Under the shadow of irony


After the glow of descent

In the due of solitude

of a rusty nook

a desire found its spring

followed a trail adrift

until it sprouted wings

and soared.

She shut her diary and raised an eyebrow at me without uttering a single word. Perhaps, she wanted to create the illusion of a profound silence that follows a rather enlightening pronouncement. If I were to be honest, I would say the dramatic effect was a little ridiculous. But she is whimsical, so I just shrugged.

“It is slightly short.”

She threw me a reproachful look. “Is that all you have to say about it? No thoughts about the content?”

Sometimes I pity her dynamism. I lay down, resting my head on my arms and looked up at the canopy above us. A squirrel darting across the narrow branches, rustling leaves that blushed crimson, a rare breeze wagging its tongue, the quiet warmth of the of the declining day…they all composed an allusive verse but would she ever pause for a moment to notice?

“Charming,” I said at last.

She pulled a face in frustration, then leaned in close, probing me with her eyes. “Why do you always hold your words back. Trapping your thoughts in cages of silence. It’s as if every sentence is an added expense. I have never been able to fathom it or… or understand you.” She stopped with a sigh. Then suddenly she turned towards me with an incredulous expression and rushed on, tripping over her own words. “You enjoy that! Don’t you? Being an enigma. You want others to wonder what are you hiding behind this hushed demeanor. What a remarkable trick! You influence them without making any effort. You discover everyone’s perspective, maybe mock some or concur with some but keep your own fastened so adamantly.” She stopped to take a breath. “Why? You like feeling special?”

I laughed too hard. It made my side ache.

She ignored me. I couldn’t blame her. The idea wasn’t remotely funny. Neither was my acknowledgement of it. I fell silent again. We could hear a peddler call in the distance. “Papol!” He called. Or was it paper or papah? I don’t know. He comes every Sunday without fail but I have never been able to grasp what he was selling. Or buying.

“Come on.” She got up. “I want to have ice cream. Where should we go?”

I sat up, dusting off my shirt. “Let’s go back to that truck that’s parked next to the gym?”

She shook her head.

“Why not? I loved the butterscotch we had yesterday and they are so popular.”

“That’s precisely why.”

I regarded her with a confused expression. She sighed condescendingly. “I don’t want to repeat what others do or even myself. That is so ordinary. I mean, there exist a hundred thousand different possibilities and yet we just follow the easiest, the most familiar path.”

“I thought you wanted to eat ice cream.”

“Tch,” she cut in irritably. “You know there is a word Sonder. It refers to the realization that every passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. This word always makes me sad. When everyone has such a consequential existence, why are they all so intent on being mediocre.”

“Because mediocrity is free of struggles,” I offered.

“But I am scared. I don’t want to wound up that way… caught up in dogma. Being busy with the trivial and then realizing later that  I wasted all of my time. That is worse than being sedentary.”

“Why?” I smirked. “Do you like feeling special?


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