Summer nights shift through my hair, pressing gently on my eyelids.
This, I realise, is the feeling of summer: not fun, a spark-like joy, but rather a feeling that is half relief and half boredom, underpinned by old longing — something that was once desperate, restless yearning but that has since been worn into this pale, tired feeling. It’s the saddest thing in the world: for yearning to become a wistful “could have been”, to see your longing through a veil of impossibility where before it was real, throbbing in you.
With the gentleness of a mother explaining the limits of the world to her child, the years crush your most feverish yearnings, rearranging them into artful melancholy; faraway looks into the night sky, sighs carried away by the vastness of the night and a heaviness from which there seems to be no relief.
Where “I long for you” was once a promise branded in heat, it is now a space in your body — a small, distant illness, something you live with most days, something you ignore and forget about, until. Until it is summer again and the end of year frees you for a precious few weeks; until you start getting drunk on the coolness of the night air; until you let your hair down and your shirt clings to the back of your neck; until you feel a smile tugging at your lips as the neighbours’ music echoes in the streets; until you are allowed a moment’s contemplation and the matter of your own happiness comes up, the figurative lid popped off by the heat, loosened while you were busy cutting open watermelons and picking at the fibrous remains of mangoes between your teeth, while you wrinkled your nose at the smoke of cigarettes the neighbour indulges in even more zealously in the darkness of his veranda.
It is summer, it is the end of the year and there are no hermetic spaces left. All the possible doors, windows and vents have been flung open and the summer air commingled with hope and regret infiltrate your lungs, even as you are too busy partaking in the rituals of summer: getting burnt by the sun, haggling prices for litchis, complaining about the people.
This is all it takes: a stream of warm, good days to envelope you and the cold, repressed truth comes streaming out.
Note: Happy New Year to you! Be blessed with warmth, goodness and light for this year and all the ones that follow. This piece is a bit late but here it is anyway, featuring some of the most egregious use of semi-colons and repetition you have ever seen 😂