On a Break

I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch in my relationship. They keep calling to me but I wilfully ignore them. Later at night I feel guilty for not having attended to them. They lay beside me, an open book, beckoning me to hold them once again but I pay no heed to their silent appeals. Night passes by us in solitude. They look my way but I am wary of returning empty glances. Nameless faces rise up from their folds and haunt my sleeping hours. We are united in our suffering. I reassure myself of the approaching tomorrow. “Tomorrow is another day,” I say to myself. “Tomorrow I shall tend to you again and all will be well.” My thoughts commit to them time and time again. But, tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes. My thoughts remain unresolved.

“My mind is in shambles,” I whisper to them. “Excuse me, forgive me for neglect.” I try to reason with myself, with them. But the remorse remains, lodged in the depths of my throat, at the pit of my stomach, in the deepest and darkest crevice of my heart.

At times I wish to move on. “I’ll come back to you, I promise.” But an unread book is a half-finished love affair. I do not wish to part but we remain distanced, day in day out. This is not the time for us to be united. Not yet.

“Come hither,” they call upon me once again at dead of night. Shadowy figures, ill-drawn caricatures rise up from the pages once again. I bring them closer to me. A pen is nestled in their tightly wound bosom, a marker of where I last took respite. “Be with us,” they chant together in mellow voices. I run a finger across their spine. They tremble open, baring their secrets. Words upon words spill out, summoning me with their undead voices. “Let us be known to you, Faiza.”

I remain still, unfeeling, callous. I snap them shut.

“I’m not ready to indulge,” I cry out to the inked pages. “I’m too troubled, too preoccupied. Pardon me! Mercy!”

I return them to my side. They are shuddering, pleading to me in muffled tones now. I’m terrified of their loyalty to me as a reader. I have pledged to never abandon them, but now is not an occasion to rejoin. No, not yet.

And darkness dawns on us once again. Words remain unread. We are united in our solitude.

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