What I didn’t notice

On a chilly evening, few weeks ago, I was sitting by the Seine, lost in thought, as the clouds distantly hovered over unconcerned pedestrians. I am not a romantic, so I couldn’t help being surprised to find a muse in the looming Eiffel Tower, casting a broken reflection on the river’s muddy waters. I was overtaken by an intense need to write. One thing led to another, and hastily, I penned this:

When it aches

When it aches
You can’t help but remember
All the little things you looked at
With such admiration
Even when they weren’t there

Like how you smiled
When the side of her eyebrow
Weirdly twitched
Every time she laughed

She didn’t notice

How you adored
Looking at her hair flick about
When she nodded her head
Especially when they were unkempt

She didn’t notice

How you cherished
The moments when she
Scuttled through her little bag
That held parts of her life

She didn’t notice

When you used to get scared
Because she rarely squared her arms together
Sometimes she did
And you got worried

She didn’t notice

How listening to Closing Time
Reminded you of her
Silly tone of singing
‘And you CAN’T! STAY! HERE! ‘

She didn’t notice

How you loved the way
She slightly tilted her head to the left
Every time she was
Deep into conversation

She didn’t notice

How whenever you see
Another with curly bushy short hair
Her image unconsciously
Gets imprinted under your eyelids

She didn’t notice

How desperate you felt
To not find a response on your phone
For the long messages you left
Aloof and bereft, you felt

She didn’n notice

How you would do anything
To get her what she wanted
Even when it rained
Especially when it rained

She didn’t notice

The little time you spent together
She never knew
How you felt
When she cried

She didn’t see you
For what you wanted
She saw you
For what you were

She stayed in the moment
You couldn’t capture
And it felt like a ‘click’
As it got lost

She wouldn’t remember
How warm it felt
To finally get her text
After a bad day

Were they just words
That she hopelessly typed?
They felt like they brought
Relief and comfort

But she never noticed

That you could wait days on end
For one of her emails
Because she used your nickname
In a way no one else did

She never understood

Why you would rather
Sleep on the cot
And not on her bed
It made you feel closer

She never figured

Why you chuckled
At her random jokes
When they weren’t even funny
They were funny to you

Why didn’t she see?
Why couldn’t she notice?
Maybe she felt free
Never having felt hopeless

She didn’t know
What you went through
All those hardships?
It’s all on you

When you had the chance
When you read your fears
You didn’t tell her
You only just talked

You could’ve made her realize
How she made you feel
She could’ve lifted you
She could’ve revealed

That she was feeling the same
That she was tired too
Of all that you just thought
Of all you did not do

Or maybe it was nothing
Maybe she had lied
She always did see you
She never saw your eyes

After all the pretending
You finally feel empty
Gathering the sadness
As now you watch her leave

And you think of her wondrous
Perfect life
As you bitterly weep
You can’t be part of it

These days you walk by
Quietly to work everyday
Always wanting to break down and cry
Always in the gray.

She’ll never know.

As I finished, I felt satisfied. I read this new ‘thing’ (“Is that a poem?”, I wondered) from the beginning, under the smoky streetlight. The sky had turned dark and the wind gotten bitter. A hopeful street violinist was cheerfully playing somewhere close by, I remember. I didn’t know I was capable of melancholic writing. Neither had I realized I could ever really write something even remotely romantic. I had been too busy behind screens, conjuring meaningless artificial symbols with no sense of purpose, and voraciously consuming moving pictures to really fathom my reach.

With my newfound praise for the carelessly scribbled, weirdly lovey-dovey work, I got up, picked my notebook and started walking towards the Concorde Metro station, involuntarily swiping up my phone screen and tweeting about my surprising self-discovery.

The perilous addiction to my phone is robbing me of reality, one notification at a time.

We’re inherently capable of so much more, but we never look outside our circle of self-centred thoughts. We’re ultimately just for ourselves, aren’t we?

Our shallow natures are a side-effect of the luxuries of technology.