Drunken Dostoevsky
Published in

Drunken Dostoevsky

Mere Scratches on Paper

A pen’s soliloquy

Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash

I remember everything. Since the day remembering began for me. I remember the first time the drop of ink touched my lips, which was the precise moment of the commencement of my remembering. I felt a gentle caress and an adoring gaze. He held me softly and sighed. His eyes shone with endless possibilities and my journey with him began.

It was a unique bond that I shared with him. I was the bridge for all those countless thoughts and ideas that his mind carried. I was the channel that brought the abstract to reality. Word after word, I profoundly understood the responsibility that had been bestowed upon me. And it felt sacred. Poetry and prose, frustration and fear, love and light, I helped him bring it all out. Every time he would cross out a word, I would feel sad and regret not being more capable.

I was his constant companion. Sometimes hidden in his clothes, sometimes in his bags, but always near him. I saw the world with him, resting on the tables of the innumerable cafes he visited, lying next to his notebooks, which would keep changing, while I would still be there.

In his words I would sense a deep loneliness and that would make me weep and wish that beyond words there was something I could do to comfort him. But during those moments he would hold me close and maybe, in that manner I managed to comfort him slightly. I want to believe that.

Never once did he let anyone touch me. And so, one evening when I felt a new sensation I was surprised. I didn’t know these fingers that held me with equal, if not more care. They were long and beautiful fingers, soft, gentle, cold at the tips, with nails that were brown. When she moved me against the paper, I felt a wave of unfelt emotions running through me. Soon she handed me back to him and left.

As I kept waiting for her to come back to me, I sensed something else. His fingers had acquired a different tenderness and his words likewise had shifted away from the darkness that I had become accustomed to. This was new. And it made me happy to channel these new thoughts that had infectious hope and warmth.

I trembled, the first time he came up with a simple acknowledgment of his feelings. The three words were on the paper, but I let too much ink to flow, and it was a colossal mess. I took control of myself and the next time the words came out perfectly. This was just the start. And now I got to spend even more time with him. It was tiring but exhilarating and I would always look forward to when he would need me next.

Then one morning, I woke up to her touch again. It was early in the morning and through her words I discovered that he was sleeping. Holding my breath, I waited for whatever next was to come. I thought that suddenly being linked to her thoughts would be jarring, but I didn’t feel any difference at first and as I became the bridge for her, I was left breathless, speechless and wordless. She filled me up with the brown ink and continued writing. If only she had not made me promise that those words would remain a secret between her and me, I would have told him everything. I wish he could somehow know those words which me and her had conspired with.

As she wrote, her fingers tapped me gently at times, sometimes she rested me near the edge of her lips where I could feel her breaths. When she was done, she closed her notebook, looked at him, and held me tightly, as if in an embrace. I felt happy, for him, knowing the words I knew that he finally had someone who loved him, much more than he thought was ever possible, without the slightest trace of doubt. I wanted to believe that I had played a part in it. Maybe that is just my hubris, but I did feel that I had fulfilled some purpose in my fragile existence.

Today, I rest quietly in a drawer of his desk amidst other notebooks. At times he would take me out and hold me with fondness and then place me back. I can’t do much now and I understand that. These words are mere scratches on paper, never to be seen by him. The ink in my barrel is dry and I am merely coughing out air for words.

I still want to tell him about the note she wrote that morning. And I do still want to feel her gentle caress one more time. I only hope that all those words I channeled were not merely words, and that he has her fingers firmly between his, with that same tenderness, adoration, and love that his words professed.

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