, but took a tear from her eyes to know I once broke her heart, or like the escalation in my mother’s voice, when she realizes I am on the other end of the line, and I feel complete.

Some things I embrace, some things I throw out to the pigeons and lost souls that search for meaning, and some things, I let take me to heights I never knew I could reach.

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