A Dim Ray of Hope


Ashima, with a sigh: Its pitch dark out, do you see that streak of dim light? I’m calling it ‘hope.’

Karan, smiling: Such cliche’, you quote. You and I both know that you’re an overachieving, sometimes delusional, unnecessarily optimistic, covertly self proclaimed pragmatic, who glides through life with an unrealistic air of self confidence. So that light that you see, has no earthly relevance to our reality.

Ashima: Oh, c’mon! You’re better than this. Remember two decades ago, when we were young and recklessly carefree, strolling about life as if we were invincible? For a moment, maybe the time we are in each other’s company, can you not pretend we are back in that era?

Karan: I hate when you do this to me. I don’t intend to get stuck in some thwarted time warp where I am unreasonably bubbling with depleting energy because it’s irrationally hard for me to shift my frame of reference from one decade to another. Unlike you, the rest of us haven’t accomplished everything we set out to, when we were 12.

Ashima: you’re not being fair, here. Don’t you think you have lived your life to the fullest thus far?

Karan: maybe, but I’m not as content with my status quo as you are.

Ashima: you don’t give yourself enough credit. You are a relentlessly free soul, healthy, and even though you don’t always admit to it, happy.

Karan: I wish one day I have as much clarity as you do.

Ashima: if only we could see each other through one another’s eyes, we would be in a happier place in life. Do you know that you are the peace in my chaos? You are the sound of reason that reverberates through my crowded mind. I’m frightened of finding myself lost in the maze of my own mind. My thoughts heighten my already frightened state of self conscious that questions every success and its lifeline. Nothing makes me happy, anymore. I picture myself in a corn field, alone, glowing in bright sunlight, thrilled to feel the warmth of the sun. The orange and red leaves give me a false sense of felicity. I see large disjointed bubbles that are never ending in form and shape. I am afraid to even touch them, afraid of disturbing it’s congruity and harmony. I am outside the bubble, a mere observer of my own life, peaceful because I’m not in it. My body shivers to the music in my head. I don’t know where it’s coming from. I want to disappear, maybe even evaporate or burst like the bubble will one day. The disconnected thoughts in my head have longevity of a turtle. It’s a turtle who lives a hundred years right?

Karan: what’s your point?

Ashima: point, my long lost love, is that I’m not this obliviously happy person walking on air seemingly above the ordinary human race, like you think. Perhaps, I have accomplished everything i set out to at the age of 12, strangely maybe even more. But happiness does not come easy to me, so in that respect you and I are alike. We are leaves of the same tree, striving to stay evergreen, refusing to change color and wither away. But, yes, there’s one difference. Our perceived conception of happiness is strikingly different and probably have no worldly connection to each other. And yet, what we have in common, is far superior than our differences. Our struggles and convoluted sense of inner imbalance mesh together into a web that’s unbridgeable. So, I continue to see that dim ray of Hope.It’s a funny thing, life. It has a mind of its own, doesn’t follow any script, certainly not a script that we envision it to follow. It strides confidently in its own path, correcting itself from the learned distortions. But, it’s so unpredictable. Have you ever felt out of control? As if you’re merely a puppet in a show where you have no idea of the act, a show that precedes you and your ancestors, that has no attainable game plan. I often feel I am in a high speed train, watching my life pass me as I sit still in an unmovable position unable to touch or influence anything that’s happening to me.

Karan: I hear your pain, actually I can feel your pain, the slippery, greasy, filthy, stench that it creates. I can hear the cacophony in your melodious voice, that to this day, is music to my ears. I can touch the oil in the painting you create because the thread that connects us is ever so unbreakable. I can breathe the air around your nostrils and hear every heartbeat that asserts its presence in this world. We maybe like every other person we know, but our relationship is immortal. There, you have it, my hopelessly hopeful friend. You have your dim ray of light through the unnerving darkness outside our souls and you can call it ‘hope,’ for all I care. I would, however, like to label it fearless ambition to survive the fight between success and happiness. Don’t ask me to define them. Webster does a good enough job at that. But if you ask me to combine our lives and run a thread through its center, touching each star that represents each milestone in our lives, I’d do it with an open heart.

Ashima: would you ever replace me?

Karan: why do you ask? Such randomness in that thought! You know me. My emotional state has a sense of finality to it. This resoluteness evidenced by my character evaporates around you. I would not replace you. Because replacing you would mean I would have to look for you. I would look for you in my laughter. I would look for you in my tears. I would look for you in every word that you’ve ever said to me. If what we just had was the last time our hearts converged, I would show you my tears for you have never seen me moved. Life today is filled with your random cackle. Life today has your dreams and aspirations imprinted on it. Life today longs for your presence and seeks comfort in your voice. My life runs parallel to your plans and voices your persistence and ambitions. This feeling is not one of loss nor does it have a sense of winning. You never leave me. A part of you always stays with me. A part of you people watches and shares a frappuccino with a pirouette disguised straw in a Starbucks happy hour. Your star gazed excitement is in direct physical contact with the table I sit on. You never leave me, instead your void penetrates me intellectually exfoliating the surface underneath me. As I excrete my own toxins, I feel a sense of supreme tranquility in your absence for your absence is only skin deep. I can still see you read your email and text your friends. There’s a general sense of intuitive awareness of your aura in and around me. But without you, I feel small and insignificant. Without you, I hate to admit, everything around me is colorless. It lacks luster. So if what we just had was the last time we touched each other’s hearts, I would hold you one last time and thank you. I would thank you for not making me feel lonely even when I am alone. I would thank you for accepting me for who I am. I would thank you for exploring life with me. I would thank you for surpassing everything that is common and expected. I would thank you for being you, for you are special.

Ashima, wiping tears off her eyes, choking with emotion: Lacking any definite plan or order, I expressed my feeling of discontent earlier with life. This was the third time this month. Earlier this month, my tragedies were charged to some contentious speech act. But, lately my everlasting whimper has lost its anticipated outcome that usually guides my planned actions. It has been an infernal nuisance. I have been quick to blame the world for not accepting my state of despair. But even quicker to fold inwards, shrink from social contacts, content in my single occupancy home and the fragmented coalition that I have constructed diligently. Its a complaint with the exact verbiage that starts to sound trite and obvious. I experience a completely different level of insensitive paralysis. I am dead to my own plea for mercy. I do not always know what to say. I just indulge in an unconscious process, trying to reduce my anxiety with instinctive desires. You and I, we have history together. You are not necessarily in my every day but your presence, mere presence, adds color to my quotidian commute. I am terribly afraid of offending my own sense of humor by letting passersby cross a threshold and yet I continue to entertain them. That begs me to question what I am missing today. As i struggle with my own identity and question every relationship that stirs my conscience, I harbor a resentment against my adulthood. I happily fool myself of the attachments I have cultivated knowing that I don’t really believe in any one of them. Their permanency mocks the right side of my brain and so I flirt with the notion of the moon calendar dictating my emotions. If I did not formally propose serious discussions on my own state of happiness, I would see the light in meditation. Unluckily, left side of my brain overshadows the right side all the while fighting the battle for recognition, recognition in my own ecosystem. I have decided to fast forward my life to a time that will adjust to my equilibrium, where I will no longer fight for my own breath.I appreciate your candor. But more than that I appreciate your love, your unconditional love for me. It is that love, that has kept me going, day to day, month to month, year to year.

Karan: are we saying we are going to try and go back to where we started? Are we going to give this one last shot? Or are we going to be content knowing that sometimes even immortal relationships need to find their mortality, that sometimes love is just not enough. I have a feeling that that’s where we are headed today, with our outburst of emotions.

Ashima: I don’t necessarily want to end anything. But I also don’t want us to halt our lives, living a false pretense. That’s not us. That was never us. We are above and beyond that. Because we both know the truth. We both believe in the same philosophies. Our worlds, though drifting apart, have the same rhythm and tune to it.But as you wind down your day, whose heart do you desire? Who do you wish, you had touched before you let go? Who still visits you, if you manage to secure yourself in a dream? Who still values your creativity? Who would paint your walls with warm tones? This intervention does not postulate my consent. I create, re-create, erase, and re-establish each piece of the puzzle in and around my world. I can’t foster the connection between the pickle I ate tonight and the nightmares I have had in the past. I take heroic measures to save you in my life, hoping you cannot really hear my desperate screams. My detention is politically motivated and I keep from exhaling. This dictates my alternate ego to let you go. It’s freeing, gives me a sense of freedom from confinement. I am letting you go. I want my life back, back to the original model where you were not patterned. I want my life back with its original cast and crew. I am not saying that this will be an easy walk around the block with the resonance that always reflected from the pitch in your voice. The soft light that covered us when we touched and the quietness in the midst of the noisy waterfall, they remind me of the reasons I held us together. And yet, I am letting you go. I say this as my vocal chords vibrate and hands lose their stillness. I am letting you go, away from my balanced and pragmatic head, the head that cannot bear the thought of that softness occupy space that you lost right to. I relinquish your grip on my past even though you will always be the last person I loved. But, it’s time. It’s time to let you go, not with a heavy heart but with a heart that yearns for newness, unaffected by use and exposure.

Karan: Your words are heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time. How do you do it? You know my obsessive nature of always wanting the last word in. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, not today, especially not when we are exchanging our last words.I realize that I will miss you always, even when you are right beside me. It is calming when you can separate each distinct emotion and dissect its core knowing that as each emotion comes to life, our time apart finds a new meaning. There is no feeling of longing inside me, baffling and perplexing as it may be. My clamorous mind forms a strange attachment to this placatory feeling of an extreme sense of trust. It is liberating, this freedom from the physiological condition of emotional dependence. Missing you, I feel at home. It is chromatically pure, free from discordant qualities. I remember everything you say and register them with a sense of pride, pride in our friendship as I have watched it grow like a beautiful flower these past two decades. As you find yourself safe with me and I find myself content in your presence, we seek forgiveness for dramatically changing each others’ world views. Whether you call it radically distinctive or monstrously uncanny, missing you will now be a part of my everyday life.

Ashima: Good bye, my love. I have nothing more left in me today. I feel light and empty, so thank you.

Karan: Good bye. Maybe we just marked another cornerstone of our lives, turning a new chapter with your beautiful and yet dim Ray of Hope.