Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Together

I always knew we'd stay together.
Banging against one another like wind chimes
that have no choice but
to cry out whenever even the faintest of gusts
throws them together.
We were bound as one,
unable to let the winds carry us away.
Always yanked back when the strings that held us grew taut.

In the nights, after dinner,
I'd sit on the veranda staring into the endless horizon of long grasses and starry nights,
knowing this was not the life I had fantasized about in the heart of my youth.
Strangely, I am one of those who they say followed his heart, diving headfirst after a life I knew nothing about.
A crazy fool that built a true life
from a mere impression of generations that came before him.

I worked hard and earned the right to sit outside,
alone on summer nights.
I can hear them through the screen door,
laughing and yelling,
pounding their feet against the floor.
These are the children you bore for me,
in your mind knowing they would keep me happy,
in your heart knowing they would keep me here, never straying.

I am the farm man, strong and weathered.
I live like those before me did on this stretch of farmland feeding all with the spoils of hard work and clean soil.
Or at least I'd like to think I do.
I wanted this for myself, I did.
And now I want to leave. To run and leap over the ground I've spent all of my days.
I should be proud, but really, it was the love of chasing something I thought I could never have that has kept me here all these years.

I have reached my destination, safe
without a scratch.
I am brought here, sat down, and told: This is it!
You have come to journey’s end!
I don a smile but look around,
Ever hoping for another fork, another bend.
But the path is straight and set before me, by me.
My children can laugh, play, grow
and journey on down the road I have paved before them.
They can pave what I have not. Diverging from the path, my path.

And then when they are gone
it will be you and I staring at each other in the silence,
everything to say already said.
Can I leave you then?
Then, when the strings are worn thin.
Can I leave the life I made for you and I, never knowing if this was what you wanted too?
Can I leave you here in an empty house?
On the land I tilled and for the dream I wanted.
Would you stay here with your eyes downcast,
bearing the burden of a reckless husband?
Who had no heart and no soul left to stay by his faithful wife.

These are the darkest of my days.
The trap I sprang for myself has sunk its teeth into my flesh.
No amount of wriggling and jiggling can release me from this boredom.
The string of the wind chime that held me so securely with its gentle tugging and musical clanging
has turned into the solid grip of woven noose and the steady rhythm of an ominous gong
counting down the end of my days.

I sense a freedom waiting for me just beyond this last stretch.
My departure now brings the burden of death upon your shoulders.
I cannot be blamed. They won't say I left you,
but that I've simply traveled to a better place,
ahead of you for now.
They say I will be waiting for you by pearly gates,
waving you into the afterlife
where we will spend an eternity together
and you cling to this.

But I won't, I've made my plans.
I'll strike a deal with the bearded man.
A good husband, a good father and all around a wonderful man.
He'll see that I was faithful.
That I ignored the pull of temptation.
And for all these things I've done for you.
He'll see that I spend my eternity away from you.


Veena Ambikapathy