We were stood behind a barbed fence under the dark grey skies, the muteness of the world only made possible by the doings of winter. I looked at the light emitted from the skyscrapers on the other side. The air was cold with moisture, it seemed like it had rained moments ago. Buildings don’t move, but they seemed busier than a dense city during rush hour; buildings don’t make a sound, but they exuded messy chatters that sounded like the voices that pestered you with an unending worry. Then I turned to the figure beside me, glanced at him with reluctant eyes. It was only for a moment, but his eyes were heavy. I knew that look, I understood it better than anyone — it was the look of longing. No words were said, but we both wondered, if our desire to step foot on that other world would ever be fulfilled.
I punched my friend in the shoulder, snapping him back to this world. We only smiled, before hurrying back into the grassy abyss where our houses hid. The tension needed to break. And perhaps we do these silly things instead of facing reality, because we want the tension to stay broken.
The cityscape is still moving, the blurred orbs of light still flickering. The view remains melancholic and the life beneath looks cold.
Tonight, the bed is undone, it has been for a while now.
The smell of pencil shavings and the distinct bitterness of the aromatic coffee lingered in the air. An open book thrown onto the duvet remained stagnant, not a gush of wind attempting to flip the page.
The bedding’s dent has undone itself, taking away any evidence of presence.
This room used to exhale cumbersome laughter. But with painful moments comes an underlying joy — the romanticisation of an escape route; the same way happy moments are often accompanied by a lingering worry.
It’s empty now. The home froze to stone, warm shelves into icy concrete. The air carried echoes and an unfamiliar smell, despite being filled with furniture and vibrant colours. It appears to be lively, though it absolutely isn’t. Its faith and benevolence eroding day by day, as homes could grow lonely too.
Life goes on, but there is no life here.
This is a life where we constantly have to chase our breaths, where time exists as our greatest enemy; a life too fleeting isn’t a life for me.
I recalled the days spent under the same heavy, grey skies that echoed loud cries that would soon become rain. But the life underneath didn’t mimic air, people weren’t sensitive towards everything that came their way. People there saw melancholy as a fictitious but, idealised world.
When I catch my breath, when I realise that I am alive, I think about home.
This was my first winter away from home.
The warm, orange heat had suddenly glazed over my face, causing me to divert my gaze towards the horizon, where the harsh light had begun leaving the atmosphere. I took notice of the mountains that it was wedging itself between. In a couple hours, even the sun will return home somewhere, taking its rest from this town.
I recalled the night under the muted mid-November skies, a night in which our longings made themselves known. I longed for a goal, because a life of maintenance is not as exciting as the pain of yearning.
But what I was left with for the past few months, was the purple town. That yearning I felt most passionately during those days, reminded me of you.
I waited, and waited, sitting in mere tension on the dirty white staircase of a remote motel. The shadows began to show themselves, it was then when I saw one that wasn’t stagnant like the rest.
— 18:40 —
I remember the day you told me you were leaving.
I could still hear life through the only window with beaming neon lights within this typically idle neighbourhood.
Though I knew I wouldn’t miss you, I could still feel that imminent dread, because I wanted a life as mindlessly fulfilling too.
After months of having nothing familiar to cling onto, we’re here now, slightly older, slightly more tired. We’re a pair that dreamed, and nothing more. That’s why we sat in silence, smiling into the air, and not each other.
You kept your gaze steady as you waited for me to speak, for me to bring us back to the place we once were. We wanted reassurance, but that’s definitely not what we needed. We’ve never progressed. Look at us now, we’ve lost that spark of life that we once mastered.
— 18:42 —
But for a moment, I think I saw your eyes glimmer with life, I never thought that I’d ever see nostalgia in front of me like that again.
You were a reckless influence and we were, in reality, the mindless youths that lived in the moment. I wondered if you were still the same person. I had dreamt that we would one day meet again, and perhaps we could relive youth, running, with our hands tucked into our pockets and faces buried into our collars; feeling warmth despite being almost painfully cold.
We used to see our breaths form then dissipate into the air, but now my body is never warm enough to do that.
It was our laughter that echoed in the distance, it was our lives that were always drifting and voices always fleeting. Those on the other side wanted our freedom and youth. But the reality was that our freedom was empty.
I peered through the ledge and that was all I could see — life, with the cold air and the cityscape beyond us. Beneath the purple skies are lights, every bulb existing as a person that made their way around the heavy air. Too dangerous for other species to roam within the chaos of this urban life, only buses screamed and that was the anthem of this city.
We craved to belong to the other side. Our home may lack stability, but this place lacked colour. Upon finally being here, I realised that this place is as empty as the hopes that we cradled as kids.
When things go bad, I like to sink back to a time when things were easier, which is why I come here every once in a while.
I realised that I am not where I live, what I do or who I most often present myself as. There’s still a world that I go back to, one where it’s safe for me to transform into myself.
I finally got to catch my breath again.
I don’t know about you, but I now enjoy walking within the hustle and bustle, knowing that I don’t belong to the rush of this city.
Because at the end of the day, I will see your fleeting figure somewhere in the streets, you’d have earphones in and be in your own world. At the end of the day, we’re all just temporary souls.
Copyright © 2018 | grimmatter.wordpress.com
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author’s note: i wrote this as a sort of tribute to home, a proper farewell. this is the longest piece i’ve written on here so far. it’s not ideal (personally), but this was the end result of what i’ve written after nearly 2 months of not completing anything.
thank you again, for reading. thank you thank you.
photo source: @thegrimmatter