You burned

Neither of us saw it coming.


The force of it blew me off the pedestal of our warped existence. ‘It’s coming down,’ my inner voice warned, quivering ever so slightly. I felt the double edged choke of hope and fear. This was it, I realized. A divine intervention. What now?

I squinted through the burning darkness, fearful of what I would find. Dust and smog swirled in mad torrents as angry clouds of dark grey smoke pinned me down. I didn’t dare move against the mysterious forces that had so suddenly overtaken my world. As I lay still in uncontrollable anticipation, something changed. I found myself being lifted gently off the burning ground towards dizzyingly fresh air. It was like being reborn. I was the Phoenix, emerging victoriously from the aftermath, resplendent in my new form.

And as I rose, you drowned.

Suddenly, the tears were in your eyes. From my lofty position, I had finally spotted you, imperceptibly motionless within the smouldering ruins of broken promises and shattered dreams. Your face singed, blackened by the surrounding filth, knee deep in the wasted land, drowning in despair – you were in utter defeat. Yes, indeed the tears were in your eyes. What an irony it was, almost sickly sweet in its distastefulness.

The bite of unreasonable guilt stung me sharply, breaking through the confusion. Tears pooled in my eyes, spilling over as I failed to fight them. It was too much to throw away, you pleaded in anguish. Your desperateness dug into my vulnerability, feeding off that damning love I had for you. Too helpless to make sense out of the madness, I succumbed to the foolery. We started a clumsy play with our debris, cautiously at first and then raucously, unabashedly, shamelessly, selfishly. But how long could the weak guise of companionship hold up a collapsed world of volatile love? My sense of right and wrong, renewed at rebirth, nagged at my conscience with burning urgency. It was like dreaming – periods of insanity that I woke up from time to time. With every awakening, the urgency grew stronger. I could no longer ignore the melancholic truth that was our fate…

 I had to get away.

You were always up in the clouds, weren’t you? Sky high, so high, that the gaping divide between your floating mind and my grounded heart remained one big black horizonless hole. Normalcy was abnormal to you so you kept running away from reality, from me, from everything that could possibly tie you down to a world you only wanted to escape. I tried to bring you back gently, but you were loath to let me. You knew, as well as I, that the crash was only a matter of time. When you climb that high, there is only one way to come down.

So I had to get away…

Why was I so hell-bent to hold on to us? What made me so desperate to heal our disgraceful scars? I never dared to ask these questions, not even to myself, not even during those nights when, unable to sleep through all the hurt and pain, I clutched at water to remain afloat. But I wouldn’t, couldn’t, give you up. Looking back, I realize how very different I was back then, vulnerable and questionless when I could have been so much more. Where was the space for me? I squished myself in that little space you allowed me in your existence, barely able to breathe.

God, I had to get away…

I was too blind. Too blind to understand that you were simply a mirage. When the spell finally broke, you were not good enough anymore. Your thoughts couldn’t overwhelm me like before, nor could your need cripple me. Gone were the days when my anguish over you – both losing you and keeping you – could win over every drop of self-love I had.

I was ready to get away…

Your pleading made me cry but no longer made me bleed. There just wasn’t any more blood left to spill. We had a made a fool out of everything the world believed in. The stink of shame hovered like a reminder of our depravities. Had we forgotten how each time the world breached it’s limits, God stepped in and struck it down? The new world could only have you or me and God chose me. I chose me…

There was one final BOOM. I ruffled my wings as if to mark my new found existence, taking off into new horizons.

And as I flew, you burned…

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