N O T E
Is demum miser est, cuius nobilitas miserias nobilitat.
Unhappy is he whose fame makes his misfortunes famous.
Lucius Accius, Telephus.
Love is the thing we live for, fight for and probably even can die for. So today of all days I need to realize that it is okay to have loved deeply. It has taken me far too long to discover that only because I adore someone doesn’t make them worthy of my affection; and simply because they might love me back doesn’t mean they deserve to stay.
Most of the times we can’t explain why and who we passionately fall for and quite often it is the wrong kind. Loving the wrong person can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting. You start to believe the hurt they left can be held, contained, but it can only be felt.
That kind of love makes the impression that loving another person is terrifying, but darling oh it is, because when you completely and utterly devote yourself to another; you hand out your open, vulnerable heart—on a tray no less—to them and wait until they drop it.
I can feel the stinging in my eyes from profusely crying. The cool winter air is blowing at my flushed face and for a moment it is soothing. The green gown hangs from my shoulder as I press my heels further into the ground outside Harry’s house. They have caught on me. Logan, the athletic one, was the first to roughly turn me around from my elbow. His anger comes out in his hot deep breaths. He’s trying to make sense of things; of everything that has happened for us and for me in the last six years in the music industry.
“What have you been protecting? Yourself? As if you are some forbidden fortune cookie?” Logan questions angrily. Then he gives a knowing look to Harry standing just a step away from him and over me.
Harry lifts his hands to grasp my face, he’s silent and panting—fuelling with anger, I suppose—then finally he leans back and stares down at me with a gaze that read sympathy and worry. “Why? Why would do this?” he is urging me to answer with an apologizing tone saying ‘I am sorry I wasn’t there’ and ‘please forgive me.’
“I...I had to,” I whisper quietly. My voice is more a choked, strangled sob and in this moment I hate everything. The tears are streaming down my face but I don’t want to cry. It angers me that I’m crying. I bow my head as a thought flashes before me maybe this is all your fault. A sob racks through my entire being at that and then I am silently weeping. The quietness of my cry is frightful, like I have been compelled to figure out how to do this and it is worse than a child’s tantrum or screaming because in that moment my eyes would lace with such sadness my young years aren’t supposed to possess.
Since my formative years I could never learn to cry with sophistication—with those silvery pearl shaped tears moving down my cheeks leaving no smears or streaks. I could never be the styled Veronica in those Archie comics. I wish I had learnt, and then I could do it in front of people instead of in bathrooms, in darkened pillow forts in the comfort of my room, in darkened space behind the couch or in empty parks as night befell and icy winter breeze filled the air with pain and despair.
With a blurred vision I look up at Harry—his green eyes brimming up as he looks down on me—with a gaze which seemed to say, ‘what would it take to mend a soul as damaged as mine and who would try?’ My thoughts are all haywire and jumbled, echoing and bouncing off the inside of my skull.
“This isn’t the beginning of things, is it?” Harry interrogates, gripping my upper arms. His fingers curl around my arm and tighten as I ignore the question flashed at me. Slowly I bow my head and stare at the ground.
“Answer him!” Loganspeaks brusquely, gritting his teeth while he raises his hands to reach out to me as if I’ll run again. He is trying to point the ‘you were wrong’ finger at me.
Harry’s hand reaches over to my chin and lifts it up, forcing me to look him straight into the eye. His brooding eyes pour out so much love for me. He looks at me like he wants to scoop me up and take me home, pour some love into me until I feel safe enough to cry out loud when I feel hurt.
“No, this isn’t where all of this started...” I mumble with a blurred vision. My own voice reverberates in my mind. The words I said six years ago in my room just before my reality singing show audition ring in my ears continuously.
“I don’t want to go! Please understand you all will be disappointed! You will regret this! I’m terrible. I am an awful singer!”
“I came here to do my post graduation, not to give auditions in Ultimate Sing Off!”
I am surprised how I still remember each and every word, even after all this time...after six years. It is a moment where everything comes back to me in a flashback. It has brought the past to the cognizance of my present. It is the point from where it all began...that’s when it started.
My heart is pounding at a frantic tempo, and for some reason I’m blushing furiously under Harry’s steady scrutiny. I steal a quick glance at Logan; his expression is vacant, dampened by an eerie, peculiar sadness. I taste the bitter flavours of reminiscences as they flash before my eyes.
I recall Craig’s strident voice yelling “wake up!” as footsteps neared my lain position. I had wondered back then too as to how he entered my room without my permission? Bastard. My inner goddess had cussed as she resumed her position under the bed, covering her head by the duvet—entertaining the fact that now the demons can’t see her or hurt her because the duvet protected her. I had pretended to be asleep even though I had been awake for about two hours then. Butterflies fluttered their wings in my stomach and I was hell scared.
I had been given death threats and called all sort of names, ranging from “drama queen” to finally ending at “you have a knack for music” only to agree to audition for Ultimate Sing Off. While Venus was being nice with me, Craig’s way of ‘talking me through’ involved another series of threats, “Get up on your own or...I’ll just drag you out! And don’t you dare ignore this warning.”
I remember pleading with them, reasoning out the odds and weighing the possibilities. I had whined and defended myself with, “You will regret this! I’m terrible. I am an awful singer. I came here to do my post graduation, not to give auditions in Ultimate Sing Off!" But that didn’t deter Venus and Craig to drag me to the auditions. I was cornered in my own dormitory room, while my roommate was nowhere in sight, by the young couple before me. They had even planned to get me out of my pajamas if I hadn’t cooperated.
So, after I had put up a good fight with the duo (at least I like to pretend that it was a good fight), and a nerve wracking five hour drive from Newcastle to London—filled with the (false) hopes Venus and Craig had drowned me in—I soon found myself standing on stage, giving my audition, to the judges: : Stephan Collins, Megan Stasey, Caitlin Follows and guests—Symphony Thrills.
“You’d be absolutely fine, Maira!”
“We have your back!”
“You’ll knock the living daylights out of ’em judges!”
They had said to me, on the car ride from Newcastle to London. They had lured me into the music industry—all for my good, I know, but I think they failed to mention that with fame comes power, with power comes importance, and if you’re important then the public (your audience) believes that they have the entire right over your life. My university friends had made me step on the first ladder of success—to create a perfect life for me.
But hardly do people realise that, a perfect life is not equivalent to a happy life.
“What’s your story Maira?” Harry again questions me and I tune out of the reminiscences of the past and find myself dominated by Harry with Loganat just an extended hand distance away. I was just not willing to open up about this part of my life. Finally my cognitive functions are restored and reconnected with the rest of my body.
I close my eyes and take a deep, purifying breath, trying to recover what’s left of my equilibrium. I wipe away my tear stained cheeks with my already wet hands. I just couldn’t hold myself. Get a grip, Maira. My subconscious scolds.
From a very tiny underused part of my brain- probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells—comes the thought: You can’t let everything slip. You can’t leave. No way! I dismiss it immediately. Why shouldn’t I leave? What is left here for me? The idea is preposterous, and I kick it out of my head.
I am so vulnerable right now and even though there is beauty in vulnerability and strength in its mortifying unguardedness, it is not a competition or a one-over or something you one day decide to be or not be. It is that secret breathing space in you that opens its gates without your permission and gives its access to whomsoever it wills so that they can love you a little extra beyond the ordinary.
The moon plays a game of hide and seeks with the clouds as the frosty winds bite into my skin almost whispering, ‘it will hurt, my love.’ Crying uncontrollably I realise my mistake. I broke my own heart by waiting for him. I was so stupid for waiting. I had my chances and my opportunities and I should have told him that my heart ran marathons when he would look at me. I wish I had been brave above all else to risk my heart than living with this constant that I feel now that he is not a part of my memories.
I valiantly attempt to calm down and gather my thoughts.
“Harry...Loganyou,” my hoarse voice is almost pleading now “you need to relax and give me the time and space I deserve,” I start to say paying special attention to ‘you’ with my snot filled face and a beaten voice before I’m cut off by Harry.
“Not happening. First blurt out the truth Maira! I am here to tell you that your pain is valid and your suffering is worth consolation and this brokenness that you feel doesn’t equate to your worthlessness.” Harry snaps back. His right hand cupped my face. Those eyes looked at me intently while his left hand wiped away my tears and removed the strands of stray hair from my face too.
“Exactly Harry!” I rudely assert. “This hurt is mine and the healing should be too.” I beg as my fist tightens.
“Maira, I hope you remember you are not a burden and this weight you carry can be shared and you’re worth every ounce of love and time and attention we give you.” Loganmoves forward and keeps his hand on my shoulder. His voice is careful and he is saying certain words with such sincerity for once, I almost believe them.
“There will be more love, better love. I promise.” Harry kisses my forehead, sweetly and gently. Everyday since I have known him he teaches me that love is the way out, like it is some kind of open door into unlimited sunshine. I am not sure about how and when I will try that again for a while; I can’t keep on making the same mistakes and expect a different result. I have a feeling it will be a life long journey instead of a magic pill but like all journeys it will always be one step at a time.
Heels strut against the gravel pavement and then into muffled footfalls as a silhouette approaches us. “Maira!” the voice gasps and then mutters “oh my god.” A sense of recognition washes over me and I visibly relax.
“Gia, just tell them to let me go.” I am sobbing; the tears have managed to escape my eyes and they are rolling over leaving streaks of makeup and salt. Damn! Gia walks closer to where we stood.
She leans in towards me, kissing my forehead and engulfing me in her warm arms. “Darling—relax, you need to hold yourself right now. You need to listen to us this time...Enough is enough?” she said. Her ivory black eyes look at me with agitation but most importantly with sympathy. I squirm under her grip, my fear colliding with the array of possibilities of the unknown.
I am in denial mode and I am refusing every ounce of compassion, solicitude and commiseration thrown my way. I sense movement behind me and the next thing I know is Harry has placed his hand on my head—as if silently treating my sadness with reiki. I don’t have to look at him to sense that he is agonizing. I have let him down.
“You’re not a survivor Maira, you’re a warrior.” Gia is coaxing me while I try to not wriggle under her, but my heart is pounding, my pulse haywire, as anxiety pumps through me.
“Shush, shush shush...I know everything, calm down. Honestly, how stupid have you been?” she whispers to me, tightening her arms around my body.
When everything is as delicate as it is now, and my reputation never being worse than this, I fail to believe I have a heart. But today it is beating so strongly and loudly that I can’t doubt its existence; I can feel it—hear it—everywhere without even touching it and despite of the absence of an essential part of me, I feel completely loved but in a way, I feel absolutely nothing; everything is so tender and sensitive that a single thought can bring me to tears.
It’s cruel and unforgiving of life that a heart is forced to carry on beating even after it has been broken into two. It feels like your heart is gripped in an ice-cold vice and it hurts as if it will explode in your chest, but still the boom-boom continues.
And that is terrifyingly brutal when your hands have held everything but yourself.
The worse thing in the world is not being loved. It makes a person: mean, violent and cruel. And yet the tragic thing is, sometimes being loved has the same conclusion.
“I’ve heard this life is overrated, but I hope it gets better as we go, oh.” Song- here without you by three doors down.
Please drop me a comment or a vote if you think this deserves it and give me a chance to improve. All the love as always, Mahak xx