Every Sunday night Mankind falls prey to luminous screens for an hour, eyes locked, mouths agape. Anticipation runs ravenous, ritualistic. Social media trends become worshipping grounds with millions of followers chanting hymns of praise and memes. A grand proselytizing begins! And somewhere alone in the dark George feels like the loneliest man on earth.
His art has long surpassed him. The biggest show on the planet commands a universal audience while somewhere in a dark corner of George’s room, inked pages rest silently…waiting to be beckoned, to be shuffled, to be seen and heard, to be shared and enjoyed. But most of all…to be read. George let’s out a sigh.
26th June, 2017 at 4:36 am
Day 29: I had forewarned myself to be wary of the Russian getting into my head. For I’ve had a sudden and most terrible fright tonight. As I lay on my side, I felt the devil had slid into the form of a snake and had grazed my skin only slightly to jolt me into a semi-conscious state. As I turned to my left, still half-asleep but gradually reconciling with my senses, I felt the snake nudging me to reveal all that I knew of Dimitri Karamazov’s trial. I recall waking up with a shudder, assuring myself of having come to senses only to find myself seeking the air-conditioners remote, which lay on one side of the pillow, and upon taking hold of it, I became aware of its shape resembling the very pestle with which the murder had been committed in the novel. My first thought was “My God! I have the evidence in my hand!” But fortunately, I was fully awake now. I surmised the darkness around me and placed myself safely upon my bed, beside my husband, in an unfamiliar room. I only say unfamiliar for I’m unaware of all its nook and crannies and every crisp, scraping sound at night makes me twitch with deathly anxiety.
The chapters concerning Ivan’s conversation with the devil and Dimitri’s subsequent trial having interspersed with tales of snakes being killed before our arrival to this hometown were the chief cause of my momentary nightmare. Dostoevsky is not a good night’s read. I’m thoroughly rankled. That being said, now that I’m almost nearing the finish line, I shall see these Karamazov’s to the very end.
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.
Written in a state of reverie.
“The traveler recognizes the little that is his, discovering the much he has not had and will never have”
– Italo Calvino, “Invisible Cities”
I dream about you no more, but you are always in the backdrop, like a perpetual shadow, a figment of my imagination, a lachrymose. There remains no more conversation between us, neither do I break into a run amidst halls upon halls to see your face, neither do we retreat to a cottage in the mountains overlooking a valley, neither do I dream of you dying, or you as a last thought I have, neither do I seek your face in strangers, in passerby’s and if you listen to the stars, and if clouds were in fact mirrors you would find yourself buried deep in my memory, and in the depths of the faintest traces of memories, forever entwined in an embrace, and where no aspiration or inspiration adulterates, and no outside thought is welcome, there have we met, far removed from time and the ages and the distance, and where no concept is a concept but us, and where nothing exists except nothingness and in the golden abyss of that chaos, perpetuated by order and yearning shall you discover us in the ethereal arms of oblivion, a sweet oblivion that one comes upon naturally, the tranquil blue envelopes us in vast cloud of stellar dust, naked, rooted, seeped, drenched, with no injury of consciousness, with no circumstance of chance, bare of all extremities and worldly desires, a distant oeuvre is heard, the music from my dreams, the melody of your lips, resounding against the greener pastures underneath a brilliant blue sky overlooking the sea, I have only known how to send echoes like ripples of water through you, the wisps of your words form around my lips, in sweet utterance; there yes there you shall find yourself for an infinite eternity, and the organ melts into a melodious tune, and where the flute shall perpetually whistle its dulcet air in our backyard, where we fear not time nor age, nor are young or senile, but two souls suspended in the vastness of ancient antiquity, the cosmos hued, the stars sense us, the surreal dust, the dancing planets placed in orbits. Shall we let us, you and me, live, no not live, exist?
In darkness on my bed alone
I seemed to see you in a vision,
And hear you say: “Why this derision
Of one drawn to you, though unknown?
-Thomas Hardy, “The Torn Letter”
I should have watermarked this, but to what avail? Nothing but a short correspondence to my significant other, albeit full of syntactical errors here and there.