By: Bethelhem Teame
The skies are dark today, with an unfulfilled promise of heavy clouds hovering over. The weather is much colder now, the kind that makes you reminisce about lost love, lost chances and opportunities that never actually happened in life. The kind that takes you away to miles, to travel back in time, while you sat on the corner blanking in and out of the real life. That kind that makes you remember the faint melody of an oldies collection that has a lyrics that expresses nothing about your life yet makes you cry. The kind that brings back the scents of people, environment, food and others the first time you ever heard that melody. The kind that engulfs you in a blanket of illusions of the two worlds of the now and the memory of yesterday and the past.
Today was such kind.
I sat by the window, the steaming cup of green tea by my side. The world outside the window looks a picture of a sad, abandoned and forgotten city, long after its glory days, perfectly put in the wooden frame of the huge window of the house, hung silently on the walls of the house. I stared out blankly, overwhelmed by the torrent of emotions that were flickering by in my heart like a disco light in an empty dance floor with no songs nor dancers in sight. My emotions were never steady as my heart experiences one feeling after another; to swift to even tell about it in details now.
I thought I was lonely at one time. But this was right after I was angry at life. Before that I remember I was grateful and hopeful, standing here in New York City overviewing the panorama of the huge city and living in the city I love. If memory serves me right, I remember feeling helpless as I stared out at the darkened sky, this was before I was lost in admiring New York and the bustling of activities that fills the skies every time I stepped out of the house. Before that I was filled with mushy feelings of homesickness that is playing God with my moods and emotions, that makes me sound like one of those moody artists I often hear about.
There is something strange about New York that fills me with mixed emotions of the two natures of the opposite kind. “I am home.” That was what I told my dad after landing in New York City. It felt like finally I am where I have always supposed to be. In the arms of my new lover. A lover that feels like home. Rare to find. But this same home has the power that makes me an outsider. An outsider among the cheerful crowd, a bystander window-shopping life, family, culture and identity from the oversized department store windows outside. It is like this feeling you sometimes get in a new, exciting, beautiful and exotic love that makes you miss your first lover, however cruel and bitter the story of your first love is in the ears of your new lover or is told to others in time.
New York does this to me. An outsider in home. An unfaithful lover in arms of a new lover. Is this making any sense to you?
I do. There are moments where I miss my old lover whom I knew my whole life. It was my first time ever- so you can imagine that. Despite the sad ending that broke my heart, there is this lingering feelings that comes off too strongly sometimes. Despite the ugly sides that we showed each other that almost erased the beautiful moments we shared during the first episodes of our love life.
Don’t we all have such a lover, the one we don’t want to forget despite the hurt and sufferings s/he has inflicted on us? The kind who still makes us turn around to see when we hear his or her name being called out when deep down we know the name belongs to someone else and that it is not our lover being called out that instant. The kind that you want to call randomly out of the blue, say when the weather is like today’s, even when you know things have ended on an ugly note when finally you departed from one another without a proper goodbye.
The scars are still fresh, the heartaches still pang at your heart, sometimes when you lay awake at night. But this new lover squeezes you in his embrace yet you fill the chillness ooze from the inside of your bones and plays with your emotions before it slips in back to where it came from and disappears till it makes its lapses of disorientation appear some other time. Leaving you confused and abated.
The amusing part of such love stories is that they make you vow to cut all ties with it, box it, seal it and throw the memories to the deepest part of the sea or the ocean. You even vowed not to look back at your lover when you turned around and left your lover behind. This much it hurts, the memory still fresh in your mind. This much you have to endure and survive.
I took my wounded heart and wings, carrying my broken dreams to my new lover that promised security and a fresh start. But every time I am in his embrace, I compare it to your warm hugs which you gave me rarely that become never during our last days of ‘us’. My mood swings like a dysfunctional pendulum with no rhythm or pace to match. How can I remember only the good moments when what you showed me later was a horrific experience that made me seek solace in the arms of another man? How can I still defend you? I write hidden and secret letters with encrypted messages to you, for you and even say a little prayer for you every night.
I will forget you. If not today, tomorrow but I will do that one day, this I keep telling myself but to no avail. But forgetting is a process. A set of steps till the final stride to conclude the chapter. I know this very well, in fact I have talked about it on several occasions-with a conviction that brooked no argument or a shadow of doubt lurking at the back of my mind. I know this very well. I think this needs no rocket scientist to understand that, forgetting, as a phenomenon, specially a lover like you is a complex process that tags at the heart. It is a process. Just a long one for my thin-layered patience.
Every step forward takes me away from the start point, which is you. You will later amount to a mere blur line far away from the finish line, a mere point on the other side. I am running, I am running now towards the finish line, to win the race and wear the crown. But if I put the medal in your honor there is nothing I can do about that if there is a part of you in me and I can’t just ignore or hush it down.
Guess who my first love is, do you feel the same when you think about this love?
2. Bethelhem Teame