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That Obscure Object of Desire

By Manan Kapoor All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Romance

Prologue

Anja was always there. I don’t remember seeing her the first time or falling for her like lovers do. She was like my first laugh, my first cigarette; like all the memories that you cannot recollect. All I can recall is that I love her. Like the heavy air around me, I always felt her presence as if she was a cage. And I was the bird who was born to be incarcerated in it, to die in her confinement. But my death was always curled in her arms, tangled in her long brown hair. And I knew it all along that I was meant to be with her. Love was simple, I thought.

Somehow, the habit of looking through my window, just observing all the people passing by seems to grow every day. I sit there watching them walk from the time they appear in the frame till the time they disappear, crossing into a street or just fading from my sight. And as I sit looking through the windowpane with my blank face reflecting the light of the dying sun, like every man who walked this earth, I daydream. I am lost, thinking about the things that are yet to unfurl and the things that have already spread out before me like an abyss into which I stare. And she is there in all of my naïve extrapolations, standing in a white gown with those rose cheeks that make the flowers shy away into the buds from which they sprouted. There are days when I sit by the window, expecting to see her emerge from the shadows, walking towards my apartment, come running back to me. And I smile every time I think of that. Love was simple, I assumed. And like every man who loved, I was wrong. I was mistaken, wide off the mark; my dreams were vivid, the realities were the expectations in slivers, writhing in agony as if gasping for the last breath.

I never knew I loved her till the time she was reduced to a fragment of my memory. I realized in those long intervals of introspection the only thing pulling me back was her. Like gravity, the more I tried to defy her, the more she pulled me. And I kept spiraling downwards with every object and thought that evoked her memory, with every blink of an eye, I hit the ground. Sometimes, I feel that I should have given in to the voice that was echoing in my head. I could probably be with her now, I could have saved myself from the hate in the eyes of every woman I devoured to forget her. I could have saved myself, saved her. I drenched myself in alcohol, expecting to drown, to somehow die on my way back to the apartment as I crept and slithered on the pavements. I thought it could cure me of the disease, but it only aggravated my condition. It didn’t make me forget her, or find someone new. All it did was numb my mind. Somehow, I could not feel anything new, everything was constantly repeating in my head like a tape that is stuck. I tried to hate her, but it was too easy, her skin deserved much more.

Nevertheless, even as I sit here with the whiskey burning down my throat, I don’t despise the idea of love, or even her. For every moment I spent with her, every time I accidentally caressed her hand while we walked through the snow in the tormenting Decembers, I felt the sigh of summers. Unrequited love was like red wine spilt on a white linen, you can never remove the stain. And all her memories, all her nonchalant movements, her brown hair, they are all scars on me that will never heal. A laceration that is always bleeding from which and my soul and my will to be, is seeping out. Yet, as I lie down beckoning the sandman, longing for the touch to spark a fire, to stir up my emotions that lie in smithereens, I believe that love is beautiful. It is not possession or control, but in knowing that she is like the smoke in my wretched lungs that gives me pleasure, and like everything that is pure and beautiful, I have to watch it scatter into thin air.


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