As the Crow Flies: Flashbacks, Dreams, and Vignettes

If you want to love
Do so
To the ends of the earth
With no shortcuts
Do so
As the crow flies.

You told me, ‘We’ll see âÂ?¦ we’ll be friends.’ However, the only thing that remained as before was the tension, this floating lie. The memory that has no urge to fade. For me, it was spent. Every night, I remembered, but things were no longer the same. The days had changed. Even the vibrant city seemed insipid with its towering buildings and bustling citizens. I drifted through time as though my sleep was crumbling. I lost faith. What haunted me was the waiting. Tomorrow, everything would start all over again. You would be back and then there would be nothing. Nothing at all. The waiting was tough. No, intolerable. When the other came, it felt like a plunge into the sea. My heart surged. A flicker still lingered, after all.

No longer room for fine sentiments. Just a time of resentment. My harsh words were uttered with a single look. He was so happy. He never even noticed me. Disappointments. There are no fresh mornings, just torpid nights. Sometimes, I feel as though it had never really happened, that all that had been something else. I wanted it to be just the two of us, but now I know it couldn’t be.

Such a strong desire, that it burned my mind, ravaged all my thoughts, and extended all the way to my dreams. All that was left was the strong pounding of my heart.

Nothing existed but this moment, this festive atmosphere. Garlands hung on the sky walls. Nothing, but my spirit moving up a notch to another story that had nothing to do with ours, the kind of tale whose source is unknown.

It reminded me of those stormy nights caught in the rain. The glistening sound of the first drops; then, after that, it felt like a downpour sweeping everything in its way, the bending trees, the fleeing shadows, and the smell of the earth.

Anyway, tomorrow could have been a fine day. It could have been a day spent at the seaside with the sun soothing the skin. You would have found me beautiful, and I would have told the winds my dreams of a thousand and one nights.

I remember your laughter which had my soul in stitches. It was like the luminous fresh rain that banished all boredom, the fleeting days, and the winter of the heart. All I wanted was to hang on to what was beautiful but terrible thoughts keep knocking on my memory; the kinds of thoughts that are best discarded. I keep remembering the night when we spoke, when words were finding it hard to escape my lips and each syllable hampered the clarity of meaning. I asked you questions that needed an answer. And each time the sentences were punctuated by silence. A hurricane in my chest.

I cannot stop thinking that life might have missed a step, and that something was wrong. My desperate words uttered too late, hurled into space. Lost for all time.

I must leave. You see, I need a different world. Things have changed. I search for you and all I find is your shadow. All of a sudden, your scent is too strong. Your estranged body has lost its heat. Today, I am standing at the edge of the beach. I feel the waves lapping on my boots. I am dressed in my uniform, and I am wearing the ring you bought me long ago, in the days blown past with the whispering of the wind. I shift my ring to another finger. Maybe somewhere, at the tip of the horizon, in another place, there is somebody for me.

Give me a few more days and I will see what I must do. The same thing. I feel it already. I have seen it in your eyes, in your hand, the way you walk and the way you smile. I already know it. You are gone, lost forever.

If time was on my side, I would have smashed down walls, forced doors open, ripped roofs and shattered windows. Rain would have soaked the soil and the wind would have howled in the middle of the ruins.

I feel it in the way you speak and the force you are drawn to her. The call extends way beyond the mountains, and beyond the seas. It is like a powerful drum deafening my body.

But time is not on my side, and our past days together elude me. Our lives run on parallel tracks�

Would you have desired me if we had walked similar paths?

The story of my misery recounts itself. Years pass by and nothing changes. It is always the same old never ending tale. For me, dirty, muddy roads and blackened walls. For you, there is light. The bright sun of love and now turns its lamp upon you. Upon her. It has turned away from me.

Today, I dug the earth by hand and planted some seeds. To watch them grow. My fingers are wet and black with the dirt. I heap the soil gently at first and then vigorously. A warm heat spreads throughout my body. The same heat that spread when you were at my side, in the days long past.

You are gone. Out, with her. I enter your room and touch your things. Your uniform laid out on your bed, and an open suitcase. The things on your desk have changed. Your room smells different. Unfamiliar. Foreign. Forbidden. Like her. But I still recognize the residues of your scent the way you remember having dreamed in the morning after a long night of sleep.

I want to pour libation and summon the gods, undo what has been done, utter scared words to quell the fire that you share with her and kindle the charred twigs left ashes of that between us. I want an assembly of sorcerers to chase away the evil spirits that destroyed us, to recapture the past once more. I therefore call upon each and every one of you, djinns with hideous faces, juju-makers with terrifying powers. Come from all directions. I want to make peace.

I need the spell that will erase the memories.

I must leave behind denials and errors. I will no longer watch him and suffer. I will no longer know his where-abouts, or what has become of them. Of him. Of her. I will forget, no longer know whether the memory has faded or whether my pain still persists, because I will not linger on what is dissolved.

I want to believe in fairy-tales, as I once did. I want to believe we could journey into the desert, visit exotic places astride the back of a camel.

Now, I have to start all over again.

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