A Snuffed Out Candle

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I’ve forgotten you. All the details—your smile, your eyes, your hair, your posture—that build up the flesh of personality are dead now. The arrangement of the features in your face is lost to me, jumbled up in confused tangles of shifting memory. The timbre of your voice has been deafened by a thick blanket of muffled time. Perhaps I wouldn’t be able to recognize you if I passed you in the street someday.

But tonight the half-dead sky is dark, bandaged in shivering clouds, sickened with nostalgia. Puddles of water embrace a broken moon, sobbing moonshine, pining for the sun. The sentinel trees are convoluted in a crooked intimate caress, immobile in their agony.

On a night like this, your ghost lives again. I light a candle for you, burning memories freed from the entombing wax of daily life. My heart is melting once more.

The air is already sweating with the blood-lust of rain. This candle will be devoured by the flames in minutes, or else bloodied by the impending shower. But while the quavering breath of light lasts, I can remember you.

Love is such an unfaithful word, attached to so many things and so many emotions—living, inanimate, sincere, feigned. How can this word describe these feelings, so physical, so alive that they could snatch my life, squeeze my heartbeat to nothingness, throttle my dreams?

Love is—
Pain.
I remember how every second not shared with you was torture. One, two, or even three hours of talking to you every day was merely temporary balm for the longing I felt for your company. Even though you accepted my heart, and gave yours in return, mine was too fragile. Somehow, in the bartering, my heart had shattered into a million shards of glass, and only you could hold them together. I remember how I lost myself in you, a shadow of myself, hiding along with sanity beyond recovery. And I remember how I abandoned my friends and was abandoned in turn, until you and I were the only ones left.
Even the joy you ignited in me, as I struggled to match two of my strides to one of yours, was always laced with pain. The happiness I felt was tainted with fear—small irrational fears of losing you, of being thrust away and abandoned, of not being wanted—until it all piled up in unspoken insidious swathes and began to suffocate you. In retrospect, there could have been no other end. We had burned out our luck in the very first year. All our understanding was strangled by the little woes of life that we had allowed to grow unnoticed. And then Fate garroted our lives with her capricious twisted strings, and I left you forever.

The icy lips of the first drops of rain upon my face awaken me. Frosted rain drops pelt me with frozen kisses, until my clothes are sodden with the weight of their passion. The candle is smoking ghostly spires of wispy defeat, fading into resigned emptiness. My eyes are brimming—but with rain, or tears, or blood, I cannot say. In this moment, the sky is blinded by streaks of lightning.

In this moment, I can see you clearly, undimmed by the unshaken miles lying between us so heavily asleep. I can almost touch your rain-traced face with my fingers. I can almost hear your voice calling my name.

In this moment, I love you, forever.


 

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