View from a cafe in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India.
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being - Milan Kundera
The Last Mermaid
From the time she could remember, it was just her. Her and the ocean blues. And the dolphins. Dolphins who never forget.
She lived in the dark cove, hidden in Mariana’s Trench. Why they call it that, no one knows.
In the mornings she would look for pearls to entwine with seaweed and tie bows around her unruly hair. In the afternoons, she would play with the dolphins in her secret den. In the evenings she would swim out to the great beyond, across the anemones glowing on the seabed, across the swarm of jellyfish pulsating in the dark, past the coral reef, past the big blue whale who always swam quietly alongside her. She swam towards the light, towards the surface where she could see stars. She spent hours gazing at stars. She spent years gazing at stars. She was there when Titanic sank, when the sea swallowed it whole and dragged it down to the seabed, when Amelia Earhart lost her way, when the Russian submarines made so much noise that she had to hide in her secret cavern behind the dolphin’s nook.
She liked swimming out to the shoreline, watch the men walk by. She was attracted to these strange creatures with their mysterious ways. She always wanted to reach out to the warm sands of the beach
You see, mermaids, they live forever. They are immortal till they no longer can be. They don’t eat, they don’t sleep, they don’t dream of the great beyond and what lies beyond that.
That night, when she swam out to the shore, she saw a silhouette near the shoreline. She swam to the edge of the shore.
There was a man sitting on the beach, his head between his hands. He was sobbing. She didn’t know what tears were or how they tasted like sea water. She felt strangely drawn to the man. There is something so beautiful in pain. Further you want to escape from pain, it draws you in, entices you. She swam upto him, unfearing, put her hand on his head which was convulsing from the sobs. He looked up at her. Half mortified, half enchanted, he could not flinch away from her soothing touch. Her pale skin glistened in the moonlight and he couldn’t take his eyes off her black eyes which shone like embers. She looked at him with all the love she had. All the love that was languishing in her heart for eternity.
He was the only other being she had touched. She was the last mermaid alive. Since the time she was conscious, she swam alone in the darkest depths of the sea.
She slid in closer, and reached out her pale fingers and caressed his face. The touch set fire to her soul. She kissed him all over his face, her unruly curls wiped his tears away. She tasted salt for the first time. They held each other tight as if they had always known each other. So tight that they could hardly breathe. Mermaid and man. Yet they held on. But little did she know that when you hold on to something real tight, it is meant to slip away.
As the morning rays hit the shore they woke up in each other’s arms. He promised he would meet her the next night and every night for the rest of forever. Mermaids live forever.
She swam away dreaming of the time they would be together again. She glid down to the dolphin’s nook and looked long and hard at her hands. They had touched another’s.
She waited near the horizon all evening, thinking of how she would hold him close, play with his tousled hair, put her cold hand on his chest and feel her hand warm up against his beating heart.
No one came to the beach that night. She waited all night behind the rocks staring at the lights far away above the hills. She tasted salt on her lips and touched her face to feel tears streaming down her face.
When morning came she slowly slid away into the darkness. But the dolphins kept waiting for her in her den. What this mermaid didn’t know was that it was a broken heart which made all the mermaids before her disappear. Every single one of them till she was the only one left. Some times it was a sailor, some times it was a man who had swam far out to sea, some times it was a pearl hunter. It was always a man that broke a mermaid’s heart. It was a broken heart that mermaids never recovered from.
So the last mermaid disappeared. No one missed her except the dolphins in her secret den. And now mermaids are spoken of only in fables.
And some times in pretentious fables like these.
Pinned to the bed by the weight of him. His hands in her hair, his scent in her lungs. Him, on top of her, inside her, around her. All she could feel was his warm breath on her neck, his groans in her ears, his sweat on her skin, his fingertips on her fingertips. And then he said something so funny that their laughter roared through the hills like wind through trees and touched the farthest depths of the valley, making playing children stop and look.
A tattered photograph my pocket holds.
I keep you secretly.
I studied every line.
You’re etched upon my mind
For not a million soldiers could take you from me.
“I will love you with no regard to the actions of our enemies or the jealousies of actors. I will love you with no regard to the outrage of certain parents or the boredom of certain friends. I will love you no matter what is served in the world’s cafeterias or what game is played at each and every recess. I will love you no matter how many fire drills we are all forced to endure, and no matter what is drawn upon the blackboard in blurry, boring chalk. I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table.
I will love you no matter what your locker combination was, or how you decided to spend your time during study hall. I will love you no matter how your soccer team performed in the tournament or how many stains I received on my cheerleading uniform. I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday. I will love you if you cut your hair and I will love you if you cut the hair of others. I will love you if you abandon your baticeering, and I will love you if you if you retire from the theater to take up some other, less dangerous occupation. I will love you if you drop your raincoat on the floor instead of hanging it up and I will love you if you betray your father. I will love you even if you announce that the poetry of Edgar Guest is the best in the world and even if you announce that the work of Zilpha Keatley Snyder is unbearably tedious. I will love you if you abandon the theremin and take up the harmonica and I will love you if you donate your marmosets to the zoo and your tree frogs to M. I will love you as a starfish loves a coral reef and as a kudzu loves trees, even if the oceans turn to sawdust and the trees fall in the forest without anyone around to hear them. I will love you as the pesto loves the fettuccini and as the horseradish loves the miyagi, as the tempura loves the ikura and the pepperoni loves the pizza.
I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture. I will love you as the doctor loves his sickest patient and a lake loves its thirstiest swimmer. I will love you as the beard loves the chin, and the crumbs love the beard, and the damp napkin loves the crumbs, and the precious document loves the dampness in the napkin, and the squinting eye of the reader loves the smudged print of the document, and the tears of sadness love the squinting eye as it misreads what is written. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat, and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms. i will love you as a child loves to overhear the conversations of its parents, and the parents love the sound of their own arguing voices, and as the pen loves to write down the words these voices utter in a notebook for safekeeping. I will love you as a shingle loves falling off a house on a windy day and striking a grumpy person across the chin, and as an oven loves malfunctioning in the middle of roasting a turkey.
I will love you as an airplane loves to fall from a clear blue sky and as an escalator loves to entangle expensive scarves in its mechanisms. I will love you as a wet paper towel loves to be crumpled into a ball and thrown at a bathroom ceiling and as an eraser loves to leave dust in the hairdos of people who talk too much. I will love you as a cufflink loves to drop from its shirt and explore the party for itself and as a pair of white gloves loves to slip delicately into the punchbowl. I will love you as the taxi loves the muddy splash of a puddle and as a library loves the patient tick of a clock.”
I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong.
i will love you as a battlefield loves young men and as peppermints love your allergies, and I will love you as the banana peel loves the shoe of a man who was just struck by a shingle falling off a house. I will love you as a volunteer fire department loves rushing into burning buildings and as burning buildings love to chase them back out, and as a parachute loves to leave a blimp and as a blimp operator loves to chase after it.
I will love you as a dagger loves a certain person’s back, and as a certain person loves to wear dagger proof tunics, and as a dagger proof tunic loves to go to a certain dry cleaning facility, and how a certain employee of a dry cleaning facility loves to stay up late with a pair of binoculars, watching a dagger factory for hours in the hopes of catching a burglar, and as a burglar loves sneaking up behind people with binoculars, suddenly realizing that she has left her dagger at home.
I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world. I will love you until all the codes and hearts have been broken and until every anagram and egg has been unscrambled.
I will love you until every fire is extinguised and until every home is rebuilt from the handsomest and most susceptible of woods, and until every criminal is handcuffed by the laziest of policemen.
I will love unitil M. hates snakes and J. hates grammar, and I will love you until C. realizes S. is not worthy of his love and N. realizes he is not worthy of the V.
I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates an apple, and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, and until a bird hates a tree and an apple hates a nest, although honestly I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try. I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area.
I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively.
I will love you until the chances of us running into one another slip from slim to zero, and until your face is fogged by distant memory, and your memory faced by distant fog, and your fog memorized by a distant face, and your distance distanced by the memorized memory of a foggy fog.
I will love you no matter where you go and who you see, no matter where you avoid and who you don’t see, and no matter who sees you avoiding where you go. I will love you no matter what happens to you, and no matter how I discover what happens to you, and no matter what happens to me as I discover this, and now matter how I am discovered after what happens to me as I am discovering this.
I will love you if you don’t marry me. I will love you if you marry someone else your co-star, perhaps, or Y., or even O., or anyone Z. through A., even R. Although sadly I believe it will be quite some time before two women can be allowed to marry and I will love you if you have a child, and I will love you if you have two children, or three children, or even more, although I personally think three is plenty, and I will love you if you never marry at all, and never have children, and spend your years wishing you had married me after all, and I must say that on late, cold nights I prefer this scenario out of all the scenarios I have mentioned. That, Beatrice, is how I will love you even as the world goes on its wicked way.”
[Found this in a draft of an old Y! mail account from 2005.
So, so juvenile ! I guess that’s what first love is all about. Daftness and niceness.]
You talk to this guy, weirdest handle he has (flyinginabluedream2002) you really like him and then one day, he says, “i’m taking you out tomorrow”. You meet in that posh bookstore.
“You will know me, watch out for old worn-out nike shoes, it has a red tick mark on it, y’ know”. You talk a little. He talks a lot. That aisle in that book store will never be the same. (Oh he’s so intelligent. He knows that ‘papillon’ means butterfly in French. He calls Switzerland ‘switzy’ cause he has been there.)
"I’m seeing you again tomorrow.", he texts the instant you get home. You meet him again. Two days in a row huh. You should have said no ! Sad you are. It’s pouring. He walks in drenched.
“Oh no you are soaked ! Water’s dripping from your hair. You should have waited at the subway station.”
“No, I knew you were waiting. How could I keep you waiting?! ”
Ha ha ha.
Day 3. Icouldgetusedtothis. We got two tickets to Kangaroo Jack instead of The Matrix because we were busy savoring the sensation of holding each other’s hand. How lame are we. Coolest date ever. He put his arm around my shoulder and I flinched and moved away. Dammit.
That swagger he had everytime he walked out of that tube train.
I DON’T REMEMBER THAT AT ALL.
Day 4. TRRING trring! ” i’m going to kiss you today cuz that’s what i’ve been thinking about all week. before my viva, after my viva, during my viva.” “giggle” “why didnt you wake me before, sreen? i’m late and on the day that i’m gonna kiss you, i can’t be fucking late”
We got up on the wrong tube train and went back to where we came from. (How I wish the world stopped there, in that moment)
He said, “Close your lips and wet your eyes.”
“teeheehee you have been watching too much of Cruel Intentions but you are no Sebastian Valmont”
“no, i’ve never had a girlfriend. you are my girlfriend okay.”
We got up on the cab with two bottles of breezers. Raspberry. (You think you need to get me drunk to kiss you. HAHA. Shhh) First kiss. First kisses. The cabbie said, “you two should get a room!”What an insolent cabbie. Let’s tip him, he says. What month was it? May or June or July. "I won’t change out of these clothes for two days straight. They smell of you."
I thought you were such a good guy. You are. And I was such a good girl. It used to rain a lot when we met.d
“life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” confucius