Tag Archives: memories

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

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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.

A Story of Love and a Burnt Evening

Sometimes I wonder, I wonder a lot. What do we yearn for? What do we miss the most? Is our love for someone else a reflection of our own need for love?

What do I yearn for, what do I want and what do I need? Is it all too different?

When I think, I imagine him sitting there, waiting for me. I imagine walking in after a warm day (the days are always warm in my mind). I walk in, I’m slightly damp from my long walk, my hurry to reach home. Partly because I want to be in the cool shade of my home; mostly because I know he will be waiting.

I want to see him. It’s harder to wait every passing minute. I want to walk right in, slip off my sticky cardigan, I want to tell him the funny and strange things I saw on my way. He is the one who will listen, I know. He will laugh, as I know he did the last time, he always does. We are one mind after all. I know I will gibber back and forth, endlessly, nonsensical things- a dog grinning, a street performer trying his luck, a chance acquaintance and the bag he was carrying from a woman’s store! What could it mean, the mystery, the gossip, the daily things.

The comfort of peeling back my sweater, slipping off my pumps, and looking in the fridge for a cool drink; that’s the comfort I miss. The comfort of the home I shared with someone. The dusky lights of the approaching evening, the slight talk of what to cook. His stomach may grumble and my instincts will drive me to chop some onions and drop some butter in the pan. Soon, the small kitchen will smell like garlic, like the sharp hint of a crispy memory; tangy and bitter but so much needed and so strong.

But then, the visions will change. The garlic will rot. The pan will burn, the water will bubble garishly, gurgling, ferocious. Like steam bursting forth from a cooking pot, the hurt will wash over, paint my home in red, in rust, in darkness. Each word will be like a slice from a knife, cutting through, peel after peel, chopped up in tiny bits until the truth of what was no longer exists. The food will go stale, the trash will sit ignored. And the ignorance will grow, and it will turn into indifference. One night spent on the couch, one night outside, one night in a different place entirely.

Sooner or later, the visions will change. The smell and sight of a happiness gone by, the feeling of being held will be the grip of talons, digging into my skin. And even in the midst of such wholesome pain, the words will hurt the most.