a brief letter

hello there, old friend.

it’s been a while since i last saw you.

actually, that might not be the whole truth. i thought i caught a glimpse of you today, just briefly, almost hidden between an under-construction skyscraper and a large garments factory. i could have been mistaken – the traffic had just let up, and my cng was trying its best to squeeze through impossibly tiny gaps between a wall of cars. i thought i saw you from the corner of my eye, but by the time i realized what i was seeing, we’d zoomed through already, and you were gone again.

how have you been? i wonder whether you look the same. do you still turn dark gray just before you weep? do you still let flashes of rage rumble across your countenance when you are angry? do you still glow in the light of the sun when it’s pleasant outside?

most of what i remember of you are stolen glances, incidental memories of you etched in my mind. in these pictures you’re hidden in the background of some significant life event – a picnic, perhaps, or a day at the beach. i still have a few actual pictures of you stored in my laptop as well – though when i look at them, you’re seldom the first thing i notice. you have this amazing ability to be in the background, just hanging there, as inconspicuous as ever, while i tried to capture other more significant moments in time or more significant people. but when i turn off the laptop, i realize just how important you really are.

i’m sure you know i miss you. how? just look at the number of pictures i took on vacations in which you appear. maybe that’s why, whenever i do go on these vacations, all i can take pictures of is you.

i really wish i could see you more often, you know? until recently, i could sit on my verandah in the evenings, gazing out towards you, catching a brief glimpse when you lit up in joy or anger. now a thirteen-storied monolith rises from the ground in front of the verandah, and cuts off my view. i’ve tried to find some other angle from which to drink you in, but alas, you’re nowhere to be found.

you used to seem so close, so near, once upon a time. are you still the same? our meetings are so few and far in between, generally only when i leave the country, that every single time i do see you in all your glory, you seem farther and farther away. is it true? are you really pulling away from me? is it because i don’t get to see you as often as i used to?

i can’t control the walls that are rising up between us. i wish i could tear them down, start all over again with a fresh, clean slate, and admire you the way i once did – but maybe that’s the problem! maybe you’re angry that i – heck, nobody – valued you while you were still around. is that why you’ve been weeping almost continuously these past few days?

you know that i’ve never forgotten one thing: our own little secret place – the roof? remember those foggy winter afternoons, when you kept watch over me while i played? or how about those quiet evenings when i sat there, basking in your glow? back in those days, we’d spend hours with each other, with me admiring every single facet of your face. i know i haven’t been up there in years – maybe it’s time i went up there again. after all, that’s where these walls we’ve put up between us cease to tower, and there are no monoliths that can prevent me from drinking you in.

i’m off to europe next month for a week. i’m looking forward to seeing you then, spending days and nights with you, basking in your cold embrace, admiring every single facet of you, until i’m once again wrenched back to this state of forced separation and this compulsory distance we must maintain.

i’m sick of hiding behind these walls, sick of being prevented from watching you. i’m sick of your absence – it doesn’t make our hearts grow stronger, rather it weakens our resolve and determination. i’m angrier, unhappier and sadder because i don’t get to see you as much as i would like. and so are the people around me. please shine your light back in to my life, and forgive me for my veiled and hidden existence.

i can’t wait till i get to see you again.


your friend

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