Self-Portrait, December 2013

Photograph by Larm Rmah

Photograph by Larm Rmah


“What are you doing?” I asked.

She looked up, still holding my hand between her hands. “I just want to be admitted in your memories,” she said.

There was a time when we were one. When my pain was your pain. When the happiness of one was the happiness of us both. It almost seems like some kind of magic now. What was the name of that relationship? What was its form?

We ran out of ideas. We got desperate. Even in our youthful hesitance we accepted our own permanence.

Sometimes the best thing we can give someone is our absence, I kept thinking.

“What do we want?” she said. “What is it we are always searching for?”

Lights were falling through the leaves. The world had almost stopped spinning for once. She moved her hand from her throat and touched her chest. And behind us, the faint sound of a distant plane taking off. That was when I realized it was almost morning.

Forms, thoughts, sounds. Seeking time, disappearing shadows and smokes of life. Somewhere far from the world, we had reached out and found each other.

How does it happen that, still in possession of our sensibilities, we begin to find meaning only through someone else?

There is a theory that those who are incapable of accepting the concept of eternity are the same ones who are incapable of understanding the mystery of time. Time, those who claim to understand it say, is the agent of cosmic harmony.

But the mystery of time lies not in its ability to change things, but the way it lets nothing come to an end.

Sometimes it seems to me that detaching myself from my emotions is the only thing worth doing, because there will be a time when none of this will make sense. Yet a part of me knows everything. It wants to stay awake the whole night and wonder.

Love is my presence. Love is your presence. Love. We will not be here forever. But love, the love that forms us, the love that is free, it will never see itself in the mirror, and it will remain in forever.

I close my eyes and feel this memory. I touch your skin to know you. You hold all secrets, and the memory sinks in you. The world is so big. Our voice is so small.

Prose PoetryVatsal Surti