Often, rather most of the times, I ponder at my murderous obstinacy to hold on, to have wrongly imagined I have let go of times which push me into the spiralling depths of despondency, to have unfaithfully assumed I have emerged, battle worn, from my crumbling state to a happier one! No I do not hold on to everything that makes me weak, I let time take over sealing the unhappy times, so much so that I begin to see gladness in the times that were. But there are days, there are months, there are years that remain impervious to the workmanship of time and without a warning catch me unguarded, flash their cruel smirk, embrace me in their lethal numbness and I slip away, screaming inside my skin, perfectly happy outside. I do crawl back to a life that was, unaltered to my neighbour who never sensed the turmoil and the war that had been ravaging within.
If only I could completely let go and begin again, as easy the words sound. What surprises me all the more is when asked about the quintessential ways to let go I could lecture one till the break of dawn, write a mammoth of a book, lay down the rules. Paradoxically when it comes to teaching myself I remain the unfortunate student who mysteriously forgets the answers to all the questions! The maddening bit about the glum memories are they come unannounced. When walking through crowded streets, or through empty lanes, at work, when an old song pops up in an impromptu playlist, or when flying thousands of miles above the ocean, they pounce upon me, shadowing every entity of my body in the partial darkness.
And there I was thousands of feet above the Atlantic, thousands of miles from any land, trying to read my copy of Alice Munro’s ‘Too Much Happiness’, anything but happy, shifting in my seat, uncertain of the pending doom, stealing glances at my snoozing fellow passengers on my way back to ‘home’. No, I was not glad to return ‘home’, return to the monotony of life, return to the same city where memories good and bad swarmed, the latter filling in the crevices and gaps of my tattered past year. The premonition that unhappiness will take over soon kept aggravating with every reducing mile.
‘It is all in the head, follows you like your shadow, thoughts, and don’t dissuade wherever you go’, claims a friend. But cannot the omnipresent brightness, the excitement and enticement of a new place baffle the shadow of thoughts, and may be, just may be for some fraction of time they will go into hiding underneath your feet?
Providence, intentionally, unintentionally, took me miles away at the beginning of this year to a fantastical winter wonderland bundling away unhappy memories into a little neglected corner of my head. Little did I know that the memories which seemed frozen would surreptitiously thaw back into life and unpleasantly encapsulate me the moment I step inside the aircraft on my way back! Creeping up through my veins, injecting the bitterness into my limbs, they were taking me to a place I rather not dwell in. I had to shut them, had to silence the howling thoughts echoing inside my head and slamming my book shut I chose to drown myself in the otherwise avoided inflight entertainment. But the movie I chose to watch ‘Begin Again’, left me gasping for breath and I could not help but weep uncontrollably for the next few hours!
I kept thinking how holding on can be devastating and letting go no better, but cathartic. And, quite unhappily, as the movie neared the end, it dawned upon me that, in a hypothetical world, if life were to rewind back to older times I shan’t be able to embrace it without any qualms. Something significant had irrevocably changed. No, love the silly monster who had stirred up the trouble hasn’t ended, but he has learnt that he shall be happier if he loves from a distance ergo maintaining his sanity.
Welling up, I kept listening to the last song on repeat, slowly realising that I have to let go.
“Turn the page maybe we’ll find a brand new ending, Where we’re dancing in our tears and, God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young, It’s hunting season and the lambs are on the run, Searching for meaning, but are we all lost stars, Trying to light up the dark?”
May be there is a ‘brand new ending’, and reflecting, juxtaposing my life with that of the protagonist’s I promised, swallowing back my tears, to begin again.
Image Credit: Adithya A.