Tag Archives: Germany

Every Love Affair

Silence (2015)
Silence (2015)

The morning light falls on my face, beams breaking their way through thin bamboo sticks. The air is heavy with the scent of a chill. Winter creeps through the daylight, winter keeps the sun hostage but today, today it comes out full even if its warmth has waned. Waking up with this realization, I know the season’s changed yet again. There’s beauty in these cold mornings, pleasure, and in this moment, there’s peace. Everything is trivial except now, the past and the future, nothing but the imagination. In this moment, I’m happy. I’m a woman in love.

I walk down the steps and I’m outside. I’m in love with the morning, and I’m in love with the Alstadt. The way the stone crumbles under my feet as I walk, the way the birds fly in a loop above my head, the way the wind whispers to me and the faded sun beckons its hello. I’m in love with the early days of winter, and I love the way the old buildings stand around me, pointing to the sky. Their windows are old and shuttered, their facade a testimony of beauty and old age. I’m in love with the old city and I’m in love with the seasons, I’m in love with the smell of fresh, warm coffee and the way it dances in the air as it tempts and it calls. I’m in love with the dance of the swans in the nearest lake, the ripple of the water and the feeling of fresh dew on my fingertips.

I walk along the winding streets, the little shops and their displays outside, the bearded and sometimes fat men who sit on a chair all day long. In our glances there’s recognition, I see them everyday and they me. Along a winding street lined with cherry blossoms now waiting patiently for next spring, there are cafes with benches sprawled side by side. A couple or two, you see there, lost in conversation, soaking the last rays of the sun because this sunlight won’t last for long. The sound of my boots echoes in the morning silence, the peace when everyone has left for work and there are just us, the ones who’ve stayed behind. It’s a beautiful day and there’s hope in everything. There’s love all around me and I’m one with it, the beauty of it is precise and simple and it brings a smile to my face. The coffee is delicious.

Little things… These are the little things, and this is my love affair, with everyday. On my walk, I remember you. The lost moments and the dreams, waking up in the morning and brewing the first pot of coffee, sprinkling it with chocolate and making those pancakes. On my walk, I remember the moments of the lost embrace, a lost touch, a love felt and a love lost. And a realization awakens, that it’s okay. For what will be dreams if they all come true and what will be love if it isn’t left unfulfilled. Little things, these are the little things and I remember, I will always remember. But this is my moment and I will shelter no pain, no. I will love the morning, and the dying sun, sit in the waves of the wind, and hear the last leaves fall. And I will wait, patiently, I will always wait for you.

Away from the Night

Auf Wiedersehen (2015)
Auf Wiedersehen (2015)

You know those special moments when you’re with your special someone, and you’re both lying on a small couch, your head resting on his chest, and talking about something funny? You both know there’s so much to do but this one lazy afternoon, you put it behind you and you just stay there, surrounded with each other, surrounded in the scent of each other. Your life then is like a static moment in a wonderland, the afternoon is glowing calm and the closeness of him is the stability and reassurance that you’re safe forever in his arms. Time freezes in such instances, you can watch them replay over and over again from the outside. But I’ll tell you when it hurts. You’re not the one in this moment, no, you never were. You never had that closeness you see in other people and the one that you ache for. Why? Because the long winding maze of life took it away, your view to trust the world, your set of eyes that looked at everything bright, like a bunch of balloons floating in the air; green, blue, pink and innocent. No, all of that just withered away. And now you’re stuck in a repeating nightmare, what you wanted, that sight on the couch, that little perfect moment, the smell of him, the touch and the laugh, the eyes, when they looked into yours, when they told you everything will be alright. No, instead what you got was a back handed slap to your dreams, to everything you cherished, it was all destroyed like a paper boat sent tumbling into the gutter, where it withers away slowly and decisively. And you think you can be with someone but how can you, when you can trust no longer, when you can see no longer when the day turns into night and night into day? The coming of the night blinds you, tears at you and shuts you down. It immobilizes you. You’re stuck in your little corner, waiting for the day to pass and the night to linger so you can breathe again. Maybe you can breathe again. Maybe you stay chilled and crumpled, trapped between the ceiling and the wooden floor, bound to terror and the repetitive visits of darkness your mind takes you wandering into. It’s like a maze that cannot be avoided and it’s like a maze that cannot be escaped. There is no way out. The visions die with the ending of the day.

Make believe

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Stories (2013)

We pass through the fields, the rain is shining down, like silken drops of silver. And we make believe.
We make believe because it’s easy, we make believe because it’s simple.
Shades of grey, shades of silver, blood that spills, like wine, that’s crimson. We talk and we laugh and we sit on the grass, we watch the sky get dark and dark, and we make believe.
He said he’d stay but then he didnt, he said he’d never let me go and then I saw him leave. Life flashes by, we’re in a field of gold and the memories are vintage ivory.
His promise meant nothing, words difficult to remember. And now I’m alone and the world is so big.
I’m afraid and I’m unstable, I’m frightened and then again, who isn’t? The silence around me, deafening, storms around me, marked for death and marked for dust. So I make believe.
I make believe.
I’m on my way to a better life, I’m on my way to a door that opens, I’m on my way to the place with the picket fence and I’m on my way to the garden bathed in sunlight. I’m walking to the edge of the pond, I’m looking over what’s mine, I’m looking into life.
And then I make believe, make believe. He comes back and he’s mine, he comes back and we’re there again, no more hazy lies, no more barricades, no more barbed wires between us. No, he comes back and I make believe. A kiss in the rain, a touch of the wind. A dance of the swan and a cry of the wolf. The moon is full and the air sultry, the face of this cliff, rock solid, maybe like us, maybe like us.

Photo: Hamburg, Germany

Glass & Stone

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I’m glass and stone
I’m raw and closed
I’m ripe for pain
I’m ripe for hurt.
I ache so deep
So hard inside
I ache in intensity.
Grow up, grow up
This voice chimes
Give up, give up
A ghostly chant.

Hold me close
Wish of my heart
Lover of my lips
Gripped askance
And held away
Cold eyes cloud
Sounds too far
Laugh that rings
Shut it down
Burns, it brings
Lies, to teach
A truth so harsh.

The End of the Song

The End of the Song (2015)
The End of the Song (2015)

It was a fight to the end. I stood in a timeless place; a motionless place. Around me, all stilled; the air, time and space. In my heart, there was a darkness, which slowly crept and moved, stealthily, gaining with every breath. What would be, what could not be? I lost this fight, I lost it. The swings went back and forth, pushed by the wind, the noise started, getting louder, that persistent climb into consciousness I tried so hard to deny. It wasn’t reasonable to suppose this time the steps would reach the same conclusion. It wasn’t reasonable to put myself in someone else’s hand. It wasn’t reasonable to depend, to repent, to scream out loud, to make this noise. It wasn’t reasonable to have those dreams. Surrounded by the crowds, drowning in the sounds of the carnival; laughter, the smell of fresh popcorn; the clink of glasses coming together; the rising swell of music as I leave, leave it all behind. Leaving the garishness, the bright lights, the mockery, the life I lived; leaving it all behind; every single step, every minute resolve, strengthening; there is not a shadow of a doubt in my heart. There is not a suspicion or a dark cloud blighting my horizon. The way is clear, the path is drawn and behind me I’ve left shards, shards and blades and stones; each one has a face, each one has the face of my fears- all left behind, suspended, halted, contained. Notice my footsteps, notice my breath. Notice, my decision. Finally, I’m free.

Photo: Messe Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg, a montage

The Train to Nowhere (2012)
The Train to Nowhere (2012)

I took the night train to nowhere. And I arrived in Freiburg, the city I came to, the place that lived in my dreams. The first time I set foot in this town in the middle of the Black Forest, I got lost on my way between the University and the Hauptbahnof (central station). They are less than a kilometer away from each other. It was my first landing in Europe, my first day in a new world. From Lahore, where I never walked, where I couldn’t walk; everywhere I went, I drove. Where the heat was too much, the people even more and the world different in its entirety. But now, I was here. Dear old Freiburg… If you were my love, I’d tell you I miss you. They said I would and I didn’t believe them. The last day I was there, the sky gleamed gold like the hilt of a royal sword. It was a clear, gleaming gold; in it reflected every single day I had spent in this place; in it reflected every memory, tiresome, old, lover-like, happy, wicked, sorrowful and joyous- in it reflected every single day of my life so far. For a moment, as I walked on the trails I will now remember forever, for this moment I thought it was a dream. And I was afraid I’d wake up.

That night by the lake, when the fireworks lit up the sky like a thousand fairies; walking in the tall grass, drunk, stumbling and laughing; those days, when summer had started to whisper sweet words of hope; the cool evenings; bulbs illuminating the graveled streets; the footfalls as we ran after the trams before the last ones left. Those were the footsteps of my freedom; it was my dance in the rain; it was the first glimpse into a new world of magic I couldn’t predict would affect me this way. It was the expression of my belonging; it was the start of a life I never thought I’d have.

A smell of coal and fire hangs in the air even now. Summer is approaching in Freiburg; people litter the streets, in their shorts, their caps, their backpacks. Some are casual walkers, some are climbers. The children run, trailing their little wooden boats in the Bächle (canals) behind them. The world is different when I look at it from the top of the Schlossberg; Freiburg shines and glimmers and beckons. The Münster watches over everything; the homes with their wooden windowsills; the shops with their hustle and bustle; the old facade standing proud, right where it belongs, at the center of everything, in the middle, like a throbbing and pulsing heart, giving power to all surrounding it.

An Island (2013)
An Island (2013)

In the morning I leave, like many do. Freiburg’s always been like a train station, the station where you get off only to take the next train. Life takes you places; you arrive in Freiburg and everything is a bit of magic, a bit of luck. You make friends and these friends become your family. You make a home for a couple of years; you learn to live, you learn to love; you work hard and you take your happiness and grief in stride; things change, they always do and time is but one step forward in the steps of life. And the ones who come after me, and the ones who stayed behind, I will tell them all how much I miss it.

of stillness and dreams

Dreamscape (2015)
Dreamscape (2015)

It was a festival of lights, of laughter. It was a celebration of friendship, of love. It was where the lovers met and the crowds cheered. There was smoke and there was fire. There was an onslaught of cold wind but no one gave up. There were echoes in the arena, there were blasts and bangs and booms. The lights popped and flashed. There were drinks and long walks. It was easy to hide among those people. I was nobody, lost in a reality I didn’t wholly own. Behind that laughter, there were tears. Behind the cheering faces, there was truth and the truth was sadness, the truth was loneliness. On the journey on a stolen pathway, there was no one, there was emptiness.

A foreboding sky hung in its entirety, threatening a storm, threatening rain. People began to disappear, one by one, the crowd grew thin. The rides were rolled away, the stalls closed down, lights went out, slow and steady; one, two, three… Then all. A darkness descended. The sounds of the storm grew louder, the lightning glowed from afar, the shadows thickened. It didn’t last but it ended; the laughter only ghostly, only in my memory. Everything stopped. Trapped in time, I stood while everything went still around me. It was yesterday and it was today. No time ruled here, no hours passed. There was stillness as the images flashed and burned; opening and closing; rushing in and rushing out. It was only alive in my dreams, and the rest was gone; time had frozen and the rest was gone.