Her.

“Who are you waiting for?” she asks.

I take a good look at her face. Her dark brown hair is tied up in a bun, but not in the way you usually see those young girls of her age do it. Her tied bun looked more like maa’s hair tied into a bun. There are a few strands frizzy and dried, flying off as if they are naked wires, searching for plugs. I laugh remembering how mother always complained that she looked like a grandmother from behind when she tied her bun like that. She must be looking like one even now. My eyes fall on her forehead. It is covered with tiny indistinct spots, almost invisible if you aren’t concentrating hard enough. There are dark bags hanging  below her eyes because she had lost sleep for a couple of weeks. Although a sleep lover, she’d been refusing to sleep for some unknown reasons to both of us. Her nose is sunburned and a little tanned than the rest of her skin. There are light speckles and scars in her face. Sometimes, I feel like if I looked hard enough I could find more furrows. But right now, she looks tired and worried. Even as she looks straight back at me, I somehow feel that she is looking beyond me, searching for answers, seeking escape, looking for a way out. She is tired and worried.

“You,” I finally say with a sigh. “It’s time for you to come home.”
Because I’ve realized that even the girl in the mirror needs a reminder of the love you have for her. Especially during time like this.

The girl in the mirror

The girl in the mirror and I
are rivals.
Although we pass each other by
several times,
we don’t even exchange smiles.

She is strong, fierce and powerful.
She wins every battle she goes into.
I am not that strong or fierce
I like fighting the losing battle.
She lives in an old brick house
with tikijhya windows
that open up to a big chuka:
mine’s made up of cement
with windows full of steel bars
opening upto a big concrete jungle.

She is beautiful and flawless
with pretty eyes and warm smile
she will melt your heart in few seconds.
She is guarded,
her deeper thoughts unknown to many
she doesn’t share them till it’s necessary
she has a wall around her,
that you can’t see,
you feel that you know her,
I always do,
but I also know that
this is not true.

I have a scar on the side of my cheeks
from stumbling and falling across the streets
I break things that I don’t know how to make
I share things, I can’t keep a secret.
She laughs at me
for she has this upper hand in this war
she knows me more than myself
the fire that is ignited inside us
she knows how to turn it off.

She is kind, caring and loving.
Sweet, full of patience and enduring
Careful, and selfless,
unlike mine, her heart doesn’t wonder and ponder
go back and forth time and again
her heart is not a fickle.
Mine changes direction
faster than the blink of an eye,
I debate and argue with myself
every single time
while she has no enemy,
I am the worst of me.

She is the girl in the mirror,
and we don’t go side by side.
She is anti-me from the anti-universe
she is everything I ever wanted to be
but never could be.

 

The Stroll

The sun was slowly setting down, with orange flames scattered in the western sky making it look like it had caught the fire. The small village set in a valley some 20 kilometers from the town also seemed as if it had caught fire because of the reddish-orange bricked paved houses with tiled roofs and roads.

All the inhabitants were readying themselves to call it a day when she entered the village as slowly and swiftly as she could. She wandered through the streets, the alleys and the boulevards aimlessly. Wearing a tank-top, a pair of trousers and a jacket, she wasn’t appropriately dressed according to many people. Her hair was flying with the wind, and her skin was tanned enough to be mistaken for a ghost.

She was oblivious to the glares and stares from the people there. She couldn’t hear the comments being passed on by old women and young boys alike. She was living in her own world while walking on the real one. Her eyes looked distant and so was her mind. And her legs seemed to be guided by a soul that wasn’t hers. Something was definitely cooking up in her mind. She would laugh out loud without any reason or frown within fragment of seconds. She would then again smile remembering something as if those streets and the alleys and the boulevards had memories in store for her even if she was there for the first time.

She didn’t look at the people. Instead, little things lying in the street caught her attention. In between her wandering mind and legs, she would stare at a piece of stone or a dead rat. And every time the breeze blew pass over her, she would stay still and take it all in. Also, time and again, she would watch the sun going down and the orange turning into red in the heaven. And during those very brief moments, when she would come out of her world, something flickered in her face – her face glowed somehow.

After wandering off for hours, she finally left the village as swiftly as she had come in. Nobody noticed her leaving but after she was gone, everyone felt as if they had changed somehow. Nobody said a word to each other, but talked to themselves about this strange girl who stumbled upon their village one day and changed them completely.

I’m Yours

I

I first saw her when she wasn’t even a year old. Carried by her mother, I knew there was something special about this girl the moment I saw her. And from that day, I knew I would wait upon her but I didn’t know why. And also from that day, I saw her, a lot (which I knew I would because I had seen her mother walking the same street for a long time).

Many people pass by me every day. Different each was. Some grumpy some nice, some snobbish some just fine and some a constant babblerer while some a good listener. But none had caught my eyes till I saw her. I didn’t know if it was her innocent-looking face that glowed or the eyes that shone which struck me at that time. But every time I did, my heart jumped a little, my breathing fastened a little, my intestine somersaulted and I could feel something in my stomach. And when I saw her looking at me sometimes, a chill ran through my spine. Hence, I waited. For her to cross my way so that I could steal a glance of her.

I saw her growing up. Well, I didn’t actually witness her growing up. I am not lucky enough I guess but I did see her. I saw her every time she would pass; holding her mother’s hand, sharing small murmurs or lost in her own world of thoughts. And the more I saw her, the more I got mystified. I found her beautiful and serene. I found a strong sense of belongingness in her.

And one day, I found her looking at me. Not those absent-minded glimpses but more-than-a-second look. I felt myself getting warm and red. I was blushing. My heart knew no limit for happiness and my soul was flying high. I got shy for a while. All the feelings I had never known started to come to me, one at a time. And then, I found her looking at me more often. Sometimes, she would just steal a glance and at other times, she would stare at me with her twinkling eyes. Sometimes, she would be showing me off to her friends while at other times she would capture me in her memories. At those times, I wish I could talk to her and tell her, “I’m all yours.”

II

I first saw the house when I was in my early teens. I was searching for my perfect house as I walked across the familiar street when I first saw it. It was standing along with other beautifully crafted houses but there was something different about it. Something my heart failed to find and my mind failed to answer. So, I decided to search for a while leaving my eyes to wander over its windows and rooms. I was quickly awed by amazing crafts of tiny soldiers in its wall. And quickly I saw that there was something special about this house.

From that moment onward, every time I passed by it, I would either steal some glimpses or stare at it for a while. When I stole the glimpses, I would be left with many questions in my mind like what those carvings meant and who owned the house. I would start wondering about its interiors and what it felt like living in it.

When I stared at it, I would observe every small detail with many thoughts passing my mind. The tiny soldiers looked like as if they were marching towards a battle. They reminded me of the battles my country fought to protect her sovereignty. But the walls were falling apart. The large windows were broken at places. Of course, the house was old and it was not maintained properly as well.

The people who lived there were probably ignoring it. This made my heart cry bitterly. I would take my friends to the place and show the carvings. I would so express my desire to renovate and preserve it and to live in it. I would share my wish to hide the house from the world. They all enjoyed the beauty of the house and agreed with me about my desires.

“It’s normal to feel that way,” they said, “but it’s difficult to do that. It’s maddening actually.”

By the time I was reaching my late teens, I was obsessed with the house. I would take all my free time to be near it, observe it and learn the minute details about it. I would get lost in its beauty feeling mesmerized but saddened by its state. I would start wishing more about rescuing it.

So, every time I was staring at the house, I would whisper softly, “Do not be afraid. One day, you’ll be mine and I’ll take care of you. Till then, I’m yours.”